Bura, Jugo, Bura, Jugo, Bura and there’s the Jugo again. Jugo brings clouds and rain from Italy, Bura blows it with a good dose of freezing cold air all away. In between it’s calm. So serene. Although I’m constantly checking the weather, it’s actually not bad at all. It’s exactly what I wished the winter to be like. Fresh air, clear skies and a whole lot of quietness. I learned that my tent can’t do wind, but even that’s okay. Just have to be a bit more strategic and opt for a room when there’s no other way out. Now I’m this close to Učka Nature Park, I will give everything I have to cross the finish line. Or in this case the finish top.


After Vransko jezero the Via Dinarica Trail goes to Benkovac, Donji Karin and then up towards Obrovac and Paklenica. When I hiked the White Trail I already passed by Obrovac and Paklenica, so I decided to take a different route. From Donji Karin I headed towards Novigrad, a road hike with a fantastic view on Velebit and Paklenica. Somewhere near Paljuv I found a fantastic bivy spot where I could pitch my tent and stare at the mountains. There was even fresh water floating directly in the salty sea, such a treat.

Market in Benkovac
Market in Benkovac
View on Novigrad | Hiking from Pag to Učka Nature Park
View on Novigrad
Paljuv beach on the way to the Island of Pag
Novigradsko more with view on Velebit
Novigradsko more with view on Velebit
Stealth camp at the beach
Stealth camping on the beach

The island of Pag

With the sun on my side I walked the long long road to the island of Pag. A surreal landscape. Nothing but stones, a road and the sea. And sheep. Pag the town was totally empty. No tourist, no party people and only one hotel that’s working during the winter. No problem, I like it when it’s quiet. Also the popular party destination Novalja doesn’t expect visitors in winter. Perfect! A little less perfect were the ferries. If it’s windy or going to be windy there’s a chance they don’t go. They didn’t go. Neither in Lun or in Novalja. “Try Žigljen, that’s the most regular route.” Regular yes, but not on my route. And so another detour was born. I got on the ferry to the mainland, hiked from Prizna to Stinica where I got on the ferry to Rab.

The Island of Pag, Croatia
The Island of Pag
Island of Pag, on my way to Učka Nature Park
Hotel for the night
View on Velebit for the Island of Pag
View on Velebit

The island of Rab

A large part of the coast on Rab has an excellent promenade, this friendly and scenic walking path took me to closed campsite where an old man gave me permission camp. The next day I got back on the Via Dinarica all the way to the other end of the Island. Since there was another Bura coming, I prepared myself for the worse: no ferry. No ferry indeed. Going back to Rab old town and stay another night on the closed campsite seemed to be the best option.

This time the old man gave me a room, because it was too windy for my tent. How sweet? He also offered me to drive me to the ferry the next morning. If the ferry would come. Think someone heard my prayers. At 7AM I got on the catamaran and had bumpy, but successful “ride” to Rijeka. By taking this catamaran I skipped the island of Krk, but I couldn’t really be bothered. I’ll do that another time. By bike.

Croatian Coast Island of Rab
The ferry to Rab
Promenade on the Island of Rab
The promenade
The island of Rab, on the way to Učka Nature Park

Učka Nature Park

In Rijeka an adventurous mountain friend took me to her home at the foot of Učka mountain in Učka Nature Park. I could rest, wash my clothes and enjoy the spectacular view. In the evening we went to town for the Christmas market or advent and of course had some glühwein at the old fortress. With only one more day to go I started to realize that my Via Dinarica adventure would soon be over. That I almost finished the last leg of the last trail. One more hike and I would be done!

The last hike couldn’t be better. Učka Nature Park has an amazing network of hiking trails and perhaps one of the best views of the Blue Trail. Vojak peak looks out over mountains and the sea, from Istria to Italy and Slovenia. I could see Velebit, Risnjak, Snežnik, Nanos, Triglav and even the Dolomites. So so beautiful.

Happy, proud and thankful, but most all I felt satisfied. I finished before Christmas, hiked all three Via Dinarica Trails and still I’m not fed up with these mountains. That’s a good feeling. I’m happy and proud and thankful.

