Family day out: Kamačnik, Croatia

restaurant Kamačnik at the beginning of path through Kamačnik gorge

Family day out: Kamačnik, Croatia is a travel blog post about our family hike in Kamačnik gorge on a Sunday last August. I had seen photos of the above pictured restaurant on a friend’s Facebook feed and I’ve decided to visit it one day with my family.

Kamačnik is an area of protected landscape near Vrbovsko (Gorski kotar) around halfway between Croatian capital Zagreb and its biggest seaport Rijeka. You can follow the river Kamačnik to its source (a deep lake) from the beginning of the pathway behind the restaurant Kamačnik. The pathway is around 3 km long and the entrance fee is less than 4 euros. This walk/hike will reward you with plenty of fresh air and many opportunities to take photos of stunning river with its small cascades, trees and different plants. You will enjoy it but come prepared (proper footwear, a bottle of water and proper clothes for hiking).

As usually I have packed some snacks and a change of clothes for the kids. The drive wasn’t long and we were soon surrounded by woods and fresh, chilly air. We parked the car right across the Restaurant Kamačnik. The restaurant is just above a small cascade where smaller river Kamačnik flows into larger river Dobra. We strolled around a bit and then walked towards a tiny hut on a path behind the restaurant which is the entrance to this area of protected landscape. We paid a small entrance fee. The kids rang a huge bell like sound installation which is situated before the entrance hut.

Life & blog update: August 2022
river Kamačnik

The pathway was unexpectedly wet and slippery even though it was summer and it hadn’t rained in a long time. We crossed over river Kamačnik several times on wooden bridges. During our walk the pathway was sometimes above the river and sometimes quite near it. The river is crystal clear and cold. You can find educational boards about the area’s flora and fauna along the pathway as well as several sound installations which mimic animal sounds. KIds had fun trying it out.

We walked and walked and kids dutifully followed. They didn’t complain a single time. In the end it took us over three hours to reach the end of the pathway and to go back to the beginning, the restaurant. Kids saw butterflies and picked up different pebbles and twigs. Around halfway, we crossed a larger bridge and went to rest for a bit on the meadow on the right side. Then, we turned back again and continued to follow the pathway. There are clear markings in several places. The pathway was now much wider so it was easier to walk. My husband was the one who egged us on to reach the end. I would have quitted a long time ago especially since I forgot our water bottles (I had snacks and juice boxes for kids but left ours in the car expecting the walk to last less than an hour). I even slipped and fell and hit my back and got a couple of scratches just before we came near the end of the pathway. I was able to finish the hike but my back hurt.

The lake (or the cave under) at the end of the pathway is supposed to be the source of river Kamačnik. Its depth is over 100 m which makes it the deepest river source in Croatia. It has a stunning colour as you can see in the photo below.

at the end of the path

It started to drizzle on our way back and by the time we reached the restaurant it became a real downpour. We were happy to be dry and safe at the restaurant Kamačnik which serves local food. We ate a great lunch. I was so proud of my kids for being able to finish this hike without any complaints or nagging (my daughter was almost 3 years old then and my son was just a few months younger than 5 ). Eventually, the rain stopped and we went back to our car to head home. However, I saw a road sign for castle Severin na Kupi so we decided to visit it because it was close by.

Castle Severin in a place Severin na Kupi was built at the end of 15th century or at the beginning of 16th century. It once belonged to the famous Croatian noble family Frankopani and later became owned by noble family Zrinski. It changed hands many times throughout history. It was used as a hotel and a restaurant for a while but then became disused. Unfortunately, as is the case with many other “abandoned castles”, this once majestic castle and park is now in ruins. There is an educational board about the castle before the gateway. We walked around and peeked through the holes in castle’s walls. We entered a small chapel too and saw graffiti on its faded paintings. It saddened me to see that vandalism. The castle is surrounded by a park and there’s a viewpoint below to river Kupa. You can walk freely around but there was definitely something eerie about the whole place despite us being there on a hot summer’s day. Kids ran around and enjoyed themselves.

castle Severin na Kupi, Croatia
castle Severin in place Severin na Kupi

Hiking in Kamačnik gorge and visiting castle Severin was a great day trip and we all had fun. I was tired but it was all worth it. And next time I wont forget my water bottle.

Have you visited Kamačnik?

Read about our other family day trips in Croatia by clicking here.

We visited Kamačnik at the end of August 2022.

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