Sjeverni (Northern) Velebit National Park
- access_time14 March 2022
- account_circleCroatian Destinations
Sjeverni (Northern) Velebit National Park, commonly referred to only as the Northern Velebit National Park, is a major national park in Croatia that is spread out over 109 square kilometers of the northern section of the majestic Velebit Mountains. The Velebit Mountains are the biggest mountain range in Croatia. Because of the abundance of nature in this part of the Velebit Mountain range, the area was declared a nature reserve in 1999 and opened up as a national park in September of the same year. Today, almost the entire Velebit range is a nature park, while there is another national park on Velebit known as Paklenica on the southern side.
Even though most visitors to Croatia are drawn to its beautiful coastline, it is a must to also explore inland and experience the tremendous Croatian outdoors. The highland ridges that run parallel to the Croatian coast have some of the best-preserved natural wilderness you will find in entire south-eastern Europe. Out of these, the Northern Velebit region is amongst the wildest of them all. Northern Velebit National Park is one of the newest national parks of Croatia, and it is also the starting point of the Premuzic Trail, which is famous for being the most scenic hike in the country.
The park reserve is protected, and therefore visitors to the park are strictly restricted to designated trails only. The Northern Velebit National Park is teeming with some of the most spectacular wildlife. Inside the nature reserve, there is the Visibaba botanical reserve and the Zavizan-Balinovac-Velika Kosa botanical reserve, famous for the fabulous collection of mountain flora species. There is also the famous Velebit Botany Garden located inside the reserve.
The entire Park is crisscrossed with mountaineering trails. The most popular one is the Premuzic's Trail, named after forester Ante Premuizic, who built the trail in 1933. The trail runs through some of the most interesting and beautiful parks of the park. You also get to take in some of the most breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea and its islands from the numerous peaks in the surrounding areas here.
One of the most popular and famous stretch of the Premuizic Trail, and the one that can be easily attempted as part of a day-trip, is the northern end, which begins just south of the Zavižan meteorological station and runs to Rossijeva koliba, an unmanned mountain refuge that is around two to three hours of walking. This is a truly stunning trek that visitors must seek out as the scenery changing with every twist and turn of the path, with beech groves alternating with otherworldly boulderscapes, stiff green pines and sudden glimpses of the Adriatic Sea.
Apart from this, there are many ruins of some summer lodges inside the park, which add cultural value to this reserve. These remains are all the way back from from Velebit used to be populated by shepherds and cattle farmers. On the mountain's coastal slopes are many lodges, ruined houses, and stone walls, all of which today stand testament to a lost local population of the olden days.