A Day Trip from Split, Croatia: Hiking Mosor

If you spend enough time in Split, eventually the surrounding mountains will start calling you to explore, and rightfully so…

Two weeks into our stay in the stunning seaside town, we met up with our local friend, Srđan, eager to retreat to the rugged mountains that so dramatically frame the metropolitan area around Croatia’s second-largest city.

On a sun-drenched Saturday morning, we piled into Srđan’s car, rolling partway up the mountain, Mosor, which forms part of Southern Europe’s Dinaric Alps. Parking at a spot that hinted at the extraordinary views ahead, we began our ascent on the rocky pathway. We occasionally bumped into other hikers, but the gentle climb was mostly quiet, allowing us to catch up with our friend, who is a wine connoisseur and owner of a popular wine & culinary-tour business.

During one break from the ascent, we heard a choir of church bells tolling on the hour. We were fascinated to learn that they had originated from the nearby island of Brač. It was incredible that the sound had clearly carried in such a dramatic fashion!

After winding along Mosor’s rocky paths, which were studded with flora featuring myriad textures and green hues, we eventually found our way into what Srđan had dubbed, “the Enchanted Forest.” We stopped at the Umberto Girometta mountain lodge, after being greeted by a lovable donkey with wooly hair. Chilled by the refreshingly-cool air, we downed a cup of steaming tea infused with fresh mountain herbs. At times, the donkey ambled over to our picnic table to say hi. He looked as though he’d just stepped out of the pages of a glossy Visit Croatia brochure.

As morning gave way to afternoon, more hikers arrived. We grabbed a table before the lodge became too packed, and stuffed ourselves with hearty traditional food alongside a green ceramic, wood-burning stove. After hiking in the crisp air, sauerkraut had never tasted so good. Shawn and Srđan feasted upon fažol, a bean stew that’s popular in this part of Croatia.

After lunch, we explored a marshy area around the lodge, strolling past a fiery-orange butterfly catching some rays on a boulder, and a pond inhabited by tadpoles. Before the winter sun began her slumber, we started our descent and ultimately returned to civilization.

Hiking Mountains near Split Croatia
A church off in the distance with Mosor (part of the Dinaric Alps) in the background.
Hiking Mosor Mountain Split Croatia

Hiking Mosor Split Croatia Skyline and Adriatic in Distance
Behold all that beautiful blue! A stunning view of Split and neighboring metropolitan areas awaits you during the climb. Marjan Hill, the so-called “Lungs of Split” and the island of Ciovo are just to the west of Split’s city center.
Hiking Mosor Mountain Split Croatia 2
This red, donut-like symbol let us know that we were headed in the right direction. Srđan joked that if it weren’t for this marker, he would still be lost in these mountains, following other trekking expeditions.
Hiking Mosor Looking at Split Skyline Croatia

Hiking Mosor near Split Croatia
Contemplating our next path while admiring the dramatic landscape around us.
Hiking Mosor Split Scenery 3

Hiking Mosor Split Scenery

Mosor Flora Hike Split Croatia

Mosor Flora Hike Split Croatia 2
Diamond-like droplets of dew twinkle on a succulent plant.
Hiking Mosor Split View of Planetarium Croatia
A planetarium off in the distance.
Mosor Flora Hike Split Croatia 3

Hiking Mosor Split Croatia 10

Mosor Hike Split Croatia Shawn by Donkey
The Umberto Girometta Mountain Hut where you can not only feast upon rustic, home-cooked fare, but also spend the night. Be on the lookout for the friendly donkey that’s never far from the stone building. Srđan aptly described the furry fellow as being loyal to the humans: for a moment he’d wandered off to graze in the sunlight. When I went to snap some pictures of him there, he followed me back to the lodge on my way back.
Umberto Girometta Mosor Split Croatia

Umberto Girometta Mosor

Hiking Mosor Mountain Split Croatia mountain tea and donkey
Tea made with mountain herbs (left), and the hut’s lovable donkey (right), that helps carry up supplies.
Hiking Mountains Mosor Hut with Donkey at Table

Mosor Dog Hike Split Croatia
This feisty dog was one of many canines that we spotted during our hike.
Hiking Mosor Donkey in Split Croatia

