- Explore the unspoiled forests, lakes, and waterfalls of Croatia's National Parks
- Bike scenic islands to see vineyards & olive groves amid Adriatic blue water
- Explore ancient, authentic stone towns
- Delight in fresh, local cuisine based on diverse cultural influences
Croatia is a land brimming with cultural heritage and breathtaking scenic vistas. The country’s 1,300 miles of coastline and 1,000 islands—draped in lush vegetation, olive groves, and vineyards—are just waiting to be explored by bike. Our cycling tour visits Risnjak and Northern Velebit National Parks, as well as the famed Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site with a chain of 16 spectacular turquoise lakes linked together with cascading falls and travertine pools.
After exploring the stunning mountains, valleys, and rivers of the mainland, we cycle across Ugljan and Pašman, two islands located off the coast of ancient Zadar with views of the Adriatic's crystal clear waters. Our adventure culminates by cycling through Krka National Park's waterways and exploring the maze-like streets of stone-built Skradin and Trogir.
No trip to Croatia is complete without visiting Dubrovnik and Southern Dalmatia. Continue the journey on our Dubrovnik and Dalmatian Islands Cycling Extension!
- Day 1 - Arrive in Zagreb, Croatia and meet for an orientation.
- Day 2 - From Zvečaj , bicycle through rural villages with colorful gardens.
- Day 3 - Explore Risnjak National Park and bike to the source of the Kupa River.
- Day 4 - Ride from Northern Velebit NP to the Valley of the Gacka River.
- Day 5 - Cycle around Croatia's most famous national park, Plitvice Lakes.
- Day 6 - Bicycle across Ugljan and Pašman Islands with views of the Adriatic.
- Day 7 - Explore the waterways of Krka National Park by bike.
- Day 8 - Depart Trogir or continue on the Dubrovnik & Dalmatian Islands Cycling Extension.
Trip Itinerary and Details
Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.
Day 1 - Arrive in Zagreb, Croatia and meet for an orientation.
Our trip begins today in Zagreb, Croatia. Arrive by 2:00 p.m. and transfer on your own to our hotel. Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, is a lively and colorful city and is reasonably manageable on foot. Our hotel is just 2 km from the historic city center, in area conducive to this afternoon's ride. At 4:00 p.m. we meet in the hotel lobby for introductions and a bike fitting, followed by a test ride in a nearby park. Please wear cycling attire and have your own pedals and/or saddle if you wish have them installed. We'll return to the hotel to change and enjoy dinner at a nearby restaurant. Dinner included.
Day 2 - From Zvečaj , bicycle through rural villages with colorful gardens.
From Zagreb we head south to Zvečaj, a small village on the banks of the Mrežnica River. The Mrežnica River, nearly 40 miles long, is considered one of cleanest rivers in Croatia. Its 93 waterfalls, with pools of clear emerald water between them, entice us to swim. We settle into a small family-owned hotel overlooking the river and waterfalls, and then begin our first ride through the villages and forests of the area. In rural Europe, people still live a simple life; old wooden homes with colorful gardens and livestock dot the area. There may be opportunities to taste the forest strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, cherries, or roasted corn and chestnuts – depending on the season. To get back to the hotel we cross a river aboard a small cable ferry, and just as the locals do, we tow ourselves to the opposite shore. We return to the hotel in time to freshen up before dinner. All meals included.
Van transfer: 1 hour; Cycling: 12.5 miles; Terrain: flat to rolling hills.
Day 3 - Explore Risnjak National Park and bike to the source of the Kupa River.
