Although in my mind I can’t wait for the first signs of spring it is still the middle of winter! Last week I have been to the Gorski Kotar region, located roughly between the Croatian capital Zagreb and the coastal town Rijeka. In this mountainous area an abundant of wildlife and natural beauty resides, not only in the NP Risnjak but in the whole sparsely populated region. The main attractions here are wildlife walks, cycling, wildlife watching, visiting of caves and fishing. Culinary this region is known for venison goulash, trout and frog legs! In the end of April a frog leaping contest is held, followed by a culinary evening of eating frog legs, just like the French, and there is even a frog museum in Lokve.
Due to the high location of the Gorski Kotar region snow falls here early in winter and remains until early spring. Last weekend the yearly sled riding competition was held near the town Lokve on a hill side just besides it’s beautiful artificial lake, which is filled with fish. Lokve is located about 10 minutes by car due west from the main town of the region: Delnice.
The lake near Lokve – Lokvarsko jezero
The lake of Lokve is an artificial lake created by a small dam and the lake covers more than 2 km2 and is about 40 m deep, the lake extends to the foot of NP Risnjak. The lake is open throughout the year for fishing, relaxing walks along its shores and, in the summer, for swimming. In this lake some of the largest trout in the world have been caught! The walking trail around the lake with beautiful views on the surrounding green forests is about 17km along gravel roads, asphalt and forest paths, it doesn’t have much relief so it is an easy walk without to much climbing.
The cave near Lokve – Lokvarska špilja
Besides the lake you can visit the Lokvarka Cave, this is the second largest cave in Croatia, and is especially interesting because the part that is open for tourists takes you 70m into the dark – to underground grottos full of magical calcium shapes of the karst ground shaped by the flowing of by water into stalagmites and stalactites. The entrance to the cave is about 1 km from Lokve on the green hill of Kameniti vrh. The cave was accidentally discovered in 1911, a guided tour takes about 45 minutes – for more information and opening hours click here.
There is a very good website with information about cycling and other attractions in the region of Gorski Kotar – gorskikotarbike
For the website of the official tourist office of the Gorski Kotar region – click here
After a wonderful winter walk through the snow looking for tracks of deer, wild boar and even bears we fried some tasty sausages over a fire to get warm!