Northern Croatia's national parks 8-day self-guided cycling tour

  • 8days
  • Croatia

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Cycling Tours

This tour is an ideal supplement to our boat and bike tours. Alone, in couples or in a group of your choice, you can go for one week on a tour traveling between selected hotels. Your luggage is transported for you, and you can cycle at your own speed, following especially prepared instructions and supported by a GPS device. The tour presented here is probably not what first comes to mind when you think of this multifaceted and interesting country. You go to the mid-range and high mountain regions of the Croatian hinterland. Only 12.5 mi/20 km away from the more or less developed tourist areas of the coast, you enter a rough region of deep forests and stone deserts, where the Bora wind has had a strong impact and where the snow is meters deep in winter. En route, you cycle through three national parks, where bear, wolf and lynx can still be encountered in the wild. The variety and beauty of nature will constantly surprise you, and the fabulous vistas across the Croatian islands will stay with you for a long time. The highlights of the tour are the Plitvicer Lakes and their spectacular waterfalls, which are known far beyond Croatia’s borders. The tour described here leads mainly along asphalted roads. Some forest tracks, however, make the use of a MTB worthwhile.

Fitness requirements (Level 2 - 3)

This bicycle tour requires good basic fitness, which one should have obtained by daily bicycling. The individual stretches of 16 – 55 mi. (25 - 88 km) cover elevations of up to 3,900 ft./1,270 m and lead through hilly and mountainous terrain. The bike tours are designed for a whole day, so that there is no reason for rushing. Although most of the roads are asphalted and little used, MTBs are recommended (180 Euros per week A$280)

Helmets are obligatory. Please bring your own well-fitted helmet with you. A limited number of rental helmets are available (reservation necessary).

Catering

Breakfast is included in the price. In the evenings, you can dine a la carte at your hotel, or we supply you with you tips and suggestions for restaurants, where you can try out the excellent local cuisine. Half-board can be booked for an additional charge of 100 euro/person (A$154)

Included:

  • 7 x overnights with breakfast in double room in good to very good medium class hotels in the *** - **** range (half-board available at 100 Euros per person per week (A$155)
  • 6 individual bicycle tours according to program
  • GPS and printed road book with detailed map material and route descriptions for each bike tour
  • Luggage transfer between hotels plus roadside assistance
  • Parking space at the first hotel and transfer from Karlovac back to Fužine
  • Transfer from train station Rijeka/airport Rijeka or Zagreb to Fužine, on request
  • Transfer from Karlovac to airport, train station or to Fužine, on request
  • Not included:
  • Journey to Fužine
  • Entrance fees for the national parks:
    Risnjak: 45 kuna
    Plitvice Lakes (seasonal prices): 110 Kuna (April – June / Sept –Oct // 180 Kuna: July – Aug)
  • Tips at the hotels and for the transfer drivers
  • Lunch & dinner
  • Special activities in Karlovac (payable on the spot)
  • If you would like to hire a bike, please contact our office info@slowtours.com: 21-gear-trekking bike with Ortlieb pannier: 80 euro; (A$123) Electro bike with Ortlieb pannier or Full Suspension MTB: 180 euro (A$280), each with an air-pump, lock and basic tool kit

**NEW!

F L E X e B I K E - a high end e-bike that is amongst the lightest touring e-bikes on the market. The Shimano Deore 2 x 9-speed derailleur system makes this bike suitable even for those steeper hill climbs. Varying support modes offer three times the normal pedal thrust. Shimano V-brakes insure that the bike comes to a safe stop. The supporting electric motor is a high-performance motor which runs on a rechargeable battery. Quick charging enables the rider to be back on the road within half an hour with enough power to last up to 70km. The large motor ensures great torque, assisting the rider in moving forward, even up hills.

**The FLEXeBIKE will be available in the following destinations:Greece, Turkey, Spain, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Croatia (departures from Dubrovnik and Zadar only). Price: 160€/(A$246) week as an e-bike.

  • Day 1

    Arrival at Fužine

    You travel individually either by car as far as Fužine, by train to Rijeka or by plane to the airport of Rijeka or Zagreb. On request, we gladly organize a fee-based transfer from Rijeka train station or Rijeka or Zagreb airport to your hotel. You have the rest of the day for a short introductory bike tour along the three lakes, located in the immediate vicinity of the village, or in the surroundings. If you still have time, there are several possibilities to extend the bike tour. A detour to the 300 m-deep Vrelo Cave, which is only a few kilometers away and one of Fužine’s main attraction, is also a rewarding excursion. You spend the first night in a hotel in or near Fužine.

  • Day 2

    (Risnjak National Park (approx. 34 mi./54 km and 3,280 ft./1,000 m of altitude)

    After a healthy breakfast at your hotel, you start on your first bicycle trip. The destination you aim for is Risnjak National Park. Ris is the Croatian word for lynx, so that Risnjak means something like “Place of the Lynx”. You reach the entrance to the park after about 16 mi./25 km. From here, you have the possibility to explore the park either on foot or by bike. There is a special trail for nature enthusiasts, where you can learn everything about the local fauna and flora. The park itself is home to many protected plant and animal species. Late in the afternoon, you return to your hotel for another night.

