Grabovača is a hill, part of the continental part of central Velebit, located between Lika karst plains and Perušić polje (field). It is located at 770 m above the sea level. It is situated in the immediate vicinity of the karst basin of river Lika, and covers an area of 600 hectares.
The Cave Park Grabovača was founded in 2005, and it is the only cave park in Croatia. On the relatively small area of the Cave Park 9 speleological objects are recorder, protected by the provisions of the Law on Nature Protection. In addition, the cavern Samograd, Medina and Amidžina cavern were individually protected (1964), by the Law on Nature Protection in the category of geomorphologic natural monuments.
The underground world of caverns and caves has always attracted men. Water enriched with dissolved carbon dioxide has, with its mechanical and chemical force, devastated and melted carbonate rocks on the relief surface and in the depths of the Grabovača underground. Numerous limestone pavements, pools, sinkholes on the surface and caves and pit caves in the underground were built in that way. Grabovača is the only such park in Croatia.
The area of Grabovača is characterized by a great diversity of ecosystems and habitats and a large number of speleological objects. So far 29 caverns and caves were located. It is assumed that in the area which should include the boundaries of the future regional park, whose implementation began, there are more than 40 speleological objects. The cave Samograd, which with its magnificent arches, bridges and balconies, is breathtaking, can be visited. About the cave Samograd was published the first newspaper report about any cave in Croatia, back in 1889.
Along the margins of the park flows also the karst beauty – Lika River, the largest Croatian underground river with a length of 78 km, which makes it by the length of the course as the second largest underground water in Europe. With the approximate surface of 1570 km/2 it springs at the foot of Velebit Mountain in the southern part of the Ličko field, at an altitude of approximately 600 m.
Walking through the park we find at almost every step some kind of record of the past of Lika. Throughout the history this area has been the scene of intense and continuous human life from prehistory to the present. The natural advantages of the region: drinking water, vegetation cover, climate and geomorphologic characteristics, numerous caves, rich and varied pastures and forests, have allowed the man to inhabit this area since ancient times. This is evidenced by the numerous remains of (buildings, dishes …). Old Town Perušić, whose site called Vrhovina in Buška župa (parish) is mentioned as far back as 1071. In the city Vrhovina the Frankopans built their fortification, and in 1487, Ange Frankopan gave the fortification to brothers Perušić, and after them Vrhovina got a new name that sustained until present. Only 50 m northwest of the Old Town is the medieval Gothic Church of Exaltation of the Holy Cross, whose specificity, among other things, is the fact that the Turks turned into a mosque during their reign.
The Cave Park Grabovača provides an opportunity for visitors to return to the past, thousands of years ago. Since Grabovača is exceptionally well visited, numerous and various facilities are developed in the Park for visitors: from educational trails and programs, hiking and biking trails, sports fields, to major tourist attractions such as caves Samograd, gazebo “Ploče” (plates), the medieval site of the Old Town Perušić and the Gothic Church of Holy Cross.
The Park is located near major traffic routes:
• the state road D-50 between Otočac and Gospić, in the place Perušić
• on the highway Zagreb-Split, exit Perušić
The nearest city centre is Perušić, only 2,5 km away. The road towards the Cave Park leads southwest from Perušić, in the direction of river Lika, through the hamlet Kaniža. Grabovača can be reached by car and bus.