European Summit Challenge
Croatia - Dinara 1830m

Last updated September 2011

Often the name Veliki Troglav at 1913m, appears in list as Croatia's highest point. This is in fact an error. Troglav in fact lies half a kilometre over the countries boarder in neighbouring Bosnia.

Location : Croatia's true high point, Dinara (aka Sinjal), is located on the limestone ridge of the Dinaric Alps, set 16Km back from the sea, near the city of Knin in Šibnik an Knin County, Dalmatia. The southern face of the ridge is steep, barren and craggy, whilst the northern side slopes more gently into the hinterland and Bosnia.

Climate : Extremely hot dry during the summer, temperatures in Knin frequently top 40 °C plus. In such heat the views become hazy. In the winter there will be heavy snow on the mountain which can last well into late spring. The Bura, a strong northerly wind, can blow walkers off their feet in early spring and early autumn.

Geology : This is karst country, the limestone extremely porous and you need to carry every drop of water that you'll need. The water that does fall swiftly finds it's way underground into naturally reservoirs that eject whole rivers into the valleys. The most famous of these is the Krka, which flows out into the sea at Šibnik. This most spectacular river and it's environs lie protected in the Krka National Park. A day here spent exploring the travertine waterfalls is one well spent.



Warning : Knin was a Serb strong hold during the Yugoslavian conflict of the 1990s, and very heavy fighting took place here towards the war's end in 1995. Much of the region remains off limits due to the extensive use of landmines.

In August 2005, the Hrvatski Planinarski Savez (Croatian Mountaineering Association) gave me the following advice:

Blue Route, Suvo Poljie to Sinjal Brezovac Route : From Knin (Village of Guge) via the Brezovac Hut to the summit, there are no landmine zones and if you follow mountaineering marks on trees or stones there are not any problems. The Brezovac hut can be reached by high clearance 4x4 (from Knin ~ 18 km), normal cars must be left at the plateau of Suvo Polje (not to be confused with Suho Polje) and walk the dirt road ~90 minutes to the hut. From Brezovac hut it is a further 2 hours to the summit.(Route 1 on the Smand Map)

Red Route, Route of Virtual Tour, Glavaš to Sinjal. Glavas Route : You can reach the top from Glavas village (6 km along a good road from village Kijevo on Knin – Split road), in around 4 hours walking, also absolutely safe route. (Route 3 on the Smand Map)


Magenta Route, Suho Poljie to Sinjal West Face Route: The HPS gave no advice on the summit’s third route beginning at Suho Polje (Route 2 on the Smand Map). This 4/5 hour route tackles Dinara in a steep ascent up the mountain’s impressive southern face and involves the highest climb of all three routes.


WAY-MARKINGS


Mountain footpaths in Croatia are marked by local mountaineering clubs with a nationally recognised system of markers.

The most common is a red circle with white centre painted on rocks, walls, and trees. Arrows in a similar style are also used to help aid direction, especially when there is a change or possible uncertainty. Red circles without white centres should be ignored as these are likely to be forestry markings.

Two parallel bands of red paint separate by a band of white paint is a common alternative used to indicate the route.

A red or white painted cross indicates that there will shortly junction of way-marked paths.

You will also encounter the place names with approximate hiking times painted in the same red and white.

Route Mark
Route Mark
Route Mark

Map Naklada SMAND d.o.o. produce the only walking map currently available of the area. The scale 1:30,000, contours are at 20m intervals, and way-marked routes to the summit of Dinara are traced in red. Many bookshops are slow to stock the map, so you may have to shop around. Try the bigger book stores in Zagreb, Croatia's capital city, or write direct to;

Naklada SMAND d.o.o., Varazdinska ul. 92, Cargovec, 42205 Vidovec

Tel./Fax.: 042/741 433


I have located two English language guide books to the mountains of Croatia;

Cicerone Press' 2004 "Walking in Croatia" by Rudolf Abraham. ISBN 1-85284-406-X and "The Mountains along the Croatian Coast" by Dr. Zeljko Poljak, Školska Knjiga, d.d., Zagreb, 2002. ISBN 953-0-61547-7.

