Enjoy the freedom of the frontier off the beaten track in Croatian mountains at Europe’s only working guest ranch.
Roam the range, at one with your trusty mount and the land. A trail through the beautiful foothills of Velebit Mountain is very special: fantastic scenery, fun and you might spot a bear! Experience how the local community live in untouched nature.
Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch is located in Velebit National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. With peaks to climb, rivers to cross, caves to visit, and spacious meadows to rest in, Linden Tree is a real ranch and retreat indeed.
Located in the Velika Plana (‘Great Plain’) hidden valley of the Velebit Mountain, Linden Tree Retreat and Ranch is in complete harmony with the surrounding natural beauty of green landscapes, expansive views, history, culture, and endless adventures of its magical surroundings.
It was into this that Bruce Yerkovich came with his visionary dream of a new sustainable wilderness retreat and ranch, with respect for the land, people and wildlife of this untamed landscape, continually striving to benefit the local community.
Linden Tree Retreat and Ranch offers eco-friendly adventures for family, groups or individuals.
Unleash your adventurous spirit and enliven your body with a tailored retreat, nature and riding program for a once-in-a-lifetime transformative experience.
Be an Earth Changer:
Visit Linden Tree Retreat and Ranch
Off the beaten track cowboy adventure horse riding and hiking in Croatia's mountains to benefit conservation and community. Recommended stay 5-7 nights.
You can reserve with Booking.com but less money goes to the destination.
We connect you directly to the destination so locals benefit more:
Earth Changers Plus: Book through us and you’ll also get dinner with owner Bruce!
Genuine working guest ‘old west’ ranch: Premier horse riding destination.
Unique horsemanship and retreat programs
Connect with wilderness in half million acre protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
In this gorgeous wilderness setting, the ranch offers a laid back environment and authentic, intimate ambiance; a home away from home in unique accommodation.
Featuring the best of ranch living in rooms, suites, chalet, lodges, river tents and Native American tipis with finely appointed amenities to help guests relax after a day of horse riding and other activities.
Wood and natural décor create a peaceful atmosphere to feel the harmony with nature and yourself for fun and relaxation. Attire is relaxed and comfortable.
- All include private baths (river tents and tipi bathrooms are detached), porches and mountain views.
- Feather beds and woodstoves keep you cozy.
- Bathrobe and slippers
- Daily housekeeping services
- Wireless Internet access
- Phone chargers (on request)
- In-room safe
- Laundry facility access
- Ironing board & iron (upon request)
- Fully-equipped kitchens (selected units)
While you will not find in-room telephones or television, mobile phones will work here.
Buffalo Lodge sleeps 8
Charming 1924 mountain cabin for frontier style country living restored following traditional construction techniques.
1st floor: bedroom, rustic bathroom with a two meter long soaking tub, living room, balcony overlooking the Square, private terrace with mountain views and kitchen.
2nd floor: luxury suite - includes a sitting area and separate bathroom. Self-catering or personal chef service.
Live closer to nature in a genuine American Indian tipi (made by the organisation that made tipis for the Kevin Costner film, “Dances with Wolves”) with warm light by day, dancing shadows by night, and, if it rains, a soothing patter of drops while you stay cozy and dry. Detached bathrooms (within metres) are fully equipped with hot-water showers, toilets, bathrobes, slippers and toiletries.
The newest addition to ranch accommodations— glamping safari tents on the river bank. Twin bed accommodation with enough room under the beds for your luggage, the finest linens, amenities, private baths, and front porch rocking chairs to relax after a day in the saddle. Bathrooms are detached and are 50 yards away, each fully equipped with hot water showers, wash basins, toilet and full array of toiletries, including plush bathrobes and slippers to keep you cozy. A bush experience with a dash of luxury.
Two double (Bear Cave and Sweet Grass) and two single en-suite rooms (Ponderosa and Wrangler) offer maximum comfort with carefully appointed furniture, feather beds, massage showers, uncluttered simplicity and nurturing silence as a result of natural, sheep's wool insulation sourced from sheep herders in the valley. Wood for building doors, windows and furniture was sourced at the ranch as part of sustainable forestry program. Wash down the day’s trail dust with a drink on the private porches watching evening settle over the valley.