We begin our day by exploring the Risnjak National Park area, located in Gorski Kotar, the most mountainous and heavily forested region of the country. Located just under 10 miles from the Adriatic Sea, the park includes the Risnjak and Snježnik ranges, as well as the source area of the Kupa River which is, beyond doubt, one of the most beautiful places in the area. The Kupa River forms a natural border between Croatia and Slovenia. It springs from a karstic well at the park's lowest point, forming a turquoise pond over 650 feet long and nearly 100 feet wide. This natural phenomenon is one of the deepest and strongest river sources in Croatia, and remains puzzling for scientists. The Kupa flows through a picturesque valley known as the "valley of butterflies" - more than 500 species inhabit the area! We cycle from the hotel and pass through hamlets and forest until we reach the village of Razloge. Here we descend to the Kupa River source and enjoy a picnic lunch. The desire to swim in crystal clear water will be strong, but the 45°F temperature will keep all but the hardiest on the bank. We continue riding along the river, through the mountains and forests of Risnjak National Park. We cross over the Čabranka River, a tributary of the Kupa, which brings us into Slovenia. Continuing along the Slovenian bank of the Kupa River to Brod, we re-cross the river into Croatia. Time allowing, we'll hike to Zeleni Vir waterfall, the highest in the region, and onwards to the impressive Vrazji Prolaz Canyon (the Devil's Passage) before returning to our hotel for dinner. All meals included.
Van transfers: 2.5 hours; Cycling: 30.5 miles; Terrain: flat to rolling terrain with one longer descent; Optional hiking: 1/2 - 1 hour.
Day 4 - Ride from Northern Velebit NP to the Valley of the Gacka River.
The Northern Velebit National Park's mountain chain rises 2,600' above sea level. We briefly explore Krasno village in the heart of the mountains before descending by bike to the Valley of Gacka River, world famous for excellent trout fishing. Our lunch stop is at the river's source, which is surrounded by numerous old wooden mills. From here, we continue cycling through the valley and into the area of Plitvice Lakes National Park. This evening we retire to the tiny village of Korana, located in a picture-postcard riverside setting near Plitvice Park. Our village hosts prepare a riverside barbeque. All meals included.
Van transfer: 1.5 hours; Cycling: 27.5 – 50 miles; Terrain: flat to rolling terrain with one long descent into the Gacka River Valley. The road becomes hillier en route to Plitvice Lakes.
Day 5 - Cycle around Croatia's most famous national park, Plitvice Lakes.
We cycle in and around the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Plitvice Lakes, a sequence of 16 turquoise lakes linked together with cascading falls and travertine pools. The lakes are surrounded by beech and pine forests and are home to extensive wildlife. Our route takes us out of Korana Village, towards the village of Poljanak and the stream Plitvice. This stream ultimately forms the highest waterfall, the 230' Veliki Slap. The area has numerous viewpoints connected by walking paths, providing lovely views of the surrounding landscape and the turquoise blue of the lakes, including the biggest lake, Kozjak, and the highest peak, Medvjedjak, in the distance. The most beautiful part of our ride begins with a descent to Proscansko Lake and following the River Matica to the small village of Plitvicki Ljeskovac. We continue further along a remote road to the Black River source. After a rest and picnic lunch, we cycle through a forest to Jezerce Village. From here it is just a little over 4 miles back to Korana Village. There may be time to enjoy a quick swim before dinner. All meals included.
Cycling: 30 miles; Terrain: rolling to hilly, some packed gravel and dirt roads, and boardwalks.
Day 6 - Bicycle across Ugljan and Pašman Islands with views of the Adriatic.
Leaving the mountains, lakes, and forests behind, we head towards the ancient city of Zadar on the Dalmatian coast. A ferry transports us from Zadar to Preko on Ugljan Island. Populated since the Neolithic period, Ugljan's current settlements date back to the middle ages. The island has Roman ruins, ancient churches and convents, castles, and is covered with rich Mediterranean vegetation, fig trees, olive trees, and vineyards. Cycling along the eastern edge of the island, we ride toward Pašman Island, with views to the deep blue Adriatic Sea. The two islands are connected by a bridge over the narrow Ždrelac straight. Pašman is known to have the cleanest water in the Adriatic due to the changing currents around the island. Time and weather permitting, we take the opportunity to swim in the clear blue waters at one of the local beaches. After cycling to the dock at Tkon, we ferry back to the mainland and drive to the town of Skradin, located near the Krka River. Inhabited by Croatians since the 9th century, Skradin is a romantic Mediterranean town with narrow streets and a charming marina. Breakfast and lunch included; dinner on your own.
