Travel | ACT Croatia - Hinterland

Travel | ACT Croatia - Hinterland

In summer 2023, the Adventure Country Tracks e.V. team will set off to take on the brand-new ACT Croatia. Over five days, the riders will get to know a Croatia that doesn't have much in common with the country in the tourist brochures: Wild, secluded and full of offroad adventures.

With great support from many partners from the motorbike industry and equipped for the first time with two official support vehicles from Ford, the international ACT team set off from Istria on an extraordinary five-day tour into the remote hinterland of this otherwise so well-developed country.


Early in the morning of the first day, we set off from our base hotel in Pula to the actual starting point of the tour: The famous Cape Kamenjak. The headland, which has been designated as a nature reserve, is home to an extraordinary variety of plants. The park, which has a barrier, doesn't actually open until 9.00 a.m., but we are lucky and are allowed to drive to the cape earlier after paying the entrance fee and enjoy the solitude of the sunrise. You could spend the whole day hiking and exploring here alone, but we have the task of discovering much more of Istria. After a group photo, we start the bikes and roll through the fishing village of Premantura towards the mountains of Istria.

The Ride was led by the ACT-Management: Mirko Nagler, Elvio Andrade and Martin Wickert (from left).

Throughout the day, the route to the Ucka Nature Park again and again offers us spectacular views of the sea. Some of the gravel tracks are a little washed out, but overall the first day doesn't challenge us too much in terms of riding technique. We enjoy getting used to riding on loose surfaces and in a large group. During the photo and film shoots, it is always a challenge to turn around efficiently on narrow gravel roads in an organised and coordinated manner with 12 riders. For some shots, we have to ride five times to ensure that all partners and sponsors get the footage they want.

Nevertheless, our first day on the ACT Croatia is still a lot of fun, and we are surprised at how quickly we can escape the mass tourism. By now we are a well-rehearsed team, and the new additions from Harley-Davidson and Yamaha are quickly integrated into the group as professional riders. We end the day in the small village of Kastav near Rijeka and enjoy the evening on the hotel terrace with excellent local food and discuss the highlights of the day.


Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 220 km
Offroad-portion: 50 %
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 185 km
Offroad-portion: 65 %
Difficulty: intermediate/hard
Distance: 185 km
Offroad-portion: 55 %

Difficulty: Hard
Distance: 130 km
Offroad-portion: 70 %
Difficulty: Intermediate
Distance: 115 km
Offroad-portion: 70 %
Difficulty: Intermediate/ hard
Distance: 835 km
Offroad-portion: 65 %


The second stage of ACT Croatia gets off to a spectacular start. After a short stretch of coastal road, the track leads steeply up into the mountains. The sight of destroyed bunkers forms a stark contrast to the incredibly beautiful panorama. Even though the war in the former Yugoslavia was 30 years ago, ruins and warning signs are a constant reminder of this terrible time.

Wide gravel paths alternate with tarmac single-track roads, so there's never a dull moment. Especially considering the sweltering heat, the faster sections of road come in very handy. Nevertheless, at around 65 per cent, the proportion of off-road is very high, which is why there is no time for lunch. A picnic under shady trees will have to suffice today.

Many of the rough gravel tracks are easy to ride, but there are always sections where deep gravel causes the bikes to lurch, so caution is advised. A winding tarmac section through an enchanted forest offers our heated and exhausted bodies a little refreshment in the afternoon, before we cross a surreal rocky landscape to round off the day. This last section runs along a little-used gravel track across the barren mountain landscape, which tempts us to drive fast. In the end, we are glad that our overconfidence has not taken its revenge and that we can enjoy the fascinating views at the end of the track. A steep descent takes us back down into the valley, where we rejoin the tarmac road. We find a place to spend the night in a small village. The final beer of the day is well deserved.

The gravel roads are sometimes very challenging, but always reward you with incredible views of the sea and the offshore islands.


This stage begins with a real challenge. A small gravel track leads through the middle of a swamp and a meadow. There are warning signs along the way, as this is a region with many unmapped minefields. So it's better not to fall and always stay on the path. How the farmers here in the region cultivate their fields is a mystery to us until we see special equipment harnessed to the tractors. There are also remote-controlled vehicles in use that are designed to drive over the fields and clear the mines.

