Welcome to Vinodol
by Alenka Spoja, Tourist Office of District of Vinodol
Vinodol was inhabited in the Stone Age. In the 2nd century BC, the Romans had named it Vallis vineariae and built a road to Dalmatia which was passing through the area. When the Croats settled in, Vinodol got the name under which it is known today. Wine grape, especially the autochthonous sort Žlahtina, is cultivated to this day. Vinodol has long culture and history, and interesting geographical position. On one side, there is a forest with mountain climate, while the other side it stretches through the valley down to the sea, with influence of Mediterranean climate. It has good transportation network with Crikvenica, Novi Vinodolski, and Rijeka, the biggest urban centre of this county. Natural attraction of flora and fauna in Vinodol Valley and Forest, special role of Frankopan castles, forts, and churches, House Klovićmuseum in Grižane, lots of active holiday possibilities, exquisite gastronomy and wine offer are good reasons to visit Vinodol.
In fifteen years anonymous valley with few accommodation facilities became a known destination. Its value lies in rural tourism and many other projects which step out the cliche of sun and sea. Since 1998, when Tourist Office was opened, we have built own identity and brand, and became recognisable tourist destination by rural objects. Next to some 50 rural holiday houses with swimming pools, there is Ethno-Hotel Balatura in Tribalj, which represents a three-hundred years old family homestead. Complex of several old stone houses are rearranged in a comfortable ethno-hotel.
Since main developmental direction is rural tourism, whole idea is founded on authenticity of Vinodol valley, preserved landscape, pristine nature, cultural and historical heritage, preserved villages, natural diversity, eco-products, folk customs, everything that brings a sign of healthy and active life, relaxation, and personal identification with locals and their heritage. Vinodol is a centre of anti-stress tourism.
Next to the top accommodation facilities, Vinodol offers to its guests attractive active holiday such as cycle and hiking paths (300km), attractive thematic belvedere and vistas paths, paragliding, sport fishing on Tribalj lake. In this lake you an fish for carp, Amur, bighead, perch, Californian trout, chub, eel, etc. There is also the Riding Centre Audax, a place of beautiful, inspirational, and relaxing ambient which offers organised tourist recreational riding for children and adults, but also unique terrain riding tours, workshops, etc.
Vinodol offers also cultural tourism through restored Frankopan castle in Drivenik and fort in Bribir with heraldic collection of Frankopan emblems, seals, armour, flags, and arms, which present cultural and historical medieval heritage of Bribir and Vinodol. In Grižane stands a museum dedicated to miniature master Juraj Julije Klović. The memorial museum constists of several thematic rooms that present the life and work of Croatian rennaisance painter and miniaturist. For fulfilling the tourist offer, we organise manifestations such as Vinodol Summer Nights, Rose of Vinodol, Drivenik – Keeper through History.
Today is eno-gastronomy a strong argument for some guests to come to our destination. There are little places in Croatia which care for decades for old recipes and delicacies such as Bribirski prisnac or Swiss Chard Prisnac. Often meals on Vinodol table are made from grown vegetables. The menu is filled with specialties of self-grown herbs and vegetables – asparagus, dandelion, fennel, and berries. Climate is good for cultivating fruits, especially cherries, figs, and vine, out of which excellent brandies (rakija) are made. Tradition and contemporary market demand restaurants and taverns that offer homemade specialties and autochthonic wine sorts, especially žlahtina. Within our marketing activities and promotion of gastronomic offer of Vinodol, we have made a souvenir-book „Small Vinodol Cookbook“, written in Čakavian dialect and illustrated with drawings, translated in English and German.
Our slogan, one step away from the sea, two from the snow, meaning our big territorial difference and attractive position make ambient value of Vinodol bigger, and offers special possibilities for recreation and relaxation. Such an ecologically preserved space is important resource for adequate and continuous involvement in tourist offer.
The Frankopan Castles
In the area of the former Vinodol principality, the princes Frankopan had built nine castles, and their representatives were signatories of the Vinodol Codex from 1288. In today’s Vinodol area, there are still three of the nine existing castles – in Bribir, Grižane, and Drivenik, and another one, dating back to ancient times – Badanj. Badanj was erected on the foundations of an ancient fort and it towered above the valley spreading over the very heart of Vinodol towards the sea.
The castle of Drivenik is the most preserved and the most attractive castle of Vinodol, which is, along with St. Dujam’s and St. Stephen’s Church, situated on the hill overlooking the Tribalj Lake. The castle of Grižane was built on the rocky cliffs, which the locals like to call griže, after which the castle was named.
Only the remnants of the walls of the castle of Grižane are reminders of its glorious past today. Out of what used to be the castle of Bribir, only the quadrangular tower and a part of the town wall from 1302 were preserved, because the people of Bribir in the 19th century built a school and the town hall where the former castle was located.
House Klović is a museum collection dedicated to miniature painter Juraj Julije Klović. It is situated in reconstructed building where old elementary school used to be, built in 1887.
The museum collection was opened on April 15th 2014 and it is composed of several different theme rooms, which represent not only work and life of Julije Klović, but also the rest of cultural heritage of Vinodol County, consisting of Pauline heritage and works of this great artist.