- For other meanings, see: Velebit (disambiguation)
Velebit is the largest though not the highest mountain range in Croatia. Its highest peak is the Vaganski Vrh at 1757 m.
The range forms a part of the Dinaric Alps and is located along the Adriatic coast, separating it from Lika in the interior. Velebit begins in the northwest near Senj with the Vratnik mountain pass and ends 145 km to the southeast near the source of the Zrmanja river reasonably near Knin.
Velebit is usually divided into four regions:
- the northern part between the mountain passes Vratnik and Veliki Alan, with the highest peak Mali Rajinac (1699 m)
- the middle part between Veliki Alan and Baške Oštarije with the highest peak Šatorina (1624 m)
- the southern part between Oštarije and Mali Alan (peaks Vaganski vrh - 1757, Sveto brdo - 1753,)
- the southeastern part with Crnopac as the most remarkable peak
Velebit as a whole is a nature park, from which two national parks have been carved out: Paklenica and Sjeverni Velebit.
A further category of even more careful nature preservation exists within Sjeverni Velebit, the special reservation Hajdučki i Rožanski Kukovi, under the highest nature protection available in Croatia. Officially no human activity is allowed there (except research). These are the mostly still unexplored and wild places and probably will stay that way in the future.
A pathway called Premužićeva staza (Premužić's pathway) leads through the northern and middle parts of Velebit. This pathway was built between 1930 and 1933 and it connects northern and southern Velebit. Its length is 50 km. Many parts of Velebit would not be reachable without it.
Velebit also has the largest and deepest caves in Croatia. The three-part "Lukina jama" cave is 1392 m deep, while the "Slovačka jama" is 1320 m. See Velebit caves.
The imposing nature of the Velebit mountain has made it something of a national symbol in Croatian folklore. There is a patriotic folk song Vila Velebita that personifies a fairy in Velebit.
Velebit is home to Degenia velebitica, an endemic and protected species of plant in the mustard family.