Much of the Northern Velebit comes under the protection of the Velebit National Park (Nacijonalni park Sjeverni Velebit). Best starting point for excursions is Zavižan, the peak at the northern end of the park where there is a car park and a mountain hut. Travelling between the park and the Zagreb–Split autocesta will take you through the logging village of Krasno and the bear sanctuary at Kuterevo. Although just outside the boundaries of the park, one of the Northern Velebit’s most breathtaking features is Zavratnica cove, on the coast near the pretty harbour of Jablanac.

Easily reached from the nearby road’s-end car park, smooth-topped Zavižan (1676m) is the principal peak of the Northern Velebit and offers fantastic views of the Kvarner Gulf and its islands. Below the peak is the highest meteorological station in Croatia, which also functions as a mountain hut and serves basic refreshments. A ten-minute walk south of the car park is the Velebit Botanical Garden (Velebitski botanički vrt), with a circular trail leading round a meadow planted with herbs and flowers typical of these highlands.

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