Casita Stella and Luna (named after two young mares) reminiscent of African mud huts in shape. Each consist of master bedroom, working and reading area with cast iron wood stove and bathroom on a single level carefully considered with people with special physical needs in mind. Private gardens outside and swimming pool and Japanese hot tub only meter away
The Square: The gathering place, where meals are served during warm weather, dances held on a long summer evenings and where our reception is located.
Hot Tub: Immerse yourself in a traditional Japanese ofuro wooden bath heated by a wood stove to destress tensions, soothe pains, and stimulate circulation.
The Barn: Favourite hangout for horse buzz, wranglers and guests alike!
Riding Arena: Adjacent to the barn, where riding classes, horsemanship lectures and demonstrations and the rodeo are held.
Equipond: A specially designed training ground for horses - filled with water in order to develop the strength of the horse, ensure the fastest rehabilitation possible and enable horses to overcome fear of water. It’s great for riders to learn how a horse will behave near water and how to manage it.
Studio Hall: This serves as a yoga studio, cinema, workshop, library and meeting room, and includes a wood stove, library and selection of Japanese artifacts.
+ Eating & drinking
- Daily breakfast, lunch, hors d’oeuvres and dinner (different board bases available)
- Children’s menu suited to their taste
- Exciting outdoor dining in warmer months
- Catered dietary restrictions
Wake to freshly brewed coffee in the ambient eco-chic country charm dining room.
The Saloon, a former horse barn-turned dining room. With its western décor and antiques you’ll feel like you’re on a cowboy movie set!
Food is ‘a Croatian mosaic of world flavours - a sensational fusion of Mediterranean dishes plated with international flare’. This soul food "cooked with love” is based on healthy living, commitment to the environment, community, sustainability and homely comfort: fresh, nutrient rich, tasty food that nourishes from within.
- Bread is baked daily using local grains and the daily set menu is seasonal, using fresh ingredients sourced locally either from nature or community-based project grown, from local bio-dynamic and organic farming suppliers.
- The modern natural cuisine favours reduction sauces over cream-based, vegetable-based broths over meat stock, organic ingredients over conventional.
- There’s even a beer brewed specifically for Linden Tree with no artificial additives and using water that runs through the ranch.
Mountain picnics: During day safaris, simple but tasty lunch is prepared and served by guides.
Honeymoons, anniversary and romantic couples, may dine in-suite, alfresco in the meadow or on a private balcony as a special treat.
Please inform in advance of any restrictions, allergies, or special medical conditions.
Please note, being in true wilderness, the nearest shop is 23 km away and food brought from the outside cannot be stored, as per the health code. No food should be stored inside tents or tipis, unless you would like to have big furry forest visitors for dinner (or they, you)!
Between lunch and dinner times, the restaurant serves a small but tasty a la carte menu.
At Linden Tree, activities are focused on core values of conservation, community and cultural exchange.
Specialists in horse riding in Croatia, a combination of different activities is recommended to explore retreat, balance and body rejuvenation. With miles to discover, all guests are encourage all guests to do two activities per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon or one full-day activity.
All activities include guides and a selection of gear, such as hiking boots, hats, helmets, skis, sled, etc., available at the Barn.
Activities, available 9am-5pm, 7 days a week, weekly include but are not limited to:
- Country wagon ride: visit local community hospitality & organic farm
- Trail adventures: Hiking, mountain biking and animal tracking
- River: Canoeing and caving
- Nature conservation jeep safari
- Target sports: Archery, geocaching
- Little Bears Kids Club for guests aged 4-12: pony rides, gold panning, cowboy games, arts & crafts, wildlife monitoring
- Leisure: volleyball, badminton, karaoke, board games, CD/DVD and book library
- Relax: Outdoor pool, hot tub, , cinema
- Evenings: dance and campfire/storytelling nights
A main activity at the ranch and the entire Linden team is made of true lovers of horses, and one of the best herds of horses in Croatia. From 2-hour trail rides to full days to multi-day rides, the wranglers at the Ranch are well versed in natural horsemanship, a real understanding and a deep communication with horses. They love sharing their passion for horseback riding with guests of all different experience levels, from absolute beginner to seasoned equestrian, with activities suitable both for grown-ups and children alike. While on the trail, learn all about the land, wildlife and flora of Croatia.
