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National Park Paklenica: Welcome to the Climber’s Paradise

National Park Paklenica covers huge area starting from the very coast of the Adriatic Sea all the way up to the highest peaks of Velebit. It literally takes you from a zero elevation all the way up to 1.750 meters altitude.

National Park Paklenica
National Park Paklenica
And it’s not an easy ascent. One needs to be in good shape to make it. Fortunately, you don’t need superpowers to enjoy the beauty of Paklenica because it’s just as beautiful at its lower parts. As a matter of fact, it is the lower part of the park that made Paklenica famous internationally – the Grand Canyon of Paklenica. For 14.5 kilometers The Grand Canyon of National Park Paklenica winds through the slopes of Velebit, making way for a stream of fresh mountain water that pours right into the sea.
Secret Beauties of Paklenica
Secret Beauties of Paklenica
A walking path in National Park Paklenica is built along the stream taking visitors deep into the mountain. It’s a joyous and educational walk. The canyon is from 500 meters to 800 meters wide, at places narrowing to 10-50 meters with vertical rock-faces rising from both sides. This is where the canyon really takes your breath away, this is the climber’s paradise. Each year Paklenica walls are attracting more and more climbers. At the peak of the season, it gets pretty crowded. These are the crags coming straight from a climber’s dream – clean white limestone walls where even the tiniest hold – no matter how fragile from the outside – never ever breaks. You can relax and enjoy the moves. And this is what climbers really like.

National Park Paklenica climbing area offers all kinds of dry weather climbing – from single pitch sport climbing to multi-pitch big-wall climbing to highly technical aid climbing. Same diversity goes for grades scale ranging from beginner’s 3+ to professional’s 8b. All the routes are in 30 minute walking range which makes the area charmingly social.

But, the real climbing challenge of Paklenica is Anića Kuk – 350 meters of solid vertical walls, the biggest single rock-face in Croatia with over 300 multi-pitch routes, bolted or traditional. Like a stone giant silently sleeping, hidden in the mountain, rising from the forest, Anića Kuk is an impressive piece of a nature design recognized even by the casual visitors.

You don’t have to be a climber to enjoy its greatness. Easy hiking paths along the canyon’s valley gives you a chance to see it from all different angles. Take a close look up its cliffs and you will surely find climbers climbing up there somewhere, struggling with its hugeness, looking like  tiny dots ascending in pairs with a rope between them to catch their potential falls.

Paklenica - the Paradise for Climbers
Paklenica - the Paradise for Climbers
Seeing climbers in their natural environment makes us think of all the incredible stuff humans can achieve when fully devoted. It reminds us that life itself is a miracle. Visitors tour around the climber’s paradise which starts at the park entrance. Educational hiking trails, beautifully arranged to follow the stream, serves as an introduction to the canyon. As you progress up the stream you soon reach the narrowest part of the canyon – a sport climbing area supported with national park infrastructures like a museum of climbing, cafe-bars, and a souvenir shop.
The stone stairway takes you up the steepest part of the canyon, but once you reach the end, the hike again transforms into a zero-stress walk through the extraordinaire. National Park Paklenica is really a special place to visit for all who seek for an outdoor adventure. It’s position at the sea-coast allows combining all the outdoor sports and activities with water sports like scuba diving, sea-kayaking or windsurfing. Spend an active holiday in Paklenica and there will not be much in your life left that you haven’t tried. Your CTC Team, I.K.
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National Park Paklenica: Welcome to the Climber’s Paradise

A walk through Zagreb is a fantastic idea for all those travelers who intend to spend a day or an afternoon in the Croatian capital. Here, of course, we are talking about a walk through the city center, considering that you would definitely need a car or a taxi to visit more distant parts, but also more time. We wondered what are the places in our beautiful center that we would advise everyone to visit – especially if they are in the city for the first time.

That’s how we came up with this list that we’re going to share with you now!

A walk through Zagreb

As a starting point, we took the main railway station on King Tomislav Square, as this is the starting point of most of those who come to Zagreb from other parts of Croatia by train, and foreigners from the airport most often order taxis to bring them here. When you come to this place, you immediately notice several taxi drivers, a tram line, sellers of various things who want to sell you something at any cost, but also a few street singers.

View from the Art Pavilion towards the train station
View from the Art Pavilion towards the train station

We started our walk through Zagreb by visiting the Art Pavilion and the promenade next to it

The Art Nouveau building that we first decided to visit is this pavilion where the most prestigious art exhibitions have been held for many years (more than a century). The history of fine arts of the 20th century in Croatia is intertwined with the history of museum, given that this space is the oldest exhibition space in the Slavic south.

A walk through Zagreb2
Art Pavilion and promenade

The art pavilion can be seen if you are standing in front of the main train station building and you really can’t miss it. To get to the pavilion you will first need to cross the road, the statue of King Tomislav (after which the square is logically named) and the promenade sprinkled with pebbles with grassy areas in the middle where public events are sometimes organized, but more often you can to see people relaxing or organizing picnics.

