Zrmanja kayaking adventure, Croatia. Photo: Host/Raftrek
4.6
| 34 reviews

Kayak and Hike Croatia in a Weekend

3 nights
Moderate

Paddle remote turquoise waters and hike in Paklenica National Park on this wild, long weekend adventure

What's Included?

Activities & Certified Guides

All itinerary activities with professional, English-speaking guide

Camping

3 nights wild camping

Meals

Breakfast and dinner each day

Transfers

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

Equipment

Kayaking and camping equipment (not including sleeping bag)

Small Like-minded Groups

Solo-friendly by design, join our small n’ sociable groups of up to 8 like-minded, active and outdoorsy people
From

excluding flights

What's it like?

4.6
| 34 reviews
The tour was great. DD was a good host, I e...
October 2023
Alex
The tour was great. DD was a good host, I e...
October 2023
Alex
This really was a much better adventure tha...
August 2023
David
This really was a much better adventure tha...
August 2023
David
This really was a much better adventure tha...
August 2023
David
This really was a much better adventure tha...
August 2023
David
Very nice adventure trip. Beautiful places,...
July 2023
Alessi
Very nice adventure trip. Beautiful places,...
July 2023
Alessi
Very nice adventure trip. Beautiful places,...
July 2023
Alessi
Beautiful nature! Great time with new frien...
July 2023
Adrianna
Beautiful nature! Great time with new frien...
July 2023
Adrianna
Beautiful nature! Great time with new frien...
July 2023
Adrianna
My family and I had a fantastic time (6 of...
June 2023
Catrin
My family and I had a fantastic time (6 of...
June 2023
Catrin
My family and I had a fantastic time (6 of...
June 2023
Catrin
My family and I had a fantastic time (6 of...
June 2023
Catrin
Amazing trip. I would highly recommend for...
September 2022
Declan
Amazing trip. I would highly recommend for...
September 2022
Declan
Amazing trip. I would highly recommend for...
September 2022
Declan
Amazing trip. I would highly recommend for...
September 2022
Declan
We had a brilliant time kayaking the rapids...
September 2022
Rebecca
We had a brilliant time kayaking the rapids...
September 2022
Rebecca
We had a brilliant time kayaking the rapids...
September 2022
Rebecca
We had a brilliant time kayaking the rapids...
September 2022
Rebecca
Renee was our fantastic leader. He gave cle...
August 2022
Julie
Renee was our fantastic leader. He gave cle...
August 2022
Julie
Renee was our fantastic leader. He gave cle...
August 2022
Julie
Renee was our fantastic leader. He gave cle...
August 2022
Julie
Host was lovely , kayaking was a great expe...
July 2022
Taran
Host was lovely , kayaking was a great expe...
July 2022
Taran

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

Key Information

Day 1

Kastel Zegorski

Campsite in Croatia. Photo: Customer/Julian Marks

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

Zrmanja River kayaking, Croatia. Photo: Host/Raftrek

Kayaking

4-5hrs

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

Hike to Paklenica hut, Croatia. Photo: Host/Raftrek

Hiking

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

Kayaking in Croatia. Photo: Customer/Julian Marks

Kayaking

4-5hrs

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.

Day 1

Campsite · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 3

Campsite · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Dinner by the Zrmanja, Croatia. Photo: Host/Raftrek

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?

Camping in Croatia. Photo: Host/Raftrek
Camping

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

map

Logistics

Starts

Zadar Bus Station or Zadar Airport

17:30 or 18:00

Ends

Zadar Bus Station or Zadar Airport

16:30 or 17:00

Transfers

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

Julia H.(May 2024)
Amazing Weekend Trip- thoroughly recommend

Had the most amazing weekend break in Croatia. The activities and our guide Eugan were second to nine, Eugan absolutely made the trip for us. He is a credit to Much Better Adventures.

Sarah H.(May 2024)
Leader - Eugen was absolutely

Leader - Eugen was absolutely fabulous - and made the trip memorable!

Place - Croatia was wonderful and Eugen took us to some fabulous places!

Campsite - was okay - good spot - basic facilities.

Esteban(November 2023)

First day of rafting amazing. Second day terribly boring.

Alex(October 2023)
The tour was great. DD was a good host, I e...
The tour was great. DD was a good host, I e...

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!

David(August 2023)
This really was a much better adventure tha...
This really was a much better adventure tha...
This really was a much better adventure tha...
This really was a much better adventure tha...

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.

Alessi(July 2023)
Very nice adventure trip. Beautiful places,...
Very nice adventure trip. Beautiful places,...
Very nice adventure trip. Beautiful places,...

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

Adrianna(July 2023)
Beautiful nature! Great time with new frien...
Beautiful nature! Great time with new frien...
Beautiful nature! Great time with new frien...

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

Catrin(June 2023)
My family and I had a fantastic time (6 of...
My family and I had a fantastic time (6 of...
My family and I had a fantastic time (6 of...
My family and I had a fantastic time (6 of...

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!

Evan(March 2023)

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(October 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.

Declan(September 2022)
Amazing trip. I would highly recommend for...
Amazing trip. I would highly recommend for...
Amazing trip. I would highly recommend for...