DAY 1: Welcome to the Gorski Kotar region.
You can arrive by car or you can use our private transfer. In the middle of this Croatian green oasis is the municipality of Mrkopalj. You will be waking up to the chirping of birds in a small family-run guest house during your entire stay.
Optional: If you arrive early you could visit Kamačnik, a right tributary of the river Dobra - a 3.2 kilometer long breathtaking watercourse that forms the canyon carving the surrounding limestone. It was proclaimed a protected area in 2002.
After checking in you will be welcomed by your host followed by a 4- course welcome dinner. Overnight in the guest house.
DAY 2: Trip into the tradition
After a tasty breakfast, you will meet with your guide who will take you on a full-day excursion to the Southern part of the region. In the morning hours, you will visit the honeybee farm.
This visit explores the role of bees in the sustainability of our ecosystem. By transmitting pollen to a multitude of plants, vegetables, and fruits that would otherwise perish, honeybees are the lifeline of a healthy ecosystem. After a brief discussion on the life of the honeybee, the caste system in the hive, the division of labor, and the equipment for the hives, you will tour the farm and visit some of the hives. A tasting of the fresh honey from the hives, guided by your host, will allow you to enjoy different types of honey, and discover differences in appearance, smell, and taste. You can, if you wish, purchase their raw honey directly on the farm.
Going back in time, horse-drawn carriages were a widespread means of transport in this area, and today those rides are regarded as a local attraction. After an educational morning, we will take you to meet the last coachman here, a 76-year-old man born and raised in Fužine. He and his horse called Lisac (a fox in English) are hallmarks of this area. Lisac will surely look at you with his big brown eyes, studying what you had brought him since it’s time for a laid-back ride on an old-fashioned carriage on lake Bajer in Fužine. Bajer, an impressive artificial lake located in the center of Fužine, was created to collect water from the area and generate electricity.
Along the way, you will come across a source of drinking water. Water from mountain springs often contains more minerals than surface water, it is rich in magnesium, calcium, sodium, and iron, and is beneficial to our health in the long term. Coachman will stop so you can fill up your bottle. By filling up your own bottles in the mountains you are positively contributing to the environment, your health, and your wallet combined.
One of the gastro symbols of this micro-region is the frog legs. In the past, when extremely poor inhabitants were left without food, having no other options, they came up with the idea of feeding on what was in abundance - frogs! This fed and saved them, and the frog legs, because of their delicious taste, continued to feature on the menus of the small town called Lokve.
There are a couple of local restaurants that serve frog legs dishes, and we will take you on a gastro journey to experience the tastes of their turbulent history.
As part of the gastro journey in Lokve, unusual drinks come great with unusual dishes, so you will visit a craft shop that produces and sells brandies and liqueurs. All the drinks are produced in the heart of Gorski Kotar. After a day spent hanging out with the locals and getting to know their occupations and the way they live, it is time to get you back to the comfort of your accommodation.
DAY 3: Walking to the paradise of the Devil’s passage
After breakfast, enjoy the moments of silence and the healing power of nature. Your guide will meet you at 9;00. A healthy breakfast will give you the necessary stamina and energy for hiking the trail.
For today, it is important to wear comfortable shoes and to have layered clothes because the paths you will walk on are in the deep shade and only the tops of the rocks are illuminated by the sun. Zeleni Vir and Vražji prolaz are, according to many, the most beautiful natural attractions in Gorski Kotar. The canyon is about 800 meters long and in some sections only two meters wide. It was created because of the action of water that has eaten away the stone for thousands of years and paved this unusual path.
Along the canyon runs a footpath, made up of bridges and staircases, and sometimes cut into the rocks above the creek. You will be surrounded by the rich and pristine forest and the only thing you will think about will be the presence of this moment. Vražji prolaz canyon along with the spring Zeleni vir, and the impressive waterfall of the stream Curka, will make this excursion an unforgettable if not even transformative experience. After the tour of the canyon, as is customary for all hikers here, it is time for a well-deserved and tasty hot meal and a cold beer.
After a day spent in nature and upon returning to the guest house, we suggest you use the infrared sauna and hydromassage pool. These could help you in case of possible sore muscles and aid your sleep. Quality, comfortable hiking boots/running shoes are a must for this excursion
DAY 4: Experience the life of the Risnjak National Park
Tasty breakfast at the guest house. Your guide will be taking you on a day tour of the Northern part of Gorski Kotar. Departure will be no later than 9 in the morning. You will get a chance to experience the intuitive guidance in nature. On your way to Hrib village, where you will meet your guide for today; a biologist and a plant enthusiast, you will stop in the town called Delnice. The main road is full of small local shops that sell local products, handmade tools, equipment for agricultural work, etc. There, in the middle of the street, you will visit the old mill from 1924. It was one of the first facilities in Delnice to receive electricity. The mill is not in service today, but all devices (mills, elevators, sieves, electric motor, leather pulleys, etc.) have been preserved in their original form. The family that owns the mill also has a souvenir shop selling handmade original souvenirs of this area.
A 45-minute car drive will take you to Hrib village. After meeting your guide, you will find out some of the secrets about the village of Hrib and its complex history while enjoying a breath-taking view over the surrounding mountains and the River Kupa valley. Less than a kilometer away, the village of Šafari is where your guide is originally from. To help you feel what she and her family felt when they discovered this tiny village, you will have the opportunity to taste homemade products such as herbal teas, herbal juices, or goat cheese and enjoy the essence of the surrounding nature by trying homemade natural cosmetic and medicinal products.
You will proceed by car to the village of Kupari that is situated in the valley of the river Kupa and is part of the Risnjak National Park. From there, you will proceed on foot to the picturesque source of the Kupa river. The path is effortless and you will be able to completely relax and enjoy your walk along the riverside the whole time.
Apart from the natural heritage interpretation, your guide will invite you to open yourself to a mindful walk that will allow your whole being to merge with the primordial nature that surrounds you. There is a visitor center along the way which demonstrates the uniqueness of the Kupa River and its source. You will arrive at the river source and, after a short break, join your guide on a short, guided meditation to help you get the best from this experience. Return to Kupari. After this unique experience, your driver will take you to the guest house. Dinner. Evening at your leisure. Overnight.
DAY 5: Visit the nearby local dairy farm
Breakfast at the guest house and check-out. Before returning home, your guide will meet you one more time to take you on a short visit to a nearby family dairy farm.
Guided tour, along with fresh milk and milk products tasting. You can also purchase dairy products to take with you. You will have a chance to experience the sounds and aromas of a real-life dairy farm and meet the hard-working family that runs it. You will also have the opportunity to see unique scenes of mountain pastures where cows roam freely in search of healthy snacks on fresh, green pastures. Although at times both work and weather conditions can be difficult, this family proudly carries on with this tradition. They cultivate the land and produce milk, taking from nature as much as they need to live and to preserve this beautiful region for generations to come.
With a renewed body and spirit, now you are ready to continue your journey or to return home to your everyday life.
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