Trips to the Surrounding Area
author: Luka Esenko, source Croatian National Tourist board
All roads lead to Karlovac, but all roads also lead from Karlovac. Roads allow two-way traffic and it is a real privilege to live in a town where roads can lead you to unknown parts and then safely take you back. The locals know it well. The roads have been our symbol throughout the centuries, while the motto ‘Karlovac – the town of encounters’, though new, has always been so real.
Do become a part of this story of encounters, of the confluence of people, rivers and roads. Take a map, mark Karlovac as your starting point and draw a circle around it. This circle is going to fulfil all your desires for travelling and exploring.
Just an hour or two of driving drive will be enough to give you all you need. And you’ll need Karlovac because of the first sentence in this text. So, let’s start from the beginning…
Zagreb – the capital of Croatia, the city you must visit. Except if you’re from Zagreb. In that case, come to Karlovac for a break. We won’t tell you anything about Zagreb. You have to get to know it by yourself.
Duga Resa – a town on the Mrežnica banks, a part of the protected industrial heritage in itself, with an unusual walking trail taking you around the Solar System, and the river beaches at Mrežnički brig, Otok ljubavi and Vesela livada.
Ogulin – a town over the Đula’s Abyss, protected by the sleeping giant named Klek. The old Frankopan castle is going to engulf you in history’s wisdom, Ivana’s House of Fairy Tales will transport you to the world of imagination, while the waters of Sabljaci Lake is going to cool off your tired feet.
Ozalj – the painter Slava Raškaj’s home town and the unofficial capital of Croatia during Petar Zrinski’s reign. The castle is going to remind you of the glorious past, just like the aristocratic mansions in the vicinity and the Munjara power station straddling the Kupa river like an ancient stone castle. Take a break in the tranquillity of the Vrlovka cave.
author: Ivo Biočina, source Croatian National Tourist board
Slunj – a town on the Korana and Slunjčica rivers, with the milling settlement of Rastoke and the smell of homemade flour. Take a picture on the meadow beside the roaring cascades where a Winnetou movie was shot, have a look at the old wooden watermills, or just go ahead and continue the walk all the way to the turquoise Slunjčica wellspring.
Rakovica – a village in the Korana canyon, with the mysterious subterranean world and the Barićeve caves, set out for tourist visits. A walk along the old mills will show you how the pristine nature and people can merge in perfect harmony.
The Plitvice Lakes – the oldest Croatian national park, protected by the UNESCO, as a part of the world natural heritage, with six lakes and numerous waterfalls and cascades. The water from the lowest lake forms the beginning of the Korana river. Everything there is just fantastic and breathtaking. It should be high on your priority list.
Skrad – a village on the historic Lujzijana road, with the beautiful Zeleni vir waterfall and the Vražji prolaz canyon suitable for tourist visits.
Toplice Lešće and Topusko – a southwesterly and southeasterly, respectively, destination for some rehabilitation and swimming in thermal waters.
Krašić and Pribić – colourful spots along the road taking you to Žumberačko gorje, with a thousand year old religious heritage objects.
Bijele stijene and Samarske stijene – this nature reserve to the southeast of Mrkopalj is one of the most attractive hiking and mountaineering destinations in Croatia.
Kamačnik – a hiking trail in Vrbovsko, taking you along the Kamačnik stream canyon, all the way from its mouth, where it enters the Dobra river, to its turquoise spring, ideal for photographers.
Lokvarsko lake and the Lokvarka cave – a hydropower reservoir formed behind a 48m dam, and one of the most beautiful tourist caves in Croatia are the main attractions of Lokve.
Petrova gora – a wooded and hilly area above Vojnić, with various points marked by historic importance, from king Petar Svačić’s grave, the underground partisan hospital from WWII, to the great monument on its top. Today, the main attraction is the Muljava hunting lodge and picnic area.
Šumbar lakes – an anglers’ paradise, just a few kilometres from Karlovac, lakes formed in clay excavations, attracting anglers from all over the world.
Another option is to embark on the adventure of exploring the points of interest along the roads leading to the Adriatic sea. The Jozefina will take you to Senj, through Duga Resa, Zvečaj, Generalski Stol, Tounj and Josipdol. The Karolina will take you to Bakar, via Novigrad, Bosiljevo and Hreljin. The Lujzijana will take you to Rijeka, through Netretić, Vukova Gorica and Severin.
Do not forget to enjoy every kilometre of your drive or every step you take along the way. Make your own itinerary and feel free to change it if you’re suddenly attracted by a creek murmuring nearby, a reflection of the sunbeams on an ancient wall, or maybe by some home-made food. This is your plan and you are allowed to change it. After that, return to Karlovac and start planning the next day. Watch the sunrise from the Korana banks, wave to the swans and promise them you’ll be back.