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Gravel

Adventure Croatia Gravel Bike Tour

Duration

9 days

Category

Gravel, E-bike

Fitness level

High

Tour type

Guided, Self-Guided, Tailor-Made

Technical difficulty

Medium

Length & elevation

352km, 6.150m

Paved

70%

Unpaved

30%

Description

The Croatian coast is very familiar to all of us from the Visit GoodPlace team – we have spent our vacations in Croatia since we were little. But we wanted to explore more than just the coast, we were curious about the Velebit mountain range, which rises proudly above the sea. The experience of wild nature and solitude here is a balm for adventurous souls, and the increasingly popular gravel bikes are the ideal tool for exploring endless gravel roads.

Your cycling holidays will begin in the north of Kvarner Bay, near the important port city of Rijeka, and immediately set off for Velebit, your friend for the next few days. Expect great cycling along the Velebit mountain massif with its typical karst landscape, tasting homegrown potatoes and local cheese and ham, and views, once of the romantic Adriatic islands, once of the uninhabited wooded landscape or grassy pastures with cows, sheep, and horses. On day 5, the stage ends on the island of Pag, which on its northern side resembles the surface of the moon, while it warms your heart with the world’s top-quality Pag sheep cheese and other Mediterranean and seafood delicacies. In the last part, you will ride the ‘Majstorska Road’, the most beautiful gravel panoramic road in Croatia, and get to know the impressive canyon and waterfalls of the Zrmanja River. Enjoy!

 

Note: This gravel tour is for physically fit cyclists (pay attention to the elevation of individual stages) and for whom the fact that you might not meet a living soul all day (not to mention there are no shops and cafes on some stages) doesn’t scare you but inspires you. Moreover, having a basic understanding of bikes is essential, this includes being comfortable with bike maintenance and making self-adjustments/ repairs if needed.

 

Highlights:

  • Views of the islands in the Adriatic Sea from the mountains.
  • Cycling through the wild and remote Velebit Nature Park.
  • Experiencing the unique landscape of Pag Island.
  • Exploring the stunning Zrmanja River Canyon.
  • Riding the ‘Majstorska cesta’ (scenic gravel road over Mali Alan pass).

Online presentation of our gravel tours:

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Itinerary

DAY 01

Arrival in Čavle

The adventure begins in the town of Čavle near Rijeka in the northern point of Kvarner Bay. It’s the perfect starting point for your cycling adventure. Check your tires, tie bags and stock up on snacks for the day. The real excitement begins tomorrow.


DAY 02

Čavle – Crikvenica: an easy trip towards the coast

DistanceDistance: 36 km
DistanceElevation: 400 m

The bike tour starts out relatively easily, it crosses small towns above the Bay of Bakar and follows the roads above the busy Adriatic Road. You’ll ride past Lake Tribalj and then on a pleasant macadam cycling road along the river Dubračina to the seaside town of Crikvenica. It is a well-known resort and spa town in the Kvarner region with a pleasant climate, clean sea and long pebble beaches. At the end of the stage, you can relax on the beach or maybe take a boat trip to the island of Krk, which lies opposite. Every year on August 15, a swimming marathon is organized there – yes, people swim from Krk to Crikvenica. You don’t have to try it yourself. You better save your energy for the days ahead.

65% road
35% gravel


DAY 03

Crikvenica – Senj: almost like flying over the Adriatic

DistanceDistance: 44 km
DistanceElevation: 850 m

Leaving Crikvenica, you’ll be heading towards the slopes of Velebit and enjoy the views of the islands of Krk, Goli otok (the ‘naked island’), Rab, and others.  After quite challenging first part (you better have had a strong breakfast), you can expect a perfect cycling gravel romance, riding parallel to the rugged coast of the Adriatic Sea somewhere below on your right. The scenic day will end with an adrenaline-filled road descent to Senj, the oldest town in the northern part of the Adriatic. If you still have some strength in your legs, drive to the 16th-century Nehaj fortress to see the magic sunset, although you will also see the impressive fortress the next morning when you leave Senj. Dinner at the Bura Hotel is excellent, if you would like to walk a little through the narrow streets, we recommend the Tropicana Inn and pizzeria.