Van transfers: ~2 hours; Cycling: 22 miles; Terrain: flat to rolling hills.
Day 7 - Explore the waterways of Krka National Park by bike.
Krka National Park’s landscape is a wonderland of fantastic karst formations, travertine waterfalls, cliffs, caves, and chasms. In addition to its scenic beauty, the park also contains numerous important cultural and historic landmarks. The ruins of five fortresses dating from the 14th century line the banks of the Krka River, including Kljucica, the largest and best preserved fortress in the park. We spend our last day cycling through the park, exploring its waterways and complex history dating back to late 10th century and the first Croatian kings. Skradinski buk is the park's largest waterfall with a 2,600' cascade covering 17 steps, as well as multiple travertine formations and caves. In the afternoon we drive to the medieval walled town of Trogir, unique among Dalmatian towns for its abundant Romanesque and Renaissance architecture, which thrived under Venetian rule. After exploring the maze of stone streets in the old town, we share a farewell dinner and celebrate our cycling adventure. All meals included.
Van transfer: 50 minutes; Cycling: 28 miles; Terrain: flat to rolling hills.
Day 8 - Depart Trogir or continue on the Dubrovnik & Dalmatian Islands Cycling Extension.
Following breakfast, transfer on your own from our accommodations in Trogir to the international airport at Split (~3.5 miles) or, better yet, continue your adventure on the Dubrovnik and Dalmatian Islands Cycling Extension. Breakfast included.
Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.
Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.
Double-occupancy accommodations; meals as noted in the itinerary; skilled bi-lingual guides; private transport throughout; ferry fees; park entrance fees; bicycles; support vehicle.
International airfare to/from Croatia; airport transfers; 2 dinners; cycling helmets; cost of passport; insurance of any kind; alcoholic beverages; optional gratuities to your guide(s); laundry or other items of a personal nature.
This trip is rated Moderate . Although a support vehicle will be available for each day's ride, participants should enjoy spending 3 to 6 hours per day on their bikes. Most of our cycling route is along quiet, scenic paved back roads with little vehicle traffic. There are short sections on packed gravel, dirt roads, and boardwalk. While steep hills will be few and short, the countryside in Croatia has rolling terrain. A regular conditioning program beginning at 3-6 months prior to departure is strongly recommended. Cycling, walking/running and a daily stretching regimen are all great ways to prepare for this adventure.
Croatia's Adriatic coast is blessed with a Mediterranean climate. The summers are typically warm and sunny with average daytime temperatures around 80°F and nighttime temperatures dropping to the 60s. From May to June and September to October, temperatures are usually a bit cooler but still comfortable for cycling and swimming. Rain is always a possibility in Croatia so it is essential to bring adequate rainwear and a warm jacket in case of inclement weather.
If you request single accommodations, you will be required to pay the single supplement fee. There is no single supplement fee for those willing to share accommodations, and we will assign a roommate of the same gender, if possible. Please be advised there are a limited number of single accommodations available, and single accommodations may not be available for the village stay.
This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).
We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.
Croatia Cycling Gear List
The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you in choosing your equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary, this will help you and the field staff.
- 24-speed hybrid bikes with flat pedals
- Water bottle cage
- Valid passport
- Airline tickets
- One piece of luggage, wheels and a retractable handle are recommended
- Daypack, for sightseeing or to hold your spare gear in the support van
- Luggage tags and luggage locks
- Security wallet or money belt
- Sweater and/or light jacket
- Long sleeve shirt
- Long pants
- Sun hat
- Cycling jerseys, short and long sleeve
- Cycling tights or pants
- Cycling shorts
- Cycling raingear, jacket and pants, waterproof and breathable
- Cycling gloves, both short and long fingered
- Headband or sweatband
- Cycling socks
- Cycling shoes
- Comfortable walking shoes/sandals
- Sport/cycling sunglasses
- Sunblock and lip balm
- Toiletry kit
- Personal first-aid kit
- Water bottle(s) or hydration pack
- Camera, memory and batteries
- Electrical adapter plug/converter
- Ear plugs
- Reading and writing materials
- Watch with alarm or travel clock
- Rear view mirror
- Bike computer
- Handlebar bag
- Heart rate monitor
- Saddle (without the post)
- Pedal and shoe system (see “Things to Consider”)
- Cycling shoe covers
- Energy snacks and/or drink mixes – provided, but bring your own if you have preferences
Things to Consider
- Please remember to always pack essential items such as your passport, money, eyewear, a change of clothing, hiking boots and medications in your carry-on baggage, in case your luggage is delayed.
