Today I would like to take you to my favourite valley in Croatia. It is in the heart of Lika called Gornji Kosinj.
In Spring and Summer, the valley hosts an abundance of wildflowers. There are not many people living here anymore but practically this counts for all of Lika. Yet it reflects such purity and tranquillity that I have only found on some places in the French Alps.
Accommodation is very hard to find. So you need to book something near Perusic or Otocac if you like to stay there for some more days. It is really worth to take long hikes. The Sjeverni Velebit National park with its’ impressive tall peaks is nearby.
The valley is interesting from both sides. Coming from Otocac you first head to Kuterovo and then follow the narrow but relatively well-paved roads to Donji Kosinj. Only recently the tourist board has also recognised the purity of this unique valley. They have invested in some bike and walking trails and coming from Otocac heading towards Gornji Kosinj there is now a brand new watchtower that gives the photographer a great spot for some unique pictures. In fact, I cannot wait until next year Spring to go there myself. The low morning mist, the wild cherry trees and the shepherds with their flock of sheep wandering through the valley is a heavenly decor for some of my pictures that I still have to realize.
Most of the houses here are in a very simple and some in a devastating state. The majority of the people here got accustomed to the hard life of the ever-changing seasons. And as I mentioned most of them are local shepherds.
The sad thing about this wonderful valley is that it won’t be there too long anymore. Parts of the valley will in due time disappear underneath the water surface as for over 40 years construction plans for a hydropower plant now seems to come to full realisation. That means that most of Gornji Kosinj and its church will be no longer visible in ten years time. So plenty of reason not to wait too long to indulge yourself and convince yourself and set off to Lika to see some of Croatia’s most pure destinations.
Do not expect any catering, facilities or luxuries. It is what it is… Just enjoy that. It is the experience of this pure nature that will hopefully capture your heart and purify your thoughts and visions of some of the worldly stress and burdens. It worked for me….
There is a cafe in the Gornji Kosinj. For supermarkets and restaurants, you need to drive 40 minutes to Gospic, or make sure you stock up in Otocac before coming to Kosinj.
The photographer’s highlight is the ancient and medieval bridge at Gornji Kosinj. Go there in the early morning and try to combine an interesting morning or evening sky with the tranquil reflections of the water surface of Lika river. The church adds extra interesting detail to this picture.
Most of the houses in the valley are abandoned or serve as a weekend house for city dwellers.
A flock of sheep can add a great extra dimension to your landscape photography.
This old Serbian orthodox church is a fantastic object for morning photography. This picture needs some improvement as the sunlight was already behind the steep mountains.
The confluence of river Lika and the shortest river of Croatia called Bakovac.
You can continue your walk for another 8 kilometres from the river source and climb the slopes of the Kruscica Lake down below. Treat yourself on this magnificent view
Outside of Gornji Kosinj is a lovely and refreshing spot. Here is the cradle of the shortest river in Croatia. This water source is very pure. My friend Alen joined me for a walk on this hot Summer day. The road to the source is ideal for a walk and has a hardened surface.
Love…Like…Lika One of my favourite regions in Croatia is Lika. Later on, I will write more about one of the prettiest rivers of Croatia, the Gacka river.
How to describe the landscape? Coming from Otocac you will find the Gacka river on your right flowing trough a pastoral valley. Once you have passed the city you take a left and drive a few kilometres to find the spring of Gacka river
I lover river sources. Especially when you have already seen the river itself. It brings you back to the very origin of something very strong and powerful. The source itself is often something rather fragile and vulnerable. At many of the river sources in Croatia, you find these mint plans. It means that the water is absolutely clean and pure.
Many river sources in Croatia were used for their hydropower. So is the case with the Gacka river source. But it makes the location even more attractive. The wooden mills fit so well in the landscape. They are not in use anymore but one serves as a little shop. Unfortunately, the place is a bit run down, and some renovations would be beneficial. But nevertheless, this is a very refreshing, spiritual and photogenic place.
Photo tip: I advise you to picture these watermills just after sunrise. I took mine when there was still some morning mist. It adds some more atmosphere to the picture. I used a wide-angle, it gives more depth to the picture. With pictures like this, it is much better to take a low position so the water serves as a nice forefront. You can also decide to go into the water. Be careful not to shoot these kinds of pictures in the late morning or afternoon. The reflection of the sun in the water will spoil your picture.
Take a break:
There is a great pizzeria very near to the river source. In the town of Otocac there are many nice cafes.
Take a walk:
The Gacka river is of such pristine beauty. The Gacka valley is really ideal for walking or just sit on some of the benches and enjoy the silence and the sound of the small river. If you like you can rent a canoe and explore some part of the river. Some boats are transparent so you can experience the water life underneath the surface.