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Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch

Overview

Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch is an award-winning, high-end guest ranch situated inside the UNESCO Velebit Mountain Biosphere Reserve in Croatia. This unique ranch and "restorative retreat" is small and privately owned, with a focus on horsemanship alongside a high level of comfort, service and guest…

Highlights

  • Eco safari style luxury Western ranch
  • Suitable for families and non riders
  • Choice of top class accommodation
  • Horses to suit everyone and Western tack
  • Restaurant offering high quality organic meals

Essential Facts

  • 2 itineraries available
  • Max 10 riders per group (14 in camp)
  • Average of 3 - 5 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 100kg / 220lbs / 15 stone 10 lbs

Description

Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch is an award-winning, high-end guest ranch situated inside the UNESCO Velebit Mountain Biosphere Reserve in Croatia. This unique ranch and "restorative retreat" is small and privately owned, with a focus on horsemanship alongside a high level of comfort, service and guest wellness. They are committed to becoming 100% disposable plastic-free by the year 2023, are creating a nature conservation area and they also offer guests the chance to have a fully-customised diet plan to reflect their microbiomic needs (under the supervision of an on-staff nutritionist, see 'Food & Accommodation' tab for more info). They offer a range of daily activities and also have a special riding programme available a few times a year, the 'Ultimate Cowboy Adventure', for those who want to explore this beautiful region from the saddle in more depth. The ranch is run with a focus on sustainable development and in accordance with their own concept known as CIDER: Community, Integrity, Development, Evolution and Responsibility. The ranch team works closely with the park authorities and the local community, providing unprecedented access to the Velebit Mountain. This is a responsible tourism destination with everything needed to provide the perfect adventure holiday. Welcome to the Croatian wilderness!

The ranch was founded by Bruce Yerkovich who dreamed of creating a sustainable wilderness retreat whilst respecting the land, people and wildlife of Croatia. The resulting ranch is 'eco-safari-style' with a high level of attention to detail in all aspects, from the spectacular food and drink to the variety of charming accommodation options. You can ride, hike, swim, cycle, canoe, geocache or even take a jeep safari or try archery or cowboy games. The Little Bears kids club will keep the young members of your family entertained. Whilst there is plenty to do here when not on a horse, riding is definitely the star of the show - riding lessons, pony rides, trail rides, multi-day trips and wagon rides are all available with all levels of rider welcome.

Accommodation at the ranch is varied and there is something for everyone - comfortable en-suite rooms, unique casitas or even their spacious Buffalo Lodge which is ideal for a larger family. Wellness facilities include an outdoor pool hot tub, treatment room, yoga room and tranquil lounges and guests have plenty of space to relax and unwind. Dinner is served in the western saloon or in the square outside where you can eat family-style before sharing stories around a traditional campfire.

2022: This year the ranch will be operating at 50% capacity to allow your hosts to focus on the needs and wellbeing of clients during the pandemic.

Horses & Riding

Tack

Western.

Horses

A range of breeds.

Riding

There are 2 itineraries:

  • All-Inclusive Ranch Stay is a based ride
  • Ultimate Cowboy Adventure is a trail ride

Ages

No age limit for guests. Children under 3 free of charge. Minimum rider age for trails and the main riding lessons is usually 10 but please enquire if you have younger children who are experienced. There is no age limit for pony rides. For the day rides children must be 13 years or older and any riders under 18 should be regular riders, accompanied by a guardian.

Health

No special requirements.

Weight

100kg / 220lbs / 15 stone 10 lbs

Food & Accommodation

Food

Whether you want to join their family style dinner around a big table or you are looking for a quiet corner, you are in for a culinary treat. The ranch provides three gourmet meals and snacks every day with all food prepared fresh using the best ingredients. Much of the food is grown on-site or foraged from the nearby meadows and forests. The ranch has its own vegetable and herb gardens (organic) and uses local suppliers wherever possible - locally caught fish and wild venison are ranch specialties whilst all dairy, poultry and beef are 100% organic and free-range. Bread is freshly baked using three types of local grain. They even brew two types of beer and mix their own tea blends from mountain herbs!

There is a menu specifically for children.

Drinks included in the rates include:

Breakfast - orange juice, apple juice, tea, coffee, tap water, oat milk, rice milk, almond milk, cow's milk and cocoa.
Rest of the day - tea, coffee, elderflower juice, tap water.

NEW FOR 2022 (EXTRA COST): The ranch has teamed up with Luxia Scientific, a French metabolics company, to give guests the chance to have their microbiome sequenced (this service comes at an additional cost). Guests wishing to have this service provide a stool sample before they arrive and by the time you get to the ranch, a 10 page report will be waiting for you, along with a fully customised diet plan. The on-staff nutritionist will explain the report, present your diet plan or your stay and will also suggest long-term dietary adjustments needed to maintain a healthy microbiome, resulting in improved overall health and a stronger immune system.

