Ten minutes by car from the highway connecting Zagreb with Rijeka, Boutique Hotel Japodi is located in the centre of everything that can be a reason for someone to visit the green heart of Croatia, the irresistible Gorski Kotar.
In our vicinity there are three caves, Lokvarka and Bukovac in Lokve and Vrelo in Fužine. Lokvarka was declared a natural monument because of its exceptional beauty and richness of cave ornaments. There are also two rivers, the Kupa and the Dobra, and several of their tributaries. It is definitely worth visiting the Kamačnik, which mourns on the banks of the gorge of the same name in Vrbovsko, and the Vražji prolaz near Skrad. Incredibly beautiful is the source of the river Kupa. Somewhat hidden from visitors, in the depths of the Risnjak National Park, is truly a small miracle of nature.
There are also four lakes here, several strict nature reserves, park forests, nature reserves… Even ten days are not enough to enjoy everything.
In our immediate vicinity are the mountains Bitoraj, Bjelolasica, Bijele and Samarske stijene, Risnjak National Park… all of which are mountaineering destinations to be climbed. Bjelolasica is the highest, so from its 1534 meters above sea level you have a beautiful view of the surrounding peaks. Risnjak is only slightly lower at 1528 meters, but its peak is one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Croatia. In front of you are the Kvarner Bay, the Slovenian part of the Alps, Bjelolasica, Velebit…
Bijele and Samarske stijene are perhaps the last untouched part of nature on the Old Continent. Therefore, they are under the strictest protection regime, and due to the wild nature and inaccessible karst terrain, one should follow well-marked trails.
The world of wilderness
The forests in our immediate and distant surroundings are full of life, so we will mention only a part of all that surrounds us. Let’s start with the butterflies: there are quite rare and legally protected ones, which is why the Kupa Valley is also called the Valley of the Butterflies. The forests are also home to many birds. There is the magnificent goshawk and the eagle, but also the increasingly endangered black tetra The ancient inhabitants of the mountain forests are also brown bears. Contrary to what many people think, they are calm and non-aggressive animals that choose their time to leave the forest very carefully.
Wolves and lynx live in the surrounding forests. However, most of the time they just pass by, but since there are less and less of them, these animals are protected and very difficult to hit. Of course there are also deer, roe deer and foxes, which you can watch with pleasure and without binoculars in the pleasant atmosphere of our terrace.
The most beautiful cycling paths, they say, are in our, Mrkopalj area. They go through forests, across fields, lakes, hills and settlements to the sea in the Vinodol area, but all these paths are only a part of the Goranska bicycle transversal, which connects the towns and villages of Gorski Kotar and their cultural and historical sights. It runs along low-traffic forest and municipal roads and is intended mainly for nature and mountain bike lovers. It consists of seven stages of 28 to 43 kilometres and has a total length of 260 kilometres. Together with its nine links, it makes more than 400 kilometres of unique enjoyment.
They are an integral part of the Goranska Bicycle Transversal Route, which contains 33 trails, three of which are road, nine trekking and 21 MTB. The trails are of equal length from 25 to 30 kilometres and of similar configuration and difficulty.
Fishing, Rafting, Canyoning
The rivers, streams and lakes of Gorski kotar offer excellent opportunities to enjoy a number of so-called water sports. Thus, anglers enjoy the untouched nature and complete tranquility along the rivers Čabranka, Dobra and Kupa, but also their numerous tributaries, which are not inferior to their “big sisters” due to the abundance of fish and the nature surrounding them. In Lokvarsko Lake you can swim in summer and fish all year round. It is said that some of the biggest trout in the world have been caught in this lake! The Fužine area is also extremely rich in water, so three reservoirs have been created. The oldest of them, Lake Bajer, is excellent for boating, canoeing, kayaking, surfing and even sailing due to the frequent winds.
Rafting is possible on the river Kupa, and in Vražji prolaz canyoning is also an unforgettable adventure. Climbing the steep rocks in the canyon of Vražji prolaz is one of the events people tell stories about during the long winter nights.