Nature Park Žumberak – Samoborsko gorje is mostly hilly and mountainous area which covers the southern part of Žumberačka gora and Samoborsko gorje form a natural border of Croatia with Republic of Slovenia, and its northern part on the Slovenian side bears the name Gorjanci. The Park spreads over 333 km2 and is located 30 km southwest of the city Zagreb.
The area of Žumberak and Samoborsko gorje was designated a protected natural resource – Nature Park in 1999, with three areas of special protection:
– Countryside of special importance – Slapnica near Krašić
– Special reserve of woodland – Japetić
– Park – forest – Okić Grad with surrounding area
The highest peak of Žumberačka gora, and at the same time the highest peak in the Park is Sveta Gera (Saint Gera) with 1178 meters. Samoborsko gorje is lower and less wild more, and the highest peak of these mountains is Japetić with 880 meters.
The oldest rocks date back to the Paleozoic era. The dolomites of Triassic age prevailing, as well as limestone deposits which resulted in the formation of karst which covers even 90% of the Park area. That is why the area has lot of surface and beneath karst forms such as sinkholes, hollows, caves and others.
Most space in the park is occupied by the forests, as much as 60% of the area. At lower altitudes forest communities of oak and hornbeam grow, and at higher altitudes grow beech trees. In addition to the forests there are also plough lands, orchards, vineyards, meadows and pastures. Their rotation makes a special landscape, which attracts attention with its beauty.
The diversity of the landscape is accompanied by very diverse flora and fauna as well. Many species are rare and protected. All this contributed to the proclamation of this area as the protected area. The park is rich in sources. So far it has been recorded 847 of sources. Also, there are approximately 260 watercourses and several cascades. The largest watercourse is the small river Kupčina. Then, there are also rivers Slapnica, Sušica, Gradna and Bregana.
The fact that this area was inhabited continuously from prehistoric times to the present day is important. This is evidenced by numerous findings, especially from the area of Budinjak and Bratelji. The remains of medieval towns such as: Tušćak, Old Town Žumberak or Okić are interesting. Okić is considered the oldest noble settlement of the north-western Croatia. Today there are no many inhabitants. In 132 settlements there are approximately 4000 people, mostly rural and elderly population.
With more than 347 kilometers of hiking and 200 kilometers of bicycle trails, and two climbing areas – Okić and Terihaji, then two registered terrains for paragliding flying Japetić and Plešivica, Nature Park Žumberak – Samborsko gorje, is an ideal destination to escape to nature. Picnickers and hikers are delighted by the lookouts that open from Okić, Plešivica, Japetić or Sv. Gere Nature Park educational program along the trail for children “The young guard of nature”, and there is also a riding school.
Nature Park is a large area to which dozens of roads and trails lead.
Park can be entered from the Croatian, but also from the Slovenian side, given that the boundaries of the Park are partly border with Slovenia. The Park is usually reached mostly starting from the town of Samobor, Jastrebarsko or Ozalj, and from places Krašić and Klinča Sela. Most part of the Park is connected with Samobor or Jastrebarsko by road and bus lines.