Top destination for mountain lovers
Kaštela, owing to its geographic location, can be both a seaside holiday spot and a great mountaineering destination, with a breath-taking view of Kaštela Bay.
Kozjak is a mountain located above the town of Kaštela, stretching from Klis in the east to the pass of Malačka in the west. The highest peak is Veli vrj (779 m). The flora on the southern slopes - viburnum tinus, myrtle, weaver's broom and strawberry tree – is typically Mediterranean, whereas on the northern slopes you can find oriental hornbeam, hop hornbeam, manna ash and oak, all native to sub-Mediterranean areas. There are several types of endemic species of plants specific for Kozjak, such as orchids.
Caravan roads used to pass over the mountain of Kozjak in the past. Nowadays, there is around 80 km of marked trails through Kozjak and the surrounding inland areas, of medium difficulty. The Kozjak mountain rocks are famous for rock climbing routes (e.g. close to the mountain house "Malačka") that are also of intermediate difficulty.
Well-known mountain trails are Mountain trail Dalmatia and Mountain trail "Cradle of Croatian nation Bijaći – Klis". The 30 km route includes 19 check points, mostly churches built at the time of Croatian kings (St. Marta in Bijaći, St. Nofar Stomorija, St. Juraj of Radun, St. Ivan Biranj, St. Kuzma and Damjan, St. Juraj of Putalj, etc.) to the Hollow Church (Šuplja crkva) in Solin.
On these trails, 4 mountain houses are located (Putalj in Kaštel Sućurac, Koludar in Kaštel Kambelovac, Split and Malačka in Kaštel Stari), one mountain shelter (Orlovo gnijezdo/ Eagle's Nest in Kaštel Kambelovac) and a hunting lodge where mountaineers can get some food and stay overnight. Firebreaks are constructed on the slopes of mountain, and they can be used to reach the mountain homes by bicycle, or follow a cycling route from the east to the west part of the mountain.
The trails lead to the following peaks of Kozjak: Biranj (St. Ivan), St. Jure and Veli vrj.
Biranj peak, 631 m
St. Ivan Biranj, with the chapel of St. Ivan, patron saint of Kaštel Lukšić, is the highest peak in the west part of Kozjak. The highest point is located east of the chapel, but is inaccessible. The members of the Split mountaineering club have constructed a network of educational trails in the area of Malačka and St. Ivan Biranj, identified by yellow-green markings. The most interesting site is the karst lake Jezero and the nearby freshwater spring.
Malačka – St. Ivan Biranj 1.15 h
Kaštel Stari – railway station Kaštel Stari – Malačka – St. Ivan Biranj 2.45h
Mountain house Pod Koludrom – St. Ivan Biranj 2 h
The climb from the Malačka pass to the peak St. Ivan Biranj is an attractive and simple mountain trek. The Malačka pass can be reached by road or walking path from Kaštel Stari. The way to the top starts at the mountain house Česmina. Following the crest in the eastern direction, the markings lead through the rocky landscape to the peak Birnjac (562 m), followed by a 30-minute walk to St. Ivan Biranj. From the peak St. Ivana Birnja the markings follow the rocky crest to Grebina, followed by a downhill path to the firebreak, to the point where the path from the St. Lovre chapel leads. You can continue the walk on the firebreak towards the east, under the rocks, to the mountain house Pod Koludrom.
St. Jure peak, 676 m
St. Jure is the highest peak in the east part of Kozjak. At the top, the St. Juraj (St. George) chapel is located, constructed on the ancient drywall fortification and surrounded by medieval gravestones.
Mountain house Putalj – St. Jure 2.45 h
Ninčevići – St. Jure (Split climbing path) 2.30 h
Solin – St. Jure (passing the "small stairs") 2 h
Klis – Markezina greda – St. Jure 4 h
The shortest route is from Solin. The route via the Split climbing path from Ninčevići is the most attractive one, however it is of advanced difficulty and is not recommended form inexperienced climbers. The route from the mountain home Putalj is somewhat longer than the other routes, but is interesting for trekkers who wish to cross the mountain.
The description of the shortest route from Solin: Take the marked trail from Ninčevići. Passing the last houses, continue for a short while on the firebreak. After some 100 meters, the path to St. Jure makes a sharp turn to the north, leading into thick pine wood. The path rises steeply and continues through the slopes and out of the woods, turning to the west, zigzagging and making a steep climb in the rocky landscape and wild shrubs, leading under the cliff. The path leads to the so called "small stairs", rough stone steps with wedges. After reaching the top of the ridge, the trek continues five minutes to the NW, to the peak and the St. Jure chapel.
Veli vrj peak, 779 m
Veli vrj is the highest peak of the Kozjak mountain with a rounded stone head. The military object is located here, surrounded with a fence. Since Veli vrj is inaccessible, it is somewhat replaced by the chapel of St. Luka at the edge of Kozjakova stijena (20 minutes from the peak), offering a beautiful view of the island-spotted sea, the town of Split and Marjan Hill.
The mountaineering clubs would be glad to provide the professional guides – climbers for trekking excursions that offer experience of seeing Kaštela, Kaštela Bay, Trogir, Split and Central Dalmatian islands and Kaštela inland from above.
Please contact us for any additional questions or recommendations related to mountaineering and climbing.