When we talk about active health or life, it is well-known that a regular and brisk walk can act favourable on the prolonging of one’s life time and on the prevention of a number of illnesses.
The Dalmatia-Zadar region, with the city of Zadar as its centre, known for its monumental heritage, as well as the works of modern architecture such as the globally known Sea Organ and Greeting to the Sun, is easily accessible by land, sea and air transport, with its fertile hinterland, the Nin and Biograd coastal riviera and indented island archipelago it represents an ideal natural ambience for both simple and more complex health tourism programmes.
Amongst the more popular destinations are of course the national parks of Paklenica and Northern Velebit, and the River Zrmanja River.
The Paklenica National Park, whose recognisable symbols are the Velika and Mala Paklenica canyons, vertical carved into the southern slopes of the Velebit mountain, which in 1978 was included in the network of international biospheres reserves of UNESCO, is connected by many educational and trekking trails and is suitable for enjoying the most diverse forms of active and adventure tourism. Paklenica is a European climbing centre whose rocks rise up to 400 metres in places. The climbing area has almost 400 climbing routes of varying difficulties and lengths, and the climbing season lasts from early spring to late autumn.
Fans of adrenaline activities will enjoy rafting through the waterfalls and the rapids of the impressive River Zrmanja canyon, created by millennia of erosion by the river on its way to the sea through the hard carbonate substrate.
Lovers of walking have 150 kilometres of arranged hiking trails, whilst those on two wheels can enjoy a ride through the largest cycling road network in Croatia. As many as 96 standardised and classified cycling routes of a total length of 3,200 kilometres will win over everyone with their unusual visual experience of the combination of mountain and sea sections.
Hiking and alpinism, trekking, rafting, kayaking, caving, diving, birdwatching, cycling, hunting and fishing tourism, paddle boarding, kiting, kitesurfing and windsurfing are just one part of the rich offer of this region. And when it comes to trekking, the Škraping Tkon race on the island of Pašman has developed into a unique attractive international race for all ages over the island’s sharp rocks.
The Zadar archipelago, with its more than 200 islands and islets, is ideal for diving and sailing, especially when we take into consideration the fact that Zadar represents the door to the Kornati National Park. This is an impressive labyrinth of 89 islands, islets and reefs, at the same time the most indented island group in the Mediterranean. The many Kornati dry stone walls bear witness to the centuries-old and painstaking struggle of man with nature in the effort to preserve life on the poor land. In modern times this nautical paradise has become the ideal place to escape from stress and reality.
After intensive activities, rest and relaxation are offered at the wellness centres of hotels in Zadar, Biograd na Moru, Starigrad Paklenica, the island of Pag or in Petrčane with indoor and outdoor swimming pools, fitness centres and gymnastic areas.
When we talk about the Zadar region as a health tourism destination we must mention Pag, an island of fascinating “lunar” landscapes with the most indented coastline in the Adriatic Sea, where sandy and pebble beaches are intertwined with kilometres of dry stone walls and old olive groves. The symbols of the island are Pag sheep’s cheese, known as one of the best in the world, lamb meat, lace and salt.
On Pag you can run, walk, go cycling, as well as experience the fierce Bura wind. This specific northern wind raises tiny particles of seawater and creates aerosol that acts favourable on the respiratory organs offering asthma sufferers momentary relief. The hills of Pag are also covered in indigenous medicinal plants and so a walk on the hill trails during the flowering season presents a special natural aromatherapy experience.
The highly concentrated seawater created by the natural evaporation in the pools of the Pag saltworks is suitable for the treatment of various skin and rheumatic illnesses, whilst Pag’s therapeutic mud has been treating the people of Pag and its guest for centuries. Therefore, many quite rightly call the island of Pag – the Island of Health.
The town of Nin, the historical Croatian town where from the 7th to the 10th centuries kings and bishops lived and ruled, has been known since Roman times as the destination of the rich therapeutic mud not far from the famous sandy beach of Kraljičina. In that time Nin was known as Aenona and was proud of its forum, amphitheatre and viaduct. For decades Nin’s mud has been used for the treatment of various health problems such as rheumatic illnesses, spinal deformations, locomotor system problems, female infertility and various skin conditions.
Biograd na Moru, once the coronation town of the Croatian kings, today is a tourist and nautical destination surrounded by several nature and national parks. In Biograd there is an eminent specialised institution for orthopaedics with an 80-year tradition, known for its innovative procedures and physical therapy programmes.