In the most uninhabited region of Croatia, Lika, lays a little place called Perušić where people still talk to their neighbours and live warmheartedly.
In history, it was first mentioned in 1487 when it was founded by two brothers, Dominik and Gašpar Perušić, nobles from Dalmatian Zagora. On top of a hill they built their town, surrounded by a wall and emphasised by a tower that still stands in its original place. When the Turks conquered Lika and Krbava, Perušić became their main stronghold in Lika. The locals still refer to the tower as Turkish tower, even though the Turks are long gone from this area. Other preferred names for the tower are Perušić tower or Old town Perušić.
Perušić is a part of Lika-Senj County, the perfect area for spelunking and caving in Croatia. Only 2.5 km away from the centre of Perušić you can find Cave park Grabovača that offers a variety of experiences and values in an ecological, aesthetic, educational and adventurous sense. There, you can uncover a priceless abundance of underground karstic forms – caves and holes. Cave park Grabovača is the only cave park in Croatia and holds ¼ of the total number of protected speleological objects in Croatia. Its caves provide visitors with a chance to step back into the past for thousands of years. Three out of the eight caves are protected on the national level as geomorphologic monuments of nature. Those caves are Samograd, Medina and Amidžina cave.
Cave Samograd is the only cave in the Cave park that is open for tourists. The remaining caves are all of different shapes and sizes – some can be explored simply by walking, while in others, you have to crawl through extremely tight spaces. Cave Samograd is located on the eastern slopes of Grabovača hill. It is 345 m long and holds an abundance of cave jewels – stalactites, stalagmites, pillars, natural made bridges and cave pearls. Access to the cave is easy – once you get to the location (700 m uphill from the Cave park entrance) there are concrete stairs leading to the cave entrance, and more than a hundred years old handmade stone stairs and pathways leading you through the four halls of the cave. The whole cave is lighted with cold ecological lighting that affects the existing cave microclimate in the smallest possible extent. The average temperature of the cave is 8°C so it’s best to have a long-sleeved shirt or a light jacket with you. Also, since this is nature and we wish to keep it in its natural form and shape, it’s best to wear sneakers or other shoes appropriate for light hiking. No high heels or flip flops, please!
Once you buy your ticket (around 6€/6.8$ per adult, around 5€/5.6$ per child, and free for children under 5 years old; groups get special discounts) a friendly guide will take you to the cave and tell you everything you need to know about karst, caves, cave Samograd and more. If there’s anything you want to know about the surrounding area, nightlife, events or something else, feel free to ask him/her!
One of the interesting facts about cave Samograd is that it holds annual concerts, firsts of that kind in Croatia. Listening to a concert in a cave is a feeling you just need to experience. Just imagine closing your eyes and hearing the voice of a diva echoing through a space that seems like it was naturally made for music. There are no actual words to describe the experience…
All the (eight) caves and (one) hole of the Cave park are linked by a beautiful trail system providing an exciting hiking experience that ultimately leads you to the viewpoint on top of Grabovača hill where you can see the mountain Velebit, river Lika and small picturesque villages that surround the hill.
The park is beautiful in each and every season of the year – spring wildflowers give way to the lush green growth of summer; fall brings dramatic hues of yellow, gold and crimson, while snow transforms the Park into a winter wonderland. Whatever the season, Cave park Grabovača has something special to offer – cave tours, surface hikes, picnicking, bicycling (you can rent a bike at the entrance), visiting the Old town Perušić, swimming in the river Lika or taking a raft ride through the majestic canyon of the river to the accumulation lake Krušćica.
Working hours of the Cave park Grabovača:
April, May, September, October and November: 9am – 5pm every day
June, July, August: 9am – 8pm every day
January, February, March, and December: depending on the weather and with at least one day’s notice (by phone/in person)
Web page: www.pp-grabovaca.hr
Tel.: (+385) 53 679 233 (office, working days 7am-3pm)