Did you know that lynx is one of the rarest and most hidden wild animals in Europe, on the verge of extinction? Only the best hunters and nature connoisseurs can find a lynx or even discover its tracks. Can you imagine how beautiful must be the area that was named after this magnificent wild cat and is one of its last sanctuaries in Europe?
In the middle of Gorski kotar, the green heart of Croatia, the National Park Risnjak is situated just on the border of the Mediterranean and continental region – having the climates of those very different parts meeting here, it has rich diversity of flora and fauna. With over one thousand plant species, there will be plenty to discover and is home to many different animals such as lynx, wolf, bear, deer, rabbit and other. Though you will probably not see a lynx, the nocturnal ruler of the park, there is a high chance that a deer or rabbit will cross your path.
1. Educational path Leska
If you are up for a nice walk through the nature but without steep hiking areas, then the Leska Educational Path is the perfect choice for you. The 4.2 km long circular footpath through the woods offers beautiful scenery, fresh air as well as 23 information tables that explain more about the National Park Risnjak and its natural and cultural heritage. You will learn more about the plants and animals that can be found here, park’s history and topography. You will enjoy the nature and forest of tall trees, pass by the clear streams, interesting rock formations and also see the feeding station for deers and a traditional mountain hut with a picnic table for a nice break. The path is suitable also for the youngest and, if you are with kids, at the beginning of the path there is a children’s adrenaline park they will immensely enjoy. Take around two hours to discover the Educational path Leska and fully appreciate the beauty of nature.
2. Source of the river Kupa
Another beautiful place to visit in the National Park Risnjak is definitely the source of the river Kupa, powerful 296 km long river with one of its parts also forming a natural border between Slovenia and Croatia. Walk down from the village Razloge to the source of the river along the hiking trail and don’t forget to look around – on your way you will find a beautiful wooden viewpoint from which you can enjoy the relaxing greenery of the forest. Once you reach the river source, you will be mesmerised by the magical dark green and turquoise of the water and the pond it is creating. The Kupa river source is one of the deepest Croatian wellsprings and a beautiful artwork of the karst. Because of the fairy tale nature and colours surrounding it, as well as the diversity of the flora and fauna, the upper flow of the river Kupa is also called the Enchanted butterfly valley – it is only left for you to enjoy the dreamy surroundings.
3. The mountain top Veliki Risnjak
One of the most interesting hikes in the National Park Risnjak is for sure hiking to the mountain peak of the Veliki Risnjak, one of the most picturesque Croatian peaks at the 1528 m height. You can choose one of the two hiking trails to Veliki Risnjak, one lasting ca. three and the other one one hour but both leading through beautiful woods. Once you reach the Schlosser’s mountain hut at the plateau just beneath the peak, you will already have the gorgeous view of the mountains, forests and lakes. For the most ambitious ones, there is still a bit more of the climb through beautiful, though steep, rocky path straight to the very top – the view from which reaches as afar as to the Adriatic Sea and will take your breath away!