Velebit Mountain Riding Expeditions
For true equestrians and adventurers, for 3 to 9 days, carefully tailored to achieve total abandonment of modern civilization in exchange for the wilderness and experiencing a cowboy way of life, a supernatural inspiration of nature and life.
Add to a gradual introduction to horseback riding from colt starting to horsemanship, and after a brief orientation and safety briefing you’ll be matched to a horse that will help in making this the best horseback riding experience you have ever imagined. The Ranch offers a variety of lessons related to safely and comfortably riding, to hone skills and confidence. Private and group riding lessons are available.
Retreat with a good book from the library in the shade of the Secret Garden trees or soak in the fireplace-heated jacuzzi, while sipping a glass of champagne – an unforgettable experience!
Away from the ranch: Perfect for day trips to explore Croatia
- Nikola Tesla's birthplace and museum, an easy 20km bike ride from the ranch. Tesla practiced yoga, meditation, visualization and found inspiration for his work in the Velebit Mountain.
- Plitvice Lakes (Croatia's most famous National Park with waterfalls and colourful mineral lakes), Zadar (‘the most beautiful sunsets in the world’ according to Alfred Hitchcock), Adriatic Coast (55km) swimming and towns, and Zagreb, all within an hour or two drive.
Experience stunning mountain country on horseback or hiking: ancient forests, vast pastures and sky-reaching mountains with breathtaking views.
- Velebit Mountain is one of the last places in Croatia to have more animals than people!
- High chance of spotting a Brown Bear on a full day ride. Other wildlife includes Eurasian lynx, Balkan chamois, European mouflon, boar, red and roe deer, Grey Wolf, ibex, fox, coyote, and an array of birds including woodpecker, owl, hawk, eagle and vulture.
- Learn about the land, wildlife and flora of Croatia.
The Ranch is located in a mountain climate zone at 2,200 feet. “Moisture wicking” clothing is recommended so you can always add or remove a layer. Seasonal low / high temperatures are as follow:
- Spring: April: -5° / 16°; May 0° / 20° ; June 10° / 25°
- Summer: July: 18° / 30° ; August 12° / 26°
- Autumn: September 5° / 24° ; October 2° / 22°; November -5° / 20°
Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch offers a deep and meaningful commitment to people whilst continually striving to ensure tourism benefits local people.
It’s an authentic experience for travel beyond adventure. Venture here for peace, and learning about and connecting with yourself, humanity, cowboy and Croatian culture and the environment, while supporting community projects.
Linden Tree thrives as an interface, putting people at the centre of its ecosystem, a crossroad of knowledge and wisdom for cultural exchange, community building and conservation.
Transformative: Guests are not mere spectators but active participants in the dynamic experience. In the rolling pastures, people often unexpectedly encounter one thing: themselves. Absorb a wealth of knowledge and wisdom and leave some of your own behind.
Code of Conduct: All guests sign up to behaviour at the ranch incorporating ways to protect and limit guest impact on nature.
+ The Staff
Nature adventure meets personalized service: From wranglers to those in the kitchen, nature guides to owners and partners, the multi-talented individuals are more like family than staff.
Owner Bruce loves the adventure of inner and outer journeys, conscious understanding and sharing stories in the incredible setting of the ranch, especially around a campfire under a starry night.
Values, purpose and passion are reflected in all staff: To learn, to teach, to serve, to share, to simply enjoy life, people and nature, to find happiness and to be at one and peace with yourself and the world.
Today, Bruce, his wife Megi and team share its wonders with like-minded people from all around the world.
+ The Community
The Illyrian tribe Japods were original the original settlers of Velika Plana around 8,000 B.C.: some ruins can still be found in the valley. The valley population grew steadily until the 1960s peaking at about about 700 inhabitants, all small ranchers and farmers. Currently only 20 inhabitants remain in the valley, mainly elderly.