Hiking Mosor Split Croatia 5

Mosor Hike Split Croatia Insignia on Window of Mountain Hut
Colorful seals from around the world huddle together on the windows in the hut’s entryway.
Tea at Mountain Hut Mosor Split Croatia
Srđan and Shawn.
Mosor Hut Lunch Split Croatia 2
A hearty platter of steaming sauerkraut, known in Croatian as kiseli kupus (left), and a hiking-themed shield that adorns the hut’s walls (right).
Mosor Hiking Lunch Mountain Hut
Shawn and Srđan enjoyed piping-hot bowls of fažol, or bean stew, accompanied by crusty bread.
Mosor Hut Lunch Split Croatia
Sausages and cured meats are popular items on the hut’s minimalist, but hearty menu.
Mosor Butterfly Split Croatia
A sunbathing butterfly shows off its colors.
Hiking Mosor Split Croatia Flora

Hiking Mosor Donkey Grazing Croatia

Hiking Mosor Split Croatia 8
Hikers continue the ascent to the top of Mosor.
Hiking Mosor Croatia Split Trails

Hiking Mosor Croatia Split

Hiking Mosor Split Croatia 9

Hiking Mosor Split Croatia path

Hiking Mosor Split Croatia
Shawn and me.

Planning Pointers:

  • Lucky to have a friend to guide us, getting from Split to Mosor was a breeze. If you’re making the visit independently, see this website for more practical information about Mosor.
  • If you’ll be staying in Split for a few days, you might be interested in the Split Card, which gives you free entry to certain museums and galleries, and reduced rates to others. Back in 2014, people staying in Split for 3 days or more could pick up the Split Card for free, but as of 2016, there is a fee to purchase the card. The link above details the current cost, as well as the participating museums and businesses.
  • We’ve spent two winters in Split, finding accommodation in apartments that would be packed during the summer months, but are practically empty during winter. During our first 2.5 months there, we stayed at the lovely Kaleta Apartments (affiliate link) which are located within Diocletian’s Palace. Our studio apartment (called the ‘Diocletian’s Suite’) featured much character, including Roman brickwork, and views of Old Town Split below. Owners Novica and Negri were thoughtful citizen ambassadors too. Two years later, we returned to Split, staying in the charming Varoš neighborhood, which is characterized by stone homes with hunter-green shutters. For those 2 months, we stayed in quaint studio apartments at the Guesthouse F (affiliate link). We especially enjoyed our tiny terrace and the kindness of our hosts, Anja and Miro. One of Guesthouse F’s apartments was originally a horseshoe maker’s workshop, a building which previously belonged to Anja’s grandfather. Shawn and I dubbed it the ‘horseshoe cottage’.
  • Need more inspiration? This link contains an index of all my posts from Croatia.

Where in the World?

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

56 thoughts on “A Day Trip from Split, Croatia: Hiking Mosor

  1. what a great place and beautiful hike. Must do it one day! beautiful images to go with it, Tricia!

    1. Hvala / grazie, Our Adventure in Croatia. :) When we visited Split last year, the mountains here were calling us, and so I was ecstatic to make it up to Mosor this time around. Our friend did mention that it’s sizzling-hot in the summer months, but perhaps you can do the hike in the spring months?

      1. definitely I would not do that hike in a summer month… Spring sounds more like!! looks like the weather was very good for you

      2. It sure was ideal weather; I’m not sure if this is considered a regular winter here? The weather’s been fantastic – perhaps we’ll be tempted to stay even longer. I think Croatia has a way of reeling one in!

    1. Dorothy, it’s nice to hear we’ve inspired you to return! We love being here during the quiet tourist season, but admittedly, summer scenes are encouraging us to come back in a few months! I’m especially curious about the islands, but the inland, agricultural areas also look as though they have much to offer.

      1. Yes I saw Split, Zadar, Dubrovnik and other smaller cities. I think the whole Croatia is the most beautiful in Europe and the best place for a holiday. Cote d’Azur let them hide :) Besides, I was also in Medugorie in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a spiritual place and worth seeing.

      2. You sound like you’d make the perfect travel ambassador for Croatia, Monika. :) I’ve been to Mostar and Sarajevo, but never Medugorie. Perhaps we’ll get to do so later on during this trip. Wish you a wonderful weekend!

    1. Hi Michael, we’ve been fortunate to have seen a fair amount of places in the world, but I can’t think of many with scenery dramatic enough to rival Croatia’s. If we get a chance to do this hike again, we’re hoping to go all the way to the top, and maybe pack a lunch. But with food as tasty and authentic as what we got at the mountain hut, we’ll probably just return. Hope you get a chance to make it here sometime soon!

  2. Once again, you dazzle me and entice me with lovely pictures and points of interest. You are fortunate to have had a guide and one who looked like he was having every bit a good time as Shawn.

    1. Hi Lynne, I’m so glad that you and Ron have added this part of Croatia to your must-see list. :) We were fortunate to have Srđan as our guide for this memorable day, and we’re even luckier to count him as a friend. :) We met the last time we were in Croatia, and this year he continues to take us under his wing. The people here are very warm and eager to share their culture. We feel quite at home!

