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National Park Risnjak

Anyone who wants to experience the most genuine natural landscapes of Gorski kotar should certainly visit the only national park in the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County – Risnjak. Dense, expansive forests, which cover nearly 95% of the park, vividly demonstrate how well preserved the nature in this area is. Risnjak national park is not only the habitat of the three large carnivores of Gorski Kotar – the wolf, the bear and the lynx – but also of the chamois and many other mammals that live in the area. There are as much as 114 species of birds. There is also the crystal clear Kupa river, with the species of brown trout and European grayling, but also with an entire aquatic world that can be experienced in the upper part of its valley. The administration building of the national park is located in Crni Lug.  https://www.np-risnjak.hr

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Foto 1-2 National park Risnjak (foto-archives PI NP Risnjak)

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Foto 3-4 Strictly protected natural reserve Bijele and Samarske stijene

Strictly protected natural reserve Bijele & Samarske stijene

Bijele & Samarske stijene is one of the two strictly protected natural reserves in Croatia (the other one is Hajdučki & Rožanski kukovi on Velebit mountain). The area is a treat for experienced climbers and true admirers of nature. The reserve is devoted to the preservation of the wildlife, and the labyrinth of white limestone rocks is the home to rich flora and fauna. Although the area is full of trail markers that help the visitors reach the most interesting sites, for safety reasons, one has to be well equipped and have some climbing experience, as the nature here can be unpredictable. The reserve is managed by the National Park Risnjak. https://www.np-risnjak.hr

Significant landscape Kamačnik

Only a few minutes from the Vrbovsko exit from the Rijeka-Zagreb highway, there is an excursion site Kamačnik. The valley of the Kamačnik creek, which flows into the Dobra River, is a landscape of an unusual natural beauty and a real gem. The pleasant promenade that follows the stream to its source, is 3.2 km long in one direction, and along the way there are numerous educational paths with interesting information points, including sound installations “Pan’s musical trails”, which are particularly attractive. Kamačnik is an ideal place if you want to spend time in nature or have a walk by the crystal clear stream. The nearby catering facility offers refreshment to the visitors. Information about visiting terms can be obtained from the holder of the concession for visitor acceptance and management. http://lokvarka.hr/kamacnik

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Foto 5-6 Significant landscape Kamačnik

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Foto 7-8 Significant landscape Vražji prolaz-Zeleni vir

Significant landscape Vražji prolaz – Zeleni vir

Vražji prolaz, along with Kamačnik, is the most important and interesting canyon in Gorski Kotar. It is located in a steep and rocky area near Skrad. In the narrow part of the canyon, where Jasle brook churns and foams, you can find staircases and bridges that allow visitors to pass through. When passing through the canyon, one should be very careful, because in certain parts of the year some stones and rocks tend to fall off the cliffs, or they are knocked over by the chamois passing by the edge of the canyon. In winter, when the threat of falling rocks is the greatest, the trail through the canyon is closed. Another exceptionally interesting site in this significant landscape is Zeleni vir, with a cave spring and waterfall that swoops down from seventy meters high rock. Water from the cave spring is used for electricity production in the first hydroelectric power plant in this part of Gorski Kotar – Munjara, built in 1921. The nearby catering facility offers refreshment to the visitors. Information about visiting terms can be obtained from the holder of the concession for visitor acceptance and management. http://zelenivir.com.hr/

Golubinjak Forest Park

Situated near Lokve, this ancient forest park abounds in numerous karst phenomena – caves, stalactites and stalagmites, as well as impressive limestone cliffs with numerous well-tended climbing routes and a tourist path that meanders through the beech-fir forest. Unfortunately, the forest wildlife was severely hit by harsh weather conditions, icebreaks and winds, and bark beetles attacks, but now it is slowly recovering. A special thematic educational trail dedicated to the most secretive carnivore of Gorski Kotar – the lynx – has been set up in Golubinjak. As a well-known excursion site and climbing area, Golubinjak attracts numbers of visitors with its spacious meadow in the entrance area, which is an ideal place for family gatherings and outdoor sports. The nearby catering facility offers refreshment to the visitors. Information about visiting terms can be obtained from the holder of the concession for visitor acceptance and management. http://lokvarka.hr/park-suma-golubinjak

