The 6 Best Climbing Spots in Croatia from a Champion Climber

Everyone knows where to go for climbing in Europe. Or do they? What if I told you there was an off the beaten path locale that rivals the best of the best? Let me proudly introduce you to climbing in my home country: Croatia.

We have a joke that during the World Wars, the opposing forces said to Croatia: We will bomb you once we find you on a map.

Maybe you haven’t heard of the country either. Or maybe you know of its famous seaside full of a thousand islands and islets. Still, I doubt Croatia makes the cut when you think of climbing hotspots. I’m here to persuade you otherwise.

A climber deep water soloing in Croatia.
A thin sliver of a country with nearly 6,000km (3,600 mi.) of coastline, you are bound to run into limestone wherever you go in Croatia, and often right by the sea. Photo courtesy of 45 Degrees Sailing

Climbing and Croatia Are Very Old Friends

Pop quiz. When was the first international climbing competition?

‘85 in Bardonecchia, Italy.

It was filled with a who’s who at the time: Lynn Hill, Patrick Edlinger, Didier Raboutou, Wolfgang Güllich, Catherine Destivelle, et al.

Now a harder one: when was the first climbing competition in Croatia?

‘86 in Marjan, Split!

That was followed by ‘87 in Pokojec, my home crag!

As you can see, Croats were keeping up with the climbing trends back then, however, the war in the 1990s disrupted development. By the time I started in the early 2000s, the Croatian climbing scene was picking up again, yet there were still only two routes graded 8b+ (5.14a) or harder.

The development has continued, and today we have several 9a and 9a+ (5.14d and 5.15a), some thanks to Adam Ondra himself. (Another fun fact, Adam did his first 8a (5.13a/b) in Paklenica.)

Beachgoers on Nugal Beach near Makarska village in Croatia.
The indented coastline is full of cliffs that rise right from the sea. Climbing development has taken off since the 2000s, but there is still a ton of potential.

Today, new crags are being developed left and right, owing to a coastline which is basically one giant stretch of limestone.

Believe me: Small country but big adventure

Not only am I an avid climber, but I am also a genuine climbing nerd. When I visit a place, I want to know their stories, to meet the “behind-the-scenes” locals who made climbing possible, to do the weirdest, gnarliest routes, and to visit the shittiest crags, as well as the best.

Through almost two decades, I’ve visited nearly all the crags Croatia has to offer, bolted many new lines, climbed competitively, and together with my brother, Perica, organized the biggest indoor bouldering league going on ten years.

In that time, I’ve also had the privilege of making my home in Spain, perhaps the number one country for climbing, and have sampled many other of the world’s best crags. That’s all to say, Croatia has some of the best climbing in Europe. Believe me!

The Six Best Climbing Areas in Croatia

This tiny speck on the globe packs more climbing than you could imagine. While you won’t find Spain-like mega spots with thousands of routes in one condensed area, you will rarely have to drive more than half an hour to hop from one amazing wall to another. Moreover, since Croatia is still under-the-radar, you never have to worry about queuing for routes.

To help you get the lay of our fair land, read on for my selection of the best climbing spots from each part of Croatia. We’ll start with the big one—Paklenica—then move our way generally from the North through Istria, Northern Dalmatia, Southern Dalmatia, and the Islands.

Paklenica, Northern Dalmatia

1. Paklenica, Northern Dalmatia

TOP CHOICE FOR MULTI-PITCH LOVERS
Superb multi-pitch routes of all grades
The Adriatic Sea is close by
Only true hub for local and international climbers in Croatia
Easier, popular routes have a pith of polish
Old routes can be run-out
Siniša Škalec climbing Srček (7c) in Anića kuk, a 350m high wall in Paklenica.
Siniša Škalec climbing Srček (7c, 5.12c/d) on the 350m Anića kuk, the most iconic wall in Croatia. Photo by Luka Tambača

I vividly remember my first visit to Paklenica: 17-year-old-me, a climbing newbie armed with obsessive motivation, marching into the canyon clueless to what I was about to face. The impeccable limestone walls soared 350 meters into the air giving me chills and a special sense of respect. To this day, nearly 20 years later, that feeling still gets me every time—even though I’ve walked in there on hundreds of occasions.