60% road
40% gravel


DAY 04

Senj - Krasno: Hello, mountain

DistanceDistance: 31 km
DistanceElevation: 1.150 m

We hope you are ready – one of the most challenging climbs is ahead of you, as you will have to cycle from zero to over a thousand meters above sea level. Sweating will be rewarded with the most beautiful views possible. Because when you are on the seashore, you have a few square meters of beach – but when you are on the southern slope of Velebit, the whole kingdom of islands in the big Adriatic blue is all yours. This is what makes cycling in Croatia so unique and unforgettable. At the end of the stage, in the village of Krasno, we recommend a visit to the Velebit House, where you will get to know this exceptional nature reserve from a more professional perspective. Be sure to try the local cheese before dinner; if the weather is not too hot, we also recommend a piece of it for a snack for the next day.

70% road
30% gravel


DAY 05

Krasno – Novalja: the kingdom of endless forests and gravel roads

DistanceDistance: 70 km
DistanceElevation: 1.200 m

The stage will be all about the forested Velebit asphalt and macadam roads – thanks to the foresters, they are in good shape and nicely passable. Make sure you have enough food (did we mention the local cheese?) and drink with you, as there are also no shops or restaurants. Once you reach Alan Pass with the mountain hut, the ground under the wheels turns steeply downhill. It’s probably redundant advice to do sightseeing and photography BEFORE the wild descent towards the coast begins. After you reach the Adriatic Highway, there is a good 10 kilometers of the main road, which is considered one of the most spectacular roads in the world, but it can also be quite busy (depending on the season), so push the pedals to the ferry that will take you to the moon. At least it will look that way from that side. In the evening, enjoy the island life, treat yourself with some seafood or local lamb, and relax – for the next two days you will observe the mountains from afar.

80% road
20% gravel


DAY 06

Novalja – Rtina: among sheep pastures and fragrant spices

DistanceDistance: 52 km
DistanceElevation: 450 m

The stage on Pag Island is very altitude-friendly but spectacular. Most of the time, you will avoid the main road and enjoy getting lost among the dry-stone walls, pastures with sheep, among the raw stone landscape full of sage, rosemary and other aromatic plants that spice up the salty air. We recommend a coffee stop in the town of Pag, a calm renaissance town known for sea salt production and Pag lace. Only the last few kilometers will run on the main road, over the spectacular bridge that connects Pag to the mainland. You’ll spend a night in the village of Rtina, which is considered the northernmost point of the Dalmatian coast.

70% road
30% gravel


DAY 07

Rtina - Zrmanja: bridge, canyon, and waterfalls

DistanceDistance: 48 km
DistanceElevation: 600 m

Cycling on this day will be relatively easy. If we have any climbing enthusiasts here – the entrance to Paklenica NP, a paradise for climbing, is only 10 kilometers away from today’s route. You will cross the Maslenica Bridge over the canyon that connects the Novigrad Sea with the Adriatic Sea. Later, we recommend a short detour to the viewpoint above the canyon of the Zrmanja river, which gives a completely different picture than the waterfalls where you will spend the night. You have a swimsuit with you, right? You won’t get the chance very often to have waterfalls massage your tired shoulders.

95% road
5% gravel


DAY 08

Velebit loop: the Master gravel road

DistanceDistance: 71 km
DistanceElevation: 1500 m

Get ready for one of the most beautiful roads just made for this gravel tour. The famous ‘Majstorska cesta’ (Master’s Road) was built in 1832 under the Habsburg Monarchy to connect the inland with the seaside, two regions that were previously almost impassably separated by the Velebit. And if horse-drawn carriages were able to climb it back then, so can you! After a longer asphalt climb, the route to the Mali Alan Pass at 1.045 meters offers an epic ascent past limestone walls and with a view towards the Adriatic Sea. Snap a victorious selfie at the top, turn the bike and head back to the Zrmanja, where you’ll be tempted to jump under the falls once more (depending on the time of year).

70% road
30% gravel


DAY 09

Departure

After breakfast, we’ll load the bikes and drive along the panoramic Adriatic highway cut between the coast and Velebit. During the van drive, you will get to know the places you admired from a height from a different perspective. It was a great adventure, wasn’t it?


Pre-scheduled dates

  • May - September Guided, Self-Guided, Tailor Made

*In season, tour can be organised on any date. Please contact us for individual offer.

Prices

GUIDEDfrom 2.570 €What’s included?

We highly recommend our guided gravel bike tours to everyone who seeks complete relaxation with a singular focus on enjoying cycling in Croatia. Our expert guides will handle everything else – from seamless navigation through Croatia’s scenic routes to providing interesting local insights and comprehensive technical support.

These bike tours are not just about exploring new terrains; they’re perfect for connecting with other enthusiastic cyclists from around the globe and forging lifelong friendships. Experience the best of Croatia cycling tours with us, where every pedal stroke brings a new adventure.

