There is something so powerful, magic, divine and enchanting about the river sources in Croatia. I love river sources and all of them differ from each other. You can find them all over the country.
A river source is the beginning of new life. The water just springs up from the earth below and finds its way too often beautiful valleys and canyons. River sources for me are places that I love to go to, not just to photograph them. They are a place for praying and meditation for me. I love the sound of the water coming from the earth below. I think about all my favourite places along the riverbank of that particular river. I also like to bless the river sources and the manifold villages along the river that give home, life and abundance to so many people.
I myself live very near to the kupa river and we have our very own private entrance to the river. I love to swim in her, even when her water is still cold and chilly. I love to sit on our little bench at the river and watch the beavers and kingfishers. Sometimes I take our canoe and just unite with the rhythm of the water and let the river carry me to some hidden beauty spots. Having yourself carried by the river in a boat is a form of surrender en giving in to her strength.
The river has her very own character. They differ from each other. Not just by the way they look but also by the way they behave. The kupa river is by far my most favourite river. I am thankful to her so once a year I go back to her source just to spend a few hours there.
Here is my personal top 5 of some of the most beautiful river sources in Croatia:
My favourite of all river sources in Croatia. The place has recently been upgraded with some benches, a boardwalk and parking lots with information panels. The road heading towards the river source goes through a fascinating landscape. Heading towards the river source one can see the river lingering in the beautiful valley below. There are herds of sheep and many wildflowers to be seen.
The source itself is of crystal clear beauty and calmness before it soon finds its way to the valleys. Little cascades and waterfalls can be admired all along the Cetina river. After 30 kilometres the Cetina river fills up the artificial lake of Peruca. There are some very wonderful photo spots around this lake and a wonderfully restored monastery for some spiritual refreshing.
The Cetina river source lies in a rather desolate landscape as this was a former war zone. Not many houses have been rebuilt and there is a certain sadness sensible in the area. But on the other hand, you will have the place to yourself most of the time. The place is not yet on the list of tour operators.
Coming from Drnis you will drive across a plateau before descending to the ancient village of Vrlika. This is the village where you can have something to eat and drink.
The kupa river source lies in the heart of Gorski Kotar in the National park of Risnjak. Exit the highway at Delnice and drive to Crni Lug. From there on you follow curvy and narrow mountain roads to the parking lot. To the source itself, it takes about half an hour walking. The terrain is rather steep so bring the right shoes. During Summer you need to pay an entrance fee of 45 kuna per person. The kupa river source is the most powerful river source in Croatia and definitely one that is stowed away far from human civilization. The amounts of water coming straight from the heart of the earth are really huge. Brutal power of nature! The drive itself is breathtaking!
Such a pretty place to visit. The Tounjska river is a short river that wells up in the small village of Tounj near Plitvice lakes. It is not a very well known place so you will hardly meet any visitors. On a hot day, this is the ideal spot for a picnic, reading a book or just relax and enjoy the sound of the little waterfalls and the birds.
There is a small parking lot and the climb into the canyon takes about ten minutes. There is also an impressive cave that you can enter. I just love this spot.
In Tounj itself are a small supermarket and some cafes.
The Una river source is another natural phenomena. The source is of extreme beauty with pure emerald and turquoise water. Here you can witness the brutal power of nature as the water wells up from the earth below and forms itself into a powerful river with many waterfalls. The first waterfalls can already be seen when you walk the 2-kilometre trail to the source. There is a small entrance fee to be paid and there is a parking lot that is free of charge. Make sure to bring your own food and drinks as the area is quite desolate.
It is well worth it to combine this trip with a visit across the border and follow the course of the river Una into Bosnia. There are some very beautiful waterfalls and wonderful places to visit along the river Una. A spectacular highlight is the Strbacki Buk waterfall that is as impressive as the waterfalls in Plitvice. I a future blog I will write more about my visits to this waterfall. The Una river is a very cold river that does not warm up very much during the Summer so swimming is not something I would recommend.
The Zagorska Mreznica river source is not open for visitors. But if you walk through the park you end up at a little wooden bridge. It is such an idyllic and picturesque place. I took the picture from this little bridge and I absolutely love this spot. I will do a special blog in the nearby future about this little but impressive river and its surrounding.