We had heard about Velebit Nature Park after watching a video of the Trans Euro Trail by moToRAID. In the video, the rider, on his Yamaha XT660Z, passes through some pretty stunning areas – made even more dramatic with the beautiful drone footage.
However, after riding the entire length of the Trans Euro Trail ourselves, we didn’t experience many of the areas from the video. We yearned to ride through the towering limestone cliffs of this unique terrain for ourselves. After a bit of research, we found that much of the footage was filmed while riding along the Majstorska Cesta (Master’s Road). The Trans Euro Trail had recently been revised and no longer went through this region of Velebit Nature Park.
We planned a route that connected Majstorska Cesta from the Trans Euro Trail to the seaside city of Zadar.
From our wild camp site we continued north to finish the last stretch of the Trans Euro Trail, then continued westward in search of a satisfying breakfast, before making our way towards Majstorska Cesta.
As we headed west, the scenery began to gradually change from mountainous lightly-wooded evergreen trees to the large limestone rocky terrain covered with smaller bushes. The pavement also changed to a wide, well-groomed gravel road.
This region is perfect for riding an adventure motorcycle – especially a heavy one like the BMW R1250GS, Honda African Twin, or Ducati Multistrada. The only issues for new riders might be the gravel, a few tight switchbacks, and lack of guardrails.
The relatively easy traveling, unique scenery, and panoramic views of the Adriatic coast made the Majstorska Cesta worth the 38 km (24 mile) detour to experience this mountain access road, which was originally built from 1825-1832.
Riding past stone formations, towers, and pillars looked like something from a fairytale. Perhaps this is where dragons still live! Why not? After all, Croatia was the filming location for many scenes of the television series Game of Thrones.
As you travel around Croatia, you’re reminded of a difficult part of their history. This was a region of Europe that has experienced numerous wars throughout it’s turbulent past. The 20th century conflicts of WWI, WWII, Croatian War of Independence, and Bosnian War have left their impression upon the country. Abandoned military sites and villages, large land-mined areas, and war memorials are a common site in the backcountry.
During the Homeland Wars of 1991-1995 many Croatians volunteered to defend their newly independent country from Yugoslavian forces. One of these young men was Croatian policeman Damir Tomljanović Gavran.
Damir ended up fighting on many battlefields of the Homeland War. He rose to the rank of commander of the 1st Guard Brigade, before he was killed on February 17, 1994 on the slopes of Velebit.
We took a moment to think about how fragile life can be, and were extremely thankful for those who fight for freedom and the sovereignty of their country.
Near the base of the road, we descended down some wonderful switchbacks that were wide enough to easily maneuver, as long as we stayed focused on the road instead of the stunning views all around us.
Majstorska Cesta was definitely a wonderful stretch of roadway, especially during our September sunny day, with temperatures in the mid-80s (29°C).
We reached pavement just before crossing over the Sveti Rok Tunnel. The rest of the 52 km (32 miles) ride to Zadar was uneventful. After seven solid days of riding and camping, we were looking forward to a nice hot shower and relaxing for a bit.
Next Blog Post
Join us for the next blog post, were we explore the coastal city of Zadar, and go for a days ride through the unique landscape of Pag Island.
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21 Sep 2020