Gorski Kotar is home to many protected landscapes of exceptional beauty and value and Zeleni Vir is one them. Whether you are planning a family trip or decide to go solo, you will love it.
You may already know that Croatia has as many as eight national parks, spread across various different landscapes. Sea lovers, forest roamers and lake enthusiasts can all find their own peace of heaven here.
But did you know that the region of Gorski Kotar is known as the green lungs of Croatia? That is because 63% of its surface is covered with forest.
Zeleni Vir near Skrad is one of Croatia’s gems in the heart of Gorski Kotar. The name of this impressive work of nature translates to Green Whirlpool and comes from the colour of the pond sitting below a 70-meter cliff with a waterfall. It is definitely one of the most stunning places in Gorski Kotar, if not the entire Croatia. This 50-metre deep underground water spring is located at the bottom of a shallow, spacious cave that sits 345 metres above sea level. The exact location of the spring has not been discovered.
The Devil’s Passage or Vražji Prolaz is one of the most beautiful canyons in Croatia. It is 800 meters long and truly a wonderful work of nature, shaped by the Jasle stream flowing through the stone for millennia. This is a special geomorphological reserve of untouched nature that is bound to impress any visitor.
At the end of an enjoyable walk along wooden paths and across bridges is a narrow cave called Muževa Hižica (Husband’s House) which is home to some protected and pretty lucky bats. You can explore the cave but, of course, you should refrain from lighting inside so as to not disturb the animals.
There is also a small Hydroelectric Power Plant nearby that was built in 1921.
How to get there
You can reach Zeleni Vir on foot from the Skrad railway station. The paths are well-marked and you can choose to go to the Zeleni Vir waterfall first, which should take you around 40 minutes, or walk through the Vražji Prolaz canyon, which is an hour-and-a-half walk.
Another option is to go by car – follow the marked road from Skrad to the cosy mountain lodge and you’ll be there in ten minutes. You can begin you walk from the Zeleni Vir mountain lodge and visit the restaurant later before heading back.
The forested foothills of Gorski Kotar are also home to Risnjak National Park, named after its dweller – the lynx.
If you are wondering where to camp near National Parks in Croatia, check out our guide!