Croatian Long Distance Trail

Croatian Long Distance Trail

National, scenic, hiking trail

Meet Croatia in person

Many countries have their own national, famous walking trails, and which have been built in order to encourage people to live an active lifestyle, to get to know each other and to get out of their comfort zone in order to widen their view and experiences – put simply – how to become better people. Spain’s El Camino is perhaps one of the best known of these such trails. The USA has its own trails where people have been developing themselves for decades, walking for months on the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail. The Croatian Long Distance Trail (CLDT) was created for the very same reasons – so that people are encouraged to take a break and enjoy life in nature, on the trail, in touch with nature, at a slow pace, all for their well-being. The Croatian Long Distance Trail was established in 2017 after the first Croat walked the Pacific Crest Trail. The Croatian Long Distance Trail Association was established quickly after. It took a full two years for the route to be completed and another six months for the gathering together of all the information. So, the Croatian Long Distance Trail is a 2,109 km long national, scenic, hiking trail which in its essence is led by the maxim of avoiding asphalt roads and focuses on mountain trails, tractor and gravel roads. The trail begins in Ilok, at the most eastern point of the Republic of Croatia, and then heads towards the most northern point – Sveti Martin na Muri and the westernmost point Savudrija, and then on towards the southernmost point of the Republic of Croatia – Prevlaka.

 
The CLDT is divided into three large sections, and nine smaller sections:
 
CLDT sections
Nikola Horvat

Section A
Ilok – Sveti Martin na Muri (576 km)

A1 – Ilok – Našice (245 km)

This section is low-lying, there are not many uphill slopes, nevertheless with its golden fields, rural areas and local delicacies it certainly draws attention. The A1 section is ideal for building strength and condition, and it is not so physically demanding, but care should be taken in choosing the time of year to walk due to the high summer temperatures. In this part the trail often passes by villages and towns, therefore it is not necessary to carry much food in your backpack, which is certainly an advantage for hikers who are just beginning to hike and who have not yet developed tolerance to heavy backpacks. Along with Ilok and Našice hikers on this section will visit Bapska, Lovas, Vukovar, Osijek, Beli Manastir, Belišće/Valpovo plus a number of picturesque villages with very kind local people, as well as some well-known sites such as the Danube, Ovčara, the Eltz Manor, Kopački Rit and so on. Passing down this section at an average of 25 km per day, it can be walked in ten days.

CLDT
Nikola Horvat
Valpovo
A2 – Našice – Daruvar (94,5 km)

Papuk is the first mountain which the CLDT passes, exactly in the section A2. Našice is an ideal town for supplies before the mountainous part. The vast forests, forest animals, fresh air and cold water are sufficient reasons for the attractiveness of this section. Papuk is not a very high mountain, but nevertheless, it is demanding enough to make the average hiker sweat. The hiking trails in this section are quite developed, and so getting around in this area is made easier by the excellent markings. Four days are necessary for the average hiker to finish this short part.

CLDT - Papuk
Nikola Horvat
Papuk
A3 – Daruvar – Sveti Martin na Muri (236,5 km)

From one mountain to another – from Papuk to Bilogora, and then to a third – Kalnik. Three pearls that offer hikers an insight into the real nature of continental Croatia. The mountains are similar, but also different and each has its own charms. The A3 section winds along the towns of Virovitica, Koprivnica, Ludbreg - the famous centre of the world and Prelog. Podravina and Međimurje are culturally and food-wise extremely rich regions, and hikers will be able to experience this at first hand, all the way to Sveti Martin na Muri – the northernmost point of the Republic of Croatia. This section is the most difficult bit for hikers of section A, in particular, we refer to Kalnik which has quite steep paths. However, once you conquer Kalnik, there is no end to the satisfaction. The average hiker can walk this section in ten days.

Nikola Horvat

Section B
Sveti Martin na Muri – Savudrija (565,5 km)

B1 – Sveti Martin na Muri – Sljeme (179 km)

From the northernmost point the hiking route turns south and through Međimurje, next to Čakovec – the town of the Zrinskis, it goes to Varaždin from where it goes over Ravna Gora to the Trakošćan castle and down the magical Zagorje region it arrives at Strahinjčica, and then also Ivanščica – two Zagorje mountains which dominate this region and show all the lush greenery of this splendid region. By descending, hikers will experience the widely known winegrowing hills which will take them to Medvednica – the Zagreb paradise, and its peak – Sljeme. This part is moderately demanding, yet the fact that a hiker can take a break at frequent settlements along the way makes it easier. An average hiker can walk it in a week.

