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Popular tourist places
Lika is a Croatian region situated mainly within the Lika-Senj County, the largest and at the same time least inhabited Croatian county. This part of Croatia had an interesting yet turbulent history characterized by late settlement and specific status even in early Croatian history. Namely, this specific part of Croatia was then within the Croatian kingdom an isolated part, very independent of the Croatian king. Later came the Osman empire in this area and changed the national structure of the population. With the arrival of the Austrian empire, Lika was organized as a Military Border, at that time the largest military camp in the open in Europe. Lika had seen hard days in both World War II and during the Homeland War when the national structure of the population has been altered many times, but perhaps that history is something that makes this beautiful part of Croatia so special.
Geographically Lika is bordered by Mountains; Velebit, Velika and Mala Kapela and Lička Plješivica. Between these mountains, there are famous Lika karst fields. Within Lika, there are two national parks, the world-famous Plitvice Lakes and the NP North Velebit.
Plitvice Lakes are a geologically-hydrological karst phenomenon consisting of 16 beautiful blue-green lakes where you can enjoy in preserved nature and fresh mountain air. You can spend the night in cheap apartments or in vacation homes that can be rented directly by contacting the owners. You can also spend a night in cheap rooms around Plitvice and all this is possible without an agency fee. The second national park is Northern Velebit, which is listed on UNESCO's list of world heritage sites in Europe as part of the common heritage of 13 countries called "Bark Rainforests in the Carpathians and Other Areas of Europe". The specificity of this national park is that 1289 hectares of beech forests and karst relief is under the influence of three climates: the Mediterranean, continental, and Alpine. Cheap accommodation can be found in huts and houses for rent near the national park.
Lika is also known for the fact that in this part of Croatia the first printing company was opened, both in Croatia and in southeastern Europe. It was founded by the princes of Frankopan, and in 1483 was printed Glagolitic misal, the oldest printed book in the Croatian language. Culinary offer of this region is a specific story, because of the harsh climate of this area, but this harsh climate is perfect for growing potato and lamb! Lika potatoes are considered to be the best in this part of Europe and similarly could be said for famous Lika lamb. When these two ingredients are combined with a liqueur (which we recommend consuming in moderate amounts), the experience of this beautiful area will be complete. Largest towns in Lika are Gospić, Otočac, Gračac, and Korenica.
Let's mention that in Lika was born world-famous inventor Nikola Tesla and actor Rade Šerbedžija. Besides being well connected to the modern highway, Lika is abundant with inexpensive private accommodation, vacation homes, apartments and rooms that can easily be rented without an agency fee. Contact directly owners of accommodation and explore mountains, lakes, karst valleys, clean rivers and this forgotten part of Croatia. Welcome to Lika and we wish you pleasant holidays!
The magic game of nature, water, flow of time and the sedge phenomenon created the most famous National Park in Croatia, Plitvice Lakes. The National Park was proclaimed far away in 1949. It was the first national park in Croatia, but also among the first in the world. It is located in the mountain area of Lika near Korenica, at an altitude of 400 to 1280 meters, extending to almost 300 km2.
Certainly the most attractive part of the park consists of 16 interconnected lakes cascading down a series of forest hills and steep cliffs to the Sastavci, a spectacular waterfall after which the Korana river begins to flow. It is also the highest waterfall, almost 70 meters high, which will not leave you indifferent. The specificity of lakes and numerous waterfalls is a sedimentary phenomenon, which constantly builds waterfalls due to the deposition of calcium carbonate (calcium), which abounds in plitvice water. This process lasts today and is unique in the world.
Around the lakes are beautiful wooden promenades so you can visit all the lakes, and on the largest lake Kozjak you can also take the electric boat. In addition to enjoying the turquoise color of the lake and listening to numerous smaller and larger waterfalls, you can also stroll and hike in the surrounding dense beech and oak forests. Here is the only preserved primal forests in Croatia, Ćorkova cove, which has been preserved and untouched throughout the millennia. In addition to plant and forest wealth, there are many species of animals here, so it is possible to see bears, wolves, lynxes, veins, numerous birds and amphibians. Plitvice is worth visiting at any time of year, perhaps best avoiding great summer crowds and large groups of visitors, and arrive in the fall when it turns into a beautiful palette of colors or in the winter, when it is all frozen with ice and snow.
As they are located along the old Zagreb - Zadar road, Plitvice can be visited in one day, but we certainly recommend staying a few days to enjoy this true natural perfection. Accommodation can be found within the national park itself or nearby Korenica and Rakovica. Mostly it is a very high quality and beautifully decorated and very affordable private accommodation (apartments and rooms) offered by kind hosts in their homes. Therefore, when you are passing through the Adriatic, make sure you come to this Lika and croatian pearl, spend a few days, because we guarantee that it will be a holiday to remember!
Velebit, giant that proudly rises above the Adriatic Sea, is the largest and at the same time the longest mountain in the Republic of Croatia. We can freely say it is also the most attractive and the most interesting. It is therefore not surprising that it is also one of the most popular destination for nature lovers and tourists looking for an active vacation and exciting adventure. It stretches in length of almost 150 kilometers from the town of Senj in the north to the source and canyon of the Zrmanja river in the south.