The pavilion itself is an imposing building that is hard to resist and not want to photograph (of course we photographed it and ourselves in front of it even though we have been here a million times!). What saddens us is the fact that it can only be seen from the outside given the devastating earthquake that hit Zagreb in 2020, in which the pavilion collapsed and became an unsafe place that will have to be rehabilitated to a large extent before it can host exhibitions again.

Art Pavilion at night
Art Pavilion at night

Still, the building itself is special enough that we really enjoyed walking around it. If you are looking for a good place for a photography – that are definitely the stairs at the entrance on the other side of the pavilion.

The road took us further to the well-known Zrinjevac and the main square of Zagreb

When we continued walking right behind the Art Pavilion, we first passed another square to find ourselves on the well-known Zrinjevac which is not really too different from Tomislav Square considering what people do when they come here. We saw people resting, eating or reading a book on a blanket in the grass again. Although the smaller pavilion on Zrinjevac otherwise serves as a stage, now that we were there it was completely empty so people climbed on it, took photos and had fun. We decided not to stay here too long, so we continued walking.

A walk through Zagreb - Zrinjevac
Zrinjevac

What we have to tell you is that two puppies came up to us and started jumping. We began to caress them and look for the owner. Then we saw a younger girl running towards us. She started apologizing thinking that jumping puppies would get us dirty, but we didn’t care, so the situation turned into a pleasant five-minute conversation about dogs. This is also one of the reasons why we like to walk through the center of Zagreb – there is always the possibility of an unexpected and sympathetic experience!

Now we are in the square of Ban Josip Jelačić – another square where a statue of a nobleman on horseback is watching us from a height. This time as well, we found numerous stalls where various local delicacies were sold, as well as handmade jewelry and bags. We certainly think that every tourist would like this because here he can buy an item that will truly remind him of his trip to Zagreb. Since it is the main square, here you can be sure that you will find many restaurants, cafes, shops, fast food, but also bookstores and perhaps lesser known – the Mushroom Museum.

Once we were here, we decided to walk to the Zagreb Cathedral

Chatedral

This beauty is in the scaffolding again (given the devastating earthquake), so the people of Zagreb no longer remember the day when she was not under at least some kind of work. However, it is still one of the most famous sights of Zagreb, which is definitely worth a visit, even if you just look at it from the outside, as we did today. From Ban Jelačić Square to the Cathedral you will walk only a few minutes, and on the way you should definitely stop and look at the sculpture-model called “Zagreb greets” which shows the city on a reduced scale.

A walk through Zagreb: Sculpture-model Zagreb greets
Sculpture-model "Zagreb greets"

After a short stop next to the model, we headed to the cathedral, which again enchanted us with its imposing size. While trying to find the perfect place for a photo, we came across a very interesting stone tablet with an unusual inscription: “Akonna, Gaj’s daughter Salvia, Gaj Julija Paterno – to the wife like the rare ones”. (It’s pretty hard to translate it since this inscription is written in language that no one talks anymore – except, perhaps, a poet.) Of course, what particularly interested us was this last part. We concluded that every man should write this on the tombstone of his wife in case she dies before him! Of course, if they were in a really good relationship…

Supruzi kakvih je rijetko

The walk through Zagreb continued the same way we came to stop at the Botanical Garden

While we were entertained by the inscription on the board, we remembered that we were really going to the Botanical Garden and that it was a place we said we had not visited for a long time, and it is one of the most beautiful in Zagreb. We realized that it was supposed to be our second destination after the Art Pavilion because it is the closest, but here we are – we have already reached the cathedral, so now we had to go back.

The Botanical Garden in Zagreb is the oldest and main botanical garden in Croatia, which has been operating continuously since 1889 and is listed as a legally protected monument of park architecture. This place is home to a valuable collection of Croatian flora, many exotic plants from around the world, and it is possible to see collections with more than 5,000 plant taxa of the season. Impressive!

A walk through Zagreb: Botanical Garden in Zagreb
Botanical Garden in Zagreb
Source: instagram.com/botanicki_vrt_pmf/

The garden is open to visitors every day from 9 am, with the proviso that during the working week you will be able to stay in it on Mondays and Tuesdays until 2:30 pm, and from Wednesday to Sunday until 7 pm. Considering that we decided to take a walk in Zagreb on Tuesday and did not immediately go to the Botanical Garden – we did not have much time, but in the end we managed to visit everything we wanted. Tickets for the garden are paid a symbolic 10 kn, and if you are a student or pensioner only 5 kn. From everything visited, we will have to admit that the Botanical Garden is the most beautiful place precisely because of the beautiful vegetation. When you walk through all these plants, all your worries disappear, and you are in a completely different world, far from the problems of everyday life. We definitely recommend visiting this place when you find yourself in Zagreb.

Your CTC Team, A. M.

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