Nature Parks

Nature park Kamenjak

“A nature reserve on the edge of the world that has 21 metre high cliffs, hidden caves and flat stone surfaces formed by nature, ideal for sunbathing. ” – National Geographic Traveller

Kamenjak park bay

Nature Park Kamenjak is located at the peak of Premantura peninsula in Istria, just around 20 km from the town of Pula. More than 30 km of rugged coastline with numerous bays, coves, and beaches makes this spectacular peninsula well worth visiting. There are also several small islands and islets near the mainland, all in swimming distance. Kamenjak is a Croatian hidden gem, a perfect place for nature lovers and those in search of natural hidden treasures.

Kamenjak cliffs

The park is a great cycling location, so it gives you the opportunity to satisfy your craving for adventure while exploring the park and its wonders. Other than cycling, there are numerous activities that you can do like hiking, trekking, kayaking, scuba diving and windsurfing, as Premantura is a famous destination for windsurfing lovers. Cliff jumping is also popular, especially at Kamenjak’s southern tip. Nature park Kamenjak also offers educational trails like the “Dinosaur path” with actual fossilized steps located at the end of the trail on the Cape Grakalovac. The length of this interesting educational trail is around 600 meters, along which you will find models of dinosaurs that lived in the area in actual sizes. Another interesting educational trail is the sensory-didactic path Gradina, that offers you a chance to discover the cultural and historical heritage of the peninsula, fully adopted fo visually impaired people. Nearby there is Gradina cave, where many artifacts from prehistoric times were found, like the iron cross axe, around 3000 years old.  The entrance to the area of protected landscape in Kamenjak is free for pedestrians and cyclists, but it will be charged for vehicles.

Kamenjak bay

Photo credit: PhotoMediaGroup / Shutterstock.com

In the small settlement of Premantura, there are several interesting things to visit, like the church of Saint Lovro, the old tower “Turanj” and an interesting stone bread oven built as a separate facility.

Kamenjak nature park

 

 

13.04.2017 / by / in ,
Medvednica

Medvednica is a mountain in central Croatia, located north of Zagreb with its highest peak Sljeme, at 1,035 meters. Sljeme is one of the most popular places for a truly relaxing break near Zagreb, where locals love to spend their weekend afternoons surrounded by nature, enjoying in long walks, jogging, cycling or alpinism. Sljeme is also famous for Snow Queen, a World Cup alpine ski race. Most of the area of Medvednica mountain is declared a nature park thanks to its stunning beauty, natural and cultural heritage, geology, special and unique species of plants and rich fauna. Medvednica nature park offers numerous interesting sites to visit and many educational trails, some suitable for families with children and people in wheelchairs. Some of the most popular educational trails are the 500 Horvat’s stairs, Bistra educational trail and the forest trail Bliznec. 500 stone stairs trail was built in the mid-20th century, by Vladimir Horvat, journalist, and a great admirer of Medvednica mountain. These stairs will lead you through diverse forms of karst limestone terrain, small dark caves and over deep sinkholes.

On the southern slope of Medvednica, there is a stunning medieval castle, Medvedgrad (“The town of bears”)  located on a small hill watching over the capital of Croatia. The castle was built in the 13th century after the Tartars invaded and burned the city of Zagreb and devasted the whole area. The castle was owned by several families during the following years, until 1590 when an earthquake devastated it. Medvedgrad remained in abandoned and in ruins until the late 20th century when some parts of the castle were reconstructed. You can observe the chapel of Saint Philip and Jacob, residential palace, part of reconstructed walls, the tower and enjoy the amazing view of the city of Zagreb. Just below the tower, there is a monument called  “Oltar Domovine” (Altar of the homeland), dedicated to all the Croatian soldiers that were killed during the Croatian War of Independence.

Another stunning fort located in Medvednica Nature Park is Susedgrad (Sused). The fort was built back in the 14th century and it is famous for a battle during the Peasants Revolt. It marks the far western part of the Croatian capital. It gave the name to a village that developed under the fort, now one of the districts of Zagreb, Podsused, which literally meanes “under Sused”. It can be easily reached by the educational trail that starts in the center of Podsused. Also visit the Orašić Castle, built in the 18th century, located near Gornja Stubica. The castle was built on the ruins of an older castle built back in the 13th century. Today, the castle is a home to the Museum of Peasant Uprisings, founded and opened for public on the 400th anniversary of the great 1573 Peasants’ Revolt. On the lower slopes of the mountain, you can visit several small churches and chapels. The first one to have been built was the Medvedgrad chapel of Saint Philip and Jacob.

Other than its rich cultural heritage, there are several natural beauties well worth visiting. One of them is Veternica cave, the sixth largest cave in Croatia, located in the western part of Medvednica Nature park. Under the guidance of an expert guide, you can visit the first 380 meters of the cave, that has more than seven kilometers of branching canals. Veternica cave is also a habitat for 18 different bat species, and as they are unfortunately very endangered, Nature Park Medvednica developed a program “Adopt a Bat” in order to collect funds destined for the protection of Veternica cave and the bats. Click here to read more about this commendable initiative.

 

10.04.2017 / by / in ,

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