Directly after the swamps, we head into "Winnetou country". Secluded gravel tracks take us to the locations of the famous Karl May films. Even though the locations are now world-famous and have been partially developed for tourism, a few hundred metres of gravel track is usually enough to be almost alone on the road. However, the routes are tough in some places. Steep ascents and descents, lots of loose gravel paired with large stones make riding a challenge. The whole thing takes place, sometimes at 36 degrees in the shade - if there was any shade here in the mountains. A dip in the Krka waterfalls, another Winnetou highlight along the way, offers us a little refreshment. However, we are anything but alone here, which is why we are all the more pleased to be able to end the day in a remote village. Who would have thought that there would be such a wonderful hotel with a pool here?


The penultimate day through the Croatian hinterland starts with a track across spectacular, lonesome plateaus and refreshes us with cloudy weather and a little downpour. We're not too sad about the shower, as the heat of the last few days has taken its toll on us. We pass small woods with earthy off-road passages and deserted villages. Again and again we see almost-new holiday homes next to old dilapidated buildings, and every now and then a shot-up façade.

After the lunch picnic, the route becomes really tricky again. A long, deep gravel driveway leads us up into the mountains. The gravel is coarse, the ruts are deep and not only does it stink of clutch, but there is also the odd crash. The track becomes increasingly unkempt and disappears under dense grass in places, eventually leading through wooded sections deeper and deeper into a lonely landscape. We slowly make our way back towards the sea along the smallest of paths.

What we experience now could not be a greater contrast to the solitude of the mountain world: At the ferry pier to Split, mass tourism has returned for a brief moment. With 12 bikes and the support vehicles, we wind our way through the city traffic to the harbour and wait for our ferry to the island of Hvar, where we want to spend our last day of travel.

Croatia has many offshore islands that can be reached by ferry. It is worth planning additional excursions; with a small group it is not necessary to make reservations.


  • FORD
  • NEXX
  • REV'IT!
  • SENA


Anyone who thinks we're now going to lie lazily on the beach is mistaken. Although we took a day off in Jelsa and enjoyed the beautiful beach and the culinary delights of the Adriatic coast, we shot lots of videos about the equipment in order to provide the sponsors with material. This is the only way to finance this project.

From Jelsa, we head south on a gravel track up into the mountains. Here, too, we are surprised by the solitude compared to the hustle and bustle on the beaches. Just a few hundred metres into the countryside and there's not a soul to be found on a small pass. We hardly see a car on the roads all day.

Even though the climate on the island is milder, we still work up quite a sweat on the gravel sections. Even on our last stage, the proportion of unpaved roads is around 70 per cent. The entire island is criss-crossed by dry stone walls and the scent of lavender fills the air. During a break in a café with a marvellous view over the landscape, we replenish the water supplies in our bodies and in our rucksacks before heading back to the sea along small roads.

Many gravel tracks have sections with deeper ground. Caution is advised.

We treat ourselves to a well-earned break at the ferry terminal before crossing back to the mainland. We travel back towards Split on the coastal road, where we have the opportunity to reflect on our adventure once again. We have travelled incredible gravel roads, admired crazy rock formations, enjoyed excellent food, visited historical sites, passed minefields, survived falls in the gravel as well as spider bites and endured sometimes unbearable heat. All of this made the ACT Croatia an unforgettable experience. Once again, this ACT was a team effort involving many companies, riders from different backgrounds, a top support crew, a well-coordinated media team and a highly motivated ACT management, who are already looking forward to the next trip.


RESIDENCE DEL MAR EMOTION Kuje bb - 52204 Ližnjan

Tel. +385 52 650 501

→ Beautiful resort by the sea, with Underground car park, good starting point


KUKURIKU D.O.O. Trg M.Laginje 1/A, HR - 51 215 Kastav

Tel. +385 51 691 519

→ Great hotel with star cuisine, parking opportunities behind the house


PANSION ETNO SKELIN Skelini 1, Drinovci, Croatia

Tel. +385 99 378-2241

→ Wine resort with nice rooms, pool and great food, very secluded, simple rooms also available


HOTEL SAN ANTONIO Grljevačka 30 HR-21312 Podstrana-Split

Tel. +385 21 336111

→ very nice hotel at the main street with great cuisine and beach terrace, proper holiday feeling


1 Charley Boorman (ACT)

2 Roderik van der Heijden (REV‘IT!)

3 Teresa Peters (REV‘IT!)

4 David Rynhart (

5 Elvio Andrade (Touratech)

6 Filipe Elias (ACT)

7 Lutz von Steynitz (Garmin)

8 Martin Wickert (Touratech)

9 Tobias Wachter (Edelweiss Bike Travel)

10 Mirko Nagler (ACT)

11 Benedikt Reiwald (Yamaha)

12 Ralf Wiesenfeller (Harley-Davidson)

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