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Things to Do in Starigrad-Paklenica? Beaches and Sights


Yes beaches! I was so excited to see just how close they are to the Velebit mountain. The crystal clear waters of the beaches of Starigrad Paklenica are lined with rounded pebbles, making it the ideal place to both enjoy an outdoor adventure holiday and to relax. The best beach we found was Kulina, right next to Večka Kula Tower, but you should also check out:

Starigrad beach panorama. Photo:

- St Peter’s Church. Constructed in the pre-Romanesque Early Croatian style, at the turn of the 10th century.
- Večka Kula Tower. Some locals tell you that it was a watchtower in the Middle Ages around the 14th to 16th century, while others will tell you that the tower was a once a royal court.
- St. George Chapel. C. 9th-10th century, located just 12km away in the neighbouring town of Rovanjska

Rafting trips take place on Zrmanja River starting in early spring up to summer, and then start again at the end of summer through to late autumn. During the low water level periods of summer you can still enjoy the Zrmanja on a kayak or canoe.

Rafting on River Zrmanja. Photo:

If you’re like me and the thought of doing all that sounds too exhausting, you can take boat trips from Starigrad for the day. The family-friendly boat excursion start at Starigrad along the Zrmanja River mouth, all the way to Obrovac, and includes lunch.

Day trips and excursions

There are many day trips that can be taken from Paklenica. Our suggestions are:
Tour the cities of Zadar, Pag and Nin. It’s in Pag where the award-winning Paški Sir is made, and you can take a tour like this one.
Krka River Waterfalls. Drive or catch the bus south along the Dalmatian coast to the Krka National Park. Spend the day swimming under the giant waterfall and touring the old stone mill.

Krka Waterfalls. Photo:

Sail the majestic Kornati Island National Park. This group of islands contains the largest number of islands in the entire Mediterranean. You can swim, snorkel and, if you’re lucky, spot a donkey on Dugi Otok.
Plitvice Lakes. Spend the day marvelling at the oldest and most famous Croatian national park. You can walk or enjoy boat ride through the 16 interconnected lakes.

Wellness & Spa

After a hard day hiking, cycling or even a tough day lazing by the beach, you should make use of the spa in town. Located in the Bluesun Alan, you don’t need to be a hotel guest to make a booking and enjoy the divine treatments on offer. The Wellness Centre is over 900 m2 and has 7 treatment rooms available.

Bluesun Hotel Alan wellness. Photo:

We spent a few hours here, and thoroughly enjoyed the massages and facials. The spa has received an award for being an authentic Croatian wellness spa. If you only have time for one treatment, I recommend their speciality – the Mount Velebit aromatheraphy treatment, which comes in two parts. First, a blend of St John’s Wort, calendula and thyme oils, which form a body scrub, are massaged onto your body, then after a quick shower you’ll receive an hour long relaxing massage. Total heaven. Just ask Mr. Chasing the Donkey, who also loved it.
Where to stay in Starigrad Paklenica
There are a number of accommodation options close to the national park. Including private apartments, small and family run hotels but the biggest hotel in the area is the Bluesun Hotel Alan, where we spent several nights. The hotel is located just 20 metres from the beach, and a few minutes drive to the national park entrance. In addition to a the 139 hotel room, they also offer 24 villas & camping facilities.

Best of all the Hotel Alan has a wellness centre, which offers full service spa facilities at very affordable rates – the perfect way to end the day after hiking or climbing.

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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