Dalmatia – Zadar Region

Dalmatia – Zadar Region

A diversity of terrain for a magical cycling experience combined with the Mediterranean and mountain landscape

Apart from the healthy way of life and movement with a great feeling of freedom, cycling is surely one of the best ways of exploring a place and the most secluded corners of nature. The Zadar region offers many possibilities – from visits to distant villages and hamlets of the Dalmatian karst, through attractive mountain passes to riding over fields along narrow drystone walls, olive groves and macchia all the way to picturesque, isolated island beaches or faraway sources of karst rivers.

 

The recognisable symbol of the cyclotourist product of the region Zadar Bike Magic offers 3,000 kilometres of cycling routes in three categories depending on your motivation for cycling, the type of terrain and bike. It is possible to choose from 46 MTB, 21 road and 20 trekking and family cycling routes. The first are for those who are looking for the excitement and challenge of off-road riding, the second for more advanced cyclists ready for a longer ride and conquering the ascents, whilst the third are for those who are ready for a tour of the surroundings by bike or setting off on a short leisurely circuit or a visit to a nearby beach with their children.

 

Zadar Bike Magic also offers bike’friendly accommodation facilities, specialised cyclotourist agencies and sites for bike rental and repairs, as well as the buying of cycling equipment. For a simpler search for the cycling route of your choice, as well as a safer and easier trip on the ground, the Zadar Bike Magic mobile app with GPX data is on offer with a map of each of the three categories of cycling routes.

Zoran Jelača

For those who want to experience the beauty of riding down three really special karst beauties – the rivers Zrmanja, Krupa and Krnjeza with the most beautiful views of the Zrmanja canyon or the mouth of the Krnjeza into the Krupa and the Krupa monastery, the 34.4 km long circular MTB 12 - Zrmanja 1 route is recommended with a total ascent of 734 m.

For more physically prepared cyclists for whom long uphill climbs do not present a big problem and who like an attractive ride on macadam roads, the Master’s Road built in 1832 will be a challenge. It will forever remain the first road that connected continental Croatia with Dalmatia over Velebit the largest Croatian mountain. Today it has the status of a historical road and a Croatian cultural asset, and it links the municipalities of Lovinac and Jasenice. Via the demanding route MTB 04 – Velebit 3, 51 km long with a total uphill of 1,268 m comes the wonderfully beautiful karst phenomena of Southern Velebit – Tulove Grede (1,120 m) with masses of stone towers, sinkholes, columns and fissures. The ascent and descent on macadam is long and technically demanding, with no shade or source of water on the way, however, it has an unforgettable panorama of the natural beauty of this region, of which the mouth of the River Zrmanja into the Novigrad Sea is very special.

 

The larger islands of the Zadar archipelago Pag, Dugi Otok, Ugljan, Pašman and Vir are made for cycling thanks to their length, indented coastlines, good connection with the mainland and a moderately low configuration of the terrain in comparison with other Adriatic islands. For road cycling fans a really large number of asphalt roads are available. On the other hand, the islands’ off-road and MTB cycling trails are well signposted or mapped, and pass over wonderfully beautiful landscapes.

 

For longer, panoramic road cycling a fantastic experience is riding on the islands of Ugljan and Pašman. Connecting them is the ROAD 7 – Ugljan and Pašman route, 71.1 km long with a total ascent of 182 m. It is easy to get to both islands by ferry, although it necessary to get to know the sailing times because the ferry needs to be used twice. It is a circular route: By ferry Zadar – Preko (Ugljan), then by bridge from Ugljan to Pašman over the Ždrelac narrow sea passage and back to the mainland with the ferry Tkon (Pašman) – Biograd na Moru and the Dalmatian Hinterland for the return part to Zadar.

For those who want to make a tour of an entire Adriatic island and have the view from its highest points on the southern part of the island of Pag and the Zadar archipelago, a great choice would be the circular route of the island of Vir, MTB 19 – Vir, 27.5 km long with a total ascent of 215 m.

 

Dugi Otok justifies its name (dugi – long, otok - island) because it is 44.5 km long. There is only one road which connects all the places on the island which is extremely practical for easy orientation and a cycling tour of its unique attractions from the north to the south: from the tallest lighthouse in the Adriatic – Veli Rat (42 m) from 1849, along one of the most famous beaches of the Adriatic – Sakarun to the Telašćica Nature Park with the safest cove and natural harbour in the Adriatic, the tallest cliffs (up to 160 m) and a saltwater lake.

 

For the most ambitious cyclists the road tour of the whole length of the island of Pag, down its southern and northern part, is a challenge. From Pag bridge to Lun, the home of the oldest living olive trees in the world is more than 60 kilometres in one direction, with unique views, plus there are frequent places for a break and refreshment.

 

The hinterland with the fertile Ravni Kotari and rocky Bukovica offers a network of good asphalt roads made for road cycling, and the ideal way to get to know it is by using the circular route ROAD 8 – Benkovac 1, 75.1 km long with a total ascent of 900 m. It runs from Benkovac to Obrovac down the ancient Roman roads along “the smallest sea in the world” - the Karin Sea and the picturesque and winding roads above the grandiose canyon of the River Zrmanja.

 

Biograd na Moru and its nearby surroundings offer cycling fans numerous possibilities. The circular route T&F 03 – Biograd na Moru, 22.7 km long with a total ascent of 78 m, leads to the largest natural lake in Croatia – Lake Vrana. In 1999 it was declared a nature park with about 235 noted bird species and it is Croatia’s true ornithological paradise within reach of the sea. For those ready for a somewhat longer and more demanding ride on macadam roads a challenge and great pleasure is the route around Lake Vrana, a short one of 34 km and a longer at 48 km, with the possibility of turning off to a vantage point such as Kamenjak near Vrana and a visit to the info points of the nature park Prosika and Crkvina.

Vedran Metelko / TZŽ Zadar

The royal town of Nin is widely known for its salt fields, sandy beaches, the smallest cathedral in the world, the Church of the Holy Cross from the 9th century, the therapeutic mud, its diverse bird life, its excellent campsites, the excellent wind for kitesurfing and much, much more. The beautiful and easy route T&F 07 - Nin 1, 12.6 km long and almost flat, is ideal for families with children. It leads from Nin towards Privlaka, with a flat peninsula surrounded by the sea, along beautiful beaches with views on all sides and the opportunity for swimming in the warm shallow sea.

The Zadar region offers quality and proven values of the cyclotourist product with the carefully singled out features and diversities of the region.

Set off on an exploration and experience the magical feeling of freedom on a bike!