The Blue Line of Via Dinarica offers a chance to explore the Croatian Adriatic coast. Part of the trail that passes through Croatia links four picturesque Croatian islands (Krk, Rab, Pag, Mljet) and two biggest Croatian peninsulas (Istria and Pelješac), taking hikers through three national parks (Paklenica, Krka, Mljet) and four nature parks (Učka, Velebit, Vransko jezero, Biokovo). It also descends into the canyons of the most beautiful littoral rivers (Zrmanja, Cetina), passing across the longest Croatian bridges (Krčki most, Paški most, Šibenski most), visiting fertile karst fields and many important localities of Croatian history. The Croatian part of the Adriatic coast is renowned precisely for its unique blend of the mountains and the sea, making it possible to ideally combine the experience provided by the sea and the coastal region with experience of spending time in the mountains and exploring them. With the exception of the trail section in the Biokovo Nature Park, the Blue Line of Via Dinarica does not entail demanding or very difficult sections, and it is ideal for bicycle tours.
The key characteristics of littoral mountains are directly connected with their belonging to the Dinaric mountain system. One of the key characteristics is their limestone structure. In addition, it is worth noting that the Dinarides extend in parallel with the Adriatic coast, from northwest to southeast, in several parallel series. Since these series begin with island mountains, one can actually perceive the Adriatic islands as remains of the submerged part of the Dinarides. It is interesting to note that coastal mountains in the Croatian south are mostly scarce in vegetation, while northern Adriatic mountains regularly have abundant forest cover. However, when it comes to the islands, the situation is reverse: the northern islands are predominantly bare (Krk, Rab, Pag), and the more we go southwards, the greener and more abundant in vegetation the islands get (e.g. Mljet).
With their height and length, the Dinarides represent a sharp wall preventing the penetration of the Mediterranean influences into the hinterland. Despite abundant precipitation at the boundary of the two climatic regions, there are very few surface watercourses, and water quickly disappears in karrens, abysses and underground cavities. Visitors of coastal mountains must bear in mind that hilly areas along the sea are not as fresh as high mountain areas, so it is better to avoid difficult climbs during the summer period. In addition, bora wind can be quite unpleasant, and even dangerous in strong gusts. The ideal seasons for exploring the Blue Line of Via Dinarica in Croatia are late spring and autumn.
With the exception of the Biokovo Nature Park, the Blue Line of Via Dinarica has no demanding or extremely hard routes. This longitudinal tour enables hikers to explore amazingly diverse coastal areas and their interesting karst characteristics.
The Blue Line enters Croatia at the peak of Žbevnica on Ćićarija, from the direction of Slavnik in Slovenia. One available access option is to use the trail that begins at the cape of Savudrija and continues towards Žbevnica along the routes of the Istrian Hiking Trail (Istarski planinarski put), Parenzana and the E-12 European Long-Distance Path. Proceeding along Ćićarija and Učka, Via Dinarica follows the route of the Istrian Hiking Trail to Poklon and to the peak of Vojak, continuing across Ćićarija towards Matulji. What follows is a climb from Klana into the area of Obruč and Hahlić, and the route then continues through mountainous terrain towards Platak, following the route of the Rijeka Hiking Tour (Riječka planinarska obilaznica, RPO). From Platak, the route descends to Kamenjak, using a series of so-called senior trails towards the bay of Bakarski zaljev and towards the bridge Krčki most, taking hikers to the island of Krk. From Valbiska on the island of Krk, the trail continues towards Lopar on the island of Rab, continuing further along a well-maintained network of attractive trails (Premužić Trail on the island of Rab, the Kamenjak area) towards the city of Rab. From the city of Rab, the Blue Line then takes us to Lun on the island of Pag, continuing lengthwise across the island. The trail then touches the Paklenica National Park and the border area of the Velebit Nature Park, descending to the canyon of the Zrmanja River.
The section from the Zrmanja River to the city of Trogir is not mountainous in character, and it is ideal for a bicycle tour. In areas near the city of Šibenik (Vransko Jezero Nature Park, Krka National Park, the hill of Trtar), there are intriguing hiking sections. In the area above the bay of Kaštelanski zaljev, the trail follows the markings along Kozjak, partly using the route of hiking trails Cradle of Croatian Statehood and Solin Hiking Trail. Continuing across Klis, the trail proceeds towards the mountain of Mosor, passing it lengthwise to the area of Gata and Omiš in the canyon of the Cetina River. Given the fact that there is no longitudinal trail (along Omiška Dinara) in the section from Omiš to Gornja Brela, Via Dinarica is following the course of the Cetina River upstream towards Blato na Cetini, reaching Gornja Brela by road. The area of Omiš and the Cetina River offers ideal possibilities for various outdoor activities (rock climbing, rafting).
The section of the trail in the Biokovo Nature Park is over 100 kilometers long, and very demanding for hikers. This particular section is simply impassable without strong logistics and excellent fitness level. The core of this section is the Biokovo Hiking Trail, and a tour of this trail “in one go” is also colloquially known as the “Biokovo Wolf”. Despite lower elevation, the southern part of Biokovo is also very difficult to pass through. From the lakes of Baćinska jezera, the Blue Line then descends to the city of Ploče.
The final part of the route continues along the Pelješac peninsula, starting from the town of Trpanj that can be reached by a ferry from the city of Ploče. Once on Pelješac, the Blue Line continues to the city of Orebić and to the peak of Sv. Ilija, following the cycling trail Maslina from Orebić to Ston. From there, a ferry takes visitors to the island of Mljet with excellent hiking infrastructure. This is where the corridor briefly takes the “opposite” direction, from southeast to northwest, by taking the route of the Mljet Hiking Trail from Sobra to Pomena, since that is the logical route direction on the island of Mljet. Pomena is also linked with the city of Dubrovnik by boat. Visitors interested in exploring the section from Dubrovnik to Konavle are recommended to tour that section by bicycle, since there is no suitable hiking infrastructure available in the area at this time. The mountain of Sniježnica offers remarkable views of the area of Konavle, which is where the Blue Line reaches the border of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, connecting with the Montenegro Hiking Tour on the mountain of Orjen.
Higlights / the best of
Must-see places – suggestions
- Učka Nature Park
- Islands Rab and Pag
- Zrmanja River
- Krka National Park
- Mountains of Kozjak and Mosor
- Biokovo Nature Park
- Pelješac peninsula
- Island of Mljet (Mljet National Park)
- HR-B-01 Savudrija – Buzet: Istrian Hiking Trail and E-12 trail
- HR-B-02 Ćićarija
- HR-B-03 Učka Nature Park
- HR-B-04 Grobničke Alpe
- HR-B-05 Platak / hinterland of the city of Rijeka
- HR-B-06 Island of Krk
- HR-B-07 Island of Rab
- HR-B-08 Island of Pag
- HR-B-09 Paklenica National Park
- HR-B-10 Rivers Zrmanja, Krupa and Krnjeza
- HR-B-11 Ravni kotari
- HR-B-12 Vransko Jezero Nature Park
- HR-B-13 Krka National Park
- HR-B-14 Central Dalmatia
- HR-B-15 Kozjak
- HR-B-16 Mosor
- HR-B-17 Cetina River
- HR-B-18 Biokovo Nature Park
- HR-B-19 Southeastern area of Biokovo (Rilić)
- HR-B-20 Pelješac
- HR-B-21 Island of Mljet
- HR-B-22 Area of Dubrovnik