Discover the hidden wonders of Croatia at Paklenica National Park! Our guide has everything you need to know about this pristine natural wonder of Croatia.

Unveil the enchanting world of Paklenica, one of eight national parks in Croatia. Nestled in the heart of Croatia’s majestic Velebit mountain range, this park offers a haven for adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike. Within its boundaries lie two remarkable canyons: Velika Paklenica, renowned for its welcoming trails that cater to both casual walkers and serious climbers, and Mala Paklenica, a quieter, more secluded canyon that offers a raw and untamed experience. 

From exhilarating outdoor activities to the tranquility of pristine landscapes, Paklenica promises an unforgettable journey through its diverse ecosystems. 

Velika Paklenica draws visitors with its impressive rock formations and a wide array of climbing routes, making it a central hub for the climbing community. In contrast, Mala Paklenica captivates those who seek a more solitary communion with nature, providing a rugged backdrop for introspection and challenge. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker, a rock climbing aficionado, or simply a seeker of peace and respite in nature, Paklenica has a treasure trove of adventure and beauty waiting for you.

This guide invites you on an exploration of Paklenica National Park, revealing the spellbinding beauty of its landscapes, the secrets nestled within its depths, and practical insights to enhance your journey.

Exploring the natural beauty of Paklenica National Park

Paklenica National Park is rich in natural beauty, featuring waterfalls, a variety of wildlife, and unique species that highlight the marvels of nature. Its diverse offerings make it an ideal spot for both exciting adventures and tranquil escapes within the Dalmatia’s lively environment.

Where is Paklenica National Park?

Positioned on the southern slopes of the Velebit mountains near Croatia’s Adriatic coast, Paklenica National Park is notably close to Zadar, just about 45 kilometers away. 

Getting to Paklenica National Park?

Paklenica National Park is within easy reach, located 45 minutes from Zadar and 2 hours from Zagreb by car. Additionally, regular buses link the park to nearby towns.

Tickets for Paklenica National Park

To enter Paklenica National Park you’ll need a ticket, which can be purchased at the park’s entrance or online for convenience. Ticket prices vary depending on the season, with higher rates typically in place during the peak summer months to manage the influx of visitors. Discounts are available for children, students, and groups, making it an affordable excursion for families and educational trips.

Must-visit spots within Paklenica National Park

Dive into the essence of Paklenica National Park through its must-visit spots, where natural beauty meets historical splendor. These destinations offer unforgettable experiences, combining breathtaking views with a glimpse into the past.

Vaganski Vrh and Sveto Brdo

Paklenica’s highest peak, Vaganski Vrh, grants breathtaking panoramas to worthy climbers, while nearby Sveto Brdo, revered as the “holy mountain”, charms visitors with its unspoiled serenity.

Manita Peć cave

Beneath Paklenica’s heart lies Manita Peć, a natural cathedral adorned with ancient art. Guided tours unveil this hidden marvel, where intricate stalactites and stalagmites whisper tales of times long gone.


The bunkers in Paklenica National Park hold the echoes of the past, narrating stories from a different time. These 20th-century relics provide a distinct blend of human history amidst natural wilderness.

Interesting facts about Paklenica National Park

Paklenica is filled with more than just breathtaking scenery; delve into its multifaceted story, where global recognition meets local heritage and natural wonders converge with historical mysteries.

UNESCO Listing

Paklenica National Park  has been part of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Program since 1977, emphasizing its global importance in preserving diverse ecosystems from Mediterranean to mountainous climates.

Sources of drinking water

The park is known for its many sources of natural drinking water originating from the Velebit mountains, which nourish the park’s biodiversity and provide refreshment for visitors.

Archaeological findings

Paklenica is home to significant archaeological sites, from prehistoric to medieval times, offering insights into the ancient inhabitants of the area. The park even serves as a living museum, inviting visitors to step back in time and ponder the millennia of history embedded within its landscape.

The mills of Paklenica

Historical water mills in the park played a key role in local agriculture, using the park’s streams to grind grain. These mills showcase traditional methods of harnessing natural resources and are now preserved as important cultural heritage, reflecting the region’s way of life.


The dramatic landscapes of Paklenica were featured in the Winnetou films based on the adventure novels of Karl May. The park’s dramatic canyons and untouched wilderness provided the perfect setting for these epic tales, bringing the Wild West to the heart of Croatia.


The Mirila, stone markers along mountain paths, are part of local funeral traditions, symbolizing the deep connection between the community and the land, adding a spiritual layer to the park’s allure.

Outdoor activities in Paklenica National Park

Paklenica National Park is Croatia’s outdoor sports mecca, offering a plethora of activities set against its stunning natural backdrop. Visitors can explore a variety of hiking paths, from easy strolls to demanding hikes, each unveiling unique landscapes and panoramic views. The park is also a hotspot for rock climbing, famed for its towering cliffs that draw climbers worldwide.

Guided tours within Paklenica National Park

If you want to truly immerse yourself in the wonders of Paklenica, guided tours are the best way to ensure an enriching experience. Visitors are led through the park’s most captivating sights, from its majestic canyons to hidden caves, sharing insights into the area’s geology, flora, and fauna. These tours not only enhance the visitor experience but also promote a deeper understanding and appreciation of the park’s ecological significance and conservation efforts.

Accommodation near Paklenica National Park

Near Paklenica National Park, various accommodations cater to all preferences and budgets, from mountain lodges to nature campsites. Many accommodations offer easy access to the park’s entrances, making it simple to start your adventure right at your doorstep.


Immerse yourself fully in the park’s wonders by making Camping Šimuni your basecamp! Nestled amidst lush greenery, our campsite offers the perfect blend of nature’s tranquility and convenient access to Paklenica’s many trails, climbs, and hidden gems.

Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer seeking thrilling ascents or a nature enthusiast craving serene escapes, Camping Šimuni caters to all. Choose from day trips to conquer specific highlights or plan an extended adventure, allowing you to delve deeper into the park’s soul. For more information, visit our homepage or contact us through our contact form.