Climb in the heart of a national park

Paklenica is one of eight national parks in Croatia, a surprisingly high number for a country this size (Slovenia only has one, for comparison). Among the parks, Paklenica is alone in being intertwined with climbing—bolting is not allowed in the others.

What you’ll find is hundreds of high-quality multi-pitch routes, ranging from the easiest pitches imaginable to some of the hardest big wall undertakings in Europe. If multi-pitch is not your cup of tea, Paklenica will also treat you with equally great sport routes. No matter how you get to the top, you’ll enjoy stellar views and can even scout your beach spot for when the climbing day is done—the Adriatic is just at the canyon’s doorstep.

Note that this is a popular place for tourists too, so expect a busier place than most other crags in Croatia.

A historical arena of alpinists

Paklenica has a history of big wall quests going back to the 1930s. For years, it was a stomping ground for Croatian, Slovenian, and Italian alpinists who used the walls to hone their skills for bigger exploits climbing in the Dolomites and beyond. This alpine mensch rivalry gave birth to a unique competition in Paklenica: big wall speed climbing.

The course is a dedicated 5-pitch, 160m route graded 6c+ (​​5.11c), with the annual event taking place during the labor day holidays for the past 22 years. There are strict rules: free climbing is obligatory and simul-climbing is forbidden.

Did you know that a 57hours Co-Founder is the fastest Croatian?

It was inevitable for two motivated young guns (one of which later became the Co-Founder of 57hours!) to jump on the competition train. My brother Perica and I debuted in 2007 and meticulously competed until 6 years later when we outran our alpine mentors claiming the record in 20 minutes and 49 seconds.

Could it go below 20? The Croatian climbing public was anxious to know.

Perica and Jurica Levatić during the the big wall speed climbing competition in Paklenica.
Perica and me competing in the big wall speed climbing competition. Photo by Luka Tambača

Perica and I opted not to leave them wondering. The following year, we devised a training plan with a ridiculous amount of pull ups, interval sprint running, and comp simulations until we memorized every single move of the route.

The result? We cruised it in 15:16! Just to put things in perspective, that’s 1 min. 30 sec. per pitch per person. The record still holds today—if you are after some instant climbing fame in Croatia, here’s your chance!

Paklenica is the cradle of Croatian climbing. What Yosemite is for the US, Paklenica is for Croatia.

– Jurica Levatić

1. Paklenica, Northern Dalmatia - Good to Know

Skill level

Beginner to Pro, sport routes from the easiest grades up to 9a (5.14d), and multi-pitches up to 8c (5.14b)

Terrain

Compact gray limestone with an amazing friction and some unique features: the famous “radiators”. Easier routes tend to be slabby and vertical, while harder ones usually go through orange overhangs

How to get there

National Park Paklenica is a mere 40 min. drive from Zadar airport. In the off-season, flights to Zadar are limited, so Zagreb airport (2.5 hr away) is a better option

Getting around

While having a car will definitely make your life easier, it is possible to rent a bike in the town or hitch a ride to the Paklenica canyon

Access

The entrance to the National Park is about 1km from the town of Starigrad Paklenica. You have to pay a fee to enter. From the gates, another 2km leads to the parking where the climbing sectors start. The closest are right at the parking, while a 45 min. hike is needed to reach the farthest

Guidebook

There is a dedicated guidebook for Paklenica authored by Boris Čujić

Accomodation

The touristic town of Starigrad Paklenica offers a plethora of camping sites, apartments and hotels. Note: during summer season it is good to book in advance

Season

Spring and Autumn are the best for climbing. Summers are generally too hot, however it is perfect for some leisurely climbing-and-beach holidays. Winters can get too windy and cold for big walls, but there are some south facing crags that are good even in during the coldest days

Local bars and restaurants

The town of Starigrad Paklenica hosts many bars and restaurants, however, there is one and only meeting point for climbers: the Dinko restaurant. Named after its charismatic owner, the restaurant is conveniently positioned at the entrance to the National Park. Dinko’s son, Marin, is an avid climber himself and can provide you with all the possible beta you can imagine

