Adventures / Rapid Rafting

Packrafting Adventure in Croatia

The ultimate packlight journey down two beautiful rivers in a wild corner of Croatia

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Trip Ref #10369

Adventures / Rapid Rafting

Packrafting Adventure in Croatia

The ultimate packlight journey down two beautiful rivers in a wild corner of Croatia

DURATION

4 nights

LOCATION

Croatia

ANNUAL LEAVE

3 days off work

SEASON

May-Sep

GROUP SIZE

Up to 8 people

MEETING POINT

Zagreb Airport

ACCOMMODATION

Hotel · Campsite

DIFFICULTY

Moderate

You'll need a reasonable level of fitness and an adventurous nature, but no previous experience is necessary

Paddle down narrow canyons, run rapids and jump waterfalls on the Mrežnica and Zrmanja Rivers

Hike through the wild Krupa River Canyon and past the Devertac Waterfalls - a series of nine cascades

Wild swim the emerald waters of the Velebit National Park and camp on the riverbank

What's it like?

    See the photos our community shared

    All our reviews are verified

    We only invite travellers to leave a review if they have booked this trip with Much Better Adventures.

    Dan, July 2022

    This is a great trip. The rafting is great fun, the organising company do a great job, and the landscape and scenery are beautiful. I'd definitely recommend.

    Clarke, June 2022

    This trip is amazing!! For those of you that like to cram as much variety into 4 days as possible, with a modicum of physical challenge, this is it! The variety between the amazing wildlife and countryside coupled with the stunning trek and rafting just made this the most memorable holiday ever. The one piece of advice I would offer is prepare for day 3 as the trek is hard if you are caught in hot weather, 40+ for us. I would also recommend adding a day in Split onto the end of the holiday. Raftrek can drop you directly to the bus station in Zadar after the trip and its only a 2hr 20min bus ride onto Split, which has an international airport so easy to fly out of their directly.

    Micah, June 2022

    n/a

    Charlie, May 2022

    Absolutely loved this trip - would rebook in a heartbeat. Luka, the host, was incredible. He really catered for all experience levels ensuring that everyone had fun, felt challenged (if they wanted to be) and felt safe/supported - a good trip for all levels. He also went out of his way to show us cute towns and spectacular views. We still can’t get over how beautiful both of the rivers and views were (make sure you bring a GoPro if you have one) and each day gets better and better. Definitely worth bringing a good pair of trainers for the hike and a big water bottle as it can be a little tough in the heat.

    iain, May 2022

    Fantastic adventure in remote places where most people do not access. Opportunities on the river for different abilities and challenge appetites means that the adventure is open to a wide spectrum of adventurers. Do be aware that the hike on the third rafting day is challenging, time allows for all abilities to complete it but comfortable trail runners and acclimatisation to carrying a weighted backpack will make your hike more enjoyable. The group I was with were a great bunch and we got on great from day one making remarkable memories! Big shout out to Luka our guide who was so calm and composed at all times and a real gentleman making sure we had a super trip in all weathers!

    Isabelle, May 2022

    Such an amazing trip! Packrafting is great fun and perfect for all abilities. If you are a beginner kayaker just be prepared to fall out the odd time haha. Each place we stayed was right next to a stunning part of the river to swim in during down time. The group was filled with lovely people who genuinely made the trip so enjoyable and our guide was fantastic. I could not recommend this trip enough, book it now!

    Polly, August 2022

    Absolutely brilliant few days, with an amazing leader (thank you Luca!) and wonderful group of people. Packrafting is super fun, it requires less skill than kayaking and is easier to pick up, and is more exhilarating than white water rafting but also very safe feeling, which I liked! Our leader was amazing too. He adapted to make it work for us, slightly shorter when it was cold and rainy, we were early season, with more time on the river when it was sunny and we had fun playing in the rapids and waterfalls. The hike was stunning and worth it for the secluded river with amazing setting. Not just the packrafting, but also we had detours via scenic villages and lots of fun in the evenings around dinner chatting and playing games together. A fabulous few days in a beautiful part of the world. Loved it!

    Elliot, May 2022

    Amazing trip! We got unlucky with the weather at the beginning but that didn’t stop us having fun on the river. The last two days the weather was perfect the trip kept on getting better! Special mention to our guide Luka! He was the perfect guide, knowledgeable and funny. The waterfalls can get quite intense at times but he’s very good at managing your limits. The hiking day with the packrafts is beautiful but definitely a tough hike if you’re not used to carrying heavy loads on your back. But again Luka went at a meeting ace suitable for everyone. Our group got on so well and everyone was lovely. So go book this trip!

