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Rock Climbing in Paklenica National Park

27.06.2014.

If you are into adventure sports, then Paklenica National Park is calling your name. From rock climbing to trekking and safari, this unspoiled part of the Velebit Mountain offers it all.
The first thing I noticed upon entering Paklenica National Park were rock climbers. They were everywhere! Paklenica National Park is the largest climbing site in Southeast Europe, and by far the most popular in Croatia.

As you enter the park, the walls of rock immediately surround you. Paklenica is also favoured by climbers because there are climbs available for all levels of experience.

Željko explained that one of the positives for climbers who come to Paklenica is that there are no huge hikes required to get to your climbing location. The climbing positions await you just metres from the entry point into Velika Paklenica canyon.



I was surprised to find out from my guide that 35% of all visitors to the park are climbers. Željko also explained that an annual event is held on the 1st of May in Velika Paklenica called the Big Wall Speed Climb. It’s a pairs climbing event and clearly the quickest pair to the top wins.

When I saw the rock face that is climbed for the event I was gobsmacked! It was mammoth. The current record for the 160-metre climb is a staggering 15 minutes and 16 seconds, by Croatian Jurica Levatić who has held the record for three years in a row. If you’re feeling inspired by Jurica, you can take pre-arranged climbing lessons here.

Cycling possibilities

Pack your bike or hire one in town and cycle through Paklenica National Park along one of the many suggested cycling path routes. The routes vary from 10-30km. Download the Starigrad Paklenica Cycle Paths guide and see which one takes your fancy.



Local tip
Once you’ve ended your magical day in the national park, head to Dinkos cafe which is just outside the entry to the park. Owned by a local, names Dinko (see what he did there) this cafe has been serving tired and hungry hikers and climbers for 40 years. Decorated with old climbing gear this is the perfect place to unwind. Dinko will serve you up an icy cold Croatian beer, Paski Sir and prsut with bread for a great price. Let him know Mr. Chasing the Donkey said hi!

The rich hiking opportunities at the Paklenica National Park are presented in the next edition of Chasing the Donkey blog, which also features several useful tips for all those interested in fully experiencing Paklenica.

Chasing the Donkey is the #1 Croatian travel blog, an award-winning project authored by an Australian expat and her Croatian husband who live in the Croatian countryside.

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