Experiences from Croatia
Gorski kotar, a region in Croatia whose natural beauty and potential are still not fully recognized and appreciated by both tourists and locals. The region belongs to the county of Primorje-Gorski Kotar and is actually a link between continental and mediterranean Croatia. It is only an hour's drive away from the capital city of Zagreb and only a ten minute drive from the nearest places on the Croatian coast. It includes several major places such as Delnice, Fužine, Skrad, Vrbovsko, Lokve, Mrkopalj, Čabar, Lič, Ravna Gora, Brod Moravica.
The area is definitely a place to rest from a bustling city life or to find a refuge where you can at least briefly hide from the many tourists in the Adriatic during the summer. My reason for visiting was the escape from the stressful way of life in Zagreb. When we came to Lokve, we were surrounded by winter idyll and very few people in the streets, exactly what we was looking for.
Lokve is known primarily because of its Lokvarsko lake, which is a favorite area of local fishermen, but also a place for swimmers bathing in warmer summer months. In the winter it turns into a lake surrounded by snowy whiteness and the walk around it is actually an ideal antistress therapy. You may be lucky and see deer who is in search of food or notice the mark that has taken the shape of the heart.
In Lokve there is interesting museum, the Frog Museum. The museum has several units. The first relates to the part with live frogs that live in nearby lake. The second is educational because it shows the complete development of a frog. The museum also features predators that endanger the frog populations, then exotic frogs from around the world, as well as especially valuable frogs, souvenirs and toys from around the world, as well as a unique "Blood Frog". The museum's working hours are every day from 7:00 to 19:00 and the ticket price is symbolic 10 kuna.
Unfortunately there is no gastronomic offer in Lokve, at least in the winter months. If you get hungry, you can go to nearby Fužine, or you can find food at Mrzlica. You will not be able to choose too much, but with a friendly waitress who works there and the winter idyll around you, a piece of pork and french fries will be like best steak in the top restaurant.
Accommodation unlike food is not so difficult to find. You will find bigger offer in the spring and summer months, but also in the winter months there are locals who will be happy to warm up an extra room or an apartment for you. Our selection fell on the apartments Potok, which are located at the entrance of Lokve. The owner has prepared us a nice welcome with homemade brandy and a warm apartment that is extremely appreciated in the cold winter months of Gorski kotar. Highly recommended for comfortable accommodation at affordable prices.
The rest of the holiday in Gorski kotar continued in Fužine, a place that will certainly catch your attention while you drive on the Zagreb-Rijeka motorway. Fužine is characterized by the wealth of water and here you can find three artificial lakes: Bajer, Lepenica and Potkoš. Lake Bajer is the oldest of the mentioned lakes, around which there is an attractive 6-km promenade that sprouts numerous cyclists and walkers. Near the promenade is the cave Vrelo, which is the only cave in Croatia through which the underground water flows. It is only 300m long and its tour with professional guidance lasts for only fifteen minutes. It is important to note that the cave is also suitable for wheelchairs. The ticket price is 30 kuna and the working hours are in the winter months on Saturdays and Sundays from 13:00 to 16:00.
Unlike Lokve, Fužine is a more developed tourist area offering a wide range of cultural, sports, recreational and gastronomic contents. Among others, Fužine has traditionally held semi-marathon around June in all three reservoir lakes and citizens race around Lake Bajer. Gastronomic offer is rich. But in my previous visits to Fužine, I have visited restaurant and hotel Bitoraj, which has an excellent offer of meat and my favorite soup of horseradish. The meal is best to finish with a forestry strudel. The only objection to the restaurant is the bad coffee that I hope will change.
Fužine are calling you to visit this beautiful region of Croatia, where you can relax surrounded by beautiful nature and accommodation is easy to find in rooms and apartments, part of private accommodation, where you can meet locals and their customs.
Gorski kotar tourism Fužine Lokve