The Velebit Nature Park is the largest protected natural area in Croatia. It encompasses the most important mountain (in terms of geography and vegetation) of Croatia and the entire Mediterranean, which has, due to its natural riches and significance for the preservation of the planet’s biodiversity, been included in a network of international nature reserves, as part of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB). The area of Velebit is the most important endemic locus of continental flora and fauna in Croatia. The flowers Degenia velebitica, Edraianthus graminifolius, and Sibiraea laevigata, the long-fingered bat, the western capercaillie, the wolf, the lynx, and the brown bear are only some of the endangered species that can be found there. One of the main reasons for protecting Velebit are also the numerous karst formations, while the presence and activities of humans in the area are evidenced by the park’s rich cultural heritage (the historic roads Josephina, Theresiana, and Carolina, the well in Baške Oštarije, the Inscribed Stone, the shepherds’ dwellings, the mirila, etc.).
TRAIL 1: BRUŠANE – RIZVANUŠA – BRUŠANE
The trail’s starting point is in the village of Brušane, at the turn for the “Theresiana” educational trail (at the “Stara pila” inn). The trail turns from the main Gospić-Karlobag road onto a gravel road towards the Brušane Valley, and passes through an area rich with various plant species (hawthorn, hornbeam, rose hip, hazel, black pine, beech). The trail offers a view of the local peaks, Konjevača and Sadikovac in particular. After 3 km, you arrive at a meadow with the Suvaja stream running through it, where you can stop and rest at a wooden cabin. The trail then crosses the Suvaja and continues through the other side of the Brušane Valley. At 9.3 km from the starting point, you arrive at a crossroads, at which you can choose between two routes: towards Brušane (ROUTE 1A) or towards Rizvanuša (ROUTE 1B). ROUTE 1A turns left, towards Brušane, where you arrive after 3.3 km. After coming to the main road and turning left, you arrive at the starting point. If you turn right after coming to the main road, you can pass through the village of Brušane to arrive at Rizvanuša. This variant is 14 km long. ROUTE 1B is the longer route. At the crossroads (at the 9.3 km mark), you continue straight towards Rizvanuša. The trail passes through a beech forest, and is especially pleasant in the summer because of the shade provided by the trees, and also offers a beautiful view of the plain and the surrounding peaks. At the 17 km mark, you arrive at the picturesque mountainside village of Rizvanuša, where the road turns to asphalt and after a time joins the main Gospić-Karlobag road. Then it turns left, and passes through Brušane to arrive at the starting point.
Trail length: 24 km
TRAIL 2: BAŠKE OŠTARIJE – STUPAČINOVO – PRPIĆI
The trail’s starting point is in front of the “Velebno” hotel, after which you turn right and continue along the main road towards Karlobag. After 400 m, you take another right turn towards the village of Stupačinovo. This part of the trail is paved with asphalt and passes through a beech forest, and after 2.4 km turns left onto a gravel road. This area offers a view of the Dabarski Kukovi on the right, and passes by the foot of the hill of Badanj. At the 3.4 km mark, the trail begins to slope downwards toward the hamlet of Prpići, where you need to be especially careful due to sharp rocks and mud (we recommend that less experienced cyclists dismount their bicycle during this part of the trail). After 500 m, the trail joins a narrow asphalt road, which leads to the main Gospić-Karlobag road (at the 5.1 km mark). Before coming down to the main road, we recommend that you visit the Kubus observation post, which offers a beautiful view of the Island of Pag and the sea on one side, and the valley and the peaks of Velebit on the other side. The “Prpa” mountain lodge is situated near the observation post. Following the main road, you return to the starting point, i.e. the “Velebno” hotel.
Trail length: 7 km