Rest day activities

The climbing spot is inside the National Park Paklenica, therefore, there is no shortage of rest day activities, from numerous breathtaking hikes on Velebit Mountain, to visiting the Manita Peć cave, or just lazing around on the beaches that are right next to park

Other

The famously huge Vranjača cave (about a 30 min. drive from Paklenica) provides superb summer climbing conditions

Pokojec, Northern Croatia

2. Pokojec, Northern Croatia

TOP CHOICE FOR OLD-SCHOOL CLIMBING
Old-school
Unique climbing style for Croatia (and elsewhere)
Amazing aesthetic rock
Old-school
Pocket-pulling feels difficult if you’re not accustomed
Jurica Levatić climbing Chuck Norris (8b+) at Pokojec, Croatia.
Yours truly, on the mono-fest of Chuck Norris (8b+/5.14a). Igor Čorko made the FA in 2009, originally giving it a grade of 8a+ (5.13b/c). After several repeats, it became clear this was much more difficult. There are no tricks on this route, just plain hard moves. Photo courtesy of Luka Tambača

Admittedly, if somebody else was in charge of this article, Pokojec likely wouldn’t make the cut. Due to its specific style of climbing, there are not that many fans of the crag.

However, it’s your lucky day! I am the biggest fan there is.

Located a mere 25-minute drive from my home, this is where I spend a good part of my life—from my first “climbing steps” to sending everything the crag has to offer.

Ready for some pocket-pulling?

Ever since my brother and I—two teenagers who just discovered the sport—saw the video of Iker Pou doing that opening move of Action Directe, I religiously believed that pulling on monos is the epitome of climbing. There is something special about being connected to the rock only with the tip of a finger, don’t you think?

Thankfully, pockets are a trademark of Pokojec so I was able to test my faith (and tendons) culminating with an ascent of the crag’s hardest route: an 8b+ (5.14a) pocket-fest where for several moves in a row you hold nothing but monos.

Routes with character

If you are brave enough to give Pokojec a try, you will be rewarded by beautiful smooth rock which would be mostly unclimbable if nature didn’t sprinkle it with pockets of all sizes. Holds and footholds are scarce and so are the ways to climb a route. This precious know-how is passed from one generation to the next, and when some outsider cracks our beta, eyebrows are raised and the elders of the crag debate about the validity of an ascent. However, once you master the style, you will be able to trust any foothold anywhere.

While the meat of the crag is in the 7s and 8s (5.12 to 5.13), there are some brilliant 4s and 5s (5.7 to 5.9) that tackle the typical slopey horizontal ramps and cracks. No two routes are alike, each with particular intricacies and tricks to help you expand your repertoire of moves.

Even if the Croatian seaside steals the spotlight, there are many hidden gems in Northern Croatia, with Pokojec being the crown jewel.

– Jurica Levatić

2. Pokojec, Northern Croatia - Good to Know

Skill level

Intermediate to Advanced, from 4a to 8b+ (5.4 to 5.14a)

Terrain

Vertical to slightly overhanging on smooth pocketed limestone

How to get there

If coming from abroad, it’s best to fly to Zagreb, rent a car, and drive 1 hr north to Pokojec

Getting around

While there is a train station in the nearby village of Podrute (45 min. hike from the crag), having a car is highly recommended

Access

A casual 10 min. hike

Guidebook

CROATIA climbing guidebook by Boris Čuijć, or a digital version at 27crags.com

Accomodation

While it is possible to find accommodation via Airbnb in surrounding villages, the safest bet is to stay 25 min. away in the city of Varaždin, where you can find a plenty of apartments, hostels, and hotels

Season

From Spring to Autumn. Summers are climbable, but the best sending conditions are in April/May and September/October

Local bars and restaurants

The local bar Z3 is an obligatory after-climbing meeting place. My car literally stops there on its own! Friendly owner will always takes care for a good mood while delicious grill and pizzas will take care to feed your sore muscles

Rest day activities

Hiking the surrounding hills, visiting Trakoščan lake and castle, strolling and sightseeing in the baroque city of Varaždin

