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Starigrad-Paklenica: Where the Mountain Greets the Sea


Although an experienced writer on all things Croatia, Chasing the Donkey blogger was nevertheless in awe as she was closing in to Starigrad-Paklenica and the impressive Velebit Mountain next to it.

Starigrad Paklenica has been on my Croatian bucketlist since I first heard how close it was to where we live. As we drove closer and closer toward Starigrad Paklenica, the Velebit mountain which happens to be the largest mountain range in Croatia, grew larger and larger, I could hear the theme song to Star Wars and it felt like we were going to be enveloped by the mountian range ahead.

Starigrad Paklenica is a town that sits at the base of the towering Velebit mountains, in northern Dalmatia, just 40km from Zadar. Mother nature blessed Croatia when it comes to nature, and she gave Starigrad Paklenica an extra blessing by sitting the Paklenica National Park right next door.

The Velebit mountain range is a part of the Dinaric Alps that run through Slovenia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia, and reaches their highest point in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The are 2 National Parks in the mountain range, the National Park Sjeverni Velebit which is in the north and the Paklenica National Park, which is in the South. On a clear day, the Velebit could almost be compared to a Hollywood backdrop, with the mountains looking as though they’ve been painted below the sky.

Once we arrived in Starigrad Paklenica, we were in complete awe of the mountains rising sharply up from the sea. Staring up towards the sky, I felt dwarfed by this immense giant, like a mere speck at its feet.

The best time to visit Starigrad Paklenica is from early spring all the way through to late autumn; it’s the ultimate place for nature lovers. The area has much to keep you busy and is located in an excellent position to make take day trips to neighbouring national parks and towns.

photo: Chasing the Donkey

Starigrad offers real diversity, where the magnificent mountains and the swirling sea meet with the town of Starigrad sandwiched between them. The area is most well known for adventure vacationers and although we’re not climbers, hikers or bikers, we spent three days at Paklenica and had more fun than we thought we would – and best of all it’s so close to our home we can go back again and again.

The main attraction is of course the Paklenica National Park, yet there is much more to enjoy in Starigrad than I had ever thought…

How to get to Starigrad Paklenica
It’s very easy to get to Starigrad Paklenica. It’s located just 40km from Zadar, 260km from Zagreb, and 170km from Split. Starigrad Paklenica can be reached by the A1 Highway which stretches from Zagreb to Split. Take the Maslenica exit and then join the D8 state road, and follow the signs to Starigrad.

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.

In the next edition, read what Chasing the Donkey blog has to say about the abundance of interesting activities to enjoy while in Starigrad-Paklenica – swimming and sunbathing on the beach next to a historic little church, rafting on River Zrmanja, fascinating day trips, etc.


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