Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch is located in a beautiful area at the foot of the Velebit Mountains in Croatia. The place is built on a dream of creating a unique, exclusive and sustainable retreat where the guests can be at one with nature. Bruce Yerkovich, originally from Croatia, left a hectic business life in the United States to bring his vision to life, and he was successful! Bruce and his wife Megi live at the ranch themselves and have made their passion a way of life. They are happy to share this with their guests. You can hear his inspiring story here; «How I dared to jump»
I visited Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch in July 2017, and you can read about my experiences here.
The ranch is built on a concept called CIDER, which is an acronym for Community, Integrity, Development, Evolution and Responsibility. With this, they have set a standard for a sustainable business model, and this is the basis of all their activities at the ranch. They are dedicated to having a positive impact on the local community and to minimize their footprints in the fragile environment.
There are several types of accommodation at the ranch; North-American tipis, Casitas (round African style huts), cabins with rustic and old-fashioned charm, en-suite rooms in addition to safari tents located at the river bank. You can read all about the different alternatives on their website; https://www.lindenretreat.com/accommodation/
This is an all-inclusive concept with meals and a varied schedule of activities included. Besides riding, you can take part in excursions with and without a guide in the National Park. They also organize activities for kids as well as adults as Little Bears kids club, movie nights, dancing and campfire evenings with live music and storytelling.
Trail riding is the main activity at Linden Tree Retreat, and there is a scheduled programme for all levels, usually split between beginners and experienced riders. 2-hour trail rides are organized in the morning and afternoon several days a week, while full day rides are arranged once a week. The programme may vary, so it is recommended to check this before booking.
In addition to the trail rides, you can learn the basic principled of Natural Horsemanship, or take riding lessons. Pony rides and wagon rides are also arranged.
Once a year there is a one-week long expedition in the mountains; The Ultimate Cowboy Adventure.
The horses live outside year-round together as a herd in a large area surrounding the ranch. Most of them are mixed breeds with Quarter blood, but they also have Lippizaners and Arabian crossbreeds. The rough terrain requires strong and steady horses, so they are also breeding what they call “Mountain Horse” which is a small and compact type.
The horses are ridden with western saddles and have bridles with traditional western bits however they put emphasis on riding without contact on the bit. The training of the horses is based on Natural Horsemanship principles, and the horses are introduced to the trails already as foals by tagging along on some of the rides. That way they create safe, steady and sure-footed horses.
Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch is suitable for anyone who wants to take a break, cleanse their body and soul and recharge their batteries in a beautiful scenery – whether they are interested in horses or not. The ranch has a secluded location far away from the busy tourist areas of Croatia and has a very relaxed atmosphere. The food is one of the highlights, and the menu is set one day at a time based on which ingredients they have available and what guests they have. Organic, local and homemade!
The location of the ranch is a great base for other activities than riding so you may want to stay for a while. It can also easily be combined with a beach holiday if you have a car.
This is not a hotel, but a way of life. I recommend to try it!