Kvarner newsletter / no 45

Dormouse Festival as overture to a unique experience

Every autumn, the areas of Tršće and Čabra in the north of Gorski kotar offer plenty of events and programmes to visitors interested in unforgettable action-packed holidays. The series of events dedicated to all those interested in nature, sport and local heritage starts with the Dormouse Festival on the 7th, 8th and 9th of October and continues with a number of other programmes.

The area of Tršće and Čabar, located in the north-western part of Gorski kotar next to the Slovenian border, distinguishes itself as a unique, attractive destination where visitors can enjoy numerous sporting, recreational and cultural programmes, visit interesting religious places, and explore the area's rich heritage that tells the story of how people used to live here several centuries ago.

One of the events based on local tradition is the Dormouse Festival, which will take place after a four-year pause in the Rudnik-Tršće ski area from the 7th to the 9th of October. This is an event dedicated to dormouse, a small animal that local people used as food for centuries. Since dormice primarily feed on beech nuts – a fruit that had not ripen for the last four years – this year's ripening of beech nuts marked the awakening of numerous dormice and opening of the hunting season. However, the Dormouse festival is much more than just hunting. On Friday the 7th of October, there will be an exciting downhill bike race, and more attractive programmes follow the next day.

Saturday is reserved for the central event – opening of the hunting season with a guided tour of the local woods. Interested visitors will have the chance to try shooting the target with an angling hook, and there will also be a varied programme that will include a presentation of local heritage and customs, an exhibition of home-made products and traditional souvenirs made of wood, performances by heligonka players (traditional accordion from the Gorski kotar area), cultural-artistic associations and pop singers, and the unique local gastronomic offer of dishes prepared with dormice, venison and berries. The programme for Sunday the 9th of October includes literature, painting workshops and plays with the main subject being the dormouse. The festival will be closed by the performance of attractive archers with 3D moving targets. Among them will be the actual European vice champion in this discipline.

The Dormouse festival is just a part of the overall tourism offer of this area, whose 94 per cent of territory is covered in woods – a fact that makes this region quite unique in Europe. Forests offer plenty of recreational possibilities – visitors can enjoy a variety of programmes that combine recreation (mountain biking, hiking...) and visits to some of the area's numerous natural, cultural, religious and sporting sights. In addition, there is a wide range of winter sports available, because the snow season in Gorski kotar begins relatively early and lasts until late spring. In addition to Alpine ski slopes and cross-country ski trails, the Rudnik-Tršće ski area this winter will be enriched with a new snowboard park and slopes for beginners.

After all-day outdoor activities, visitors can find accommodation in some of the private houses or in the Hotel-Pansion Petrus, owned by the company Turizam Tršće d.o.o., which offers accommodation in 18 spacious rooms and relaxation in the fitness and wellness centre with Finnish sauna, steam bath, whirpool for eight people, and a choice of massages with locally produced aromatic oils.