Due to its exceptional biodiversity, the richness of flora and fauna, as well as the fact that it is one of the rare habitats of all three European beasts - bears, wolves and lynxes, in 1978 was included in the World Biosphere Reserve network under the UNESCO program "Man and biosphere ". In 1981 it was proclaimed nature park. The Velebit Nature Park extends almost 2000 km2, making it the largest protected area in Croatia.
Within the Velebit Nature Park, there are 2 national parks: NP Paklenica and NP Northern Velebit, then the strict reservoir Hajdučki and Rožanski kukovi, Velebit botanical garden, Cerovac cave, Lukina pit (one of the deepest in the world), Kuterevo bear shelter, forest vegetation reserve Štirovača, numerous habitats of endemic species ... All this tells us that it really is a real natural jewel, which is really worth visiting and experiencing all its magic. A special attraction on Velebit is a unique mountain route - Premužić's trail, which connects the northern and middle Velebit in a 50 kilometer length, where you can experience unforgettable views of the Adriatic Sea and numerous islands. During beautiful weather view streches all the way to Italy. The specificity of the Velebit is its two completely different faces, the sea which is mostly steep, bare, rocky and continental that is green and woody.
The highest peak is the Vaganski vrh, which is 1757 m above sea level within Paklenica National Park. Velebit offers many activities for walks and hiking, mountain biking, mountaineering and speleology, and all this is a step away from the beautiful beaches and the crystal clear sea in the Velebit channel. During the summer heat, you can look for refreshments in the clear Adriatic Sea or in pure mountain air in the shade of centuries-old forests.
Velebit can be visited from the coast from Starigrad Paklenica, Karlobag or Senj, but also from Otočac, Gospić or Gračac in Lika where the experience will be somewhat different. Accommodation, most often apartments or rooms within family houses, and beautifully decorated holiday homes can be found in many smaller and hidden places where you can enjoy privacy, beautiful views, clean air and active holidays.
The queen of the rivers, the karst beauty or the cleanest river in Europe is just a name for this tiny but beautiful river that slowly flows nearly 60 kilometers in the Gacka valley. This spacious valley is situated between two mountains, Velebit which separates it from the sea and Kapela, which separates it from continental Croatia. In the valley is located Otočac, a beautiful little town that has always been linked to the Gacka River, which meant life throughout history for all its inhabitants.
Gacka source is in the valley where its pure waters runs from several strong springs (sources) of which the most significant is Tonković vrilo. The particularity of this river is that it does not flow into the sea, but has underwater form which flows under the Adriatic sea in the Velebit Channel. Gacka is characterized by an extremely pure water rich in oxygen, which is drinkable and which enhances the rich growth of vegetation and the great wealth of flora and fauna. Over 25 plants species and 17 aquatic species have been recorded in this small river, making it a very attractive destination for all sport fishermen, but also for all nature lovers. One of the attractions of this river is that the water temperature does not exceed 10 degrees, even in the summer months, and the trout grows five times faster than in other karst rivers.
In the surrounding villages, recreational and rural tourism has been developed, so except fishing, you can see old mills that have been renovated and decorated in a traditional style. You can find accommodation on the surrounding farms where you will experience a traditional way of life, and how man and river and nature can perfectly co-exist. Apartments and rooms are also offered in the nearby town of Otočac. Adriatic Sea and the town of Senj are only 40 kilometers away from this idyllic mountain valley. Gacka valley can also be your starting point for visiting and exploring the Velebit Nature Park and the youngest Croatian national park, North Velebit.
The mysterious underworld of Cerovac caves and Velebit hides many hidden scenes and beauties that are waiting to be discovered. With almost 7 kilometers of underground channels, passageways and halls, this is the largest underground cave system in Croatia and definitely one of the most beautiful ones. It is located in Lika near Gračac, on the slopes of Velebit, and was named after the nearby Cerovac railway station because it was discovered during the construction of railroad Zagreb-Split in 1924. Due to its size, uniqueness and archaeological finds in 1961, it was declared a geological monument of nature.
The whole complex consists of the upper, middle and lower caves, which are mostly suitable for visitors. Temperature within the cave is constant throughout the year and does not exceed 8 degrees, so we recommend taking warm clothes and shoes, especially in the summer months when the temperature difference inside and out of the cave is greater than 20 degrees. The whole system abounds in beautiful cave jewelery (stalagmites and stalactites), which form impressive structures of various shapes and sizes. Some of them reach a height of several feet, which is very impressive given the fact that they grow very slowly, only 10 centimeters every 1000 years, with a constant drop of water and dissolving calcium carbonate. One of the most famous of these is a rock that irresistibly reminiscent of Santa Claus, so he got that name. You can also see the remains of an extinct cave bear and traces of man (human bones and bronze ax).
We certainly recommend on travel to the Adriatic sea to stop here and visit this mysterious underground world filled with various colors, shapes and beauty. Caves are open to visitors every day from 10am to 4pm, and in the winter months a prior announcement is required. The tour takes about 1 hour, and for larger groups a prior announcement is required. You can also spend the night in the nearby Gračac, which offers comfortable private accommodation in rooms or apartments, and besides the caves you can hike to Crnopac on Velebit, located above the cave at 1400 meters above sea level. This entire area is one large wilderness, untouched nature, a colander of ancient forests and high rocks, which is very little visited, but it has preserved its originality.
