Kvarner newsletter / no 39

Kastav walking trails
Health, recreation, hiking experience

Did you know that the town of Kastav was once the most southerly point of the E-6 European walking trail that stretched all the way from Finland to Croatia? This route no longer leads to Kastav, but the philosophy of recreation in nature is more alive there today than ever before!

Just like in the year 1975, when Kastav was first set as the final point of the long-distance E-6 European walking route, this town is still very popular among hikers today. The area has a lot to offer to walkers, ramblers and tourists: marked paths in the Loza and Lužina forests, various historical sights, and much more. In addition to the walking trails, Kastav also offers various sport grounds and recreational programmes designed to invigorate body and mind. Spring is the ideal time of the year to restore your energy.
There are three main routes across the Kastav area. The first is the Eco-trail (Majevi vrh – Kastav); the second leads from Kastav to Zvirić, Stanić, Brajani and back to Kastav, and the third starts in Kastav and continues to Jelovičani, Breza, Mačkov vrh, Stanić, Brajani and back to Kastav. These are well-tended paths that lead mainly through forests past various interesting natural, historical and cultural sights. It is important to mention that the routes are suitable for all types of walkers – some parts are more demanding, but there is a choice of several routes. The first route is the shortest – it is approximately 5.3 kilometres long and takes less than two hours of walking. The second route is 9.3 km long and takes ca. three hours of walking. The third route is most demanding, but it offers the greatest walking and recreational challenge. It is almost 14.5 kilometres long and takes ca. five hours to walk.
A hike along these routes will reveal numerous interesting stories about local history and nature. Some of the hills offer nice views of the surrounding areas, and from the highest peak of the Kastav area, the hill of Mačkov vrh (504 m), hikers can enjoy a beautiful view of the Kastav hinterland, Mount Učka, Gorski kotar, and Kvarner Bay in the south. Another interesting location along the way are the remnants of the village of Cari, which is an extraordinary example of the area's traditional rural architecture.
After a walking tour you can find refreshment in local restaurants and taverns, and make a tour of the old town of Kastav, which abounds in cultural and historical heritage and hosts various interesting events. The Kastav Dance Weekend will take place on the 16th and 17th of April, and the award ceremony of the 6th Wine Festival is scheduled for the 1st of May. This event will also include a varied gastronomic offering of local dishes and entertainment programme.
Accommodation in the Kastav area can be found in private apartments, in the Villa Mira, or in the luxury Hotel Kukuriku.
In addition to walking tours, visitors can choose from a variety of recreational programmes (aerobic, pilates, stretching, tae-bo, etc.).
Until 1990, the marked paths in the Kastav area were part of the E-6 European walking path. This route is still actual – it starts in Sieppijärvi in Finland, continues through some of the most beautiful parts of Finland, Germany, Austria and Slovenia, where it ends in the harbour of Kopar. However, in memory of the original route, hikers sometimes continue to Kastav to benefit from this town's recreational facilities and excellent gastronomy.