Risnjak is a Croatian National Park located in Gorski Kotar region, the most mountainous and forested area in the country. The park is loved by many nature enthusiasts as it has diverse and rich flora and fauna. The highest peak Risnjak offers impressive view of the Adriatic sea and surrounding mountains. You can even see Slovenia from there as it's close to the border. Above you can see the iconic photo made from Risnjak peak. Isn't it beautiful?
Why National Park Risnjak?
As I already mentioned, the park is known for its rich flora and fauna. Although the park area is relatively small, it marks the point where coastal and continental vegetation zones meet, which offers diverse flora. The park is also home for many animals of which the most famous are brown bear, wolf, and lynx. Fun fact, lynx is locally called 'ris' (hence the name Risnjak). But let's not forget birds. Risnjak is also known as birdwatcher heaven as it has many different species, including some rare ones.
As forest covers two-thirds of the park, it's perfect for hiking, especially in summer days, as it offers ideal refreshment. The most famous and highest hiking spot is the Risnjak peak, which is 1528 meters high. It's only reachable by foot, which makes it great place to enjoy nature without distractions. And trust me, if you visit the park, you don't want to miss the view from up there.
How to get to Risnjak peak?
Few paths lead to the top. I recommend checking all of them on the official web page and choosing the one that suits you the best. It takes from one to three hours to reach the top, depending which route you take.
The paths aren't demanding at all, and they are suitable for everyone. After you reach mountain hut, “Dr. Josip Schlosser Klekovski,” you still have around 20 minutes to reach the top. That part can be a bit more demanding, but it's still manageable even for kids.
Don't take a rest at the mountain hut before reaching the top. It will be much harder then.
Take a proper jacket. Even if you're visiting in summer, it can be windy at the top.
Try some of the delicious food at the mountain hut.
Don't miss Leska Educational path
Leska Educational path is one of the first facilities of its kind in Croatia. It's 4.2 km long, and it contains 23 information boards where you can learn more about natural and cultural heritage of the park. The path is easily accessible from the direction of Crni Lug. You can walk through it by yourself, or you can take a guide, whichever you prefer.
Source of river Kupa- another gem of the Risnjak National Park
Source of river Kupa is one of the most powerful and deepest Croatian wellsprings. It's located 321 meters above the sea level and shaped into turquoise green and blue lake. I had to pinch myself to be sure I'm not dreaming when I was there. The whole place looked so unreal.
The interesting fact is that no one knows how exactly deep this place is. Many cave divers come here to complete the challenge but still, no one had luck. Italian diver, Luigi Casati, went the deepest - 154 meters. But as he said, that's still not the end.
You can reach the source from a few directions, but the fastest one is from the village of Razloge – takes 30 minutes.
Enchanted butterfly valley
The upper flow of the Kupa river is also known as the Enchanted butterfly valley. There are around 70 different species of butterflies, of which some of them are endangered. That's why you need to visit this valley too, as it's incredible to see so many of these beautiful creatures flying around.
What about the entrance fee?
As this is a National Park, you need to buy a ticket. All the tickets are valid for two days, and you should always have them with you.
The entrance ticket for adults is 45 HRK (~6 €) and 25 HRK (3,36 €) for students. Kids under seven years have free pass, and family ticket is 100 HRK (13,5 €).