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Karlovacka zupanija is located in the central part of the country. The county neighbors the Republic of Slovenia to the northwest and the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the southeast. Within the country, it is surrounded by other counties, namely Zagreb County, Sisak-Moslavina County, Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, and Lika-Senj County. Stretching across 3,622 square kilometers of land, Karlovac County is one of the largest in Croatia. The capital city, Karlovac, is found in the northern part of the territory. The town was established in the 16th century on July 13, 1579, by order of Charles II. of Štajersko. Karlovac was built as a fortress to protect against Turkish conquests. Today, Karlovac features several historical monuments, such as the Homeland War Museum, the Dubovac Castle, and the Star. Geographically, Karlovac County is located in the contact area of Pannonian Croatia and Mountain Croatia, boasting various geographical features. Some natural points of interest include the Barac Caves and the White and Samara Rocks. Presumably, the best time to visit Karlovac County is during the summer months, as July is the warmest month of the year in Karlovac.
The capital city of Karlovac County is the city of Karlovac, found in the northern part of the territory. Karlovac is situated on four rivers and was historically a boating town. Today, the city is often visited for its historical heritage. One of the museums tourists can visit in Karlovac is the Museum of the Homeland War, located in the Turanj neighborhood. Housed in a renovated Austrian barracks known as the "Hotel California," the museum presents the exhibition "Karlovac 1991-1995." The exhibition showcases the city's history during the Homeland War through six thematic units featuring artifacts, multimedia content, videos, and interactive displays. The museum also includes a Memorial Room, souvenir shop, café, library, and multi-purpose hall. Another historical landmark in Karlovac is Dubovac Castle, located on a prehistoric hill above the Kupa River. Its construction was completed in the 13th century to protect traders and boatmen from continual attacks. Some legends claim a tunnel exists, leading from the castle to the river. However, its existence remains uncertain. Nevertheless, visitors can experience the medieval atmosphere by dining in the castle's restaurant and exploring the museum inside the tower.
Reportedly, the oldest building in the city of Karlovac is the Town Museum, which can be found in the Star, which is a star-shaped Old Town. Apart from the Town Museum, the Star also features St. Joseph church foundations, the central square with two churches and a water well in the middle, and the Baroque building of the Polytechnic, the oldest music school in Croatia. Additionally, the city name, Karlovac, serves as the namesake of one of the beer producers in Croatia, Karlovacko. Karlovacko Brewery was established in 1854 in the town of Dubovac.
Visitors seeking natural attractions might be interested in Čorkova Uvala, which is a rainforest in the Dinaric Mountains located within the Plitvice Lakes National Park in the southernmost part of the county's territory. The rainforest is somewhat untouched, offering a glimpse into an ecosystem developed under its natural conditions and featuring 1,267 known plant species, including 75 endemics and 55 species of orchids. Moreover, research has also documented the presence of 321 butterfly species, 161 bird species, and 21 bat species, emphasizing the abundant wildlife within the park.
Karlovac County is found in the central part of Croatia, contributing to the state border with Slovenia to the north and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the southeast. Geographically, the county is located in the contact area of Pannonian Croatia and Mountain Croatia and has various geographical features. The highest peak, Kula na Bjelolasica, stands at 1,534 meters above sea level, bordering Primorje-Gorski County. The county is known for its watercourses, with the rivers Kupa, Korana, Mrežnica, and Dobra providing considerable tourist potential, the Mrežnica River in particular with its 93 travertine waterfalls, each displaying distinctive shapes. Varying natural elements such as the forested mountains of Velika and Mala Kapela, the green landscapes of Kordun Karst, and the region's historical heritage contribute to the county's economy and tourism.
One of the natural attractions in the Karlovacka zupanija is Barać Caves, situated within the larger protected landscape area, covering a total of 5.19 square kilometers. The caves are predominantly characterized by karst formations, including stalagmites, stalactites, and Pleistocene fossilized remains. The area is home to cave fauna as well as considerable archaeological heritage. Several endangered habitat types can be found throughout the region. Thus the territory was officially designated as a protected site in 2016. Another protected landscape that often piques the interest of tourists in Karlovac County is The White and Samarske Rocks, which is a natural rock formation with sharp peaks rising over 50 meters in height. On account of the area being characterized by faults, grooves, joints, and precipices, The White and Samarske Rocks are inaccessible. The White and Samarske Rocks are surrounded by vast forests that provide a contrast to the white limestone formations. The highest point of the White Rocks is 1,335 meters high and offers panoramic views of the surrounding nature. However, a particularly notable formation within the White Rocks is the stones that resemble fingers.
In terms of climatic conditions and weather in Karlovacka zupanija's capital, Karlovac, the warmest month is generally July, with an average daily temperature of 28°C. Reportedly, January is the coldest month, as temperatures drop to an average high of 5°C. January also tends to be the driest month in Karlovac because it generally receives 65 millimeters of rainfall on average. The most precipitation falls during September, as it gets an average of about 125 millimeters.
Duga Resa and Karlovac, along with their suburban settlements, constitute the only conurbation in Karlovac County. While archaeological discoveries at the Sveti Petar Mrežnički site indicate Roman settlement in the broader area, Duga Resa was only mentioned in the late 14th century and reportedly experienced considerable growth with the emergence of the textile industry in the 19th century. The city's development was influenced by the construction of the Jozefina road in the late 18th century and the railway in 1873, which connected Rijeka to Karlovac via Duga Resa.
The capital city, Karlovac, was only established in the 16th century, more precisely on July 13, 1579, as a fortress by order of Charles II of Štajersko to defend against Turkish invasions. The city was built on the plains at the confluence of the Korana and Kupa rivers, near the old Dubovac fortress. It was named after its founder, Archduke Karl of Austria, and designed as a Renaissance city in the shape of a six-pointed star. Initially, Karlovac was under military administration and only gained limited self-government in 1693 and became a free royal city in 1776. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the town thrived economically due to trade and shipbuilding, becoming one of the wealthiest and most developed Croatian cities.
However, the city suffered considerable damage during the Croatian War of Independence (1991-1995) due to its proximity to the front lines between Croatia and the Republic of Serbian Krajina. The city center, city hall, and other buildings were also impacted. Presently, a Karlovac City Museum is housed in the old Austrian military barracks in Turanj, showcasing the city's military history and focusing on the Croatian War of Independence.
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