1. ABOUT CLDT
CLDT is national scenic long distance hiking trail that connects easternmost, northernmost, westernmost and southernmost points of Croatia. Trail length is approximately 2200 km (1400 mi) and is fruit of CLDT Association’s (in further text CLDTA) labour modelled after famous long distance trails around the world.
CLDT consists of 3 sections (A, B & C) and is intended to be walked:
- in its entirety, end to end, as is stated on it’s emblem (thru hike Croatia) or
- in sections (at least one complete section, section hiking).
Hikers that plan to hike less than at least 1 complete section will not qualify for a finisher’s certificate nor will they be put into final hike statistics.
Hikers that plan to hike at least 7 or more days can count CLDTA’s support regarding the additional information about the trail. Day / weekend hikers will receive less priority than thru hikers but can still count on CLDTA’s support regarding hike information.
2. HIKING THE CLDT (ORIENTATION & NAVIGATION)
CLDT should be walked with assistance of mobile application called Guthook Guides. You can either buy the whole trail package or buy the desired section package. As the trail is still in the making, marking the trail is in the process, meaning that future hikers should rely on mobile app to hike the trail.
Basic trail marker will be trail’s emblem, 10 cm (approx. 3.93 in) in radius. It will not have an orienteering purpose but rather it will serve as a basic information stating that you are still on the trail. Unclear and problematic intersections will be marked with our trail blaze (vertical yellow line 10cm / 3.93in in length). All other markings you’ll see on the trail are not directly related to CLDT – those are regular trail markers used by Croatian mountaineering association (red-white circles and stripes), Croatian Forestry Service markers & labels, labels for bike and / or horse paths..
CLDT is not a purpose built trail with well-groomed walking trails. While creating the trail we used existing trails, paths and roads. On your CLDT adventure you will walk on all types of terrain, maintained mountain trails, wild trails, hard rock terrains of Dalmatia, forest roads, fields, gravel roads and sometimes on asphalt roads. We know that walking on asphalt is irritating and unattractive but on some parts of the trail there was no other option. As trail is still in the making we plan to minimise asphalt section in near future so potential hikers can have a more enjoyable experience hiking the CLDT.
4. RESUPPLY (FOOD & WATER)
CLDT passes through or near many settlements so resupply should not pose a problem. By using the Guthook Guides mobile application you can see the waypoints indicating where grocery stores and water sources are but you can always ask people in settlements for water.
Some CLDT sections take you through the wilderness for days so you need to be make sure you have enough food & water resources until the next settlement or water source.
It is important to note that most of resupply points are located off-trail.
Croatian law states that camping is not allowed but bivouacs are allowed if you are unable to get to the shelter before the nightfall. If you follow our simple instructions you will certainly have no problem with the police or locals.
Do not place your tent in or near settlements, on farmland or private property that is enclosed or marked with the words “PRIVATAN POSJED”, “PRIVATNI POSJED”, “PRIVATE PROPERTY” or something similar. You can set up your tent outside of settlements and busy roads, wherever you find a suitable surface to do so as most locals & police won’t bother going further than the road.
We have marked suitable places to camp in our mobile application but if you find alternatives we welcome you to mark the waypoints in the application and give us feedback so we can review and incorporate them for all other application users to see.
Many of the mountains are equipped with mountaineering facilities that Croatian mountaineering association builds and maintains. There are mountain lodges, houses and shelters. Shelters are smaller, open-type facilities, not equipped with food or drinks but there is usually water next to or near them. Mountain houses are open occasionally and if open they are usually stocked with drinks. Mountain huts are open only on weekends (some are open seven days a week during the summer) but even when closed they often have a winter room (small shelter) which is open all the time. If open, they are equipped with food and drinks or just drinks. Overnight stay at mountain huts or mountain houses is charged by a fee decided upon by the mountaineering association that runs & maintains the hut / house. These facilities usually have a fireplace that you can use to light a fire or warm the room.
If you want to spend the night in tourist facilities (hotel, hostel, private accommodation, official campsite..), you can find information about them in our mobile app, but contacts & reservation you will have to do by yourself.
Do not light fires, use your gas stove to prepare food.
Croatia doesn’t have a large selection of shops where you can buy outdoors equipment. Stores that do stock outdoors equipment sell mostly basic equipment meant for weekend hiking. Therefore it is our recommendation that you bring with you all the equipment you plan to use on the trail and use local outdoor shops only if you break or lose something.
Walking the CLDT is based on mutual trust. When hiker reports to us that he or she has hiked the entire trail or at least one complete section CLDTA will not check the validity of such claim. CLDTA has no way of verifying this statement, so certificate representing the completition of entire trail or at least one section will be issued (if requested). We believe in good and fair nature of people that hike the trails.
As a CLDT finisher you can receive a medal and a special t-shirt as a memento of your thru hike but you will have to pay the manufacturing fee for the medal and t-shirt. CLDT is a non-profit organisation in its early stages and for now does not have a budget for the production of such goodies.
8. DANGERS ON THE CLDT
Each climate and environment has its own peculiarities; while walking the CLDT you will surely encounter phenomena that might be new to you. In order to prevent unpleasant situations here are some examples of dangers you might encounter while hiking the trail:
- bees, wasps and hornets,
- scorpions (Istria and Dalmatia),
- Black Widow spiders (Istria and Dalmatia),
- Nose-horned Viper,
- wild animals (bear, wolf, lynx, wild boar, deer) (no reported cases of wild animals attacking humans),
- livestock (cattle, horses, goats, rams, pigs),
- heat (dehydration, sunburn, heat stroke),
- burra – a strong wind that occasionally blows, sometimes even for days. In winter months it can be so strong that it completely prevents walking (from Grobnik to Prevlaka),
- wildfires (Dalmatia),
- traffic – on paved roads.
9. EMERGENCY SITUATIONS
While hiking there is always a possibility that you will encounter life-threatening situations (injury, illness, loss of equipment, etc). In such cases you should call the emergency number (112) which will connect you to necessary services (police, ER or Croatian Mountaineering Rescue Service). Also, you can always contact CLDTA via telephone, email or Facebook. Our members will their best to help you with advice or try to resolve a specific problem on trail.
10. TRAIL ANGELS
Trail angels are people who usually live near the trail route and volunteer to be available to hikers as logistical support. They usually offer transportation by car (shuttle) to nearest resupply point (which are usually away from the trail), food & drinks on the trail (trail magic) or accommodation (bed, shower, washing the clothes). Trail angels do these things voluntarily and out of their own pocket so it’s always polite to offer some kind of compensation in return (gas money, etc).
As the whole concept of long distance trails is new in Croatia trail angels community is pretty basic for now but we are sure that in coming years things will change. You can get contacts & locations of trail angels from the CLDT.
Also, there is a Facebook community for CLDT trail angels located here https://www.facebook.com/groups/222867448463385/.