Groznjan, Motovun and Hum
During my kayaking tour (which is a story of its own), I ended up befriending my guide, who recommended I visit three small (and I mean very small) villages in the mountains of Croatia called Groznjan, Motovun, and Hum.
Many local Croatians and Italians often take day trips out to Groznjan and Motovun, because they’re so beautiful and picturesque. They enjoy the environment of small-town shops, as well as the sweeping mountain views of the vineyards, and the wine offered by locals. Hum is so small that it holds the Guinness world record for being the smallest town in the world! Would you believe it only took a minute or so to walk the entire town?
None of these three villages can be explored by car, so parking outside the city walls and walking the rest of the way is a necessity here. The culture of each of these towns is from an era frozen in time.
While visiting Hum, I even had the opportunity to stay in a local’s home for a night.
These towns were filled with a unique charm that only a tiny village can offer. They all have great mountain views with small gardens and quiet cobblestone streets. Alongside the edge of a wall in Motovun, you can sit outside while sipping coffee at one of the cafés, enjoying a leisurely conversation with others, or you can stay to yourself, reading about the history of the Italian language—the primary language spoken in some Croatian towns. This section of Croatia is known as Wine Country and is sometimes referred to as Little Tuscany. These small towns, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, are certainly a trip worth taking!
In comparison, Croatia’s waterfalls rival Switzerland’s and Iceland’s; Croatia’s waterfalls are both beautiful and unique.
The unity of these falls, while flowing two-twenty falls at a time, is simply breathtaking! How can something so majestic be available for mankind to see and experience?
The city of Rastoke sits at the split of the Korana River, which the town shares a unique relationship with, simply because the village was constructed directly in its path. The water flows underneath the houses, shops, and restaurants in the village before reaching a gorge. It is absolutely wondrous!
It was mind-blowing to see people living here, as if this is something normal, but then again, I guess it is normal for them.
The one thing I do know is that I LOVE this place!
Following a path just below the waterfalls, down to the bottom of the gorge, I was able to witness the most spectacular view of multiple falls spilling over the cliffside. I felt like I had found a small piece of Eden.
My adventurous spirit was awakened by a shower of mist surrounding me and the sound of the water crashing over my head. This should most definitely be on your travel list when visiting Croatia!
Waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes National Park and Krka National Park
I had no idea that such a beautiful place existed! These two parks boast the most magnanimous slew of waterfall and lagoon combinations that I’ve ever seen, including those I’ve seen on television. Am I overstating this? Absolutely not! In all the places I’ve traveled, in all the things my eyes have seen, both in person and on screens, nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can compare to what flowed in front of my eyes!
The waterfall system at Plitvice has a grand waterfall that requires hiking down a mountain, walking on a boardwalk through a river, and trekking alongside a cliff before reaching the water, which happens to be crystal clear. It was like looking into a mirror; nothing was hidden here. From the bottom of the first waterfall, I had to walk back up the boardwalk for another 1-3 miles, traveling down another extension alongside the river. This was the only way to reach a lookout where I was able to see ten (or more) waterfalls, each with their own pool down at the base. I was able to walk in front of each of them, reaching a lake where, at a dock, I had the option to board a boat that led to the upper waterfall system.
This is where I was able to see another 5-10 waterfalls intertwined among beautiful lagoons.
Every day thousands of people make this voyage to partake in the glorious beauty of this marvelous formation of waterfalls. Standing at the halfway point between the upper and lower falls, you can see the restaurant and rest area, which is also near the boat docks. There are trails that run on either side of the mountain cliffs, allowing a panoramic view of all that surrounds you. At the end of the hike, a bus is provided that will carry you back to your vehicle. Plitvace Park Waterfalls is a highly recommended destination when visiting this area.
Krka Waterfall system is so unique; it has a bridge at the bottom of the falls, allowing you to see the two large waterfalls cascading directly in front of you! From there, you can hike up the side of the falls to see the various streams that run through the forest, creating several lagoons that are sitting just above the main falls.
Water runs through the woods, taking whatever path necessary to reach the river below, and pools of crystal-clear water teem with fish, be sharing their own hints of beauty with you. If not for little bridges over these areas, it would be impossible to remain dry. Walking over these streams and pools, you will find yourself (as I did) traversing down the long paths, through the woods, all while water and fish are flowing directly beneath your feet! Several swans adorn the area, swimming in the water alongside boats and kayaks. This is a beautiful waterfall system, filled with several hiking trails for those who truly love the great outdoors.
Thes natural wonders of Croatia were marvelous. My next adventure in Croatia? Kayaking.
(To be continued…)
Jonathan Dryer: The Unofficial Traveler.