Who knew that Karlovac could be so enchanting? Arriving after 24 hours on the plane from Sydney, Australia and feeling a bit jet-lagged, we decided to explore Karlovac (where we were staying) instead of going into Zagreb...and we are so happy we did. Michael’s family is from this area and we frequently visit the Karlovac area whenever we make it to Croatia. Now that we aren't limited to a short 2-week holiday as we usually are, we decided to travel slowly and follow the windy backstreets of Karlovac. This time we decided to follow the landmark street signs to lead us on our exploration.
We decided to follow a ‘dvorac’ sign leading to a windy road "off the beaten track”. It gently followed the river where we passed beautiful little cottages, horses and sheep. Only a few minutes into our journey, we found a charming stone bridge which looked like it was something out of a fairytale. We felt compelled to stop, park the car, and took the time to admire it’s beauty. A tourist information sign explained the history of the bridge which was built at the beginning of the 18 century and is part of the old Karolina Road. This is one of the 3 famous historic roads including Jozefina and Lujzijana that connected Karlovac to the Adriatic. Michael and I want to plan a specific trip to travel on these old historic roads to see more of Croatia's hidden gems.
Prior to this stone bridge, it is assumed that a wooden bridge owned by the Frankopan family once stood here with toll collection. This gorgeous bridge led us to the 15th century Franokpan castle Novigrad.
The whole castle was made from large stone blocks complete with round towers on various ends of the castle. We managed to go up one of them through a winding staircase. The view from up there was breathtaking! The interior of the castle requires you to use your imagination of what it once looked like with only a few interior stone walls left.
The tourist information sign explained that this castle was burnt down during World War II and was left to deteriorate until the 1990’s. In 1994, the reconstruction program began and since this Novigrad castle is part of the Z-list of the protected cultural heritage sites in Croatia, the exterior walls have been renovated.
After visiting Novigrad Na Dobru, we decided to visit another castle in Karlovac, the Dubovac Castle which sits perfectly perched on a mountain at the top of Karlovac. This castle seemed to be better taken care of and requires a ticket upon entry. There is also a lovely restaurant which seemed to be quite popular when we visited. We decided to just have a look around the castle with plans to fully enjoy the castle on a warmer spring day. The view from the top of the mountain allows you to see pretty much all of the Karlovac city centre, the beautiful bridges and rivers of the city.
I am so glad we took the time to enjoy and explore this part of Croatia. There is so much more to see which makes this even more exciting!
If you have any more information about these castles please let us know in the comments.
Thanks for reading about our adventures in Croatia!
Meagan and Michael
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Source: Novigrad Na Dobri Tourist Information Sign
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