Tag: Viewpoint

My 10 best photo locations in Croatia

Croatia is a photographers paradise…Forget the selfie crowds and the trophy hunters at Plitvice and Dubrovnik. There are literally hundreds of unique places of unequalled beauty. The best time of the year is Autumn when the colours are warm and the sun is not so bright anymore. Morning mist creeps in over the lakes and valleys. Over the years I scouted and stored so many locations. I just want to share ten of my favourite ones with you.

1. Lović Prekriški
On a clear day, you can see 50 per cent of Croatia from this hilltop. After rainy days the mist fills the Kupa valley below and turns the landscape of the Nature Park Zumberak into a fairytale landscape.

2. Brinje
Just outside of Brinje there is a great viewpoint on this little village. You have it all in one picture; a castle, some churches, a beautiful landscape, great mountains and most of the time some nice layers of fog.

3. Fužine
I love this artificial lake. It has some interesting spots for photography. Autumn colours are stunning!

4. Novigrad na Dobri
There is the old castle, the old stone bridge, and the Lipizzaner horse riding school, and the local church. From the top of the castle (free entrance), you have a wonderful view of the surrounding landscape.

5. Ozalj
The view of the castle with the Kupa river is quite impressive. One of Croatia’s best photo spots.

6. Vina Gora
The hills of Zagorje are enchanting. The best viewpoint of them all is Vinagora.

7. Trakošćan
Another great spot in Zagorje is the castle of Trakoscan. In fact, the lake in Trakoscan is very photogenic. In Autumn the light is just magical.

8. Plešivica
The viewpoint at the elementary school of Plesivica is unforgettable.

9. Lokve
Around the lakes of Lokve and the outside of the village, there are some great photo locations to capture the wild beauty of Gorski Kotar.

10. Vivodina
The Church of Vivodina has been an object in many of my pictures. When the lights of the church switch on in the evening and the sun goes down the atmosphere turns into magic!

Wonderful Vivodina

   Location: Vivodina in the Nature Park Zumberak
One of the most astonishing and breathtaking photo spots in the Zumberak Nature Park is Vivodina. From the cemetery of Petrus Vrh the view is so very rewarding. Many times I went to this location and very often I was able to shoot some very diverse pictures. Especially during late Autumn days and in winter Vivodina is almost transformed into some scene from a fairytale world. Special about the Vivodina church is that when the sun sets low the church transfigures into a 3d object. That shows really well in your pictures. Therefore Vivodina is such a great location for your photography. 

   Take a walk:
There is a signposted hiking trail that starts at the church of Vivodina. You can park your car for free. Do not forget to see the view from the church itself on the surrounding vineyards. It takes you through vineyards, hilltops and villages. The hike takes about 3 hours and has a moderate level.

   Take a break:
The homestead of Frlan offers great meals (mostly meat dishes) and homemade cakes.

    Photo tip:
Vivodina is great in the wintertime. Snow on the roofs of houses and light trough the windows gives your picture an extra magical touch. As you can see in one of my pictures it is worthwhile waiting for the street lights to switch on the village. They also add this extra fairytale atmosphere. Most churches in Croatia are illuminated during the dark hours. Be in time when those lights are switched on. Especially when there is mist. You need to be in time as after one minute of switching on the lights they will get too bright and your photo object will lose detail.

Great photo spots in the Zumberak

   Photo tips: 
OK, I will not share all of them and keep a few to myself. Realize that hunting the right locations for great pictures is more than half the job. A time consuming and costly process. But I simply love exploring. There is so much to discover in Croatia.

Lucky shots are very seldom. You need to prepare well and venture out to find great locations. Nowadays it has become much easier by means of Google maps. I stored more than 1100 locations in Croatia alone in them.

After finding your location take some time to see if there are no disturbing elements. Find out where the sun comes up and goes down. See if there are some interesting details that attribute to your future picture.

Then the third part begins…. You start making the visual and mental picture. That means; start dreaming of how you want your picture to look like. What season? What time? What kind of circumstances.
Be prepared for some disappointments. Be prepared to come back a few more times until you meet the right conditions. The right light, an interesting sky, some nice layers of fog and warm colours can make such a huge difference.

   Zumberak Nature Park: 
This nature park is really one of my favourite places for photography. It is actually divided in the Samborske Gorje and the Zumberak. In this blog I will be focused on the Zumberak. Here the mountains are not as steep as in the Samoborske Gorje.  You will hardly meet any tourists here. Especially the part around Vivodina is very picturesque. It is the unique combination of rolling hills, meandering creeks and rivers and churches adding interesting detail for the landscape photographer.

