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Kayak and Hike in Croatia

Paddle remote turquoise waters and hike in Paklenica National Park on this wild long weekender


Trip Ref #8702

Kayak and Hike in Croatia

Paddle remote turquoise waters and hike in Paklenica National Park on this wild long weekender

3 nights
2 days off work
Up to 8 people
Zadar Airport




Based on 32 reviews

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

Kayak down the majestic canyons and cascades of the Zrmanja River, cooling off in idyllic waterfalls along the way

Hike the tranquil trails of the Paklenica National Park, traversing forested valleys and a dramatic gorge

Pitch up beside the river and spend each evening relaxing around the campfire, tucking into hearty Croatian dishes

Day 1

Kastel Zegorski

Meet your host in Zadar, then drive to the small village of Kastel Zegarski. Set up camp, relax and enjoy a BBQ dinner around the campfire whilst getting to know your fellow adventurers.

Day 2

Kayak the Zrmanja River



Spend the day paddling, swimming, jumping off waterfalls and enjoying the wilderness as you kayak a particularly scenic section of the beautiful Zrmanja River. Take a short hike to an eight-metre high waterfall for lunch and a refreshing swim, then return to the river to negotiate some Class II and III rapids, while floating through limestone canyons and past lush vegetation. Head back to camp for the evening and enjoy a traditional Croatian meal around the campfire.

Day 3

Hike the Paklenica National Park


4hrs · 8km · 400m up · 400m down

Today you'll hike a beautiful path that will first take you through a wild and impressive canyon, and later through the gentle, forested valley of Velika Paklenica National Park. The trail starts uphill, following the course of the river crossed by small bridges, and along rocky walls carved by water and time. Continue on through beautiful beech and pine forests before reaching Paklenica mountain hut, where you'll stop for an optional hearty lunch before descending back to your campsite.

Day 4

Kayak to the Adriatic and then head home



Continue your expedition down the Zrmanja River to the Adriatic Sea via a deep and spectacular canyon in the Velebit Nature Park. Finish off with some sea kayaking in the quaint village of Meka Draga ('Soft Valley'), where you'll have the opportunity to relax in a local beach bar, change into dry clothes and then head back to the airport in time for your flight home.



Professional, English-speaking guide


3 nights wild camping


Breakfast and dinner each day


To and from the airport (or Zadar main bus station) and everything in between


Kayaking and camping equipment (not including sleeping bag)

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Some meals as described

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Visas where required

Day 1

Campsite · Twin tent




Day 2 – Day 3

Campsite · Twin tent




Day 4




What is the food like?

Meals tend to be based around meats and sausages, bread and pastries and pasta and dumplings. If you have any special dietary needs, please let your host know when booking. Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for, but we do recommend that you bring some of your favourite protein snacks along with you. Please let your host know of your dietary requirements by requesting it on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?


You'll stay in a wild and beautiful location beside the river, in the lovely village of Kaštel Žegarski, on the Zrmanja river - perfect for swimming, diving and relaxing. You'll normally participate in setting up camp on arrival and sometimes packing down the camp at the end of your trip (although if you are tight on time then your guides may do this after your departure). There are some basic facilities at the camp such as a large wooden table, some benches, pillows, and a solar-powered shower and toilets are available a short walk away. Your host will provide a tent and sleeping mat as well as all communal equipment for eating, but please remember to bring your own sleeping bag. Solo travellers get their own tent at no additional cost.

If you would like to arrive early or depart late, your host recommends staying in Zadar at the Hostel Forum.

The Area




Zadar Bus Station or Zadar Airport

17:30 or 18:00


Zadar Bus Station or Zadar Airport

16:30 or 17:00


You can be met either at the main Zadar Bus Station at 17:30, or at Zadar Airport at 18:00 – however, you may decide to arrive a day or two early to suit flight times and explore more of Croatia. Your host will be in touch before the trip to finalise the details. At the end of your trip, you will be dropped off at Zadar Airport around 16:30 (in time to catch flights that depart after 18:00), or at Zadar Bus Station at 17:00. Alternatively, you could leave a day or two later and explore some more of Croatia.

Travel options

There are regular flights to Zadar from airports across the UK and Europe.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • All your camping and kayaking equipment (excluding a sleeping bag - please bring your own)

What do I need to bring?

  • Lightweight, easily washable clothing for travel and daily wear
  • Swimwear
  • Towel
  • Sun hat with brim
  • Sunglasses
  • Thin trousers and long sleeved top for the evenings (just in case)
  • Lightweight rain jacket (waterproof and breathable)
  • Water shoes, or other sports shoes that you don’t mind getting wet
  • Hiking shoes or hiking boots
  • Sleeping bag
  • Pillow (optional)
  • Water bottle or hydration pack
  • Sun block and lip balm
  • Personal first aid kit (including any medications you use)
  • Small backpack
  • Dry bag (optional)
  • Camera, film/memory cards and spare batteries
  • Head torch
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Sleeping bag hire: 2 nights

Payable Before Departure

Sleeping bag hire: 2 nights

- Alex(September 2023)

The tour was great. DD was a good host, I enjoyed hearing about some of Croatia's past. Day one was definitely my favourite and included jumping off a few waterfalls (optional) which was amazing. The first part of the river was filled with waterfalls and blue/green water. No litter at all and so beautiful. The second day was shorter and through a more desert-looking canyon. Which contrasted strongly with day 1. You don't need to bring too much for lunch as breakfast is quite substantial. But bringing lunch did cause some confusion about how much to bring.