Accommodation

There are different types of accommodation facilities offered at the ranch which include single en suite rooms, double en suites with porches, chalets, and the spacious Buffalo Lodge. They all feature beds dressed with soft linens, private baths, porches and mountain views. The all-inclusive rates cover all different accommodation options.

This is a luxury resort offering a top class service with daily housekeeping services, quality bedding and luxury linens, bathrobes, slippers and bathroom toiletries. There are hair dryers and safes in the rooms. It is possible to borrow a phone charger and an ironing board.

With the Studio hall, Saloon, the Square, hot tub, swimming pool, archery range, horse riding arena, tack room, two creeks and a river, there is plenty of indoor and outdoor space for guests to spread out comfortably. They design their facilities for fun and relaxation in order to create a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere and allow you to have an unforgettable holiday.

Itineraries

All-Inclusive Ranch Stay Standard / Luxury accommodation.

Ultimate Cowboy Adventure Tented / Luxury accommodation.

Other Activities

There is plenty to do here when not in the saddle!

Wellness facilities include a Japanese ofuro hot tub, outdoor heated swimming pool (June-Sept), outdoor treatment room yoga room and lounge spaces.

You can join the guided trip by jeep to discover Velebit Mountain - trips take you to some of the deepest corners of the mountain where wild animals roam free. The trip is a combination of off-roading and hiking. A simple but tasty lunch is prepared and served by rangers at Veliki Alan mountain hut.

You can glide along in a canoe on Lika River canyon river. Depending on a water level, up to four prehistoric dams will have to be negotiated by taking your canoe on your shoulders while crossing a pile of ancient rocks. There is plenty of wildlife to see when you are paddling.

There is also a badminton and volley ball court and an archery range.

At the ranch they organise cowboy games which are great fun for company get-togethers or groups of friends and families with children. They offer a variety of fun and safe games to make you laugh and smile and get a good work out. Sack runs, tug-of-war, snap the apple, wood chopping, wagon-in-a-river, spoon run are few of the games that they play as a part of this favourite activity for guests of all ages.

After daily activities, in the evenings more fun can be had with dance nights, stargazing, peace pipe and talking stick ceremonies, live entertainment, karaoke, private movie screening, panel discussions and science lectures. There are many options.

Bear watching is also available as a guided activity, please enquire.

Studio Hall includes a cinema and library.

Travel

We recommend car hire for this destination, although a car and driver pick-up service is available at an extra cost (please enquire).

The ranch is situated 1 hour from Zadar and Plitvice Lakes, 2 hours from Zagreb and Split, 3 hours from Rijeka, 5 hours from Dubrovnik and Istria and 7 hours from Vienna, Venice, Belgrade and Sarajevo.

Bus and train lines also serve the nearest town of Gospic, which is 23km from the ranch.

Testimonials

Katie M., Nov. 9, 2021

Fantastic – exceeded all my expectations. (Favourite memory?) That’s really hard as I have many lovely memories. One would be getting a horse to ‘join-up’ with me in the round pen. (Horses and tack?) My horse suited me very well and the saddle was surprisingly comfortable. (Accommodation and food?) Both were to a very high standard. The tablecloth and napkins with the day ride packed lunches were a nice extra touch and the large hot tub was lovely at the end of a long ride! (Riding guides?) Very informative, interesting, relaxed and accommodating. The natural horsemanship session and discussion on the biomechanics of the horse’s foot were fascinating. I’d certainly like to go back to Linden at some point. Thank you for including this wonderful place on your holiday list, as I wouldn’t have found it otherwise.


Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1 - Arrival

Riding: No riding.

Check-in at the ranch from 15:00 with time to settle into your accommodation before dinner. Transfers from airports or nearby cities are available on request.

Days 2 to 7

Riding: 2 - 6 hours

Each day will start with a good breakfast and then a choice of activities, depending on the day of the week and your preferences - we can send you the full latest activity schedule on request. Mondays and Fridays are non-riding days whilst morning two hour trail rides are available on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tuesdays and Saturdays also have natural horsemanship demonstrations or riding lessons in the afternoon whilst Wednesday is 'ghost town day' which is a full day ride.

Other activities are available when you fancy a break from the saddle or for any non-riders in your family. Canoeing, hiking, wagon rides and even a 'Little Bears Kids' Club' are all part of the programme, there is something for everyone. Tasty lunches and dinners are served everyday, either at the ranch or occasionally out and about if the day requires it.

