Ogulin is a small town in continental Croatia, halfway between Rijeka and Zagreb. This Croatian town was built around its castle in the 16th century, and myths and legends of fairies, witches, and elves from the deep forests surrounding the area are part of the abounding charm of the place. Tounj and the Tounjski Bridge can be found on a quick road trip outside of Ogulin.
Only about a quick fifteen-minute scenic drive outside of Ogulin, visitors will be amazed to discover the beautiful two story bridge in Tounj, called the Tounjski Bridge. Adorned in white stone statues, this bridge is a fantastic place to stop for pictures and a stroll. After visiting the bridge, don’t miss the picturesque surrounding area of emerald green forest leading to a beautiful cave with eight kilometers of subterranean caverns to explore.
Continue on the same road, then take the first left at the roundabout, follow the signs for a cave, then walk along the main trail to find a wooden bridge over blue waters into the forest. The emerald green oasis will lead you along the stream, which is the beginning of the Tounjčica River. Continue hiking to the right, and you will find the crystal clear turquoise water coming from the large mouth of the cave. Visitors are welcome to enter Croatia’s fourth largest cave to explore more than 8 kilometers of this geological protected area. Its dark labyrinths are a natural wonder. Bring a flashlight or headlamp for better viewing.
During May 1986, cavers of the Speleo section Velebit – Zagreb began exploration of this cave in the Tounj quarry after a mining blast collapsed the cave entrance. By the end of 1987, after 28 separate explorations, the survey drawing covered roughly 6100 m of channels. A total of 8487 meters of channels were explored, but unfortunately the exploration has not been able to continue due to problems with the mountain quarry in operation above. Fortunately, the caverns are now a protected area. The spacious cave is easily entered at the mouth, and there are more narrows, waterways, and smaller tunnels toward the rear.
According to historians, three families protected themselves from the Turks in this very cave: Fumić, Juraić and Rebrović. The cave was a natural fortress with loopholes and exits to the upper cave which is hidden from view in the bushes and thickets.
Surrounding the cave, a lush, emerald green fairyland enchants visitors, and the cold, clear blue streams refresh the soul. We visited during the winter, when the forests outside the cave area were barren, brown, hibernating flora. This oasis of emerald green is only found where the streams of water create a small temperate microclimate and hydrate the surrounding foliage year-round. Visitors will feel they are entering a magical dimension. Walk around the waterway’s charming stone bridges covered in bright green moss to find another trail to walk to the nearby village.
The picturesque village is another incredible site to see. Each charming home is elevated on a natural hill, its own private mound of earth filled with unique individual gardens and giant grey stones. It looks like a village in some fantasy movie. Another magical attribute of this dreamy little town is its narrow streets, which, of course, eventually wind to a beautiful church. After exploring the town, a snack is in order, so be sure to find and sample the local delicacy, a smoky cow’s milk Tounj cheese. It is such a staple of local culture and cuisine that there is a “Cheese Days” celebration and festivities organized every October.
Stay in Ogulin because there aren’t many places to stay around the area. Be sure to bring hiking shoes and plenty of water in the summer. The area is dog friendly, but make sure the doggies aren’t messing up the tender grasses around the water.