Other

The other crag in northern Croatia well-worth a visit is Kalnik, some 45 min. east of Pokojec

Kompanj, Istria Peninsula

2. Kompanj, Istria Peninsula

TOP CHOICE FOR SPORT CLIMBERS
Great sport climbing at any level
Everything from technical faces to tufa-laden overhangs
Tons of other crags a stone’s throw away
Can get crowded over weekends and holidays
Popular routes are starting to get polished
The climbing walls of Kompanj striped orange and gray.
The walls of Kompanj, featuring the typical (and impeccable) Balkan limestone. Photo by Luka Tambača

A huge stretch of limestone above the village of Roč just begs to be climbed. Yet, it was untouched until some 10 years ago. While there is a very active, if small, Istrian climbing scene, they were focused on developing smaller nearby crags first.

Then one day during an asparagus hunt, my Istrian friends noticed shiny new bolts on the wall. Upon closer inspection, they found the bolter too: an eager Austrian climber on holiday who couldn’t resist. Kompanj was born and the rest is history.

Limestone for everyone

Kompanj quickly became a go-to place in Istria owing to its universal appeal: no matter what grade you climb you will enjoy limestone at its best.

Technical crimp fests? Check. Tufa wrestling trickery? Check. Easy slabs for beginners? Check. Endurance monsters? Check. Bouldery shorties? Check. New route potential? Check, check, check! Pair that with the marvelous Istrian towns, mouth-watering cuisine, famous wines, even more famous olive oils, and you’ve got yourself a climbing destination destined to bloom.

There is more to Istria climbing than Kompanj

Kompanj kicked-off intense climbing development on the peninsula. Adjoining Italy and Slovenia, the international community joined forces to create the highest concentration of crags there is in Croatia—today Istria is loaded with epic spots. To name a few, Pandora is a 45-degree out-of-this-world tufa-blob overhang with a pass-through waterfall, and Buzet canyon is a summer heaven.

I need to give a honorary mention to Dvigrad, even if its climbing style is out of fashion. This historical Istrian crag has nothing but slabs but holds a piece of world climbing history. In 1988, the slab king, Maurizio Manolo Zanolla, put up a legendary route, Malvazija, grading it 8b+ (5.14a). We waited 29 years for the first repeat by Cody Roth who proposed an upgrade to 8c+ (5.14c)! Another 12 have passed since then and we are eager for the 2nd repeat. Another chance for climbing fame in Croatia up for the grabs! I already tried my luck.

Kompanj is the centerpiece of incredible climbing development Istria has undergone in recent years.

– Jurica Levatić

2. Kompanj, Istria Peninsula - Good to Know

Skill level

Beginner to advanced, sport routes from grade 4 up to 8c+ (5.0 to 5.14)

Terrain

Superb vertical to slightly overhanging limestone

How to get there

The closest airport in Pula (1 hr driving away) serves some international flight, however, better chances to score a flight are in Zagreb (2.5 hr away), Trieste (1.5 hr away) or Venice (1.5 hr away)

Getting around:

Getting to Kompanj will be troublesome without a car

Access

Some 15-20 min. slightly uphill hiking takes you to the bottom of the wall

Guidebook

CROATIA climbing guidebook by Boris Čuijć, or a digital version at 27crags.com

Accomodation

There are a plenty of apartments available via Airbnb or booking.com in the nearby villages of Roć, Lupoglav, or Buzet. If you wish to stay at the seaside, the Opatian Riviera is the best choice, some 40 min. away

Season

Winter, spring and autumn

Local bars and restaurants

Out of the many bars and restaurants in the surrounding villages, the Alba restaurant is my personal favorite. Don’t miss the Istrian speciality, pasta with local truffles

Rest day activities

Istria is full of hidden gems! I would warmly recommend a tour of the adorable Istrian “hill towns”, Motovun, Hum, and Višnjan, as well as wine tasting and olive oil tasting. Apparently, Istrian olive oil is exceptional—one of the best money can buy!