Employment & Education: The Retreat employs local men and women and, through various education-based naturalist and recreational offerings, contributes to the enhancement and global understanding of the Velebit Mountain Biosphere Reserve.
By staying at Linden Tree you actively contribute toward community development and nature conservation, funded by a portion of tourism profit, such as:
- Fostering youth employment through development of rural tourism.
- Prosperity in diversity - training elderly unemployed women in the community in sustainable agriculture.
The projects have been so successful, Linden Tree has been asked by Croatian government to replicate them in other rural areas. And, the ranch has plenty of tasty local produce!
Take the wagon ride activity and you’ll make a stop at a local pub for traditional hospitality and visit the farm that produces the ranch’s dairy products and experience organic farming first hand.
Linden Tree demonstrates Earth Changers values of Adventure, Connection and Integrity, through inner and outer journeys with the self and others.
A sustainable wilderness resort with human-centred sustainable development.
Awareness of the inter-connectedness and impacts of everything in the ecosystem.
Linden Tree puts humans at its centre with conservation and cultural exchange to create a balanced and integrated ecosystem integrating all life. Its CIDER framework guided developing its sustainable business practices by for its underlying principles: Community, Integrity, Development, Evolution and Responsibility, with social mission,
“to create opportunities for collaboration across human wildscapes, extracting underlying common principles, independent of local cultural and geographical settings, that drive stakeholders toward self-sustainable models, regardless of their own (often different) direction”.
+ Environmental Sustainability
“Consciousness is a priority across the board for all decision making. It’s about how it all relates and impacts.” – Bruce Yerkovich, Owner
Protected Area: Operating within Velebit National Park, declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and a Natura 2000 area, means governance in an environmentally sensitive manner which forms the backbone of all policies and sustainable development.
Ranch area: There are 50 acres of ranch land which encompass mountains, soft hills, meadows, pastures, forest, a mountain-fed creek, gravel roads, forest paths as well as a mile of frontage along Ricina River, a protected fishery that flows into the Kruscica Lake.
Bio-diversity: There’s three separate micro-climates and more than 1,800 plant species and sub-species have been identified in the Velebit area, 79 endemic.
Conservation: Nature conservation is an important product of ranch management practices. Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch works hand-in-hand with several conservation organizations, as well as local, regional and federal government in developing sustainable, environmentally responsible programs, for example Open Land Restoration, Bear Habitat Mapping and other wildlife studies.
Zoning: The ranch is zoned into a no-interfering only-observing conservation area, balanced with areas for horse facilities and grazing.
Impacts: All land and lake adventures and activities aim to minimize the environmental impacts, such as by using designated trails to lessen the Park footprint. Operations are low-impact: Composting and recycling governs food and beverages; waste water is filtered, some grey water for gardens that produce excellent fruits; other reusable in the heating system, along with high efficiency wood furnaces, using dead or diseased plants, create hot water and heat buildings.
Actions are informed by experiences as well as perspectives from ecologists, botanists, and biologists to build whole ecosystem knowledge and result in a healthier, more stable and more productive micro-ecosystem that in turn contributes to the health of the ranch and the valley as a whole.
+ Social Sustainability
Local Benefits: Local people benefit from visitors staying in the beautiful dwellings: Wood for building doors, windows and furniture was sourced at the ranch as part of sustainable forestry program, and built in collaboration with local carpenter. Carpets, decors and construction materials are made by local artists and craftspeople and sourced in the valley, thereby contributing to the continuous evolution of local cultural skills and knowledge.
Heritage and Local Culture All adventures and activities are interpretive to foster deep guest connection with local heritage and legends, educating them about sustainable ways the local community lives by sharing history and culture of the region, organizing visits to local farms and archaeological sites in the valley, and supporting preservation of traditional cultural values of local artisans, people and businesses.
Cultural Exchange: Bringing together locals and guests breaks down cultural barriers and creates long lasting and thought-provoking memories.
+ Economic Sustainability
Financial contribution An important part of what you pay is committed to remaining a highly sustainable and responsible tourism destination. Linden Tree reinvests 10% of all profits in different conservation, community development and education programs they run or sponsor in the area.
