If you wish to remain off the conventional tourist trails, we found a place you cannot afford to miss!
It is hard to believe that a place of such priceless beauty can be found only an hour away fromZagreb. Žumberak and Samobor Highlands Nature Park stretches over the hilly southern slopes of the Žumberak Mountain. It is a wonderful escape where you can engage all your senses.
Žumberak Nature Park has always been a popular weekend destination for climbers, hikers and nature enthusiasts from central Croatia – and beyond. It is a place where you can experience an adrenaline rush, or enjoy family-friendly time with your loved ones.
Žumberak’s distinctiveness is rooted in the unique blend of karstic phenomena rarely found in this area. On 333 km2 you can find steep canyons, bustling rivers enriched with picturesque waterfalls and wildflower-speckled landscapes.
Lush beech and oak forests, rich orchards and vineyards give way to open stretches of meadows and pastures. The area is interspersed with sparkling streams and bustling waterfalls. Scenic churches dot tiny villages as if set in time, creating an idyllic rural life.
The animal life is incredibly rich. The most popular inhabitants are the brown bear and wolf, while the most abundant are numerous species of birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
The highest peak Japetić tops at 879 meters. It offers some of the most spectacular views not only of the park, but also of undulating northwestern Croatia and the nearby Slovenia. The beech forest surrounding Japetić is a protected reserve, home to beautiful examples of rare flora and fauna.
Žumberak Nature Park abounds in hiking and cycling trails of varying length and difficulty. You can explore the park with a professional guide, or set on the adventure on your own following educational trails which will tell you all you need to know about this wonderful place.
In addition, there are two rock climbing spots within the park and three paragliding locations. One of the most popular is Japetić, which comes as no surprise since the highest peak offers the most spectacular views of the surrounding area.
Finally, the idyllic rural setting might just be the perfect nudge you need to go horseback riding like you wanted for so long!
Travel back in time
The area of today’s Nature Park has continuously been inhabited for the past 7,500 years, as suggested by numerous archaeological sites from different periods, located within the Park.
If you are a history buff, you can visit Archaeological Parks in Budinjak and in Bratelji. In addition, Žumberak Nature Park is also home to ruins of once spectacular medieval forts, such as Tušćak, Old Town Žumberak and Okić.
The ruins of Okić are particularly striking as they tower over the surrounding nature on a high rock. The Old Town Okić is one of the oldest medieval towns in inland Croatia.
Extend your stay
If you’d like to turn your one day trip into a longer excursion, fret not as Žumberak doesn’t lack in accommodation options.
Žumberak’s hills are adorned in several mountaineers’ lodges, as well as family-held farming houses and refurnished old mills.
Experience wild-style holiday at its finest! Rent a small, traditional cottage furnished with old-fashioned furniture, enjoy in mouth-watering specialties of Samobor Highlands and sip on a glass of wine while savouring the magnificent view from your cottage stretching over the green hills and lush forests of the Nature Park.
One of exceptional 13 Nature Parks in Croatia, Žumberak stands out with its pristine forests and a versatile offer to people of all ages and different interests. This colourful and vibrant scenery throbbing with life is just waiting to be discovered!
Are you ready for your next adventure?
Author: Petra Škofić
Photos by Romeo Ibrišević, the courtesy of Žumberak Nature Park