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The ancient town of Buzet in Istria in northern Croatia hidden in clouds

Trek the Mountains of Croatia 2023

Challenge level: 4 out of 5

When can I go?

3 May - 7 May 2023 On Sale
20 September - 24 September 2023 On Sale
Duration 5 days

What does it cost?

Registration fee (payable today) Info $223
Remaining amount
Total commitment Info

Trek the Mountains of Croatia 2023

Join us in the hidden gem of the Istria Peninsula for an almighty mountain trek in Croatia. Based at a hotel in Buzet, we’ll walk different trails every day through the northern mountains and get the best of the secluded landscape of Istria, worlds away from the world-famous Adriatic coast to the south.

With forested hills and limestone peaks, vineyards and olive groves, riverside trails and rich woodland, untouched stone villages and hilltop towns, we'll trek away from the crowds and immerse ourselves in nature.

Following the Istria Mountain Trail across the peninsula, we’ll trek from the wooded hills around Buzet into the Učka National Park. We’ll face challenging climbs and long days on our feet, but the views of waterfalls, indigenous nature and even the Adriatic Islands will make the trek a dream.

Prepare to crest three mountain peaks, including the mighty Mount Učka and reach a height of 1,401m! From here, we’ll look out across the entire peninsula, with the Alps to the north and an endless sea to the south.

The best part of this overseas trekking challenge is that you conquer it for the charity, hospice or animal sanctuary of your choice. In three tough but stunning days, you can make a big impact for the cause that means the most to you, while having the experience of a lifetime and making a group of new friends.

Extend your stay in paradise
You may never travel to Croatia again, so why not take this opportunity to explore the idyllic Plitvice Lakes? Jump on our awesome optional extension for an additional price and spend two days in the paradise of Plitvice Lakes National Park. You'll get to explore the waterfalls, caves and lakes, all famous for their beauty. We'll send you the full details, including the price, once you register.

Your itinerary

Day 1
UK – Buzet, Croatia

We first meet at the airport in London to catch our flight to Croatia. Touching down in the historic hill-top city of Buzet, we meet our local challenge leader and transfer to our hotel.

Once we’ve checked in and freshened up, we should have time to head into the old town of the city. Also known as the City of Truffles, Buzet isn’t just known for its lush, truffle-rich grounds — it’s also famous for its local grappa (schnapps). We jump on this chance to sample the different grappa flavours, before settling down for the night at our hotel.

Day 2
Buzet – Orpatalj – Buzet | approx. 6-7 hours trekking

After a fresh breakfast at our hotel, we start the day with a 30-minute drive to the picturesque, hill-top village of Oprtalj. Here, surrounded by colourful buildings and lush plant life, we commence our trek along the Istrian Mountain Trail.

We set off at a gentle pace on undulating trails through the woods. Along the way, we get a feel for the local lifestyle as we pass through small villages and farmland. Then, we test our legs climbing to a beautiful viewpoint over the River Mirna, with vistas stretching to Mount Učka – a glimpse at the challenge yet to come!

After drinking in the view, we pass the imposing ruins of Pietrapelosa (meaning hairy stone in Italian) Castle, named after the moss that envelops the walls.

We head downhill into the valley and follow more undulating trails past remote villages. Every step of the way, we enjoy the peace of the region and views of Buzet, looking out across the countryside from its forested hilltop. Gradually, we draw closer to the town and finish our day’s hike back at the hotel.

Day 3
Buzet – Hum – Buzet | approx. 8-10 hours

A long but absolutely beautiful day awaits! Setting off straight from our hotel, we walk alongside the river and soon enter the woods. As we gain height, the sheer rock faces that dwarf us become less imposing. Now we’re trekking through paradise, passing lakes and waterfalls hidden in the mountains, completely immersed in nature. The only sign of human life we see is the old village we pass, but the traditional Istrian stone houses and the watermill with natural pools have long been abandoned.