- We recommend bright-colored bicycle clothing for visibility and safety.
- Always test your layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding and bunching up.
- If you are not bringing a shoe and pedal system (optional), you will need a shoe designed for cycling or cross training to be used with the provided flat pedals. Consider these features: lightweight, closed toe, designed with stiffer soles to provide more efficient energy transfer as you pedal. Stiff soles protect your feet while riding and support the full length of your foot to reduce cramping and fatigue.
- If you bring your own saddle, please bring only the seat and not the seat post. Seat posts are not universal and will likely not fit the bike you’ll be riding.
- Formal attire is not required at restaurants. Comfortable, casual clothes are appropriate for sit-down meals. We suggest bringing slacks, shorts that are mid-thigh or longer, skirts, or summer dresses in fabrics that are easy to wash and wear.
- If you are joining the Dubrovnik and Dalmatian Island Cycling Extension, there are no additional clothing needs.
Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.
For guests booked on the Croatia Cycling adventure, we invite you to extend your trip to enjoy even more of this great area.
Dubrovnik & Dalmatian Islands Cycling Extension
Following the Croatia biking adventure, continue your trip with this cycling extension that showcases the natural beauty of Croatia. Highlights include:
- Experience Dubrovnik, a UNESCO site with the world’s best-preserved city walls
- Travel between the Dalmatian Islands by catamaran to explore by foot and bicycle
- Discover the enchanting medieval twin towns of Ston and Mali Ston
- Savor Dalmatian cuisine—seafood, local cheeses, charcuterie, and wines
- Enjoy crystal clear sapphire seas while swimming in secluded bays
Sep 29 - Oct 4
Aug 31-Sep 5
Sep 28-Oct 3
REI member: $1,799
REI member: $1,899
2014 Single supplement: $399
2015 Single supplement: $499
- Total Days: 6
- Group Size: 4-12
- Activity Level:
"If you want to see heaven on earth, come to Dubrovnik". George Bernard Shaw best described this remarkable city of stone, surrounded by 1,940 meters of stone walls. It is the world's second most frequented open-air museum and awes all with its beauty. We continue our explorations island hopping by bike and catamaran. We begin on the lovely Elaphiti Islands of Kolocep and Sipan, continue on to Mljet, and conclude our cycling adventure on the extraordinarily beautiful Pelješac Peninsula.
This morning we depart Trogir and travel south towards Pelješac Peninsula, a mountainous slice of land stretching northwest of Dubrovnik. Pelješac's hidden coves are rimmed with sandy beaches, salt pans, pomegranate groves and vineyards. We will explore the twin settlements of Ston and Mali Ston, which straddle the isthmus joining Pelješac to the mainland. Overtaken by the Dubrovnik Republic in the 14th century, Ston became the most important stronghold along the republic's northern boundary. From Ston, enormous defensive walls were built stretching across the isthmus to the nearby harbor of Mali Ston. At ~3,000' in length, this is the longest defensive wall in Europe and the second longest in the world after The Great Wall of China. We stroll on the walls with good views over the maze-like streets of Ston and the ancient salt pans which brought this area much wealth during the lucrative salt trade. We also take time to explore Ston and its surroundings by bike. Overnight in Ston. All meals included.
Van transfer: 3.5 hours. Cycling: ~15 miles; Terrain: flat and gently rolling hills.