    1. Hi Davide & many thanks! Did you come to Split to use it as a transit point to the islands, and if so, which ones did you visit? It’s always nice to hear what other travelers can recommend in the area.

      1. Hi Tricia, I’m yearning to see the capital city, Dubrovnik, and the Plitvice rain forests… this list is purely based on web pictures and some people who mentioned “you must see the rain forests in Croatia”.. Please let me know if I should add/ subtract to this list.

      2. Shikha, we’ve only seen a bit of the country, but have greatly enjoyed Split, Trogir and Šibenik. I’ve heard that the Plitvice or Krka National Parks are also well-worth seeing. Dubrovnik’s walled city is beautiful, but feels a bit like a ‘museum town’ and not so much lived in by the locals. We’ve enjoyed Split because it’s very much bustling and inhabited. I’ve not seen much of Croatian capital city, Zagreb, but hope to return someday. We’re also eager to make it out to one or two of the islands. We’ve heard high praise for Vis and Korčula. So much to see! Most of all, we’ve enjoyed mingling with the locals in a slow fashion, learning about their wine and cuisine, and tidbits of history. They make the country come alive!

  3. Terrific pictures, Tricia, of a beautiful place. I can’t decide which I like most, the planetarium, the donkey, or the butterfly… Actually, no. I can. It’s the donkey. But the observatory calls to me.

    1. Hi Sid, nice to hear from you! I also loved the novelty of interacting with the donkey. Some Croatians have said we were very lucky to see him; apparently he’s a more unusual type of donkey. And our friend said that the planetarium is open to visitors. I’ll have to add that to our must-see list, though at this rate, I don’t think we’ll be making it there this time around. Do you have a telescope at home?

  4. Tricia, again what a wonderful post!! That hike with that spectacular view down to Split and the overstay at that lodge sounds like a wonderful adventure. I fell in love with the donkey. I think donkeys do not deserve their reputation as being stupid or how ever the society calls them, they are such loving, patient, caring and very sensitive animals and have contributed through thousands of years of history to people lives in being of service to humans.

    1. I agree with you, Cornelia. They are such hard-working animals, and this fellow was especially sweet to interact with! Our friend said that he carries the bulk of the cargo up to this lodge.

      We’ve enjoyed getting to know our food better here in Croatia. That might sound funny, but in an age of superstore grocery shopping, all under one roof, one can easily lose touch with how food is produced. I’ve been especially fascinated with how so much food here is sourced locally. More on that in my next post.

      I hope your weekend is off to a beautiful beginning!

    1. Henry, given that so many of our friends and family back home had to contend with the polar vortex, I almost feel guilty posting images of such a splendid December hike! I’m sold on Mediterranean winters now. :)

      1. Yes I do! I still have to do the rice terraces, shameful me. Thank you for finding it wonderful. I was in New Zealand last November. Oh you should visit it! I have to go back for the Milford track and a lot more!

    1. Since I tend to be navigationally-challenged, I love getting such a vantage point when I first get to a place, Marilyn. :) We were lucky that our friend shared this favorite hiking spot with us.

    1. Ron, I’m glad to tempt you and Lynne with such a worthwhile destination. :) Let us know when the timing’s right for you two to globetrot here – we’d be happy to give recommendations and answer any questions you might have. Thanks, as always, for your supportive feedback!

  5. Tricia, the sad thing is that even I am born in Split I didn’t know what beauty is above Split. Do you mind if I add this hiking day on my website? Visitors would live to know about this!

    1. Pero, I’m glad that this post made you aware of the wonderful hiking possibilities available near Split. I’ve found that I often miss notable spots near to home too; it’s funny how that works out. :) We’re lucky to have a local friend to “show us the ropes” in the area. Do you still live in the area?

      Please feel free to share the link to this article with your readers.

      1. I live now in Italy but I keep visiting my hometown several time during the year. Next time I have to visit all these spots I missed long time ago.

  6. Hi Tricia,
    Some stunning photos. We’re planning to go to Croatia in April (using Split as a base) so we’ll be poking around your site next little while. Great views, gives us a idea what to expect.
    Frank (bbqboy)

    1. Hi there Frank! How exciting that you’re Split-bound in a few months. We were lucky enough to spend last winter there, and the year before that we lived in nearby Trogir. We’re contemplating a return this winter too – we’ll see. Not only do great views await, but so does tasty Dalmatian food and wine, a plethora of historic sites, and welcoming people.

      How long do you expect to be there in April? I hope you’ll find some helpful pointers in my posts. Thank you for reading. :)

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