Croatia is far more than the most famous tourist destinations, with the exception of Zagreb and Plitvice Lakes, mostly by the sea.
We have made a small selection of some of the less visited pearls of Croatia
Nikola Tesla House
Smiljan is a small village near Gospić. It is known because it houses the birthplace of Nikola Tesla, in honor of which a memorial center was built there. Nikola Tesla is one of the world’s greatest scientists and inventors in history, a man who, even if he lived now, would be ahead of his time! Without his discovery of alternating current, the world would not be as we know it today. Tesla’s turbine, multi-phase AC power generation, transmission and utilization system, high-frequency lighting, remote control – telemechanics and robotics, induction motor, radio, x-ray use, neon lighting, vacuuming and wireless communication are just a few of his legacy.
Zeleni vir and Vražji prolaz
Zeleni vir and Vražji prolaz are located near Skrad, and this picnic area is a little more than an hour’s drive from Rijeka by car. This protected nature reserve of Gorski kotar is an ideal day trip, but if you want to enjoy the whole weekend, you can sleep in the mountain lodge Zeleni vir, which is located at the entrance to the Devil’s Pass ( Vražji prolaz ).
Vražji prolaz is one of the most beautiful natural phenomena of Gorski kotar, and we can freely say Croatia, and the magnificent cave and spring Zeleni vir with the impressive waterfall of the stream Curka make this trip an unforgettable experience.
Lighthouse Veli Rat
is a magnificent lighthouse located on the northwestern tip of Dugi Otok, near Veli Rat. It was built in 1849, it is 42 meters high and is the highest lighthouse on the Adriatic. The striking yellow façade owes, according to the oral tradition, to the fact that it is injected with 100 000 yolks. In addition to the lighthouse, in 1874 there has been built a small monument: Chapel of St. Nicholas, which is more and more often hosting romantic weddings. The lighthouse also offers apartment accommodation.
In the wider area, findings from prehistory and Roman times were found.
was a narrow 123 km long stretch connecting 33 Istrian towns from Trieste to Poreč, passing through Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. The road was in traffic from 1902 to 1935 and the initiative for a cross-border project was launched on the 100th anniversary of the opening. This is how today’s Parenzana – the path of health and friendship – has been created. It runs the former track with a tourist train, cycling, triathlon, jogging and walking and a visit to many sights along Parenzana.
The whole route was decorated and marked with characteristic signs, bridges, and viaducts that were built, tunnels illuminated and accompanying facilities that tell visitors about the story of Parenzana.
Roman military camp Burnum
is located in the village Ivoevci and is within the national park Krka. Raised in the first century, it holds the best-known arcs which were a part of a military command and a well-preserved amphitheater. Burnum was the home to XI. Legion of the Roman army, followed by IV. legion. After leaving of the the Army, a town was built.
Further south in the Dalmatian hinterland, near the village of Gardun, three kilometers southwest of Trilj, there are remains of a large Roman camp Tilurium. Gardun is located above the river Cetina. In the home of the ancient Romans, there was a military camp where was located the IX. Hispanic legion, and then VII. legion. From the camp derives a part called tropeja and the monuments erected after the victory over Delmatae tell the story of Illyrians. Excavations have been systematically carried out since 1997 and scientists discovered parts of large buildings, tanks, defensive walls and the remains of mosaics.
Nature Park Papuk.
The main natural attraction of western Slavonia is certainly Papuk. It is the most beautiful mountain in Slavonia, a nature park that includes the largest part of the mountain and a part of Krndija. The park is geologically the most varied in this part of the Croatia, so in November it was declared our first UNESCO Geopark. The park has several protected areas. Rupnica was the first proclaimed geological monument of nature in Croatia. Unique volcanic rock in the form of rectangular and hexagonal secretion of rhyolite resulted in cooled magma which found its way out of the earth. Sekulinačka mountains is a special forest reserve – a rare forest oasis of virgin trees of the 150-year-old forest of beech and fir. Only there, in Croatia, was found Catinella olive, a very rare European fungus that grows on fallen beech trees. There were also two old oak trees which were in this are for around 420 and 500 years. These are perhaps the largest living organisms of this part of Croatia. The last habitat of yew on Papuk, in the woods Debeljak end Zvečevo, is a true nature’s pearl. Before, Papuk was rich with common yew, but it went extinct during the cutting in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Special floristic reserve Pliš-Mališćak-Turjak-Lapjak is situated on the hills, and here grow the most protected plants such as orchids (orchid). Finally, there is a destination called Jankovac. Imagine an idyllic forest park with a beautiful valley, a lake, a waterfall called Skakavac (Grasshopper), a mountain lodge, the tomb of Count Jankovic, a cemetery of German glassworks and other points of interest.
