Sosice Visitor Centre, Latest Addition to Zumberak Nature Park Near Zagreb

Total Croatia News

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Photos: Zumberak Nature Park Facebook page
Photos: Zumberak Nature Park Facebook page

It was only after moving to Zagreb that I realised just what a wealth of tourism options lay around the city. Zagreb County has a fantastic mix of nature, adventure tourism, heritage and gastronomy, with several great day trips for those looking to explore. The Around Zagreb website has proven a great success in the last couple of years, connecting the city to the tourism of its green surroundings. 

One area I have enjoyed getting to know a little better is Zumberak Nature Park, yet one more slice of Croatian natural goodness, just a short drive from Zagreb. With over 300 km of bike routes, 350 km of hiking routes, a protected cultural landscape, more than 20% of Croatia’s entire flora, more than 34 archaeological sites, and several traditional villages more than 800 metres above sea level, there is a lot to explore in this very under-visited region. 


Longtime followers of TCN may recall my first visit to Zumberak a couple of years ago, transporting the first free-range wagyu cows to the eco-village of Tihocaj, high in the Zumberak hills. The four black Japanese cows were the first cows in the village for 40 years, and they certainly enjoyed their immense freedom and natural surroundings. You can read more about that project here


The arrival of the cows (who now number 9) are perhaps symbolic of the rebirth of Zaumberak, which is undergoing something of a renaissance, after a slow and gradual decline.  The village of Tihocaj, for example, has just one inhabitant compared to about 40 more than 50 years ago – a 96-year-old lady whose house and vegetable plot are next to the field with the cows (pictured above with visitors from last year’s Zagreb Digital Nomad Week to Tihocaj). 


However, a local entrepreneur is busy breathing life into the village by renovating many of the houses and turning it into an eco-farm. It is an investment which is being mirrored elsewhere in Zumberak, with the latest 30 million kuna investment officially opened a few weeks ago – the Sosice Visitor Centre.   


The centre, which was officially opened on April 11, breathes a little more life into the park, offering facilities hitherto unavailable. Among the various things on offer, Sosice Visitor Centre boasts a cafe and restaurant, as well as accommodation with 28 beds for hikers and cyclists  who want to spend the night in the park. The interactive info centre, outdoor stage and amphitheatre, as well as outdoor children’s playing area.


The aim of the project is to improve and enrich the offer of the Park with multimedia tools, as well as to enable the implementation of a school in nature for children and volunteer activities. The offer of the Park has been expanded with the purchase of electric bicycles that can be rented, and new educational boards and educational trails have been set up throughout the Park.


The total investment of 30 million was largely co-financed by EU funds from the Operational Program Competitiveness and Cohesion, while the rest was co-financed by the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund with HRK 4 million and the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development through Joint Parks Funds with HRK 2.3 million.


“This is the largest investment in the area of ​​Zumberak ever. In the future, we expect that several thousand students will visit us annually, who will introduce us to the values ​​and history of this area through educational programs, as well as several thousand volunteers and about 10 thousand visitors,” said the director of the Zumberak Nature Park, Kristijan Brkic.


On behalf of the County, the opening ceremony of the Visitors’ Center was attended by Deputy Prefect Damir Tomljenovic and President of the County Assembly Martina Glasnovic.

“Over the last 20 years, the number of inhabitants in this area has halved, from 1,200 to about 600, so we hope that this valuable investment will succeed in revitalizing this area,” said Tomljenovic, adding that the County has invested in paving roads in Zumberak.

You can learn more about the new Sosice Visitor Centre on the dedicated project website.

And once you have explored Zumberak’s wonderful nature, head to nearby Samobor for some culinary delights – Samobor, a Culinary Day Trip Treat from Zagreb with Much More than Kremsnita.


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