Climbing higher, we reach Hum, officially listed as the world’s smallest city. It’s also known for its grappa and is our mid-way point. Here, we take a break for lunch amidst the pretty, stone buildings and winding, narrow streets. You may also take this opportunity to buy some local grappa.

Refreshed, we’re back on our feet to continue our climb through the wooded valley. Our trail takes us to a fantastic viewpoint for yet more mesmerising vistas over the rich forest. Then, it’s time to descend to Buzet, taking a scenic, undulating path past more waterfalls. At last, we arrive at our hotel for a well-deserved dinner.

Day 4
Buzet – Učka – Luvran | approx. 7-8 hours

Fuel up with a big breakfast, as we have a mighty day of trekking ahead. Today, we start walking from Brgudac, a rustic village about a half-hour drive from our hotel, where wooden troughs brim with spring water. We take this opportunity to fill up our bottles with fresh water. Then, we set off uphill through oak and chestnut forests onto a mountainous plateau. We face challenging ascents through the woods and reach Korita Peak at 1,050m!

Having hiked higher than the trees, we’ve earned ourselves incredible views of Učka Massif. But we’re not done climbing yet! We continue over the undulating Karst Plateau to the rocky peak of Veliki Planik (1,272m), the highest point on the Ćićarija Plateau! The spectacular panoramas of green mountains and tiny villages accompany us as we climb – a just reward.

After taking in the mesmerising view, we descend to a saddle between the mountains. Now it’s time to tackle the toughest ascent of our trekking challenge! Spurred on by the stunning sea views that await at the top, we start up the magnificent Mount Učka – our highest point at 1,401m! Surrounded by folklore and visible from almost every part of Istria, the limestone massif dominates the peninsula.

We may be fatigued, but it’s well worth the long haul. We walk on well-marked trails with idyllic vistas, which get better as we gain height.

At last, we reach the peak – and the sense of achievement makes the vistas even more beautiful! We can see right across Istria, with the Alps to the north and the tiny Adriatic islands to the south. Better yet, this secluded slice of Heaven is so little-known that we’re likely to get it all to ourselves!

After soaking up the views, we make our careful descent and drive to Lovran, one of the oldest coastal towns in the Peninsula. Boasting turquoise shores and surrounded by rich, indigenous plant life, Lovran is the perfect place to finish our charity challenge.

Tonight, we toast our phenomenal achievement over a fantastic Celebration Dinner in the town, before a great night’s rest at our hotel.

Day 5
Buzet – UK or Optional Extension

After a well-deserved long lie and breakfast at our hotel, we transfer to the airport for our daytime flight home. Touching down in London later in the afternoon, we say goodbye and you make your own way home.

Alternatively, you can jump on our awesome Plitvice Lakes optional extension package. Instead of transferring to the airport with us on Day 5, our trusted local partner in Croatia will take you to the lakes to spend two days in paradise. With sparkling tufa lakes, bewitching caves and wondrous waterfalls, the Plitvice Lakes are a must-see site in Croatia. You'll then fly back to the UK on an arranged flight on Day 7.

We’ll release the full details of this optional extension, including the price and how to book, closer to the challenge.

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Funding options

Self Funded

Pay the registration fee (£149) and challenge costs (£850) + airport taxes/fuel surcharge (approx. £100).

$1,275

Pay the balance

  • Pay a non-refundable registration fee of £149 when you book, which is used to administer the trekking challenge in Croatia and secure your seats with the airline.
  • Pay the challenge costs of £850 yourself 12 weeks before your challenge starts.
  • The challenge costs cover flights (excluding airport taxes and fuel surcharge, approx. £100), food, accommodation, transfers and luggage transportation, entry fees, first aid trained guides, and medical support, including a UK-registered doctor with expedition medicine training.
  • Choose to fundraise as much as you can for the charity, hospice or animal sanctuary of your choice or make a personal donation.
  • Please also remember to budget for airport taxes and fuel surcharge (approx. £100).
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Sponsorship

Pay your registration fee (£149) and airport taxes/fuel surcharge (approx. £100), and fundraise £1,700 or more for your chosen charity.

