Žumberak Samoborsko Gorje Nature Park

Around Zagreb

Samobor is a good jumping-off point for hiking into the Žumberak Samoborsko Gorje, a mountain system that links the high peaks of the Alps with the karstic caves and abysses of the Dinaric Range. Carpeted with meadows and forests, it's the region's most popular hiking destination, and has been the cradle of organised mountaineering activity in Croatia since 1875.

In 1999 the whole area, covering 333 sq km, was proclaimed a nature park because of its biodiversity, forests, karst caves, river canyons and four waterfalls. Most of the hikes here are easy and there are well-marked trails and nine mountain huts that make pleasant rest stops. Most huts open weekends only (except in the July to August high season).

The range is divided into three sections: the Oštrc group in the centre, the Japetić group to the west and the Plešivica group to the east. Both the Oštrc and Japetić groups are accessible from the Šoićeva Kuća mountain hut and restaurant, 10km west of Samobor, reachable by bus 144 (direction Lipovec). From there it’s a rather-steep 30-minute climb to the medieval hill fort of Lipovec and an hour’s hike to the peak of Oštrc (752m), with another mountain hut.

Another popular hike is the 1½-hour climb from Šoićeva Kuća to Japetić (879m), the highest peak of Samobor Hills and a famous paragliding spot (see www.parafreek.hr for information). You can also follow a path from Oštrc to Japetić (two hours). The Plešivica group has ruins of a medieval fort and a protected park forest area, and it’s also a famous rock-climbing spot; you can access it from the village of Rude (bus 143 services Rude and Braslovje). From Rude, head east to the hunting cabin Srndać on the mountain saddle of Poljanice (12km), from where it’s a 40-minute, rather steep hike to the peak of Plešivica (779m).

As well as the information on the park website, the Croatian Mountaineering Association has further hiking details.

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