Čikola, Middle Dalmatia

4. Čikola, Middle Dalmatia

TOP CHOICE FOR ENDURANCE SPORT CLIMBING
Amazing walls climbable all year long
Endless potential
You get to enjoy fresh routes
Still be some breakable holds on the newest routes
That also means battling sharp holds too
The endless walls of the Čikola canyon.
The endless walls of the Čikola canyon. With potential for 500+ routes, it’s destined to become one of the country’s international climbing destinations. Photo by Luka Tambača

Čikola is one of the newest and hottest additions to Croatian climbing. Serious development started only a few years ago and we just recently celebrated the crag’s 200th route—this is just a beginning!

The Croatian Chulilla

The Čikola canyon is full of uninterrupted walls reminiscent of the limestone paradise near Valencia, Spain. Hence, its nickname: the Croatian Chulilla.

A mere 20 minutes from Šibenik, a major seaside city in Middle Dalmatia, it has a middle-of-nowhere feel to it. When you descend into the canyon, it will embrace you with a sense of wilderness and serenity—something I love the most about this place.

After spending a month in Čikola this winter on a bolting trip, I can testify that I was often the only human inhabitant; somewhat unnerving when you are dangling on a rope high above the deck searching for placements. But, this makes it a great alternative to nearby Paklenica, which can be bursting with tourists.

All year climbing conditions

Čikola is one of the rare crags that is climbable year-round. The south-facing side of the canyon will keep you warm during even the coldest winter months with its marathon pitches, be it beginner-friendly technical slabs or gently overhanging endurance monsters.

The north-facing side is, on the other hand, a perfect hideaway for all of you friction-fixated sun-haters (I feel you my friends!). This side offers somewhat shorter but more overhanging routes tackling some amazing tufas lines and roofs. Last but not least, Krka, another breathtaking Croatian National Park, is just around the corner.

We call it Croatian Chulilla for a reason.

– Jurica Levatić

4. Čikola, Middle Dalmatia - Good to Know

Skill level

Beginner to advanced, routes from easy 4s, up to 8b (5.0 to 5.13+)

Terrain

Mostly vertical to slightly overhanging limestone, with some very overhanging caves

How to get there

The place is between Zadar and Split airports (both 1 hr driving) which offer good connectivity during the summer season, while in off-season Zagreb airport (3.5 hr) is a better option

Getting around

There is no public transport, therefore, having a car is a must

Access

Park at the edge of the canyon and then descend to sectors, anywhere from 10 to 30 min. hiking. Crossing a small via ferrata is necessary to access some sectors

Guidebook

CROATIA climbing guidebook by Boris Čuijć, or a digital version at 27crags.com

Accomodation

Plenty of apartments are available in the surrounding villages via Airbnb or booking.com. Marina is an excellent camping site 20 min. driving

Season

The canyon has a sunny side and a shady side, making it possible to climb all year long. However, during the hottest months of July and August, climbing even in shade can be challenging

Local bars and restaurants

Restoran Hrvoje for excellent affordable meals, while Konoba Vinko across the street offers fine dining

Rest day activities

There is a zip line zig-zagging through the canyon as well as a fun via ferrata. Krka, one of the most beautiful Croatian National Parks is just a few kilometers away, as well as Burnum, an well-preserved relict from the Roman empire. The city of Šibenik on the sea-side is also worth a visit

Omiš, Southern Dalmatia

5. Omiš, Southern Dalmatia

TOP CHOICE FOR AN ACTIVE HOLIDAY
Sport climbing and multi-pitches all in one beautiful place
A plenty of superb routes for beginners and recreational climbers
Very easy approaches suitable for family days
During summer season expect regular traffic jams in the city
Crags right next to the road are a blessing for some, annoying to others
The Gospinica sector has amazing tufa lines.
The Gospinica sector has some of the best tufa lines you will find in Croatia. Photo by Luka Tambača

Moving further south gets us to Split, an epicenter of Croatian climbing with a very special community. They are such an easy-going charismatic bunch, and their coffee-drinking abilities are unparalleled.

When I visit, my nervousness rises exponentially as our obligatory pre-climbing coffees regularly stretch beyond the two-hour mark. How can they just sit there while we are surrounded by miles of the best rock? It’s taken me years to (somewhat) learn their relaxed southern tempo, though, to truly live it you have to have it in your blood.