Kuterevo is a picturesque small village located in Lika, in a wooded valley on the slopes of northern Velebit. It is only 14 kilometers away from Otočac, to which it belongs administratively. This small village is widely known thanks to the unique bear haven, which was founded in 2002. The shelter provides a shelter for bears, especially the young orphan bear that either the mother left or was killed in the hunt. However, in addition to providing shelters for young bears, the refuge promotes the protection of nature, forests and bear habitats, sustainable living in harmony with nature, and the preservation of local traditions of the mountain community.
Croatia is one of the few European countries where a stable bears population has more than 1,000 live animals. However, bears, besides hunting, are also injured on the roads, rails, poaching, poisoning, and leaving young bears behind them, who would surely die without shelter in Kuterevo. They find their new home in Kuterevo, where they stay for a lifetime. The charm of this heaven is to attract a group of volunteers from all over the world. They are mostly young people from foreign countries who want to help but also get close to nature and learn more about the bear life. Another interesting thing is that all bears staying in the shelter have their own name and surname. An integral part of the program run by volunteers and their mentors is the education of visitors, which includes visiting the campsite and getting acquainted with the character, habits and bear life.
The sanctuary can be visited in spring, summer and fall, while the winter is closed so as not to interfere with bears while sleeping in the winter. Visitors should come to the volunteer station upon arrival and tourist visits are possible throughout the day. The tickets are symbolic and are charged at 15 - 20 Kn, and all profit is going to improve the living conditions of the bears. For all animal and nature lovers, Kuterevo will be an unavoidable destination for a holiday because Adriatic sea is really close (50 km). If you want to spend your vacation surrounded by nature and Velebit nature park, you can find accommodation in Kuterevo, nearby Otočac or in rural farms across the Gacka valley.
We all know or we heared about the famous inventor and visionary Nikola Tesla, but it is less known fact that he was born in Lika in a small village Smiljan, near Gospić on July 10, 1856. On celebration of the 150 anniversary of Tesla birth, on July 10, 2006, the Memorial Center "Nikola Tesla", a museum that unites science, art and tourism was open.
Nikola Tesla certainly deserved such a museum because with his genius, numerous inventions, ideas and visions, he contributed to the great progress of humanity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some of its inventions are: AC electric motor, Tesla transformer, Tesla turbine, wireless signal and energy transmission, wireless control and many others. His primary field was in the field of electrical engineering, where he worked on and reported hundreds of different patents and inventions of which most of them are still in use today. It is probably best known for building a hydroelectric power plant on Niagara Falls, which was the first in the world to use high-voltage power lines and alternating current (Tesla's invention) to supply power to the nearby Buffalo, but also to the distant New York.
The Memorial Center consists of house, where he was born and where is a permanent exhibition of the documentary material. Next to the house is the church of St. Peter and Paul, in which Tesla's father, the Orthodox priest did his ministry. Within the center there are numerous prototypes of Tesla's inventions, such as Tesla's turbine, Tesla's ship, which can be operated with radio waves and a multimedia center. It is designed for all ages, from children, students, to families and tourists, where all of them can learn a lot of information about Tesla's life, his inventions and the influence he has had in a modern way of life.
The center is open every day from 08:00 to 20:00, except Monday, and ticket prices range from 20 - 50 Kn. Due to its proximity to Gospić and the Zagreb - Split motorway, we recommend that you come for a visit to this interesting museum, and if you want to relax and spend a night in the fresh air of Lika, you can find cozy rooms and apartments in Gospić or in the surrounding countryside farms.
Climate & Weather
Most of Lika and its many valleys and karst fields are dominated by a moderate continental climate. Mountain or snow-forest climate prevails in the mountains above 1200 meters above sea level. The moderate continental climate is characterized by harsh winter, short spring, hot and rainy summer. Characteristics of large Lika valleys is that in the summer it is filled with very hot air, so there is no difference in relation to the coast of Adriatic sea, while a more sensitive difference occurs after sunset when the temperature drops significantly overnight. The nights are therefore very fresh and comfortable for sleeping and even during the biggest summer heats.
The therapeutic effect of meteorological elements on human health (reduced air pressure, reduced moisture, increased solar radiation...) increases with rising altitude. Lika lies between 500 and 1500 meters above sea level, making it ideal for a pleasant stay and a beneficial climate effect on human health. Clean and fresh air from Lika, along with healthy food, is one of the main causes of the longevity of local residents that lives here for generations. Winters in Lika are long and cold, and snowfall is abundant. On high mountains like Velebit, the snow cover is up to 3 m high and it remains on the ground on average of about 4 months.
Below is a graph showing the average maximum and minimum daily air temperature, and the amount of rainfall in Gospić, which best illustrates the moderate continental climate of this Croatian region.
* average air temperature (°C) during the year in region Lika
* average rainfall (mm) during the year in region Lika