Day 8 - Departure

Riding: 1 hours

After a final breakfast it's time to depart - check-out is by 11:00 and transfers are available on request.

Accommodation

Options include single en-suite rooms, double en-suites with porches, casitas or the spacious Buffalo Lodge. They all feature beds dressed with soft linens, private baths, porches and mountain views. The all-inclusive rates cover all different accommodation options.

Experience Beginner / Intermediate / Experienced

All rides are available for all levels but riders will undergo a brief assessment. Pony rides are open to all children, but the minimum age for trail riding and lessons is 10. Minimum age for the full day rides is 13 and for any of the trails participants under 18 must be regular, enthusiastic riders who are accompanied by an adult or guardian and who have a spirit of adventure.

Minimum group size 1
Maximum group size 9
Accommodation for up to 14.
Departure windows

At any time during: Jan. 11, 2022 - Jan. 10, 2023

Pricing

2022
Children aged 7-13
£355 $380 €400 per night
2022
Children aged 3-6
£265 $285 €300 per night
2022
Adults (aged 14+)
£490 $525 €550 per night
Included Accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner, scheduled activities, use of the equipment, amenities and facilities, outdoor heated swimming pool (in use May-Sept), Japanese Ofuro hot tub and wood-burning Finnish sauna (available year-round), movie theatre, library, badminton, volleyball, archery, bocce ball, horseshoe pit, bicycles, evening entertainment, Wi-Fi and valet parking.
Not included Flights, transfers, drinks, an environmental fee (5%), tourist tax, additional off-site activities, travel insurance, tips (5-10% recommended) and other personal expenses.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

Arrival in the afternoon. Explore the ranch and meet the horses.

Day 2

Riding: 2 - 3 hours

After breakfast, you will set out for a trail in the mountain. Your goal for this day is to reach a hidden mountain valley at 1200 meters above sea level, where the ranch crew has set up one of two base camps. After lunch in the camp, you can try a natural horsemanship session led by Linden Tree founder Bruce Yerkovich. His signature style of horsemanship is a combination of what he calls “a natural human on a natural horse” and genetic memory. By allowing yourself to be authentic, you will experience true fellowship with a horse.

Day 3

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

After breakfast you will head out on your first day ride. Your goal today is to reach a high mountain plateau where the Linden Tree team has set up your base camp. Along the way you will cross some hidden springs and watercourses. This is an intensive ride which covers some rough terrain and goes through unmarked territory. It's a real adventure for real cowboys and cowgirls! Accommodation tonight is in safari-style tents with comfortable beds, proper mattresses and duvets. No roughing it here! Hot showers inside an Indian tipi are a real hit with guests.

Day 4

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

In the morning you will be served a good cowboy breakfast. Today you will traverse an old Roman road, built nearly 1600 years ago, that lead you to the side of the mountain facing the sea. You will stop for a rest and lunch break at the Ranger's Station before riding back to base camp for dinner and overnight.

Day 5

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Today's ride takes you over the mountain to a valley that is a popular brown bear habitat, so there is a high probability of spotting these majestic animals. You will eat your lunch out of the saddlebags. In the afternoon you will circle back to the base camp riding on a road that goes through a deep forest. This is a favourite place to try some galloping!

Day 6

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Today's ride takes you back to the ranch following high altitude switchbacks which were popular during the middle-ages with outlaws and renegades. Lunch is from the saddlebags again today, eaten near the animal watering hole where you might meet some forest critters. In the evening you will enjoy a feast at the ranch and perhaps a soak in the hot tub, after which you will feel like a million dollars.

Day 7

Riding: No riding.

Departure after breakfast or extend your stay at the ranch.

Experience Beginner / Intermediate / Experienced

No prior riding experience is needed for adults. Children must be over 13 to participate and anyone under 18 should be a regular and enthusiastic rider with a sense of adventure, accompanied by a parent or guardian. Whilst this trip can cater to all levels, it is key that you are fit and healthy in order to participate. You will be riding long hours and in remote locations!

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 10
Departure windows

May 23, 2022 - May 29, 2022

June 20, 2022 - June 26, 2022

Sept. 12, 2022 - Sept. 18, 2022

Pricing

2022
Sharing
£3465 $3710 €3875
Included 6 nights of accommodation in shared rooms/tents, all meals from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day, drinks during the trail, riding and activities detailed in the itinerary, luggage transportation between overnight stops, nature park riding permit and national park entrance fees.
Not included Flights, travel insurance, airport transfers, drinks from the bar at the ranch, 5% environmental tax, gratuities (5 - 10% recommended) and other personal expenses.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.