Admittedly, it is very hard to choose a representative spot amongst all the climbing areas. I went with Omiš due to its unique combination of sport climbing, multi-pitches, the Adriatic Sea, and pristine nature of the Cetina River. However, other spots, such as the city-crag of Marjan or the mother-of-all-crags, Markezina Greda, are top-notch as well.

Viktor and Perica, founders of 57hours, climbing Secret of Cetina (6b+) in Omiš.
The Founders of 57hours, Viktor and Perica, rocking it 300m above the deck in Omiš. This is one of the finest multi-pitches of the area: Secret of Cetina (6b+/5.10c/d). Photo by Viktor Marohnić.

Holiday climbing at its best

The trademark of Omiš is great quality limestone crags right next to the road (luckily, not a very busy one), and just outside of town. You could literally belay from your car if you wanted. This is a true vacation destination in line with the laid-back southern mentality—except you can get 300m off the pitch.

Simply follow the Cetina River, the longest in Dalmatia, and choose your favorite sector. Planovo offers world-class 5s (5.7 to 5.9) and 6s (5.10 to 5.11), while others further down the road have harder climbs. Some sectors do require a more challenging approach, such as Perivoj and Gospinica, with up to 30 minutes of gnarly hiking, however, the trouble is worth it. You can also simply be a spectator, and observe climbers from one of the town’s pleasant bars or beaches.

An amazing active holiday venue at the crossroads of the Cetina River, unspoiled nature, and the Adriatic Sea.

– Jurica Levatić

5. Omiš, Southern Dalmatia - Good to Know

Skill level

Beginner to Advanced, routes from the easiest grades up to 8b+ (5.14a)

Terrain

Excellent limestone, with everything from slabs to mega “Chilam Balam” overhangs

How to get there

Omiš is 1 hr driving, south of Split’s airport. It is easily accessible from Split either by car or public transport

Getting around

While car can be handy, most of the crags are accessible from Omiš by foot

Access

Approaches range from 0 min. (you can literally belay from your car) to 30 min. hikes

Guidebook

CROATIA climbing guidebook by Boris Čuijć, or a digital version at 27crags.com. An older, not up-to-date topo can be found here

Accomodation

The city of Omiš offers everything from apartments, hotels, to camping sites. Remember to book in advance if you are coming during the summer

Season

Spring to Autumn

Local bars and restaurants

As a true touristic venue, the city of Omiš has plenty of bars and restaurants to satisfy anyone’s taste buds, especially if you’re into Mediterranean food

Rest day activities

Omiš packs a bunch! It is a true active holiday destination. The beautiful Cetina Canyon has rafting and kayaking, one of the biggest zip lines in Croatia, and numerous hiking trails. The city itself is full of history as well. For centuries, the mouth of the Cetina River was a hiding place of pirates of Omiš which harassed the Adriatic seaborne trades

The Islands, Brač and Hvar

6. The Islands, Brač and Hvar

TOP CHOICE FOR AN UNBEATABLE SETTING
Superb sport climbing
Pristine locations, often right by the sea
Deep water soloing options
Islands are harder to get to, involving pricey ferries
In the off season, rest days can be a bit dull
Cliffbase, a climbing paradise atop a limestone plateau on the island of Hvar.
“Is this real?”, is a question we often hear. Yes it is, and it is called Cliffbase, on the island of Hvar. Photo courtesy of Miroslav Stec

Our final stop is among the famous Croatian islands. Did you know that the Croatian archipelago is the largest in the Adriatic Sea and the second largest in the Mediterranean, after Greece?

Many of the islands hide climbing paradises, sometimes known, but more often waiting to be discovered. Among them are the two obvious hotspots: Brač and Hvar, where the rock climbing is best reached by sailboat.

Get impressed by Brač…

Let’s start with Brač. The climbing was moderately interesting until the discovery of Smrka in 2014 pinned the island right to the top of Croatian charts. Hands down, this is one of the most impressive pieces of rock I have ever seen. The tufa-littered lines on this 50m wall are on par with the best climbing routes Rodellar has to offer, with one important distinction: good luck encountering crowds or finding polished footholds.