CLDT - Ravna gora, Zagorje
Nikola Horvat
Ravna gora, Zagorje
B2 – Sljeme – Klana (278 km)

Apart from Zagreb, which hikers can reach by bus and then find out why it is the capital city of Croatia, by descending from Medvednica they will find themselves in picturesque Samobor and maybe try the Samobor “greblica” (thin savoury cake) or the widely-known “kremšnita” (cream cake). There is not much to say about the beauty of Samobor Hills and Žumberak because the mountains and untouched forests speak for themselves. From Žumberak hikers enter Gorski Kotar through Severin na Kupi, where they will enjoy the thick forests, the multitude of wild animals and local food. Some fortunate hiker might encounter an even more attractive animal. Also in this section is the first of three national parks – the Risnjak National Park. The many forests and the shade of this section will make it easy during the summer heat, however, the enviable altitude will make a hiker sweat considerably. The average hiker will walk this section in 12 days.

CLDT - blizu Hahlića
Nikola Horvat
Obruč
B3 – Klana – Savudrija (108,5 km)

Istria is also attractive by car. Walking through it evokes a special feeling. The trail goes down the Istrian mountain route all the way to the westernmost point of the Republic of Croatia – Savudrija where hikers will meet the sea for the first time. This trail is maybe not so demanding in a fitness sense, but it does present a great challenge due to the heat. In contrast to Papuk, it might be better to come here in spring, not to walk the whole trail in one go. The average hiker will master this section in four days.

Nikola Horvat

Section C
Savudrija – Prevlaka (967,5 km)

C1 – Savudrija – Zavižan (322,5 km)

From Savudrija the trail passes by Umag and along footpaths to Pazin and then to Rabac, from where the trail climbs up Učka. To see small, picturesque, scattered little towns such as Motovun and Grožnjan lit by the morning sun peeking out from the misty valleys like enchanted castles is a joy for hikers who will be inspired for many years after they return from a long walk like this on the CLDT. From Učka the trail bypasses Rijeka and via Fužine and Vratnik it climbs to Zavižan, and the famous mountain lodge and meteorological station. This is a demanding part with serious mountains where one should be more cautious, particularly because of the weather conditions and water supplies. The average hiker will walk this section in 14 days.

CLDT - Motovun
Nikola Horvat
Motovun
C2 – Zavižan – Sinjal (227 km)

Premužić’s Trail has the cult status of all Croatia’s mountains and walking it is not only a pleasure but an obligation. It winds through the most attractive corners of the mystical Velebit mountain, and where another national park in the chain - the Northern Velebit National Park is found, after which comes the Paklenica National Park where hikers come across new challenges. This section is quite demanding – there is less water, fewer supply points, certain skills are needed, but by its attractiveness it is perhaps the richest, even more so as it ends at the highest peak of the Republic of Croatia – Sinjal (1,830 m). This section is not recommended for inexperienced hikers to start walking. It is located at the C2 place for a reason. The average hiker will walk it in 10 days.

CLDT - Biokovo
Nikola Horvat
Biokovo
C3 – Sinjal – Prevlaka (418 km)

From the highest peak of the Republic of Croatia the trail turns towards the mountains Svilaja, Mali Kozjak and Mosor, after which it descends to Omiš. Omiška Dinara is a prelude to Biokovo, which will be a great challenge for hikers, however, the breath-taking views will provide them with a respite. Biokovo will take hikers southwards all the way to Ploče, and the mouth of the Neretva River from where the trail goes to Pelješac, the winegrowing region full of history. The very end of the CLDT is reserved for Dubrovnik, and Srđ, which like a guard watches over the city. Attractiveness is guaranteed. The CLDT ends at the southernmost point of Croatian – Prevlaka, 2,109 km from the starting point, and which the average hiker can cover in 100 days. The average hiker can spend a full 20 days on this section though.

 

You can find more information about the trail itself at www.cldt.hr