Lonely Planet Writer

Middle-earth comes to Croatia in the shape of these wooden hobbit houses at Kamp Velebit

While you would certainly expect some hobbit houses in Middle-earth, and some perhaps in New Zealand, finding them a 20-minute drive from Croatia’s booming coast might come as a bit of a surprise. But tucked away in the tiny village of Baške Oštarije, 976 meters above sea level on Mount Velebit, Crobbiton looks as if it was designed by hobbits themselves.

Hobbit houses on a hillside in Croatia
Hobbit houses at Kamp Velebit, Croatia. Image courtesy of Kamp Velebit

The hobbit houses are a part of the family-operated Kamp Velebit, Slavic-mythology-inspired campground. The camp totem features three main Slavic deities: Perun (the god of thunder), Veleš (the god of earth, waters, forests and the underworld) and Mokoš (the Great Mother). In the common area known as the Hall of Perun, various info-boards, exhibits and pictures provide ample information about regional legends and beliefs.

The inspiration came from Luka Žužinić, the camp manager and the son of the owners. “I grew up enthralled with international fantasy, reading books and gaming, so the mythological theme was an obvious one. But I wanted our camp to showcase local traditions; Slavic and Croatian mythology were a natural choice. They are almost tangible all over Velebit, especially in the names of locations, rivers and mountains,” he told Lonely Planet News. “Then, one day, I noticed this small hill in the camp, and it instantly made me think of hobbit houses. My father, who can practically make anything with his hands, took it upon himself to design and build each one.”

Middle-earth comes to Baške Oštarije
One of the hobbit huts at Baške Oštarije. Image courtesy of Kamp Velebit

Their interiors are super-simple, with beds and basic shelving for travellers’ belongings. In the future, an optional electricity hook up s planned. The design of the exteriors was based on the concept of thermal mass, meaning that roofs are covered with earth and grass. This stabilises the interior temperature in spite of outside fluctuations. And yes, with summer days in Croatia climbing to above 30oC, the Crobbiton promise of sleeping at comfortable ‘mountain freshness’ temps, sounds like a dream come true!

The hobbit huts are built to a super-simple design
A bedroom in one of the hobbit houses at Baške Oštarije. Image courtesy of Kamp Velebit

Five hobbit houses have been completed up to date, ranging in size between five and nine square meters. Currently awaiting registration as Robinson accommodation, they should be up and running by the next summer.