The price for a guided Adventure Croatia Gravel Bike Tour includes:

• 5 nights accommodation at 3 to 4-star quality hotels, 3 overnights at simple accommodations/ bungalows at Krasno & Zrmanja (shared rooms only).
• 8 breakfasts and 8 dinners; Meals include typical local food.
• Fully qualified and experienced guide for the entire trip.
• Baggage transfer between tour stages.
• Ferry ride from Prizna to Pag Island.
• Extensive Tour Booklet.
• Transfer from the route ending point to the route starting point.

Rates are valid per person, based on double occupancy on pre-scheduled departures. For individual departures feel free to contact us for the offer.

Optional:

• Single room supplement: 250 €, On request.
• Bike, e-bike and other accessories rental.

Price excludes:

• Travel and activity insurance.
• Personal safety and cycling equipment.
• Lunches.
• Any beverages consumed with dinners that are included in the package.
• Any other items not mentioned as included.

SELF-GUIDEDfrom 1.620 €What’s included?

If you’re contemplating a self-guided bike tour in Croatia, it’s important to consider a few key aspects to ensure this type of adventure suits you. Our self-guided cycling trips are perfect for those who have experience in navigating gravel bike tours and are adept at using GPS devices for route finding. A basic understanding of bike mechanics is crucial, especially skills like fixing flat tires or making minor adjustments.

You should be independent and capable of navigating and orienting yourself using the provided information. If you feel that this level of self-sufficiency might be a challenge, perhaps a guided cycling tour would be a more enjoyable and stress-free option for you.

The price of a self-guided tour depends on the number of people in the group, the touring dates, and the time of booking/availability. Please contact us for the offer. See starting prices per person based on double occupancy below.

# 2 4 6 8
Price 2.290 € 1.840 € 1.690 € 1.620 €

 

The price for a self-guided Adventure Croatia Gravel Bike Tour includes:

  • 5 nights accommodation at 3 to 4-star quality hotels, 3 overnights at simple accommodations/ bungalows at Krasno & Zrmanja (*SGL on request only).
  • 8 breakfasts.
  • Baggage transfer between tour stages.
  • Navigation pack: Ride with GPS Tour Experience. Package, including detailed Guide and complete off-line navigation data (tracks, maps, POI), Online briefing.
  • Transfer from the route ending point to the route starting point.
  • Helpline for emergency situations during the tour.

Rates are valid per person, based on double occupancy on pre-scheduled departures. For individual departures feel free to contact us for the offer.

Optional:

  • Single room supplement 250-400 €, *On request.
  • Bike, e-bike and other accessories rental.

Price excludes:                                  

  • Travel and activity insurance.
  • Personal safety and cycling equipment.
  • Lunches, dinners.
  • Any beverages consumed with dinners that are included in the package.
  • Any other items not mentioned as included.

TAILOR MADEWould you like to customize this tour?

Would you like to customize this gravel tour? Are you worried you are not prepared enough physically? Would you like to select a different starting or ending point, or perhaps have a day off before, after or during the tour? Send an e-mail to [email protected].

Logistics

The adventure starts and ends in the small town of Čavle, near Rijeka (Croatia).

GETTING THERE

Three international airports are located within a 1-2-hour drive from Čavle, of Zagreb (Croatia), Trieste (Italy) and Ljubljana (Slovenia).

If you are traveling by car, parking is possible at the tour starting point. If you are crossing the Slovenian-Austrian border at the Karavanke tunnel, take the highway towards the south – the direction of Ljubljana, and then the one towards Koper. Exit the highway at Postojna and drive towards Ilirska Bistrica and Rijeka. From the Croatian border at Jelšane/ Rupa, take a 15-minute drive to Rijeka and follow the signs for Čavle.

ACCOMMODATION

Our tours are mostly operated through small towns and villages. We always make efforts to select the most authentic and visitor-friendly accommodation and dining arrangements available. That way the tour groups can enjoy local hospitality and great food on the entire route.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

One guided group can include a maximum of 7 people.

On guided tours, a briefing session is organized every evening. During the briefing, the guide(s) reveal details about the next day’s cycling stage, including the altitude, length, difficulty, etc.

On most cycling stages alternative trail variations can be chosen according to the specific requirements of the group.

The meeting instructions and final trip arrangements are sent to participants two weeks before the tour start date.

FAQ

You can find answers to frequently asked questions here: FAQ.

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