One of Croatia’s best-kept natural secrets, this 160-sq-km rarely visited park lies just 30 minutes from the Opatija riviera. Comprising the Učka mountain massif and the adjacent Ćićarija plateau, it’s officially split between Kvarner and Istria. On clear days Vojak (1401m), its highest peak, affords sublime views of the Italian Alps and the Bay of Trieste.
Much of the area is covered by beech forest, but there are also sweet-chestnut trees, oaks and hornbeams, as well as 40 species of orchid. Sheep graze the alpine meadows, golden eagles fly overhead, brown bears roam, as do wild boar and roe deer, and endemic bellflowers blossom.