Pandemic times have brought to so many unfortunate events and tragedies, but I believe that if we can really deeply think about it for a while, we could conclude that we have managed to learn some vitally important things. One of them is certainly appreciating more our own families and close friends, but also that we should sometimes stop with our super-busy lives and simply re-connect. Deadlines and large projects can be very motivating and lead to financial accomplishments, but what about our minds and nerves? They too require motivation, and they too require resting. And what better way is there to obtain such things other than blending in with nature for a while? If you are looking to spend some time in Croatia, one of the first ideas which came to your mind are probably related to sun and beach. And these are amazing, but Croatia is much more than that, and it actually hides so many undiscovered areas with plenty of greenery and amazing wildlife. And Gorski Kotar is the ultimate place for that.
The area of Gorski Kotar is all about nature. From stunning lakes to potent mountain peaks, there is a bit for everyone. If you are looking to re-connect to your inner soul and fully re-charge your batteries, this may be your ideal destination. The most popular place to be is certainly the national park of Risnjak. The source of river Kupa is part of the park and is definitely one of the purely natural delights to deeply soak in and simply enjoy. On the other side, Risnjak offers multiple mountain peaks which you can reach either through sporty or elegant paths. And the effort is definitely worth it, because the views which you can observe from the tops are stunning. What a re-connection, indeed! And then, there are lakes. If you love swimming or fishing authentic fish species, or simply enjoying greatly sunny days by the water, you should really visit either Lokve Lake or Lake Potkoš. Or both. These two are certainly among the most beautiful attractions which Gorski Kotar has to offer. And for those who are seeking to really get away from humans and connecting with local animal species instead, there are greatly innovative accommodation types for a truly natural experience. Why not switching hotels with wood cabins for a while? Or even with tree houses! The area offers plenty and this is really starting to feel as a whole new movement, and I love it. For instance, Šume Pjevaju is one of my favorite places to stay there. Its name literally translates to Forests Sing, so you can already get the feeling. Complete isolation from people, natural wood, just enough electricity for basic necessities and no TV. But still, luxe touches are guaranteed. Somebody teleports me now, please.
After filling your soul batteries up, you may just want to spend some energy among this intact natural area. And Gorski Kotar has so much to help you with accomplishing such goal. From adventuristic mountain biking and mountaineering to canoeing across fantastic lakes, you can pick your favorite adventure from an infinite source of choices. One of my favorites is rafting, as it offers a true blend of adrenaline and natural beauty. You can either choose a super-adventurous tour through the highest and quickest parts of River Kupa, or you can alternatively go with a more relaxed option which includes safari stops as well as some cool bridge-jumping. And who knows, you may even spot a local bear or a lynx. No worries, professionals got you covered all the time. And for real action lovers, paragliding is amazing above Gorski Kotar, as the views you can experience from the sky are simply fantastic. However, if you prefer having your feet on the ground, why not conquering the tops of Bijele & Samarske Stijene? These are one of the most beautiful Croatian mountain peaks, but they still do offer some greatly demanding paths to cross.
Discovering Gorski Kotar is not just relaxing and adventurous at the same time, but it can also present a real cultural enrichment. Did you know that the most noble Croatian families of Frankopan and Zrinski loved Gorski Kotar? Well, they have invested so much in this area once having recognized its potential, so there are still many hilltop castles and sacred buildings left for people to explore. And the best part is that you can incorporate their visit along with a natural hike or bike tour. Croatians are quite proud of their cultural heritage, and noble families like these two have brought a huge contribution to their development. Therefore, understanding a bit of such important part of Croatian history along with learning totally intriguing legends may become quite the experience. Another great venue to add to your bucket list is the Bukovac Cave. Not only it features a magnificent work of art designed by Mother Nature, but it actually holds some interesting artifacts which you can see for yourself. Such artifacts have managed to contribute into understanding the presence of humans during the Early Upper Paleolithic age across central Europe, as they prove that people have actually been using the cave. Along with cave bears and black panthers. Quite remarkable, right?
A great advantage which Gorski Kotar offers is its fully relaxed atmosphere and an amazing destination all-year-round. Gorski Kotar will have enough activity options both during the hottest days of the summer as well as during idyllic winter months. There is plenty of great accommodation which you can book, even last-minute, without having to plan your trip months in advance. Even though the area is starting to seriously invest into its own tourist sector, foreign tourists have still not recognized its full potential. This is perhaps not ideal for people who live out of it, but it certainly leaves more choice to those who want to discover it, and they can do it at friendly prices. A great destination for spontaneous souls!