Velika Promina, 1148m
Day 5 in Croatia, and Anne and I checked out from our hotel in Knin the day after visiting Dinara – the highest mountain in Croatia. The original plan was to visit the neaby peak Bat (1206m), but then Anne and I decided to go for the more prominent mountain Velika Promina instead (no pun intended). We were aware of the fact that there was a huge installation on top of this mountain, so access to the very summit point might not be possible.
The plan was to follow the mountain road servicing the installation on top, so we drove to the village Lisnjak (on the southwest side) and found the start of the road. We spoke to a local who said it was perfectly normal to drive up the gravel road. In general, I don’t like driving small rental cars on rough gravel roads abroad. A flat tire could be costly, both in time and money. Anne doesn’t share my concern to the same degree, so I agreed to drive a bit upwards and see how the road turned out. But after 0,35km, the road got worse and Anne agreed that we might just as well park the car and proceed on foot. In retrospect, it was just a short pitch that was of really bad quality. The rest of the road seemed to be of OK gravel standard.
We parked the car and headed up along the mountain road. The recent and nearby thunder didn’t bother any of us, as it didn’t seem to head our way. After 0,7km we took a 0,265km short-cut through the forest. As we rejoined the road, the path continued into the forest. This path was signposted “Planinarski Dom Promina“, and as a) we didn’t know where this hut was located, and b) the path seemed to head in the wrong direction, we decided to stick to the road.
After a series of switchbacks we arrived at at fork with signposts to “Planinarski Dom Promina” pointing both ways. Still not having a clear picture on the local geography, we stuck with the road.
When we finally found the “Dom” hut, it was located approx.. where I had assumed it would be, based on the last signpost. It was closed. I suppose the tourist season hadn’t started yet. We took a short break before we continued up the road.
Soon after leaving “dom”, we noticed a trail signposted “Cavnoka Vrh”. We figured this was a path leading up to the summit and decided to follow it. The path was easy to follow and after a while we exited of the forest, and 10 minutes later we stood at the summit marker.
There was a building with a fence around near the summit marker, and there was an installation a bit further to the north. I planned to go over there in case this was not the highest point, but then we were paid a visit by two workers who told us that we were on the highest point. They seemed to enjoy talking to two tourist finding their way up to this mountain.
After a long chat with the two guys, it was time to move on.We followed the same route back to “the Dom”. From the hut, we followed another path northwest towards a dry river, before it turned and joined the mountain road at the fork mentioned earlier. This was a much shorter route; 0,8km versus the 2,6km pitch along the road.
The rest of the hike back to the trailhead was quite uneventful. The total distance (incl. some back and forth) was 12,6km and the vertical gain was 620m. Total time was 3h:20m.
We were now setting the course towards Starigrad on the coast, and on the way we passed the Roski Slap National Park. A poster picture of an amazing waterfall made us choose to pay the entrance fee and go see the waterfall with our own eyes. Perhaps we misunderstood the concept. Apparently, one has to take the boat to see this waterfall clearly, and if so; was it included in the price, and when did the boat leave? When we didn’t find any answers to our questions we decided to leave the park and move on. I didn’t like this park anyway. We were met by eager park employees already before we had park the car. It was just … too tourist-ish…
Having a strong feeling that we got little value for our entrance fee, we continued our journey towards Starigrad. We spent most of our driving time in Croatia on narrow, local roads. I enjoyed this form of driving much more than steaming down the motorway. This is the way to see Croatia. And if we had been on the motorway, we would never have passed the odd town of Obrovac. This town was as far from “cosy” as you can get, with lots of police cars and the ruins of an old fortress.
A bit later, we arrived at Starigrad – where the standard looked much higher. Clearly a tourist town. We stopped by the National Park entrance and did some research on our goal for the next day – Vaganski Vrh – one of the highest peaks in Croatia. Then we drove into town and checked into Hotel Vicko – a very nice hotel with only one problem; the temperature had sky-rocketed to 30 degrees and the air condition in the room did not work.
But the dinner was indeed memorable and this evening ended on a very good note…
Pictures from the day: