I have good news everyone! The spring is finally here and not only officially but also really! Yes, sometimes it will be too windy in the mountains, something that our windsurfing department wouldn’t mind at all, but the sun finally shines and burns as it should, as is tradition! It is time to pack our things and leave for the mountains. If you are one of those mountaineers who love a good, warm hike in shorts and an old t-shirt with the logo of your favourite metal band – get prepared ’cause our time is surely coming! Who is eager to get theirs buttocks sweaaaaaaaaty?!?

Here comes a great suggestion for a one-day trip to the mountains: how about you visit Učka? Učka is the tallest mountain in Istria and it gives a magnificent view over whole of Kvarner. You can also see the whole Istria, Hahlići, islands Krk, Cres and Lošinj and you can also, while looking at it from a distance, get this crazy idea to visit the mythical mountain of the Croats – Velebit! And you know what? Učka is just a two hour drive away from Zagreb.

Učka can be approached in many ways and has many starting points, the difficulty of the hike will vary accordingly. For a more easier hike, we suggest driving all the way up to the mountain hut Poklon (information in the link is in croatian but at least you can see how Poklon looks like. It’s doors are open on weekends and on holidays). Be prepared, though, to meet some people on the trail because it is very popular. At least the first part of suggested trip that leads from Poklon to the Vojak – the highest peak of Učka, so it is a must see. Also, don’t mind the Istrians telling you that this ascend from Poklon to Vojak is not legit. Yes, it is easier but if you have limited time, it is just right for you.

Yes, you guessed right: we are trying to get you hooked! It is easy to fall in love with Učka. I had some experience with Učka, to be precise two years which were well spent exploring and wandering headlessly through the forests of Učka.  I remember one time when my dear cousin Vida and her boyfriend Boris slept on Sisol (one of the southern peaks of Učka) in March and it was reeeeeaaaaally cold. But maybe I could get Vida to tell you in her words how cold it really was. We will cover that in another post. On the left you can see the tower of Vojak.

After enjoying your time on Vojak, it is time for a steep descend towards village of Mala Učka. It is really a picturesque, almost abandoned village, only few cottages and abandoned houses, as I remember. If you are lucky, they sell really good, home-made cheese. Maybe because of the cheese it is worthwile visiting. However, the descend is kinda rough and your knees will not be grateful. We didn’t make it all the way down as we decided to follow the signs towards Babin grob (eng. Grandma’s grave). There is a big crossing on which there is a labyrinth. Maybe I should ask Adrian which of the labyrinths it is exactly. I’m not really into stones unless you can climb onto ’em. All of the paths are well marked and you can’t get lost. The only foolish thing you could do if you went too far in the direction of the sea but even then, there are a lot signs leading you towards Babin grob or back to Poklon. Yes, the great thing about this route is that it can be made circular – no repeating of boring paths, yes, please!

You will approach a steep descend again but it is all manageable during the dry weather. Some problems could arise if you descended while the forest floor was wet as there are a lot of smaller and bigger stones including fallen leaves. Been there and done that – descend and ascend. If you ascend here, be prepared to get huffin’ and puffin’ but that is the thing we mountaineers like, right? Have some fun people! When you reach the forest below, you need to follow the mountain signs leading to the right, to the south. Soon you will leave the forest and be in the sun. Babin grob is soon to be seen on your left, towards the sea. The view is majestic, please sit down and enjoy yourself, enjoy life!

We actively walked for three hours and fifteen minutes. The final distance was little under 15 km.


About the Author: Borna

Borna is a student of philosophy. He loves mountains, books, and video games and is in possession of a pretty awesome LEGO collection. Listens to music almost all the time but also likes the silence. You will probably find him reading a book, roaming the mountains of RL, or trying to bring home bounty in the vast swamps of Bayou.
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