Starigrad Paklenica is a small harbour town situated on the Velebit Channel, close to Paklenica National Park, 45km south of Karlobag. It was first mentioned way back in Roman times and the settlement grew up on the foundations of the ancient town of Argyruntum.
Today, however, it is the centre of the Paklenica Riviera, a 20km stretch of coastline where the mountains meet the sea, making Starigrad equally attractive to both bathers and mountaineers. Paklenica National Park provides the backdrop to Starigrad. It includes two canyons: Velika and Mala Paklenica (Grand and Small Paklenica). A creek flows through the 10km-long Velika Paklenica, and its steep sides are up to 400m high. Velika and Mala Paklenica are separated by a 7km-long, 500m-high plateau.
Paklenica National Park is a magnificent karst phenomenon with numerous caves, the most famous of which is Manita Peć (175m long), and Paklenica is sure to be hiding many more secrets. The entirety of the Velebit massif has been declared a nature park, and in the southeastern part, Tulove Grede (Tulo’s Rafters) stands out for its extraordinary beauty, rising up above the canyon of the River Zrmanja.
Starigrad Paklenica marks the start of Paklenica National Park, and its closeness to Mt. Velebit provides the opportunity for various sports, such as mountain climbing and free-climbing. Tourist accommodation in Starigrad is diverse, with apartments and rooms to rent, boarding houses and campsites. The old part of the town is rich in archaeological discoveries and architectural monuments, the most famous of which is the villa of Petar Hektorović.
Starigrad Paklenica has been inhabited since Roman times, but because of attacks by the Turks, it was abandoned in the 16th century, and then re-established in the 17th century. Close by, there is the small, pre-Romanesque church of Saint Peter and the ruins of Večka Tower, probably built during the Ottoman period. In recent excavations at the Roman necropolis, which has over 100 graves, various beautiful glass objects were found preserved. In the nearby Rovanjska inlet, there is the old Croatian Church of Saint George.