Its been a while since I came back from Croatia,that was back in 2015, but I wanted to put down a tad more info than a few lines on a place that felt pretty special and worth a visit.

Croatia is not really on the map for UK climbers yet, but there is a ton to offer. It’s further than Spain, but different, and just as easy, and as cheap. The venue of Paklenica is most heard about and is great, but the island of Havr is well worth a trip. Perfect for a summer family trip, we combined beaches and walking and I squeezed in a tiny amount of climbing between endless snorkeling. It’s hot in August, but drop a grade and enjoy everything. Or maybe go in September/October, or even January if friction is essential to go with crystal clear blue skies.
Highlight was staying at Cliffbase, a ‘climbers style’ set of apartments built into the base of the cliff. Though apartments isn’t really the best description, it’s kind of a mountain hut, right by the sea, but a smart one. With a few double rooms with shared kitchen and a few small flats with own kitchen the whole place accommodates only a small number of people, probably 15-20 max. And it’s situated on its own little beach and harbor, well away from the village (10 mins rough hike away), and well away from anyone and anything. Climbers from other accommodation can visit for the day, but most of the time you’ll feel like you are on your own private luxury resort, with no light pollution and only the stars to stare at and the sound of lapping water.


Behind your comfortable bed lies a ton of routes through a good grade spread. The owner and manager, Miro, placed 3000+ bolts to give 4’s right through to 8a+. Routes are never slabby or really steep, tending around the vertical to slightly overhanging on good rock. Technical stuff, lots on the feet. But it’s all about the whole package here. It’s the closest I’ve been to Thailand with only a 2.5hr £180 Ryanair flight away. It’s all about being warm all the time, great food, peace and quiet, awesome climbing right off the beach, and snorkeling as a warm down. It’s about sitting on the rooftop watching shooting stars, eating fish and drinking too much wine for lunch. It’s about no cars and no people and no bussle and no stress. We were only there 4 days (because that was the only availability) but we could easily have stayed for way longer.
And if you climb everything at Cliffbase (quite a challenge!) there are other great crags around too, notably Vehla Stiniva about 45 mins drive away. However, for a real experience of relaxation maybe the way to go is to avoid the car hire, fly to Split, take the ferry as a foot passenger to Havr and let Miro pick you up and take you to his little slice of paradise. It may be Europe, but it took me much further away.

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