    Mayuri, September 2021

    It's not as difficult as it suggests. Pretty easy and beginner friendly. It's not a full itinerary, there's loads of downtime. The pack-rafting is fun and you get to see parts of Croatia that you otherwise don't (if you have the option, try both types of packrafts if you can). Just be aware to pick up some things if you have dietary restrictions, you'll need to cater for yourself on this trip. I enjoyed doing this trip but probably not best for someone who is completely novice to an adventure trip.

    Simon, September 2021

    Stunning scenery and crystal clear water! Good company and you will certainly have fun!

    Included

    Guides

    Expert, local, English speaking guides

    Accommodation

    2 nights in a hotel, 2 nights camping

    Meals

    Breakfast and dinner each day

    Transfers

    To and from the airport and everything in-between

    Equipment

    All your packrafting and camping equipment

    Not Included

    Flights to and from the meeting point

    Some meals as described

    Travel insurance

    Personal expenses

    The Area

    map

    Logistics

    Starts

    Zagreb Airport

    17:30 on Day 1

    Ends

    Zadar Airport

    12:45 on Day 5

    Transfers

    Your host will meet you at Zagreb Airport at 17:30 on Day 1 and transfer you to your hotel at the start of the adventure. On Day 5 you will be dropped off at Zadar Airport at 12:45 in time to catch flights that depart after 15:00.

    If you are already in Zagreb or are arriving by train or bus, your host can meet you at the parking area behind the main train station in Zagreb at 17:00. If you are staying longer in Croatia after your adventure, you can be dropped off at Zadar bus station at 13:00 on day 5. There are frequent bus connections between Zadar and Zagreb: https://getbybus.com/hr/autobusne-linije/zadar-1505/zagreb-1510/2022-04-29)

    Travel options

    There are regular flights to Zagreb from airports across the UK and Europe. Flights to Zagreb from North America generally transit through Brussels, Paris or Amsterdam. There are direct flights between Zadar and London Gatwick for those looking to return to the UK after the adventure.

    For those wishing to avoid flying, there is an excellent Croatian sleeper train overnight from Munich to Zagreb which you can take to arrive in Zagreb on the morning of day 1.

    What about all the carbon?

    We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

    Day 1

    Hotel · Twin share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 2

    Hotel · Twin share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 3 – Day 4

    Campsite · Twin tent

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 5

    Departure day

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    What is the food like?

    Dinners at the hotel on Days 1 and 2 will have a menu with three different options each day. Dinners on Day 3 and 4 at the campgrounds will be cooked by your host and will use local produce and traditional Croatian cooking based around a meat element such as local sausages, bread, pastries, pasta and dumplings. Breakfasts at the hotel and campgrounds are continental buffet style with some local products thrown in for good measure. You may get to sample the famous Skradin risotto, popularised by the late Anthony Bourdain. You'll need to buy a packed lunch each morning to take with you, please budget €7-10 per lunch.

    Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request on your passenger info form. We also recommend that you bring some of your favourite protein snacks along with you.

    What is the accommodation like?

    Zeleni Kut Hotel

    You'll stay at Zeleni Kut during the first two nights of your trip - a family-owned hotel located in Zvecaj, on the bank of the Mrežnica River with its own private beach area. You'll stay in a twin-share room with a private bathroom. Double rooms can be requested.

    Riverside camping

    You'll stay at two riverside campgrounds on Days 3 and 4. First up is Camp Kastel Zegarski, located on the bank of the Zrmanja river. 12km further down the river is Camp Slapovi Zrmanje, a picturesque campground with various swim spots in the river and waterfalls right by the camp.

    You'll stay in twin-share tents with sleeping mats included. Both campgrounds have toilets and outdoor showers.

    Upgrades

    For solo travelers looking for their own space, an optional private room and tent can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

    Day 1

    Welcome to Croatia

    Touch down in Zagreb and meet your host at the airport before driving over to the small village of Zvecaj, right on the bank of the Mrežnica River. Check into your hotel and enjoy the surroundings before grabbing dinner and a run through the adventure with your guide.

    Day 2

    Packraft bootcamp and first taste of paddling

    Packrafting

    2hrs · 5km

    Your guide will run you through a packrafting bootcamp - teaching you about the history of packrafting, how to pump and pack your raft, paddling and self-rescue techniques and hydrology. Ease into life as a solo packrafter on a flat and easy section of the Mrežnica River, stopping for swims and admiring the spectacular scenery of the Mrežnica River Canyon. Late afternoon you'll head back to the hotel for some time to relax by the river, swim, or grab a game of beach volleyball before dinner.