$2,550

Minimum sponsorship target

  • Pay a non-refundable registration fee of £149 when you book, which is used to administer the trekking challenge in Croatia and secure your seats with the airline.
  • Fundraise the minimum sponsorship target of £1,700 for a charity or animal sanctuary of your choice at least 12 weeks before your challenge.
  • Providing you have raised the funds, the charity you are supporting will pay the challenge costs of £850 on your behalf.
  • The challenge costs cover flights (excluding airport taxes and fuel surcharge, approx. £100), food, accommodation, transfers and luggage transportation, entry fees, first aid trained guides, and medical support, including a UK-registered doctor with expedition medicine training.
  • Please also remember to budget for your airport taxes and fuel surcharge (approx. £100).
  • Please note that not all charities are happy to commit to the minimum sponsorship option. If you choose this option, we contact the charity you want to support on your behalf. If they are not happy with the minimum sponsorship option, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.
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FAQs
Trek the Mountains of Croatia 2023

Our Croatia Mountain Trek is not about living in the gym. Loads of people who sign up for our non-competitive charity challenges have low levels of fitness when they register. The point is to train, do your best, and reach your fitness goal, while making a big difference for the charity that means the most to you.

That said, we strongly recommend you train for the trekking challenge. We'll face long days on our feet (with the days ranging from 6-10 hours). We'll encounter steep climbs in the mountains and tackle a lot of uneven terrain. Please invest in a pair of quality hiking boots with ankle support to wear during your training and on your trek in Croatia, as these are essential for walking on uneven terrain. We also recommend incorporating hills in your training treks.

Our supportive challenge guides and community spirit will help you conquer the challenge of a lifetime. You're also likely to improve your mental health and well-being.

Once you register for the challenge, we'll send you a realistic training plan. This builds up gradually over time so you'll be ready and raring to go by the time we depart for Croatia. You can also check out our top trekking tips here and our indoor training ideas for the days you don't feel like facing the weather!

 

Please don't be! The majority of people will sign up on their own. Our charity challenges around the world are renowned for the amazing camaraderie and lifelong friendships made, as our groups take on these incredible feats together.

Once you've registered for the trek in Croatia, we'll send you a link to a private Facebook group for everyone on the challenge. Please use this space to swap questions, advice and updates with your fellow trekkers on your training and fundraising.

You may also want to reach out to the other participants in this group to see if there's anyone in your local area you can meet up to train and fundraise with.

The Dream Challenges team are here to help you achieve your charity trek in Croatia, and we will support you all the way. We're always on hand to answer any questions you have about your training or the challenge.

Once you've registered, we will send you a Welcome Pack with everything you need to know about your overseas challenge, including the itinerary, an example insurance policy, details about our challenge destination and the weather we can expect while we're trekking in the mountains of Croatia, the structure of an average trekking day, a full kit list and a realistic training plan to help you get fit for the challenge. The training programme builds up gradually as the event gets closer.

We'll also send you regular updates in the lead-up to the adventure, with more important details, motivational resources, and seasonal fundraising ideas.

During the trek, we'll have a UK doctor with expedition medicine training accompanying the group at all times, along with a team of outdoor remote first-aid trained challenge guides.

Your non-refundable registration fee of £149 per person is used to administer the challenge.

Your challenge costs of £850 (ie. 50% of the fundraising target if you choose the Sponsorship option) cover:

  • Your flights (not including airport taxes and the fuel surcharge, approx. £100)
  • Meals throughout the challenge in Croatia
  • Hotel accommodation*
  • Entry fees where applicable
  • All transfers and luggage transportation in Croatia
  • A team of awesome, outdoor remote first aid trained guides and Dream Challenges staff
  • Full support from the Dream Challenges office in the lead up to and during your challenge
  • Medical and mechanical support, including a UK doctor with expedition medicine training, who will accompany us throughout the challenge
  • Your Trek the Mountains of Croatia medal

*Accommodation is included on a twin-sharing basis. If you would rather pay for a single supplement and have a room to yourself, we can arrange this for you for an additional cost. Just give us a call on 01590 646410 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm) or email us at bookings@dream-challenges.com at least 17 weeks before your overseas challenge. 

