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Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch

Overview

Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch is an award-winning, authentic guest ranch situated inside the UNESCO Velebit Mountain Biosphere Reserve in Croatia. This friendly ranch and "restorative retreat" is small and privately owned, open to guests from around the world with a focus on unique horsemanship along…

Highlights

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

Essential Facts

  • 2 itineraries available
  • Max 10 riders per group (30 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, authentic guest ranch situated inside the UNESCO Velebit Mountain Biosphere Reserve in Croatia. This friendly ranch and "restorative retreat" is small and privately owned, open to guests from around the world with a focus on unique horsemanship alongside a high level of comfort and service. They offer a range of daily activities to suit all the family 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, Native American style tipis, safari-style tents on the riverbank or even their spacious Buffalo Lodge which is ideal for a larger family (see below for more accommodation details). 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.

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!

From dawn until long into the night, the saloon (a former horse barn), together with an adjoining square is a hub of gentle and cheerful activity. It starts around 6am when the breakfast crew come for their morning shift and set a pot of cowboy coffee on top of an antique cast iron stove they affectionately call Dora. It continues throughout the day with the first class breakfast, lunch and dinners staged alfresco in the square, whenever possible. There is a menu specifically for children.

The restaurant has been recommended by Michelin guide editors in both 2016 and 2018.

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.

Accommodation

There are different types of accommodation facilities offered at the ranch which include single en suite rooms, double en suites with porches, chalets, spacious Buffalo Lodge, safari-style river tents and Native American tipis with their own en-suite bathrooms. They all feature beds dressed with soft linens, private baths (river tents have detached bathrooms), 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 accommodation.

Ultimate Cowboy Adventure Tented / Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

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

Wellness facilities include a Siberian cedar hot tub, outdoor swimming pool, outdoor treatment room yoga room and lounge spaces. During high season they organise a pool cocktail party once a week.

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 lives also serve the nearest town of Gospic, which is 23km from the ranch.

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

There are different types of accommodation facilities offered at the ranch which include single en-suite rooms, double en-suites with porches, chalets, spacious Buffalo Lodge, safari-style river tents and Native American tipis with their own en-suite bathrooms. They all feature beds dressed with soft linens, private baths (river tents have detached bathrooms), 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 30.
Departure windows

At any time during: March 15, 2021 - Oct. 31, 2021

At any time during: Dec. 15, 2021 - Jan. 15, 2022

Pricing

2021
Summer (01.06-20.09); Children (7-13)
£178 $245 €205 per night
2021
Summer (01.06-20.09); Adults (14+)
£240 $340 €285 per night
2021
Spring and Autumn (15.03-31.05 and 21.09-31.10); Adults (14+)
£200 $275 €235 per night
2021
Summer (01.06-20.09); Ranch Takeover (up to 12 pax)
£2105 $2925 €2470 per night
2021
Spring and Autumn (15.03-31.05 and 21.09-31.10); Children (7-13)
£156 $215 €183 per night
2021
Spring and Autumn (15.03-31.05 and 21.09-31.10); Children (3-6)
£124 $172 €145 per night
2021
Spring and Autumn (15.03-31.05 and 21.09-31.10); Ranch Takeover (up to 12 pax)
£1885 $2620 €2210 per night
2021
Summer (01.06-20.09); Children (3-6)
£134 $186 €157 per night
2021/2022
Winter (15.12 - 15.01); Adults (14+)
£178 $245 €205 per night
2021/2022
Winter (15.12 - 15.01); Children (3-6)
£112 $155 €131 per night
2021/2022
Winter (15.12 - 15.01); Ranch Takeover (up to 12 pax)
£1660 $2310 €1945 per night
2021/2022
Winter (15.12 - 15.01); Children (7-13)
£134 $186 €157 per night
Included Accommodation, meals, selected soft drinks, riding, on-site activities, selected off-site activities and use of the ranch facilities
Not included Flights, airport transfers/car hire, alcoholic drinks, an environmental fee (5%), occupancy/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 participate in a natural horsemanship session led by Linden Tree founder Bruce Yerkovich. His signature style of horsemanship is based on what he calls "natural human" and genetic memory. By allowing yourself to be authentic you will experience fellowship with a horse unlike ever before. 

After lunch you will saddle your horses and head out on the trail for a few hours to put in to practice the morning's learning to prepare for your adventure.

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 that leads to the side of the mountain facing the see. 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 where several movies were made - this is also a popular brown bear habitat so there is a good chance that you might spot one of these majestic animals today. Lunch today is from your saddlebag. 

In the afternoon you will circle back to base camp by following an old dirt road, perfect for 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
Accommodation for up to 30.
Departure windows

May 22, 2021 - May 28, 2021

June 19, 2021 - June 25, 2021

Sept. 18, 2021 - Sept. 24, 2021

Pricing

2021
Sharing
£1725 $2395 €2020
Included 6 nights of accommodation in shared rooms/tents, all meals from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day, selected soft drinks, riding and activities detailed in the itinerary, luggage transportation between accommodations, nature park riding permit, national park entrance fees, VAT, environmental tax and occupancy tax.
Not included Flights, travel insurance, airport transfers/car hire, alcoholic drinks, 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.