Gorski Kotar

Travelling in Croatia is easy, everything is within reach, and all you need is a bit of organization to see the Croatian places on your bucket list. This time we decided to visit Gorski Kotar again. It’s a nice, pretty hour and a half drive from Zagreb, into the mountains. The mountain regions in north western Croatia and Istria are beautiful.

Delnice is only an hour and half drive from Zagreb

Delnice is a major city of Gorski Kotar. Gorski Kotar is a mountain region in Croatia between Zagreb and Rijeka. Rijeka is in the Istria region, on the shores of the Adriatic sea. If we continued to drive half an hour more, we would get to the Adriatic sea. As simple as that.

Delnice is a smaller town in Croatia. Not a lot of people over there, and most of the activities to do are outdoor activities. Bicycling, hiking, climbing, or skiing is what Delnice is all about.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions all around the world, in Delnice also, the number of visitors in their ice-skating rink was limited. So we went to give it a try, just for half an hour. And we felt like everything was there just for us.

The ice-skating rink was pretty much empty. Maybe thirty people altogether were at the same time in the rink, which was great for a beginner. We didn’t need to worry about bumping into someone else. Music from the nineties and the first ice-skating moves. I was holding on to the fence most of the time, but we definitely had a laugh.

Lunch in Gorski Kotar

Afterward, we went to warm up ourselves in the Restaurant Tron. Like many places in Croatia, they offer homemade food and lots of ingredients are homegrown.  Family farms can be found all around Croatia and they’re always in proximity to cities and restaurants.

The interior was rustic, just like a mountain ambiance should be. A fireplace, stone walls, and wooden tables. For lunch, we had the chef’s recommendation: deer file with wild strawberries. And it was just delicious.

Crni Lug is great for an overnight stay, and everything else is still close enough.

We stayed overnight at Crni Lug. It’s a small village in Gorski Kotar, surrounded by an evergreen forest, full of fir trees and oak trees.

There’re many houses and rooms to rent all around, just like all through Croatia.

Risnjak is one of the eight National Parks in Croatia. And Leska is an educational path within Risnjak that we went to see while staying there. All the needed information about the length and content of the trail can be obtained daily at their information center, which is next to a parking lot. And people working there are warm-hearted and eager to explain as much as possible.

Leska is a pleasant hour and a half walk through fir, beech, and oak forests. The path is well marked and it has a lot of information tables that are quite interesting to read. On them, general information about flora and fauna in Gorski Kotar can be found.

And it was a real treat for my furry friend. Along the way, we met some locals that came as well for a stroll with their dogs.

And when people share the same love for dogs, conversation kicks off by itself easily.

The Spring of Kupa

The Kupa is a turquoise river that springs in the National Park Risnjak. In some parts, it’s also a natural border between Slovenia and Croatia. And I was amazed to see how still the spring actually is.

It’s one of the rare rivers whose Spring becomes a river instantly. And it’s surrounded by up to 300 feet high vertical cliffs.

It’s completely calm on the surface and it looks more like a still lake than anything else. Not far from its Spring it already starts flowing. Nearby a few small waterfalls can be seen. Within a canyon, where the Kupa is flowing, larger round stones and moss all around give additional beauty to the river. It reminded me of a place from one of Tolkien’s stories, with fairies and dwarfs.

We started hiking from Razloge and it took us around forty-five minutes to get to the Spring of Kupa. There’s an information desk in Rastoke. Regardless, the path is well-marked and not demanding. And from time to time, we would come across other hikers, which was great for us to check up on a route we are taking.

The path goes through quite a thick fir, bleach, and oak forest. And it reminded me a lot of Sljeme, as I’m quite often there when I’m in Zagreb.

Finally, when we got to the canyon where the Spring of Kupa is, we saw large round stones which must have been shaped like that, in some other time, when the canyon was a river. Just before the canyon, there’re narrow stairs that lead down to the bottom of the canyon. Due to the moisture of the river, they’re constantly wet and a bit slippery, so we needed to slow down our pace.

Because of the nearby Spring, the temperature went down a few degrees as well.

And there it was, the Spring of Kupa. Just like it was photoshopped and yet really. The greenest color ever.

Nearby places we found for the next time

Gorski Kotar is one of the preferred mountain destinations of people living in Istria. It’s close enough and it has a lot to offer. Hiking trails, bicycling, skiing areas, ice-skating, lakes, rivers, and so on.

Those that can’t get their week off in France, go skiing in Gorski Kotar. And it’s nothing less stunning. From some peaks in Gorski Kotar; Kvarner and Istria can be seen. Just a reminder: Kvarner and Istria are located on the Adriatic Sea.

While being in Gorski Kotar, we heard about the mountain called Fratar and at least five different locations next to it, then the mountain Učka in Istria, or Fužine, just before Rijeka. Apparently, I’ll have to clear my schedule more often to manage it all.

Gorski Kotar was a fulfilling weekend-off.

Strolling through the forest, enjoying unspoiled nature in the heart of the mountain region in Croatia, and local food – batteries are full, now I’m ready for another challenging Monday.