Here you will find some of the best 8as (5.13b) in the country. On the flip side, you will have trouble finding something that’s not a spectacular 8a—more than half of the 30 routes are this grade or harder, making it tricky for parties with mixed levels. Luckily, there is another recently developed crag nearby, Smokovlje, with easier routes.

…and charmed by Hvar

Hvar is the more versatile island for climbing as the many crags can accommodate a range of skill levels.

I have to single out the remote bay of Vela Stiniva, one of my favorite places on Earth. Here I spent some unforgettable Robinson Crusoe-style holidays during my early hitchhiking trips. A tent, the sea, and amazing climbing all within a 50m radius. What more could you ask for?

The most famous place is the Cliffbase laguna. This little limestone lagoon features a cottage with charming accommodation just 10 seconds from the cliff. A further 10 seconds away is the pristine Adriatic and a massive 300m-wide deep water solo wall! Please note that Cliffbase is a private property, therefore, arrangements need to be made prior to the visit.

Croatia’s islands are full of hidden climbing spots waiting to be discovered.

– Jurica Levatić

6. The Islands, Brač and Hvar - Good to Know

Skill level

Beginner to Advanced, sport climbing routes from grade 5 up to 8c (5.7 to 5.14b)

Terrain

Excellent limestone, from vertical crimpy walls to overhanging tufa littered caves

How to get there

The best is to fly to Split. From there catch a ferry boat to one of the islands

Getting around

Having a car is a must. Even though in the early days I hitch-hiked around islands, I would recommend that only if you have a plenty of patience at your disposal

Access

The crags on islands are accessed by short to medium hikes. Important: admission to Cliffbase is limited and by reservation only! By arranging your accommodation through cliffbase@cliffbase.com you automatically reserve space for you and your entire party, and receive a 75% discount on your entrance ticket. Regular entrance is 60 kuna per person per day

Guidebook

CROATIA climbing guidebook by Boris Čuijć, or a digital version at 27crags.com

Accomodation

Depending on where you are climbing, the islands offer a plenty of apartments, hotels, and camping sites. One of the most unique places to stay is Cliffbase on the island of Hvar

Season

All year round, even though summer heats can make climbing arduous even in the shade if there is no wind

Local bars and restaurants

Both Brač and Hvar offer many bars and restaurants. I recommend searching for the ones named “Konoba”, which denotes an authentic Mediterranean restaurant. I would single out Konoba Kopačina on Brač for its unique island lamb specialty “vitalac” (note: it needs to be ordered in advance)

Rest day activities

The typical sea-side stuff, swimming, snorkeling, fishing, chilling at the beach… In the off-season the islands get quite empty which can make rest days somewhat dull

There’s More to Croatia Than Rock Climbing

Most people know of Croatia because of its islands, and naturally, sailing holidays are a popular attraction. In recent years, outfitters are combining sailing with other active sports, such as mountain biking and sailing along the Croatian Coast. Because of the vast national park system and varying terrain, multi-sport adventures in the Dinaric Alps—including hiking, biking and kayaking—are growing in popularity as well.

And then there’s the food. Croatia has been an important gastro-destination for years due to its centuries-long culinary tradition. Taste superior wines, handmade olive oil, cheese, figs, prosciutto, and seafood.

Home Sweet Climbing Home

No, Croatia is not Spain or France, but it is uniquely its own.

Instead of crowded crags, expect to find sectors to yourself. Rather than grumbling proprietors, you’ll meet friendly locals happy to help you with everything you need. The charming villages, delicious local cuisine, and beautiful nature—well, Croatia has everything you could want in a climbing trip!

Looking for your next active holiday? Book your spot for sailing, climbing and relaxing along the Croatian Coast today.

About the author
Climbing nerd, 5.14 crusher, and big wall speed climber

Jurica got bitten by the climbing bug 15 years ago. Since then, there was hardly a week without him obsessing about a climbing project, new training plan, or visiting a new crag. He used his spare non-climbing time to earn a PhD in Computer Science and win the first ever ESA data-mining contest.

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