Croatia: Limestone Perfection

Croatia: Limestone Perfection

Croatia's long and rich history dates all the way back to 7th Century. Due to the mountainous landscape, climbing and hiking have a long tradition and the Croatian Mountaineering Association, founded in 1874, is one of the oldest in the world. Tourism is a big source of income in Croatia and adventure tourism is starting to show significant growth. Climbing is a part of that of course.

The limestone is of the highest quality and sport climbing is the most preferred style in Croatia. You can find single and multi-pitch routes up to 600 meter above sea level. Thanks to an enormous potential and a few bolting enthusiasts, Croatia is getting fresh crags every year, and everything is kept up to date in climbing guides Croatia and Paklenica.

People who visit Croatia for climbing usually focus on the areas by the coast, in the regions of Dalmatia and Istira. Istria's pearl for sport climbing is Buzet, arguably the best place in the country, saturated with world class crags; athletic steep 30 meter routes on tufas with spectacular scenery. Some can be climbed in summer while others in winter, so it really doesn't matter when you come; there will always be something for you. All of the crags have been fairly recently bolted, so the rock is still of high quality and not that polished, like in the neighboring and famed Mi'ja Peè.

Further south lies Dalmatia. With its countless cliffs, islands and mountains, the options for adventure tourism are endless. If you are into multipitch climbing, National park Paklenica is the best place Croatia has to offer. The quality of limestone is simply unmatched anywhere else in the region. There are bolted and trad routes up to 350 meters in all difficulties with short approach and close proximity to the beach. Other great places for multipitch climbing are Omi? and Biokovo, Dalmatia's highest mountain.

Omis is also a true summer sport climbing Mecca, with pumpy routes straight above refreshing river Cetina. Great crags such as Marjan and Klobuk can be found around beautiful city of Split. From there you can take a ferry to the island of Braè and climb in Smrka or go to the island of Hvar to climb in popular Suplja stina, Stiniva or Pokrivenik. Dalmatia is also a great spot for DWS, and featured in the Depthcharge movie from 2006 with Chris Sharma and Steve McCLure. For really hard sport climbing, places like Vrulja and Dranice will make even Adam Ondra raise his eyebrows.

Many climbers live off tuna and pasta, but if you come climbing to Croatia try our food, and please don't order stuff like Pizza or Æevapi. Croatia is a land of the best seafood, truffles (Istria), award wining cheeses, autochthonous grape varieties, lamb and much more.

As everywhere else there are good and bad places to eat, so ask around and treat yourself with something nice, I guarantee you won't be sorry. To quote Anthony Bourdain: "Croatia is the next great thing. If you have not been here, you' idiot. I am an idiot". He was referring to gastronomy and natural beauties, but it most certainly applies to climbing as well. 

Climber, photographer based in Croatia