It is located in Istria, near the villages of Nova Vas, Poreč, Višnjan, and Tar. The total depth of the cave is 132 meters with underground lakes whose depth sometimes reaches thirty meters. Air temperature in the cave is constant and is about 14 degrees, and a tour with a professional guide who skillfully speaks several languages takes about forty minutes. This cave has been known since ancient times, and the first researchers were those from Trieste who came in early 20th century. Today’s depth was discovered in 1973 by cavers from Porec, but the pit was declared a monument of nature in 1986. Since 1995, it has been open to tourists. In the cave, there are various interesting icicle forms, such as the ten-meter high curtains, a very realistic statue of the Virgin Mary, the body of the shepherdess Milka, the leaning tower of Pisa and the snowman-torchbearer, which has become a trademark of the cave. One of the attractions is the wide hatch wide 4 meters and 66 meters deep, which goes down to the underground lakes.
Risnjak National Park.
People who want to experience the beauty of Gorski Kotar usually visit the national park Risnjak. Risnjak, with its highest peak at 1528 meters lifted above the green forests, providing views of the bays, Istria and neighboring Slovenia, is one of the most popular destinations in this area. As a part of the national park, there are a few peaks: Snježnik at 1506 m, a great vantage point which was named after the fact that his white cap can be seen most of the year, and it is also the source of the Kupa, one of the strongest and deepest Croatian springs – at the height of only 321 meters there is a beautiful greenish-blue lake. The closest approach to the top of Risnjak is an entrance Vilje close to Gornje Jelenje, to Snjeznik you can go from Platak, and to the source of the Kupa from Razloge, 15 km away from Crni Lug, where is the center of the National Park. Headwaters of Kupa are called the magic valley of butterflies since there is a lot of animal and flower species. The NP Risnjak is also home to wolfs, bears and lynxes.
is the Pearl of the Velebit mountain which is 145 km long. The most of the trail’s path is a part of the largest Croatian mountain. Premuzic extends from the northern part of Zavizan to Baska Ostarija in central Velebit and it is 57 km long. The trail has no difficult climbs, runs almost straight and in large part, the view opens to the sea. It is named after an engineer of forestry Ante Premužić who designed the track which was built in a record time from 1930 to 1933. The route runs through the most beautiful parts of the park – Rozanski and Hajducki kukovi, and not far from its beginning, Zavizan, which you must visit for the legendary mountain lodge and a meteorological station and the Velebit Botanical Garden, which was founded by a professor of pharmacy in Zagreb Ph.D. Fran Kusan.
Museum Old Village Kumrovec.
The Old Village Kumrovec Museum is the only Croatian open-air museum in the heart of the village of Kumrovec, next to the birthplace of Josip Broz Tito, surrounded by dwelling houses. Practically, the boundaries between the museum and the surrounding area are not visible. The Old Village Museum shows how the Zagorje village appeared at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. In antique houses, a typical inventory and life are described, and traditional crafts are also shown. There are many presentations and workshops and cultural and ethnological programs, which also attract visitors.
Visitors can view the gallery, atelier and the garden where the lake and the eco-art park are under the expert guidance of the artists.
near Dubrovnik, the only arboretum on the Croatian Adriatic coast, unites the cultural and natural heritage of this area. It is known for its historic surroundings and a collection of Mediterranean and exotic plant species. It was founded in 1948 in the area of the historic estate of the Dubrovnik family Gučetić-Gozza dated from 1494 and is today whole protected by law being garden architecture. The arboretum in its 25-hectare area combines several different units: historical Renaissance part with a mansion, a historical neo-romantic lace from the 19th and 20th century, a historical olive grove and the natural vegetation of the oak wood forest, alpine pine and cypress, vegetation of Macchia and coastal rocks. There are about a thousand plant species, almost half of which originate from all over the world. Among them are Lebanese cedar, Asian plateau, Himalayan cypress, American lime, ginko, and others.
In the outskirts, the Gutecic-Gozza mansion and the baroque fountain stand out in particular. Trsteno is easily reached by a regular bus line from Dubrovnik and after a twenty minutes drive, you will be entering this paradise. The annual Arboretum runs between twenty and thirty thousand visitors. The original Renaissance fountain was transformed in 1736 into luxury baroque ones decorated with Neptune. God must be the central figure and the fountain is admired to this day.
Among the buildings on the eastern corner of the Arboretum is a well-preserved mill with old presses for olives.