Mission accomplished. Right?

Early morning view from Učka Nature Park
Early morning start
Hiking in Učka Nature Park
Last hike
Hiking in Učka Nature Park, Croatia
Last peak
Zoomed view on Triglav from Učka Nature Park
Zoomed view
Hiking in Učka Nature Park on the Via Dinarica Blue Trail in Croatia
The end

As soon as I have uploaded my GPX tracks on the Outdooractive platform, a map with WayPoints and all the other good stuff you might want to know is gonna show up here. Please be patient 🙂


  1. Bonjour Eva, je trouve vos histoires vraiment intéressantes et belle, je n’arrête pas de vous lire car je me renseigne sur la via darnarica que si tout va bien je commencerai le 1/06/21,pour l’instant je me prépare dans mes montagnes dans les Hautes-Pyrénées à CAUTERETS, mais je pense que je ferai un panaché des trois, tellement que quand on vous lis, nous avons envie d’aller partout, encore merci pour vos conseils, vos histoires, vous êtes une belle ambassadrice de la via dinarica.
    Bonne continuation et bien à vous Eva

  2. Hi Eva,

    It is so inspiring to read your balkanic adventures! i am planning to do the Blue trail of the Via Dinarica this autumn but i have some issues to find the day-to-day itineraries, even on outdoor active. Do you have some tips to find a detailed planning of the hikings?

    Thanks a lot and all the best 🙂


    1. Hi Céline, nice you want to hike the blue trail! To be honest, I think it could be worth it to check the Via Adriarica as well, that is much more of a trail and there’s more information available. And it follows the coast as well. The Croatian Blue trail is not really established for as far I know. You can have a look at my GPX tracks as well, but I don’t have any day to day itinerary. Oh and then you also have the Croatian Long Distance Trail, CLDT. I would suggest to combine the Via Adriatica & the CLDT, that will be a better experience than the Via Dinarica Blue Trail. For Montenegro you can find a great detailed description if you search for PPT, the Coastal Traverse in Montenegro, Primorski Planinarski Put (or something like that). Have fun!!

  3. Hi Eva!

    Very impressing! The thruhikes of course but also all the work you’ve done to forward all those very valuable informations! I’ve planned a lot of trekkings myself (on a much smaller scale) and I know that this is an incredible amount of work: Thank you very much!

    I’ve also done some treks in the Dinarica region already. A view years ago I followed the whole Velebit from Zavan to Paklenica – I think that’s more or less a small part of the White Trail. And this year I’ve done The Peaks of the Balkans Trail with a few individual side trips. I love these moutains and was very impressed of the people living there!

    I’m thinking about doing a small part of the Blue Trail in 2024. More or less from Zadar over the islands to Rijeka (or Istria). I have some questions and if you find the time to answer you would do me a big favour!…:

    About the trails: I love walking on solidary paths. Not so much on roads and through a lot of villages. How should I imagine the trails on the islands? Is it real trails or more walking on dirt roads? Is it spectacular beautiful in terms of landscape (as the Velebit for example – however much drier of course)? Real good hiking in great nature? Or just “ok”?…

    About the tent: When I trek I always go with my tent and do stealth camping. Is that possible in a good way on the Islands? Or is it very hard to find beautiful an lonely places where you can pitch your tent and not be bothered at night?

    Thank you very much & keep walking! Paul

  4. Bonjour Eva,
    Merci pour les pépites d’informations où je ne sais encore faire un choix dans tant de possibles…Je suis partagé dans mon périple qui va se passer en été à peut-être privilégier un chemin vert ? …Je devrais être en forme car partant le 1er juin de Lyon, le Jacobi Suise, Müstair, les Dolomites, lac de Braies, puis la Slovénie entre Trieste et Ljubaljana…la question est comment rejoindre Medjugorje ou Mostar ?
    As-tu dans tes pérégrinations suivi un itinéraire approchant de ma destination finale.
    Merci par avance Eva pour tes conseils et belle continuation à butiner les beautés des Balkans

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Hiking & Biking the Balkans

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