Mali Alan Pass: Beware of landmines

Mali Alan Pass is a mountain pass at an elevation of 1.053m (3,454ft) above the sea level located on the boundary of Lika–Senj and Zadar counties, in Croatia. Paved half way, the pass is quite challenging.

Mali Alan Pass

Can you drive to Mali Alan Pass?

Set high in the southern part of the Velebit range of the Dinaric Alps, the road to the summit, also known as Halan, is mostly unpaved. It starts as a narrow paved road, and after crossing Sveti Rok tunnel, it turns into gravel. The road was opened on October, 1832, built by Major Kajetan Knezic (1786-1848), a famous engineer and road builder.

How long is Mali Alan Pass?

The pass is 34km (21.12 miles) long, running south-north from D54 road, east of Zaton Obrovački (in Zadar County) to Sveti Rok (in Lika–Senj County).

Is Mali Alan Pass difficult?

The drive is not easy. The road is very steep, hitting an 11% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. There are drop offs and narrow parts. It’s highly recommended to stay always in the trail, because the area is very dangerous outside of the path. The whole area was frontline during the war and the Croatian authorities have posted several signs along the road, warning about the danger of landmines, so everyone is asked not to leave the way. There is also great danger in the numerous war ruins, which can be seen in particular in the lower part of the southern approach.

How long does it take to drive the Mali Alan Pass?

To drive the road without stopping will take most people between 2 and 3 hours. The drive is very scenic, with stunning views of the mountains along the Adriatic coast. There’s a small church which was built during the road construction, known as chapel Podprag. Before arriving to the peak, there’s another construction through the trail. It’s called Tulove grede, and an old legend says that dragons live there, and a chapel is dedicated to Colonel Damir Tomljanovic Gavran who fell there in 1994 during Croatian war for independence. The area is quite famous for the Karl May films. Lots of film scenes were shot in different parts of the pass.

Pic: Attila Bierbaum