Anyone who passes the modern motorway of Slavonia or finds himself in the wider area of Đakovo. In the middle of the plain terrain, you will see the silhouette of the cathedral. This building is dedicated to St. Peter and it has towers 84 meters high. This is a Romanesque-style architectural and artistic masterpiece. The Đakovo Cathedral has as many as seven altars and is best known for its 43 magnificent frescoes with biblical motives. It was built from 1866 to 1882 and the merits belong to the Bishop of Đakovo, Josip Juraj Strossmayer. Its red color comes from seven million pieces of baked baked baked bricks.
Jankovac, one of the most beautiful mountain valleys is located on the northern slopes of Papuk at an altitude of 475 m. It is rich in cold springs and clear streams, and surrounded by centuries-old letters of the Slavonian forest. Due to its exceptional natural beauty, Jankovac has been declared a protected park-forest
The approaches to Jankovac are beautiful and pleasant, with lively streams and in the shade of trees. The road Velika – Jankovac leads to Jankovac, and it is possible to reach it on foot by numerous hiking trails. Jankovac Park-Forest contains numerous exceptional natural phenomena for which the carbonate base is the most deserving. Limestones form a carbonate plate about 100 meters thick on which karst morphology is clearly visible. Most often there are sinkholes with a diameter of 10-40 m, typical karst springs, and Jankovac is characterized by two smaller caves. The water saturated with bicarbonate formed a 30 m high travertine barrier over which the symbol of Jankovac – “Jankovac waterfall” – flows. Due to the abundance of water and its height, the waterfall provides a magnificent view, unique in Slavonia, especially for severe winters when it freezes into an attractive ice pillar.
The most beautiful castle in Croatia, Trakošćan, is surrounded by buildings next to the castle, park and park-forest, which is an ideal “escape” from the city centers in a beautiful natural environment. It was created at the end of the 13th century as part of the defense system, and today it is owned by the state, which informs visitors about its historical importance through the museum within it. Its corridors and the furniture that adorns it will delight you with its design and preservation, and present the aristocratic life of that time. The castle consists of low and high ground floor and first and second floor and is open daily for visits.
Zavratnica, one of the most beautiful and perhaps the most unknown bays on the Adriatic Sea belongs to the Velebit Nature Park. At the very beginning of the bay are the remains of a sunken ship from World War II. To get to this beautiful beach you need 20 minutes walk from Jablanca.
The source of the river Una
Una spring is one of the sources of the Una river and is located near Donja Suvaja. Vrelo Une is the deepest karst spring in Croatia, and also one of the five deepest in the world. What adorns the spring of the Una is the unreal blue color of the water in which you immediately want to swim. If you want to stop by here, you will find perfect peace for body and soul because few people come to the source of the Una.
Porat beach is one of the most beautiful and quietest sandy beaches on the island of Biševo. The Irish Times ranked it among the seven most beautiful beaches in the world. What is specific about this beach is that it is sheltered from strong winds and is not associated with civilization. Porat beach is ideal for a family vacation, and nearby you have a cafe and restaurant where you can try real seafood specialties.
Rastoke is a combination of beautiful houses and nature that looks like a fairy tale. What adorns them the most are the Slunjčica rivers. If you go from the direction of Zagreb to Plitvice you will come across this place which is also called Mala Plitvice.
If you are a diving fan, this is the right destination for you. Brbišćica Cave, a natural phenomenon, is located on the west side of Dugi otok. A small, narrow road leads to Brbišćica Bay, and the cave itself can only be reached by sea due to the steepness of the road. In this place you can find interesting flooded and partially flooded caves and passages and caves, and several diving schools offer you the opportunity to dive into these beauties.
Kuda Bridge on Krupa, Obrovac
In the small village of Golubić at the foot of Velebit lies one of the most beautiful places for a day trip in Croatia. The stone bridge consists of 12 arches and is 109 meters long. Add to this location the nearby source of the river Krupa and the monastery for one of the most beautiful excursions in nature.
Kuda Bridge is located in the village of Golubić, and the signposts for the location start next to the old school in the village. The easiest way to reach the village is by car from Obrovac, a 20-minute drive away via the D27. Kuda Bridge and nearby locations are most often visited from Zadar.
The village of Kotli in the heart of Istria delights visitors with its idyllic landscape. The boilers consist of only about 10 traditional Istrian houses abandoned for 40 years. The river Mirna, which flows through this area, has carved cauldrons in stone limestone, which makes the location reminiscent of the Turkish Pamukkale. Do not miss the old mill and restaurant Kotlić, and you can add to your trip the nearby Hum, the smallest town in Croatia.
The village of Kotli is located in the heart of the Istrian peninsula, a 15-minute drive from Buzet. It is ideal to get to the location by car, but it is possible to take a taxi once you are in Buzet or Lupoglav.
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