Both books are very good and contain handy information for those wishing to explore the country's mountainous landscape, but neither cover Dinara. Dr Poljak's book appears only to be avialable in Croatia, but please ask your local book stores.


The following mountain related words will aid your understanding of croatian maps and more.

Features & Structures

Features & Structures

Weather

Misc.

Autobusna postaja - Bus stop
Brijeg - Hill
Cesta - Road
Crkva - Church
Dolina - Valley
Dom - House, Lodge
Drvo - Tree
Gore - Up, Hill, Mountain
Grad - Town, City
Greben - Ridge, Crest
Izvor - Spring, River source
Jezero - Lake
Kamen - Stocne, Rock
Klanac - Gorge
Kuca. a - House
Kuk - Rock Tower

Livada - Meadow
Most - Bridge
Otok - Island
Planina - Mountain
Polje - Field
Put - Trail, Path
Selo - Village
Sklonište - Hut
Slap - Waterfall
Smjer - Route
Stijena - Rock Face
Šuma - Wood
Voda - Water
Vrh - Peak, Top
Željeznica - Railway

Kiša - Rain
Led - Ice
Magla - Fog
Oblak - Cloud
Snijeg - Snow
Sunce - Sun
Vjetar - Wind

Bijeli - White
Crni - Black
Zelen - Green
Žut -Yellow

Istok - East
Jug - South
Sjever - North
Zapad - West

Mali - Little
Veliki - Great, Big

Novi - New
Stari - Old


Please note that the final letter of a Croatian adjective will change to match the gender of the noun it describes, e.g., mali (little) may become mala kuca (little house). On maps, adjectives such as mali and veliki are often abbreviated to the first letter, e.g. M. Ucka (The name of a village in Istria).


Gorska Služba Spašavanja (GSS) is the Croatian name for the Mountain Rescue Service. In the event of an accident or someone getting lost, they can be contacted either through a manned mountain hut, or via the police, Tel. 92. It is planned to change this number in future to 112.


Hotels & Hostels : Knin is the nearest town of significant size to Dinara. In fact it is possible to make an ascent of the mountain from this town. Despite it's magnificent fortress, Knin is not a tourist destination, and therefore accommodation is short on the ground. You will have better luck seeking accommodation in the coastal city of Šibnik.

Mountain Huts : The original Planinski Sklonište Brezovac, situated on Dinara's main ridge, was burnt down during the 1990's war. It was rebuilt in 2004. In August 2005, the Hrvatski Planinarski Savez told me the hut is open over weekends, but to check before going with the hut’s warden Mr. Perica Simic (mobile: 00386 91 8913506). It may also be possible to make a midweek booking.

Camping : Wild camping in Croatia is frowned upon and in many places forbidden due to the associated risk of starting wild fires.


By Air : British Airways and other European flag carriers fly direct to Zagreb Airport (Croatia's capital city), and the closer Split Airport . For those with more time to travel and less money to spare, the budget airlines fly to Trieste in Italy and Klagenfurt in Austria. You'll then need to travel by rail, bus or car to Knin (the closest town to Dinara), or Šibnik if staying for a longer period.

By Road : In the summer of 2005 the new Zagreb / Split highway opened cutting down the time to reach this once distant region. There is a toll charged for use of this highway.

For those relying on public transport, check out coach times from the coach stations in Zagreb, Split, and the country's second city Rijeka.

By Rail : Zagreb, Split, Knin and Šibnik are all on the Croatian rail network run by Hrvatske Zeljeznice.


The Croatian Tourist Board Website has useful fact about travelling to Croatia.

The Dalmation Tourist Board Website has a climbing link and may help with other travel arangements.

The Hrvatski Planinarski Savez (Croatian Mountaineering Association) Website has some limited by useful contents in English and links,