Gorski Kotar, located at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, the inland Pannonian Basin and the gorgeous mountainous area, has been known throughout history for its stimulating and mild stimulating climate. Winters are mostly harsh and long, and well-suited for enjoying the winter wonderland and winter sports. Spring will make up for its late arrival to Gorski Kotar with an amazing sight of nature awakening from its long winter slumber, a unique spectacle that you would not want to miss.
The pleasant daily temperatures and cool nights during the summer will ensure you get a good night’s sleep and shelter from the intense summer heat. The autumn fruit picking will enchant you with a wholly inspiring colour palette. The picturesque rural settlements act as mountain climatic resorts where you will benefit from the excellent therapeutic effects of mountain air that will help you relax and regenerate.
Delnice is the central and largest settlement of a town consisting of 55 settlements, as well as of the entire Gorski Kotar. Located in the Delničko Polje valley, 730 m above sea level, and surrounded by the hills of Drgomalj, Petehovac, and Japlenški vrh, it is known as the “highest” town in Croatia. The town of Delnice covers the central area of the Gorski Kotar plateau. In addition to Delnice, the most significant inhabited settlements of the area are Brod na Kupi located in the Kupa river canyon, and Crni Lug located on the slopes of the Dragomalj complex and the Risnjak massif. The settlements boast both diversity and cultural and geographical proximity to one another, forming a unique balance between the Kupa valley and the higher Crnoluška/Risnjačka region, colourfully called “the Delnice Trefoil”.
With an altitude of 730 m, they form the “highest” town in Croatia.
The municipality of Skrad is located in the north-east of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, and it borders several self-government units within the county (Brod Moravice and Ravna Gora, as well as the towns of Delnice and Vrbovsko). The length of its borders totals 44 km. The narrow belt of settlements along the Kupa river in the Delnice area separates the municipality of Skrad from the Republic of Slovenia. Therefore, this municipality can be considered a wider border area, and it is also a hilly and mountainous area. Mountain areas (700 – 800 m high) are predominant here, and as you proceed north towards the Kupa valley (about 200 m above sea level), the altitude decreases. Most of the settlements in the southern part of the municipality were built at 400 – 600 m above sea level. The municipality centre is located at 703 m above sea level, while in the smaller and lower northern part of the municipality, settlements are located at 400 – 600 m above sea level.
Reality and fiction intertwine in Fužine. For the purpose of filming the German trilogy “Winnetou” in the hinterland of Fužine, a cowboy village was built, while the interior of the “Vrelo” cave provided the backbone of the second instalment. In addition to stalactites and stalagmites, the “Vrelo” cave also boasts a small lake. What’s more, this is the only cave in the world that can be explored even by disabled persons in wheelchairs. The passage is paved, and the height difference amounts to only 1 meter. You can also enjoy delicious strudels in the restaurant of the “Bitoraj” Hotel. In fact, “Blueberry Strudel – Bitoraj” is protected by the Croatian Intellectual Property Office! This is the first protected dessert of its kind in Croatia, and even Europe. A walk along “Bajer” lake at 730 m above sea level, only a 20-minute drive from the sea, offers you the opportunity to refresh yourself in the mountain air.
Fužine is the largest small municipality.
The road from Delnice to Prezid and Čabar, two settlements located on the Croatia-Slovenia border, on the edge of the Čabar region and on the limes of the Roman Empire, passes through areas whose beauty is almost unreal – not only thanks to their picturesque black forests, mountain outlines, the freshness of plant and sky colours on a dark background during all seasons, the contrast between dense and semi-dark local sights and majestic blue sights in the distance, and a plethora of cyclamens and mushrooms – but also because this winding road passes through a sparsely populated area, with kilometres of forests reminiscent of an almost medieval world, where considerable distances meant long travel times. Nowadays, however, as great distances no longer mean long travel times, we are able to save much of our precious time. Curled up as in some kind of a long slumber, time still seems to stay still in these black forests.
Mrkopalj is one of the oldest settlements in Gorski Kotar, whose long and turbulent history boasts years of development, crises, ups, and downs. Winter tourism is quite developed in this part of Gorski Kotar. This is not surprising considering that Mrkopalj is the cradle of Croatian skiing, with its first ski competition held back in 1913. Shortly afterwards, in 1934, the first ski-jumping hill was built to host an international ski-jumping competition. The most important gems of the Municipality of Mrkopalj are surely its people who, after centuries of living here, have grown accustomed to difficult living conditions in the area. They have developed exceptional hospitality and cordiality stemming from their desire to help the occasional traveller. This has turned into a valuable tourist asset, as they like to welcome their guests with great spontaneity.
