Nature Park Medvednica

Country: Croatia.
Established in: 1981.
Surface area: 18.000 ha.
Municipalities: : Zagreb County, Krapinsko – zagorska County and Zagrebačka.
Main features: forests, grasslands, mountain streams. A ski resort is located in the centre of the Park.

Discover the Park!

Park Description:

Nature Park Medvednica stretches over 17938 ha and is located in the immediate vicinity of the capital city of Croatia – Zagreb. The basic phenomenon of the Park are natural and well preserved forests which cover 81% of the Park’s area. Within the forest complex, the most valuable parts are singled out as forest reserves (996,71 ha), while the rest of the forest is a recreational zone. Beside forest habitats, there are prominent meadows, grasslands, orchards, vineyards, the underground and rural areas. A variety of aquatic habitats should especially be emphasized: streams (ca. 80), springs (ca. 200), puddles, fishponds, etc., which also represent a valuable ecosystem. The whole area of the Park is a part of the ecological network Natura 2000 (HR 2000583) with 20 target species and 8 target habitat types.

Along with ecosystem services, Medvednica offers numerous visitor infrastructure; many hiking trails (>70) of various difficulty levels and diverse landscapes, nine biking trails, few educational trails, many chapels and small churches, two hotels, 11 mountain lodges, eight restaurants, and a ski resort where FIS world ski cup races are held. Main tourist attractions are the Veternica cave, Zrinski mine, and the medieval fortress Medvedgrad. 

Ski centre in Medvednica

Ski centre in Medvednica - Photo by Nature Park Medvednica

With more than seven kilometers of branching canals, Veternica is the sixth cave in Croatia by size, and a very important habitat because there are 18 bat species recorded, and the 12 of them permanently hibernate in Veternica.  Zrinski mine is interesting tourist atraction, it is the first mine in Croatia adapted for tourists and is protected as cultural herritage, as well as the medieval castle Medvedgrad which will soon become Nature Park's vistor centre. Medvednica is part of Europarc Federation with a prestige European Certificate for Sustainable Tourism.

More than a quarter of Croatia’s population (1.2 million) lives in the Park’s surroundings. Since it is located in the immediate vicinity of Zagreb, the Park is exposed to many pressures and threats, but nevertheless represents a very valuable area of significant biodiversity. Nature Park Medvednica is of extreme importance to the city of Zagreb from the ecological, aesthetic, recreational and tourist point of view. An estimated annual number of visitors to the Park is more than a million. Medvednica is traditionally very visited, especially on weekends during spring and autumn, and in winter during the ski season. As the cable car is not operating since 2007 and most of the infrastructure is located in the central part of Medvednica, a limited number of parking space in the Park creates a lot of pressure on transport. An excessive number of vehicles represents a problem because of ecological, aesthetic and safety reasons, and has a negative impact on the experience of staying in the Park.

Tourists visiting cave

Tourists visiting cave - Photo by Nature Park Medvednic

CEETO Pilot Action Objectives:

The pilot aims to implement the tourism governance model inside the Nature Park Medvednica, characterised by the proximity of the city of Zagreb, in order to create tools for reducing visitor pressure on the peak zone/ski access zone. The existing challenges considering visitor infrastructure include developing of monitoring scheme for ski resort and solutions for traffic jams on accessing roads during winter skiing season and summer weekends. This causes constant and growing pressures from the inhabitants and th urbanisation, and a growing number of visitors of Zagreb. The need to find innovative soltuions.

Nature Park Medvednica - CEETO Pilot Area video-presentation:

This video portrays the main natural features and tourism challenges that the Nature Park Medvednica, Croatia, is facing. With CEETO project, the Park will test and implement a system to tackle the existing challenges.

Nature Park Medvednica Pilot Area Teaser