After breakfast we continue exploring Pelješac Peninsula by bike. We cycle from Ston to Trstenik and on to Zuljana, where we board our catamaran in the early afternoon to sail towards Mljet Island National Park. It's a heavily wooded island, known for its white and red wines, olive oil, goat cheeses and stories about Homer's hero Odysseus. Two warm saltwater lakes, with high saline concentrations thought to have healing properties, as well as a former Benedictine monastery built in the 12th century are visited as we cycle the pathways of the park. There may be an opportunity to swim in the warm water of the lakes. We cycle to the peaceful village of Soline to spend the night. All meals included.
Cycling: 20 miles; Terrain: flat and gently rolling hills.
This morning we ride back to Polače, where we board our catamaran and sail to Sobra, a lovely village and harbor located near the center of Mljet Island. From here, we cycle to Saplunara at the southern tip of the island. The winding country road cutting through the green hills takes us high above the water – the views over the Adriatic are breathtaking! Once in Saplunara, we set sail to the Elafiti Islands, an archipelago stretching northwest of Dubrovnik. Only the largest of these islands, Koločep, Lopud, and Šipan are populated. They have a long history, thought to be inhabited since ancient times; churches, chapels, and crumbling villas dot the landscape with a mixture of pre-Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance styles. Our stop for the night is Šipan Island. All meals included.
Cycling options: 10-33 miles; Terrain: flat to hilly (with grades up to 10%).
Šipan Island is the largest island in the Elafiti archipelago. In the 15th century it was a fashionable summer retreat for elite Dubrovnik families. Anchored in Šipanska Luka, we cycle at a leisurely pace across the island, exploring Šipan's landscape, castles, chapels and monasteries on bikes and on foot. A pleasant day will be spent in the serene ambiance of the village, tasting local seafood and wines and enjoying a swim. This afternoon we board our catamaran and sail towards Dubrovnik, visiting Lopud Island on the way. We retire for the evening in Zaton, a picturesque village set on a deep bay that offers us access to the bustle of Dubrovnik, while providing a quiet and traditional setting. All meals included.
Cycling: 6-8 miles; Terrain: flat to rolling hills with a couple of short steeper pitches. Hiking: 2 miles; Terrain: easy dirt and paved trails.
Today is all about exploring Dubrovnik. We start our day with a guided tour of the city's fascinating Old Town. Dubrovnik is a medieval port consisting of bastions, fortresses, bell towers, drawbridges, cathedrals and an endless, interesting maze of terracotta-roofed houses and shops. Your guide will share the rich history of the city while opening up some its hidden back doors. The afternoon is free to allow for independent exploration. Don't miss the opportunity to walk the ancient city walls; up to 6 meters thick and 700 years old, the views from the wall are glorious. The day ends with a celebratory dinner commemorating our adventure. We overnight in peaceful Zaton Bay. Breakfast and dinner included.
Van transfers: 40 minutes; Walking tour: 1.5 hours.
We provide one group transfer to Dubrovnik airport for flights home. Breakfast included if flight departure time allows.
Note on Itinerary
Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control including weather and terrain conditions.
Double occupancy accommodation; meals as noted in the daily itinerary; private transportation by van and catamaran; skilled bi-lingual guide; bicycle; guided tour old town Dubrovnik; airport transfer if departing with group.
One lunch; alcoholic beverages; additional optional transfers; optional entrance fee to walk the city walls and evening entertainment in Dubrovnik; items of a personal nature; optional guide gratuities.
This Extension is available only to guests booked onto the Croatia Cycling trip. It is rated Moderate  and will be appreciated by anyone who is physically fit and enjoys full, active days. The cycling days are not particularly long, however, prior cycling experience is essential. Participants should enjoy spending 3 to 6 hours per day on their bikes. Most of our cycling route is along quiet, scenic paved back roads with little vehicle traffic. There are short sections on packed gravel, dirt roads, and boardwalk. While steep hills will be few and short, the countryside on the islands is rolling hills with some hills having up to a 10% grade. There will not be vehicle support while cycling on the islands since we are transferring between islands by catamaran. The guide(s) will be equipped to handle mechanical difficulties and flat tires. Cycling distance options are available. A regular conditioning program beginning at 3-6 months prior to departure is strongly recommended. Cycling hills, walking/running and a daily stretching regimen are all great ways to prepare for this adventure.