Appreciate any advice on climbing (and hiking) in Croatia in July. Would like to avoid the crowds if possible. Won't be camping and will have an infant, would be looking to hire a guide for climbing due to said baby.
Croatia is hot in July, but I guess you know that?
I'll put in another plug for Paklenica; amazing limestone of all grades and sizes (up to350m), great accom by the beach, close to Zadar Airport. You won't need a guide - there's lots of families and many of the hotels are run by climbers or their families. You're bound to meet people to climb with.
The gorge is shady on one side in the morning, the other in the afternoon - be prepared for an hour of no shade.
We never made it past the main crag, but there's a Refugio in te natinal park with tons of hiking options.
It's relatively quiet compared to the rest of Croatia in summer, where half of Germany and Eastern Europe go for their holidays
PM if you want more info.
Amazing location, accomodation near the beach, fantastic easliy accessible climbing, kids friendly, there is even a jiosk built into the cliff where you can buy souveniers and ice creams from. There is some great walking up through the valley too and into the karst above.
Sport grades from low teens to 25, with a few high grades thrown in in two overhanging crags, up to 31 (I think).
If you are into something a little more adventourous (but not much more), climbing in Istria in the north i hear is fantastic, there is a guide book that covers northern croatia, slovenia (Osp etc.), and Trieste in Italy. That part of the world is fantastic.
Zadar is a short drive from Packlenica and is great, lots of entertainment, beauty, an Alfred Hitchc--ks favorite city in the world.
I climbed in Rovinj in Istria last year. To give you some context, I was with the family including my 75 yo mother, a non-climbing complaining 16 yo and my 9 yo both of whom are more interested in shops. The town is beautiful, busy but no too busy.
The climbing is in an Venetian era coastal quarry. The climbing consists of pretty easy single pitch sports routes with great views. www.climb-europe.com gives a summary and Rovinj is covered in the main Croatia Guidebook. There is a guiding service but assuming that your partner and you are both climbers then it is not necessary. The climbing is ok to be honest but it was a compromise given the family circumstances
My wife and I headed out for a climb in the cool of the morning before going back to get the kids for a day of swimming and sightseeing.
You can ride a bike from town to the bottom of the crag and the base is pretty kid friendly. By infant I assume that the little tacker is non-ambulatory. If this was the case then you should be fine with a pram/stroller.
It worked for me but later on the trip I spent 10 days in Kalymnos where the climbing was infinitely better but my 16yo complained non-stop.
If you haven't found it already - a lot of the info you're looking for is at Climb-Europe
Paklenica is the most famous and best place to go rock climbing in Croatia, which is located close to Zadar. Paklenica offers the rock climber everything from single pitch bolted sports routes, to multi-pitch sports and traditional routes. The dramatic 350m high face known as Anica kuk emphasizes everything that is excellent about rock climbing in Paklenica.
Istria – this is the region in the north west of Croatia and includes the rock climbing around the popular holiday towns of Pazin, Pula and Rovinj. There are over 700 sports routes here, which are mainly single pitch. Close by there is also the excellent crag at Osp in Slovenia, and further climbing around Trieste in Italy. This comprehensive region has a good mix of grades to suit climbers of all abilities.