Mrkopalj is known as the cradle of Croatian skiing.
Ravna Gora is located in the heart of Gorski Kotar, only 45 kilometres from the sea, and halfway from Rijeka to Karlovac, with a junction on the Rijeka – Zagreb highway. Ravna Gora was named after the plateau (over 750 m above sea level) where it is located. The entire Ravna Gora area used to be a dense forest surrounded by hills, namely Bjelolasica, Višnjevica, and Suhi Vrh on one side, and Javorova Kosa and Kosica on the other. Javorova Kosa (1016 m) is an inexhaustible source of water for Ravna Gora and its surroundings as six underground streams spring from its foothills, and with the Dobra river also springing nearby. The exact date when Ravna Gora was formed is not known, but it occurred long before the Karolinska road was built, first in Vrh (a part of Ravna Gora), and later in the area where it is located today.
Vrbovsko is located in the easternmost part of Gorski Kotar and boasts a surface area of 280 km2. It has a population of 5,076 and consists of 65 settlements, with the largest and most famous ones being Vrbovsko, Moravice, Lukovdol, Severin na Kupi, and Gomirje. The settlement of Vrbovsko in the north is separated from neighbouring Slovenia by the Kupa river. The eastern border also boasts the settlements of Zdihovo, Liplje, and Bosiljevo, and it intersects the Dobra Valley near Ljubošina. The western border passes by the gorge of the Kupa river near Radočaj, bypasses Razdrto, crosses the railway between Koritnik Veliki and Palež, continues to Lužac, and then crosses the Sušica-Jablan area. The southern border is the highest area, with peaks boasting more than 1000 m above sea level. The peaks of Debela kosa (1169 m above sea level), Bukovica (1253 m above sea level), Bijela kosa (1289 m above sea level), Mirkovica (1283 m above sea level), and Smolnik (1219 m above sea level) are among the highest ones, and they boast some of the most beautiful forest. Going east, the border continues along the Kozarica and Lumbarda hills and crosses the Dobra Valley, thus encircling the Vrbovsko area.
The municipality of Brod Moravice is located in the north-eastern part of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, in the western part of Gorski Kotar, at 560 m above sea level. It is located 120 km from Zagreb and 75 km from Rijeka. In terms of population, it is the least populated but oldest municipality in Gorski Kotar. There are about 880 inhabitants living in 38 settlements in this relatively large 63 km2 area. The Day of the Municipality of Brod Moravice is celebrated on 16 August. The surroundings of Brod Moravice are rich in natural beauty, while the view of the Kupa valley is absolutely breathtaking. There are two famous lookouts above the Kupa canyon – Špičasti vrh and Medveja stena – offering a beautiful view of neighbouring Slovenia and a large part of Gorski Kotar. The hill of Parag near the village of Kuti boasts a view of the Alpine massifs when the weather is clear. The Municipality of Brod Moravice was founded as early as 1893, while in 1993, it became one of the municipalities of the free and independent Republic of Croatia. There are no large industrial properties in the Municipality of Brod Moravice, except for a small sawmill plant in Donja Dobra. However, Gorski Kotar boasts a number of craftsmen, mostly carpenters, as well as strawberry, raspberry, cherry, and mushroom farmers. It is noteworthy that Brod Moravice is a municipality of special state concern.
It also boasts some of the most beautiful lookouts.
This municipality is located in Gorski Kotar, halfway between Delnice (about 6 km away) and Fužine. It is located at the intersection of the roads leading to the said towns, as well as Crni Lug in the north and Mrkopalj (13 km away) in the east. The Lokvarka river passes by the village, and Lokvarsko Lake is also nearby. Lokve is located in a valley surrounded by the peaks of Ponikvarski vrh (844 m above sea level), Oštrac (931 m above sea level) in the north, Sopački vrh (974 m above sea level) in the east, as well as Bukovac (985 m above sea level) and Špičunak (1023 m above sea level) in the south. In the west, the peak of Sljeme (1071 m above sea level) rises above Lokvarsko lake. The Lokvarka cave is also situated near the entrance to Lokve, namely on the Delnice side. It is the deepest cave in Croatia that is open to visitors.