We'll trek on a mix of terrains following clear trails in the northern mountains of Croatia. 

We'll walk on a lot of uneven ground and tackle steep ascents, but all that goes up must come down, so we'll trek downhill and enjoy flat sections as well. We recommend including a lot of hills in your training.

Please make sure to use high ankle walking boots during your training and on the challenge in Croatia, as these are essential to protect your ankles on uneven terrain.

Everyone who is at least 18 years old by the departure date is more than welcome to join our trekking challenge in Croatia. We'll have adults of all ages taking part to achieve something awesome for charity — one of the many things that make our challenges so special!

If you would like someone under the age of 18 to join you on our Croatia trek, please contact us to discuss (01590 646410 or bookings@dream-challenges.com, Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm).

In addition to paying your registration fee (£149) and either self funding your challenge costs (£850) or fundraising the minimum sponsorship target, you will need to budget for your:

  • Airport taxes and the fuel surcharge (currently £100 but subject to change – up or down)
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Gratuities
  • Personal expenses
  • You may also choose to pay for a single supplement at our accommodation.
  • You may also choose to pay for a place on our amazing optional extension package at the end of our trek in Croatia.

No, our support team will transport your main luggage each day.

We advise you to pack light. You will only need to carry a small day pack, containing essential accessories and equipment, including your 2-litre water bottle.

You will need a pair of quality walking boots with ankle support — these are essential for trekking on uneven terrain. Please also bring a 2-litre water bottle.

We'll supply you with a full kit list for your overseas trekking challenge well before we leave for Croatia.

Absolutely! If you want to spend longer in this stunning slice of paradise, why not jump on our optional Plitvice Lakes extension package (not included in challenge costs)?

Instead of flying back with our main group on Day 5, our trusted local partner in Croatia will take you to the amazing Plitvice Lakes National Park. You'll spend two days relaxing and exploring the waterfalls, caves and lakes, world-famous for their beauty. Then on Day 7, you'll be transported to the airport for your arranged flight home. We'll send you the full details, including the price, once you're registered for the challenge.

If you'd like to book a place on the optional extension for an additional price, please give us a call on 01590 646410 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm) or email us at bookings@dream-challenges.com at least 17 weeks before the challenge and we'll be happy to help.

Alternatively, if you would like to extend your stay in Croatia, but would not like to partake in the optional extension, we can arrange this for you. Please get in touch on the email or phone number above to discuss your options at least 17 weeks before the challenge.

Travel Insurance
You will need to take out your own personal travel insurance covering health, accident, loss and repatriation. Please arrange your insurance as soon as you can after you sign up to ensure you have coverage for your booking as well as the challenge.

In your Welcome Pack, you will receive information about an insurance provider that specialises in our type of overseas challenges and also covers you for cancellation due to medically-diagnosed COVID-19.

You can, however, take out your own insurance, providing it covers you for a charity trek in Croatia. Please ask the insurer about the nature of the cover. It is your responsibility to ensure you have adequate coverage for your challenge.

Please ask the insurer about the nature of the cover. It is your responsibility to ensure you have adequate coverage for your charity trek.

Visa
Currently, UK citizens do not require a visa for Croatia, but we'll let you know if this changes before the challenge in 2023.

There will be around 20 participants in our group for Trek the Mountains of Croatia. You'll no doubt make a bunch of awesome new friends!

As we're not medically trained, we're afraid we can't offer you advice on this. We recommend you contact your GP or your local travel clinic, who will have the latest travel health advice.

We also recommend you visit the NHS Fit for Travel website here, to keep up to date with current travel health news and advice on staying healthy abroad.

NHS Fit for Travel website: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home

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