November 6, 2020 – Is there a better way to get to know the beauty of Croatia than with physical recreation? To help you successfully combine pleasure and exercise, we present a list of the top 10 best running routes in Croatia.
Whether you are a lover of tranquility, nature, and fresh air, or are amazed by the winding roads along the rivers or the beautiful views from the mountain tops, in these top 10 best running routes, everyone will find something for themselves. From Slavonia and Zagorje, through Istria, Kvarner, and Lika, all the way to Dalmatia, RunCroatia collected the top 10 running routes in Croatia, described and photographed by the running enthusiasts themselves.
1. Bošana, Pag
Running in the company of a flock of sheep
Text and photos: Alan Sinovčić
My favorite running track is on the island of Pag, on the old (mostly macadam) road from Pag to Novalja. The trail starts in Bošana, a part of the Pag town that is very easy to reach – you go north from the city and then take the road by the sea.
About a kilometer after the last houses in Pag begins Bošana, a small secluded place, special for the forest with which it is covered. After about another kilometer and a half, you will reach the end of Bošana where you will notice a sign indicating a special reserve of forest vegetation. There is a small parking lot where you can leave your car and go down a little lower along the way to see the beautiful beach Rozin bok.
The first kilometer and a half runs through the woods along the paved road to Sveta Marija, a place with several houses. After Sveta Marija, the path continues on the macadam. On the left side, there is a very steep path to the highest peak in Pag, Sveti Vid (351 m), and on the right side, there is a view of some wonderful beaches, among which is the beach Paška vrata, and Velebit mountain. After a little over two kilometers, on the right, there is a standard spot for photography and a sign for the 15th meridian that passes there.
Another place with just a few houses follows – Sveti Marko. The trail continues along with many coves and beaches, out of which the 750-meter-long Filino beach should be specially noted. Part of the road to Filino beach is the “hardest” – it is about 500 meters of an easy ascent. This is followed by a slight descent towards the Camp Sveti Duh.
On the left, you will pass an old pit for digging sand, and in that part, you can even expect frequent encounters with flocks of sheep. The end of this part of the trail is windy. First, there is an ascent (arrival at the paved part), and then a descent to the entrance to the camp.
The one-way trail is 7 km long. For those who want more length, I suggest that they run the road Pag – Novalja above the camp and continue on macadam roads to Gajec, an apartment complex near Novalja, which will add another 5 kilometers in one direction.
2. Dramalj, Crikvenica
For early morning lovers
Text and photo: Pero Petra
This trail goes by the sea without big ascents. The best time to go is in the morning because it’s in the shade. After one kilometer, you come to Kačjak, a small peninsula that has a trim track and is designed as a sports complex. The view overlooks Krk, Klimno Bay, and the gently sunny completely calm sea in the early morning called „bonaca“. The circle along the peninsula can be extended. You can go back towards the beginning, towards Jadranovo along the new road or towards the beginning and along the coast to Selce.
This trail offers something for everyone. Whoever finds themselves in the Crikvenica town, this route is great. It’s best when you meet a team coming back from a night out!
3. Kamenjak Cape, Premantura, Istria
Where the dinosaurs walked
Text and photos: Domagoj Kranjčec
The Kamenjak peninsula is located in the southernmost part of Istria. The smell of medicinal herbs and salt, the buzzing of bees, and the murmur of the sea on Kamenjak can best be experienced in early spring and late summer. Almost 100 million years ago, dinosaurs walked through Kamenjak, and today in the summer months, it is full of walkers, runners, cyclists, and cars. Cape Kamenjak is full of macadam roads, narrow roads, and bike paths.
A circle of 15-20 kilometers from about 150 meters above sea level can be achieved by connecting Gornji and Donji Kamenjak. If your start is in the center of Premantura (near the church and the tower), head north in the direction of Pula. One hundred meters from the sign to leave Premantura, turn slightly to the left and continue along the macadam road, slowly ascending to the top of Gornji Kamenjak, where there is a large cross.
From this place, there is a beautiful view of Pula and Volme to the north, Pomer, and Medulin to the east and Cape Kamenjak to the south. Head back downhill 100 meters and turn right first to run with a view of the open sea on the west side, and again emerge on the famous path that takes you back to the very entrance to Premantura.
After the sports field, turn right onto the paved road that leads to the official entrance to Kamenjak (house with a ramp). Next, you have several trails to the cape, and my recommendation is to head towards the bay Polje and then along the narrow roads all the time running along the sea to visit the remaining bays to the Safari bar. Here you can share a gravel road with cars or cross the east side of Kamenjak to get back to the center of Premantura and your starting point.
4. Slavonski Brod, along the Sava River
Along the most beautiful Croatian river beach and square
Text and photos: Boris Predmerski
Polojska cesta (Poloj road) in Slavonski Brod, named after one of the most beautiful river beaches in Croatia – Poloj (eng. field), is an unavoidable route for all recreationists and runners. The informal start of the running route is at the Vijuš sports hall complex and the city swimming pools located right next to the Sava River. It has a large parking lot, as well as an excellent plateau for warming up.
The route starts from the pool and goes through the Polojska cesta. The entire length is paved (but you can also run on grassy terrain along the trail), runs along the entire length of the Sava River, more specifically along the beautiful rafting street. Along the route, there is exercise equipment and a skate park.
From the pool to Poloj, the length is 2.5 km. There is a turn on Poloj, with the remark that you can also extend the route (we call it pockets) by circling around the cottages right next to a large sandy river beach. For those who want to spend more time in nature, they can run part of the way through the forest and feel a little trail atmosphere.
On the trail, there are three replicas of old Slavonian backyard water pumps and you do not need to carry refreshments with you.
You return on the same route to the pools where you end up running 5 km. But that’s not the end. If you want a longer length, continue along the Sava towards the bridge. Run along the beautiful Sava promenade (quay) to the bridge with a slightly shorter length of 2 km where you make a turn.
Along this part of the road, you will inevitably be accompanied by kayakers and walkers. You will run next to the baroque Franciscan monastery, next to Ivana Brlić Mažuranić Square, the main town square, which in 2006 received the Croatian National Tourist Board award for the most beautiful square in Croatia.
Under the bridge, you can turn back. You will be greeted by anchored riverboats and fishermen on one side, and on the other side by the baroque and magnificent Fortress ship. Going back, you will run less than 10km, but with the aforementioned pockets on the Poloj, you will have a dozen kilometers under your feet.
I mentioned the Fortress ship above – it is a racing story in itself. In the very center of the city, kilometers circle through the paths of the largest fortified baroque buildings in Croatia and one of the largest in Europe. Running through baroque casemates and fortress tunnels take you back to the 18th century when it was built. A unique “Cross in the Fortress”, as well as the “Slavonian Race” which starts and ends in the Fortress, are organized here.