Employee support Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch also has an employee profit-sharing plan as an additional way of ensuring its benefit to the local community and continually enhancing its socially responsible enterprise.
Linden Tree is born of a vision to build a sustainable wilderness retreat that demonstrates and respects the land, people and wildlife.
Enquire here and we connect you directly to the destination so locals benefit more. Earth Changers Plus: Book through us and you’ll also get dinner with owner Bruce!
(Or reserve with Booking.com but less money goes to the destination)
Options & Rates
Getting There: Located off the beaten track in southern Croatia approximately half-way between Zagreb and Split.
Zagreb International Airport (ZAG) is a short 2-hour drive to the Ranch and has good flight availability.
Other airports within reasonable distance:
Zadar Airport (ZAD): 1.25 hour drive
Split Airport (SPU): 2 hour drive
Rijeka Airport (RJK): 2.5 hour drive
During the summer season, low cost carriers such as Ryan Air and German Wings add direct flights from major European cities to Split, Zadar and Rijeka.
Transfer: A private Ranch vehicle and driver are available to provide round-trip guest ground transportation from the airport to our location at an additional cost. Maximum capacity per car is seven passengers. Bottled water and snacks are available for the drive and luggage trailer if required. Ground Transportation Costs, one way, per car:
Zagreb International Airport (ZAG): € 225
Zadar Airport (ZAD): € 125
Split Airport (SPU): € 225
Rijeka Airport (RJK): € 250
Guests who drive to the Ranch on their own will be provided with complimentary vehicle valet service upon arrival and departure. Guest vehicles will be kept in a parking area close to the Barn.
Check-in: after 15:00 on arrival day
Check-out: before 11:00 on departure day
Rates: Click here for Linden Tree Accommodation and Activity Rates
Unique lodging accommodation with the finest amenities.
Access to heated swimming pool, hot tub, private movie theatre, book, DVD and CD library, board games, riding helmets, cowboy hats, rain coats, wellington boots, hiking poles and evening entertainment.
Free satellite Wi-Fi, valet parking.
Children 3 years and younger stay for free.
Additional mandatory item: occupancy tax.
All inclusive rate: 3 gourmet meals and snacks, plus an extensive variety of guided activities as per the weekly schedule in addition to the above.
Activities (excepting those on all inclusive basis)
Linden Tree is a pet-friendly. A pet supplement is available for additional pet facilities.
Please be aware of wildlife: Leashes may be encouraged in outdoor areas. Pets cannot participate in some activities eg. for safety reasons, dogs cannot be taken on horseback rides.
Awards & Accreditations
UNESCO protected Biosphere Reserve
Natura 2000 area
Northern Velebit National Park
Velebit Nature Park
DK Eyewitness Travel Luxury Ranch - the only one in Europe.
2017 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence
World Wildlife Fund
Mountain Home Stulinac
Life Dinalp Bear Project
Enquire here so we can connect you directly to the destination - so locals benefit more. Earth Changers Plus: Book through us and you’ll also get dinner with owner Bruce!
Or reserve with Booking.com but less money goes to the destination
Terms & Conditions:
Prepayment of 50% required for booking.
The final accounts settlement is due at check-out; Late check-out may result in extra charge
Children aged 4 and older are charged adult rate.
Prices stated are an approximation in Euros: Actual payments will be effected in Croatian currency, Kuna. When charging your credit card, the same amount is converted into your local currency according to the exchange rate of credit card associations.
The Ranch reserves the right to reject, cancel or modify reservation where it appears that the reservation contains or has resulted from a mistake or error.
Itinerary and duration of activities are subject to change due to group abilities and preferences, weather conditions and forecasts, snow and water levels, special events or interest.
Cancellation notification must occur at least 61 days prior to your arrival date to receive refunded payment. A 10% fee of your total reservation amount will be non-refundable.
Cancellation notifications occurring less than 60 days prior to arrival are not eligible for a refund.
Reservation reductions such as party size or duration will not receive rate adjustments prior to 60 days of arrival. A 10% service charge of the total reservation will be charged for any date change made within 60 days of arrival.
The reservation will be held by 24:00, on arrival date. In case of no show, a cancellation fee of 100% of reservation value will apply.