In my future blogs, I will post many more tips about the Zumberak. But here are a few great places for you to enjoy.

The road from Sosice to Petrus Vrh is very pretty and offers some great viewpoints. The best view on Vivodina is at the cemetery at Petrus Vrh. In Vivodina itself the view behind the church is also very pretty. The road is very narrow but has a hardened surface. Do not forget to stop at Danculovici ( a short sidetrack). It offers a great view of the Vivodina area. The next village of Dojutrovica offers also great views.

You can still deviate a little more from this beautiful road and overlook the little hamlet of Kast. Another great view with a church.

You will also love this special viewpoint. It is a steep drive up but well worth the view. It is about 2 kilometres from Petrus Vrh.

Another one of my personal favourites is the valley at Stupe. A very little village but with a very special hill, almost shaped like a pyramid.

   Take a break: 
Restaurant Zumberacki Raj in Zamarija offers great trout dishes with fresh salad and roasted potatoes.
Restaurant Frlan in Vivodina offers meat dishes and great strudel.

   Take a walk:
You can take a wonderful walk, indicated with signs, from Vivodina. Your starting point is at the church of Vivodina. Free parking.


Brod Moravice in Gorski Kotar

   Location:   Brod Moravice
Brod Moravice is a small village located in the heart of Gorski Kotar. Above the village is a hilltop with magnificent views over the Gorski Kotar mountain range. This is one of my favourite photo locations and a place where you can just sit, relax, and enjoy the wonderful surrounding.

   Take a break: 
There are no restaurants in Brod Moravice. There is a small supermarket for restocking your supplies and there is a coffee bar.

   Take a walk:
You can walk from the village and climb the steep hill to the little chapel of  Sveti Andria. For this walk park your car here and choose the unpaved gravel road left of the main road. the walk will take about 15 minutes.
You can also choose to drive to Gornji Kuti and park your car near the hunters lodge and take the narrow gravel road to the top of the hill. Park your car here and take the gravel road on the left side. This walk takes about 10 minutes.

    Photo tips: 
It is always a guess to what level the mist will rise in the morning. But most of the time the mist lingers in the village itself and the top of the hill is bathing in bright sunlight. Make sure to come at least 20 minutes before sunrise. The sky will mostly change its colours rapidly and that makes it the most interesting time of the day. The mist quickly changes its patterns, it comes and goes; it hides and reveals. So make sure to take as many shots as you can. Soon the sun will be too bright and the mist will lose its depth and becomes flattened and uninteresting. So try to make the best of this early bird situation. Make sure to enjoy the fresh air, the sounds of the birds and the great view itself.

Is this the most tranquil valley in Croatia?

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.

Old medieval bridge
Water source
View on the lake
The confluence of river Lika




Croatian Tuscany

Just a mere 30 minutes from Zagreb you will find the wonderful Plesivica hill range. I dare to say that this wonderful gem of nature shows great similarity to the landscapes in Tuscany. If it wasn’t for some of the neglected fields with messy bushes this place would be a true copy and equal counterpart of the well known Italian Tuscany.

The best photo opportunity is around sunrise at the old elementary school. But around Plesivica you will easily find some more attractive photo locations. Just make sure to come after a rainy night in the Autumn or winter and you will be treated on nice layers of fog. It is always a guess to what level the mist will rise. But nonetheless, I am convinced this area will bring you some rewarding pictures.

The best way to start is to drive from Molvice over the ridge of the Zumberak. The first viewpoint is at the bright blue restaurant Ivancic. Enjoy the view and your coffee on the terrace outside. Just remember that Charlie Chaplin loved to spend his holidays at this very place way back in history.

Are you in for a delicious treat of local organic cheese? Visit the Sestak cheese house.

Continue your way through the winding narrow road to Soskic. The winegrower owns an Italian style house that is a true landmark in this surrounding. The owner is always very busy but if he is around you will be able to buy a bottle of his great ecological wines.

Enjoy another great view from the Sumski Dvor. This restaurant only opens on weekends.

Do you fancy a healthy swim in a small spa among the locals? Try the Jana source. This is a small basin full of always fresh, clean natural spring water…Totally for free! The water is always 21 degrees. (limited amount of parking space, nog locker rooms)After your trip trough Plesivica you can choose to visit Jastrebarsko. This town has some nice restaurants and cafes. The city park is worth a visit. Park your car at Lidl and then cross the wooden bridge.

Enjoy your day in this wonderful area!