On Velebit you can enjoy mountain peaks, caves and one of the most beautiful bays in one day

Velebit Nature Park is the largest protected area in the Republic of Croatia. But apart from that, this nature park is special in many ways. Inside the park you can enjoy the same day conquering mountain peaks, getting to know the Velebit underground in Cerovac caves and soaking up the sun's rays in one of the most beautiful Croatian bays - Collars.

Premužić's path

The position of Velebit, its geological structure, and even three different climates (Mediterranean, continental and mountainous) that intertwine in this area, have influenced the development of very rich flora and fauna. Velebit belongs to the Dinarides system. The total length of Velebit is 145 kilometers, and its width ranges from 10 to 30 kilometers.

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With its specific position, Velebit offers a variety of vacation opportunities. Fans of active holidays can try hiking, walking on educational trails, visiting caves, cycling, rafting and canoeing, sport fishing, mountaineering activities, horseback riding…

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Fans of sport climbing can visit the alpine zone in Beaver hips (middle Velebit). Aga's hip, Rujica's hip and Čela's hip are open for climbing from April to November. These are long climbing routes that require knowledge, experience and good equipment. The karst rivers Zrmanja and Krupa enrich the southern part of the "Velebit" Nature Park with the beauty of waterfalls, the depth of canyons, and the diversity of flora and fauna. The preservation and diversity of flora and fauna with numerous endemics complete the picture of the canyons of these rivers.

Three caves with over seven kilometers of explored canals

Cerovac caves, located in the southern part Velebit Nature Park, are among the most famous and significant speleological objects in Croatia. The complex consists of 3 caves (Lower, Middle and Upper) with over 7 km of explored canals. The first 700 meters of the Lower and Upper Caves have been arranged for a tourist visit.

These caves are extremely rich in finds from the ancient past. In addition to a large amount of archaeological remains, they are also one of the largest finds of cave bears in Croatia. So here you can still see traces of "grinding" bears on the rocks created by their movement along the walls of caves.

///Cerovac caves hide characters from a fairy tale, but also the remains of a cave bear and a lion

Remains were found and cave lion (Panthera spelaea) and many other, mainly smaller rodents and birds. Bone remains of Paleolithic man Homo sapiens fossilis were also found. Archaeological artifacts (ceramic fragments, metal, bone and stone finds) show that the Donja Cerovačka cave was used since of the Middle Bronze Age (1400 - 1200 BC).

Velebit Nature Park, Cerova Caves
Cerovac caves

With its constant dripping, water continues the thousands of years old process of building sigma. That is why it is extremely important that we treat the cave with respect and do not touch its decorations, because only one reckless movement of the hand can interrupt the process that has been going on for decades. Due to its unique natural beauty and numerous finds from the ancient past Cerovac caves were protected by law in 1961 as a geomorphological monument of nature.

Zavrtanica Bay is part of the NATURA 2000 ecological network

In addition to the Cerovac Caves, this park also has a special value Zavratnica bay one of the most beautiful coves on our coast, located not far from Jablanc, opposite the island of Rab. 129 plant species were counted in Zavratnica, of which 100 are autochthonous and 29 allochthonous. At the beginning of the 20th century, an upper path with a lookout point and a promenade by the sea were built.

zavratnica cove, velebit nature park
Zavratnica Bay, source: Velebit Nature Park

Zavratnica Bay is part of NATURA 2000 - an ecological network composed of areas important for the conservation of endangered species and habitat types of the European Union. The writer Vjenceslav Novak found inspiration for his works here, and in the bay there are the remains of a German warship from the II. World War II sunk by Allied planes.

Source: Lika Destination
The article was originally published on May 13, 2020.

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