  • Day 3

    Fužine - Otočac (aprx. 55 mi./88 km and 3,840 ft./1,170 m of altitude)

    Before leaving your hotel today, please get your luggage ready for the transfer driver. Then, well strengthened by a hearty breakfast, you’re on your way, which takes you first along large fields and soon into a dense forest. Quite soon, right in the middle of the deepest woods, you come across a small, cozy restaurant named Vagabundo. The friendly owners are experts at creating delicious little snacks from what fields and woods supply. Even though it is still a bit early for lunch, you should not miss out on sampling a few tasty bits along with a cup of coffee. After more kilometres through a dense mixed forest such as it is rarely found in Europe anymore, you reach the hills sloping towards the Adriatic, which have partially been swept bare by the Bora. Here, you have breathtaking vistas across the islands of Kvarner Bay. Deep below, you recognize Krk and the moonscapes of Rab and Pag and on clear days, one sees as far as Dugi Otok. The destination of this leg of the tour is the small village of Otočac at the Gacka River, which is well known for its abundance of trout. The night is spent in a hotel in Otočac.

  • Day 4

    Otočac – Plitvice Lakes National Park (aprx. 30 mi./48 km and 1,968 ft./600 m of altitude)

    Starting from Otočac, you continue your journey to the Plitvice Lakes National Park. Passing through small villages, you ride through hilly terrain as far as the forest belt of the Plitvice Lakes. On today’s bicycle tour, you even have the opportunity to go for a refreshing dip in a lake. After arrival around noon, you move into your hotel located directly in the National Park. Afterwards, you still have enough time to explore part of the national park on foot. Enjoy the fascinating variety and lush greenery of the plants and admire the waterfalls cascading from one basin into the next one. Many different kinds of fish cavort at the bottom of the clear lakes. Colourful dragonflies and butterflies fill the air. In the evening, you return to your hotel and end the day with a cozy dinner.

  • Day 5

    Plitvice Lakes National Park - Slunj (aprx. 30.6 mi./49 km and 1,837 ft./560 m of altitude)

    The Plitvice Lakes are Croatia’s largest national park and the oldest in southeast Europe, belonging since 1979 to the UNESCO World Heritage. In the morning, you have time to explore another part of this fascinating natural monument. On especially constructed boardwalks, you advance – sometime right through the reed – further and further into otherwise untouched nature. After a fortifying lunch, you get back onto your bikes in the early afternoon. Today’s bike tour takes you along the Bosnian border, through dense forests and small villages, to Slunj. Its neighbourhood of Rastorke is known for being a mini version of the Plitvice Lakes. Here, the Slunjcica River branches out into many small creeks and flows through numerous cascades and smaller waterfalls into the Korana. Another distinctive feature of this region is the number of old watermills along the river. You spend the night in a hotel located right in the middle of this romantic landscape.

  • Day 6

    Slunj – Karlovac (aprx. 42.5 mi./68 km and 2,100 ft./640 m of altitude)

    After breakfast, you leave Slunj which, incidentally, just as the Plitvice Lakes, could be admired in the film version of Winnetou. An Indian village and the saloon were located in Slunj, and Mile Strk, a local villager, who is still a legend today, played the medicine man. Today’s tour takes you to Karlovac, which is one of the youngest cities in Croatia. Founded in 1579 at the confluence of four rivers, the fortress is considered an outstanding example of Renaissance architecture. The Baroque historical centre was heavily damaged in the war but has largely been restored in the last few years and offers some attractive corners that are worth visiting. Give yourself some time in the evening to stroll around and taste a glass of the local Karlovacko beer.

  • Day 7

    All around Karlovac (aprx. 15.6 - 47 mi./25 – 75 km)

    Today, you can choose your activities from a rich program. Because of its location at four rivers, the region around Karlovac offers various cycling tours of different lengths and grades of difficulty that we will show you. As an alternative, you have the possibility to participate through your local hotel in rafting tours, fishing courses, horseback excursions or hikes. Everybody can find something here to spend a pleasant and interesting day.

  • Day 8

    Return home or holiday extension

    After breakfast, check-out and individual journey home – or you may prolong your hotel stay. On request, we organize a free return transfer to your first hotel in Fužine.

This cycling tour was fantastic and we LOVED it! Everything was perfect (except the weather, which rained and stormed most of the days we had to ride) but We won't hold you responsible for that. This was a trip I would absolutely recommend, and might even do again during a time of year that is a bit warmer. The hotels were all adorable, the food was fantastic, the people were amazing and the scenery was breathtaking! The one problem was that from where we were staying at the national lakes, you could not get around to the other side to get a ticket to get in to see them. It was so late in the season they stopped selling tickets on our side so you couldn't take the ferry over to the side to buy a ticket because we didn't have a ticket to get onto the ferry. Maybe include a ticket at the hotel check in? The rides we thought were harder than a 2, but maybe that was because of the weather and also because we usually took a few wrong turns, adding mileage. Thanks again for a great vacation! Thanks Vania. Noted about the park ticket and we will address the issue.

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