    Day 3

    Time for rapids and waterfalls

    Packrafting

    3-4hrs · 4km

    The fun is ramped up today as you put your new-found packrafting skills to the test on the livelier upper section of the Mrežnica. Weaving through the channels of the river canyon, you'll tackle a bunch of exciting rapids and even jump down a waterfall. After a day of high fives and permanent smiles, you'll pack up the rafts, dry off and hop back in the van to head on to the next leg of your adventure. Arriving at the small village of Kaštel Žegarski in the heart of the wild Velebit National Park you'll set up camp right on the banks of the Zrmanja River and tuck into dinner homemade by your host.

    Day 4

    Hike the Krupa River Canyon and raft the Zrmanja

    Packrafting

    2-3hrs · 5km

    Hiking

    3-4hrs · 5km · 400m up

    Wake up to the sound of the river in your secluded camp and enjoy a homemade breakfast to fuel you up for a big day. Carrying your packraft on your back, you'll hike through the Krupa River Canyon - a protected area where kayaking and rafting are prohibited. Stomp past the Devertac waterfalls - a series of nine cascades -before reaching a secret spot for a riverside lunch. Blow up the packraft again and put in on the Zrmanja River to tackle a stretch of multiple rapids and the occasional waterfall as you navigate your way down. Finishing at Muskovci, head back to camp to relax beside the river before dinner.

    Day 5

    Final dip and transfer to the airport

    Soak up the last of your time by the river with some breakfast and a bit of free time for a final dip in the river or a mini-hike into the wilderness around the camp before your host transfers you to Zadar in time for your onward flight.

    15% Off Outdoor Gear

    In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

    What's included?

    • Twin tents
    • Sleeping mat
    • Professional ALPACKA pack rafts
    • Life jacket
    • Paddle
    • Helmet
    • Neoprene wetsuit
    • Rain jacket
    • Waterproof container for shared group use

    What do I need to bring?

    • Lightweight easily washable items for travel and daily wear
    • Swimwear
    • Towel
    • Sun hat with brim and sunglasses
    • Thin trousers and long sleeve for the evenings (just in case)
    • Lightweight rain jacket (waterproof and breathable)
    • Trainers or lightweight adventure shoes for the hike
    • Flip Flops or other sport shoes that you don’t mind getting wet
    • Sleeping bag - season 2 (if you prefer to rent one, please refer to prices below in 'Optional Extras' and contact your host)
    • Pillow (optional)
    • Water bottle or hydration pack
    • Sunblock and lip balm
    • Personal first aid kit (including any medications you use)
    • Small backpack
    • Drybag (if you want to carry some personal items on the raft, phone/camera etc..)
    • Camera, film/memory cards and spare batteries

    Sleeping bag hire: 2 nights

    Payable Before Departure

    Sleeping bag hire: 2 nights

    Extra night camping at Zrmanja Camp

    Payable Before Departure

    Extra night camping at Zrmanja Camp

    Per Person, Per Night

    Single/Twin/Double Room at Zeleni Kut Hotel

    Payable Before Departure

    Single/Twin/Double Room at Zeleni Kut Hotel

    Per Night

    Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade

    Payable Before Departure

    Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade

    Private airport transfer between Zagreb/Zadar Airports and accommodation (minivan for up to 8 people)

    Payable Before Departure

    Private airport transfer between Zagreb/Zadar Airports and accommodation (minivan for up to 8 people)

    Packrafting involves paddling in light inflatable boats, then packing them up and hiking with them to access new areas. Originating from wilderness travel in Alaska, packrafting is a bit of a niche sport but rapidly gaining popularity. The whole paddling kit (raft, paddle, PFD and helmet) weighs around 5kg and packs down really small so it’s easy to carry, yet it's also durable, stable, easy to paddle and certainly not to be mistaken for a pool toy.

    Remember that you will add the weight of the packraft to your personal items when hiking, so you will have to be prepared to carry around 10kg on your back.

    You need to have a reasonable level of fitness and an adventurous nature for this trip, but no previous experience is required as you'll be given full instruction on how to packraft. You should be comfortable being in water - you are going to get wet! - and ideally be able to swim a short distance, though full safety gear is provided and you'll be wearing a life vest while on the packrafts. There are plenty of swim spots at the lunch stops, by the camp in the evening, and during the secret waterfall visits where you can swim without life vests.

    Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

    Spring and autumn temperatures range from 9 – 21 °C with roughly 10 days of rain per month. Summer temperatures range from 16 – 30 °C with just 6 days of rain each month. The water temperature will be between 16°C and 19°C - on trip dates where the water is colder your host will provide wetsuits.

    Yes, anything that you don't need for the trip itself can be kept securely ready to pick up at the end of the trip. Your main luggage will be transferred between the hotel and the two campgrounds while you are enjoying your time packrafting down the rivers.

    For current advice about travelling in Croatia, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages here.

    On the Mrežnica and Zrmanja Rivers you will be rafting through grade 2 and 3 rapids.

    Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

    Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

    We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

    We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

    If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

    All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

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