Croatia is very well known as a Mediterranean and “sea and sun” country, but there is a highlands here, too. Right in the middle of the country, if I can say it at all because of quite unusual geographical shape of Croatia, is a mountainous county named Gorski Kotar. In Latin Hortus Diabolicus or Devil’s Garden in English. It speaks for itself.
From the Middle Ages to not so long ago people called it the Devil's Garden. Building the road from the Adriatic Sea to Sisak, a small town near Zagreb, Romans avoided that area as impassable and dangerous place, inhospitable karst forest or simply the place that is better avoided. Even today there is a canyon there called Devil's passage. If you want to visit it you need incredibly less than 30 min drive and less than 30 km to enter this green paradise if you start from the Adriatic coast, i.e. the Mediterranean. If you start from Zagreb it is just one hour.
Imagine a small, Montana, French or Austrian Alps or even micro Switzerland? You can’t? Anyway, there is a small mountain range we call it Coastal Alps, and it looks so especially if you look from the coast. Up there, there are also some parts that are more like Teletubbies’ homeland.
In Gorski Kotar, a deciduous and coniferous vastness, you can find a few lakes, numerous creeks and streams, meet highlanders in checkered fleece shirts, not in lederhosen, run into a bear, a lynx, do not count roe deer, warm homes trapped in snow higher than a meter. Logs, cordwood, axes, heavy trucks and tractors, too. No matter if you prefer frozen Snow queen scenes or you cannot stand the summer heat, you will be delightful.
Although the highest peak in the Gorski Kotar, Bjelolasica, is just 1534 m we can consider it the Croatian highlands. The highest settled place in Croatia and the only inhabited place in Croatia over a thousand meters is Begovo Razdolje located on the western slopes of Bjelolasica. Of course, it is a place with the most snowfall in the country.
My friend's grandma who lives there told us that it is very commonly that while she cooking lunch (probably a traditional "pasta - beans" soup), she can watch through the kitchen window a bear who is digging in the garden.
"Are you afraid?" we asked her. "No, she said, there is enough for me and for him."
Wild garlic (lat. Allium ursinum) is a type of wild edible plants of the genus Allium related to onions and garlic. Among fans of delicious salads or tasty sandwiches it is well known as
You can be there “in a minute” mostly thanks to a brand new highway. After the highway have been constructed, once very busy local roads remained deserted. Bad for the economy, good for nature. A blessing in disguise. A highway protects wilderness now.
To conclude, if you like hiking, cycling, mountain climbing, walking, cross-country skiing, camping, orienteering or mushroom picking, you cannot go wrong.
Think this way: In Devil’s Garden, Devil stays for adventure, Garden for beauty! However, to come here it is quite enough you just need to breathe fresh and tasty mountain air.