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Foto 9-10 Golubinjak Forest Park

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Foto 11-12 Japlenški vrh Forest Park

Forest Park Japlenški vrh

Forest Park Japlenški vrh is primarily intended for recreation of the people of Delnice, but also for other visitors, since it is located right next to the town of Delnice. Moreover, it is connected to the town by a sort of a wildlife corridor – a town park, which means you can reach the protected area through a rich greenery in just a few minutes of light walk. At the very entrance to the protected area there is a catering facility Lovački dom, where you can get a warm meal. There is also a small zoo, with fallow deer that are especially interesting to children. You can continue the walk through the park forest, along a circular path fitted with educational panels, or you can climb to the very top at 842 MSL

Lokvarka Cave

The Lokvarka cave was discovered accidentally near Lokve back in 1911, during the extraction of limestone needed for production of lime. It is the deepest tourist cave in Croatia today. It has the protected status of geomorphological monument of nature. It is 275 meters deep and has six levels, of which the visitor can see the first four and descend to a depth of 70 meters. The cave is equipped with staircases and unobtrusive lighting so that the visitor can enjoy the impressive stalactites, stalagmites or other cave formations. Information about visiting terms can be obtained from the holder of the concession for visitor acceptance and management. https://lokvarka.hr/spilja-lokvarka

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Foto 13-14 Lokvarka Cave

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Foto 15-16 Vrelo Cave

Vrelo Cave

The cave is located next to Lake Bajer near Fužine. It was discovered in 1950 and is nicely equipped for visits. Unlike in Lokvarka cave, whose canals extend vertically into the depths, the trail for visitors in Vrelo cave stretches almost horizontally and without impediments, so the cave can be visited by all categories of visitors, including people with reduced mobility. A stream flows through the cave, and the cave formations are unusually rich and diverse. Information about visiting terms can be obtained from the holder of the concession for visitor acceptance and management. https://www.tz-fuzine.hr/hr/spilja_vrelo/148/14

"Bear Trail" in Brod na Kupi

As part of the international Slovenian-Croatian project “Sožitje” (“Symbiosis”) an educational path was set up, called “Bear Trail”. The trail passes through an orchard of old autochthonous fruit trees, along the picturesque Kupica River, in the area of the Elementary School “Fran Krsto Frankopan”. On the trail, the visitor can learn the basic facts about the life of bears in Gorski Kotar and this part of Europe. One of the objectives of the project “Sožitje” was to encourage the “coexistence” of people and the largest carnivore of the Dinarides. The other part of the “Bear Trail”, also designed as part of this project, is located on the Slovenian side of the border.

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Foto 17-18 „Bear Trail“ in Brod na Kupi

Javorova kosa near Ravna Gora

In the vicinity of Ravna Gora and Stara Sušica there are several interesting destinations worth visiting. One is Javorova Kosa, which has a mountain hut and a natural medicinal spring called Božji studenac. This is just one of many springs in the slopes of Javorova kosa. According to local beliefs and traditions, the spring water has a beneficial effect on the eyes. http://www.tz-ravnagora.hr/product/2253/bozji-studenac

The hiking trail of Ravna Gora

The interesting hiking transversal connects 12 localities, among which is the highest peak in the municipality of Ravna Gora – Višnjevica (1376 m), as well as the highest peak of Gorski Kotar – Bjelolasica (1534 m). The entire route can be crossed in 4 days of light walk. The route also includes Kicljev vrh, Rudač and Javorova kosa. One of the checkpoints is the castle in Stara Sušica. http://www.tz-ravnagora.hr/product/2382/ravnogorski-planinarski-put

The admirers of nature may find many more interesting places to visit in the book entitled “Čudesno lijepa – prirodna baština Primorsko-goranske županije”, which gives short descriptions of the protected areas and the areas of the Natura 2000 ecological network in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County. https://ju-priroda.hr/publikacije/knjige/