Technically it's absolutely fine for beginners although I have a decent amount of experience kayaking. Some level of fitness for day 2 makes it easier as there was less natural river flow.

Overall, definitely recommended!

- Esteban(September 2023)

First day of rafting amazing. Second day terribly boring.

- David(July 2023)

This really was a much better adventure than I thought it would be. You never know if these things will be lame, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t hardcore. But it was a fun effort. Great for solos, couples or friends. Our guide, Ivan, was probably the most enthusiastic and friendly person you could hope for! And, luckily, our particular group of eight consisted of a bunch of great and sound characters - mostly from England, but also from the Netherlands and Greece :). The scenery was dramatic, high, lush and barren, and waterfalls roared peacefully. Snakes lurk, but are mostly harmless… Bring snacks for lunch. Bring water shoes. And either a waterproof camera or a simple waterproof phone case/bag so you can quickly grab the shots you want. It was also my birthday, and it couldn’t have been a better place to spend it.

- Catrin(June 2023)

My family and I had a fantastic time (6 of us, ranging in age from 20-65). Even before leaving for our trip, our contact, Kristina, was very helpful and responded promptly to our queries. Our guide, Didi, was excellent. From the moment we arrived he was a great host, always making sure that we had everything we needed and that we were comfortable in camp. He was easy to talk to and he gave us a good insight into what local life was like. Whilst kayaking he put our safety first and made us feel in very safe hands whilst also enabling us to have lots of fun. He knows the river and local area very well which complemented the whole experience. I also have to mention the chef, Marina, who prepared delicious meals for us, including vegetarian options (which can’t have been easy in traditional, rural Croatia!). Thank you all so much, would highly recommend this experience!

- Adrianna(June 2023)

Beautiful nature! Great time with new friends. Laura was the best host I could imagine. Camping spot was just perfect, quiet and wild.

- Alessi(June 2023)

Very nice adventure trip. Beautiful places, nice people and food. Would do it again 100%

- Declan(September 2022)

Amazing trip. I would highly recommend for singles or for couples.. the scenery is just stunning. Bring a head torch…

- Evan(September 2022)

Overall, beautiful scenery and fun paddling location, but not quite the trip we were expecting for the price. The river is quite low in September so most of the exciting rapids shown in the video are not as pictured, though thankfully the waterfall drop is still navigable (and very fun!). The camping is not wild at all, but just pop up tents at the base camp and car transport back and forth between camp and the raft kayak return / sea kayak start. We got stormed out of the second day kayak, which wasn't handled very smoothly and put an additional damper on the trip after the camping disappointment, but Edis let the three of us still in town return a few days later to redo it and we were very glad to not miss paddling the beautiful canyon to the sea.

- Emily(September 2022)

Overall the trip was good, the host and guide was brilliant and the organisation was great.

Day 1 kayaking on the river was beautiful and just what I was hoping for (a bit more water in the river would have helped but we can't do much about a summer draught). The group dynamic was great and the difficulty level was good, perhaps a little easier than I'd have proffered but really it was the location not the difficulty I was going for.

Unfortunately day 2 kayaking didn't happen. We were advised the weather wasn't good as it was too windy. It was a shame that we didn't even try though because it wasn't at all windy at the campsite. I sort of felt we were being discouraged because it was a bit cold and wet. Personally I thought we'd have been fine to go out with full wetsuits, and if it had been too windy we could have turned back but they never even loaded the boats.

The guide did take us on a scenic road trip back to Zadar but we were back at the bus station at about 2 pm so it didn't feel like we'd had a two day trip at all. Shame really.

- Rebecca(August 2022)

We had a brilliant time kayaking the rapids on the Zrmanja River on the first day and then kayaking through the canyon and out to sea on day two. Our guide, Davor, was brilliant - really friendly, helpful and engaging, and we had a lovely, small group. We had some bad weather but the organisers were quick to adjust the itinerary to make sure we were safe. The campsite was quite basic and the tents were a little small, but the food was absolutely delicious. (Thanks Marina!) I can highly recommend this experience - though some previous kayaking experience would definitely be an advantage, particularly for the longer haul on the second day.

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.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 42kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2023 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

You need to have a reasonable level of fitness and an adventurous nature for this trip, but no previous experience is required.

Sure can! Over 70% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

On the Dalmatian Coast, the weather is a little warmer and drier than in Zagreb. Spring and autumn temperatures range from 9 to 21°C with roughly 10 days of rain per month. Summer temperatures range from 16 to 30°C, with just six days of rain each month.

Yes, anything that you don't need for the trip itself can be kept securely ready to pick up once you've finished kayaking.

The local tap water is safe to drink. Please bring along your own reusable water bottles (at least 1.5L) to fill up to avoid buying single-use plastic bottles.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

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.

You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.


Pay In Installments

You can choose to pay for this trip in as many installments as you like, with no interest or fees.

Full Financial Protection

Your money is safe. Every booking is fully financially protected.

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