Imagine yourself standing at an old railway station some 700 meters above the sea level. In fact, it’s the highest railway station in Croatia. It’s early in the morning, mist covering the canyon bellow, sun is piercing from the east and you hear only sounds of nature. Eventually rumbling sound of a train in a distance, but otherwise no much traffic here. If you choose to visit this place deep in Gorski kotar the things will probably look like this. Depending on the season you choose nature around you will grant you different scenery. We did great by choosing Autumn and you can see why.
Devil’s passage (Vražji prolaz) is a small canyon that is situated below the village Skrad in Croatia. Together with Zeleni vir it makes a perfect trip for all those wanting to enjoy in a beautiful nature carved mostly by the power of water. And water is indeed the element this place is made of. From the beginning of the trip, as soon as you leave railroad tracks behind you and make a few steps through dense forest, small streams will start to follow you along the way. It’s a relatively short trip, to go through the whole place will take you only about 3 hours or so but you won’t leave the place disappointed.
Not a long after the start you will come to a place called Zeleni vir (Green well). Small lake dark green in color is carved in the cave and it is a spring of river that powers the hydro power plant just some 500 meters further. The other thing that dominates in the scene is 70 meters high waterfall which pours down from just above the cave. Depending on the season the waterfall and a whole place in total will have more or less water flowing through.
Leaving the Zeleni vir you will encounter the hydro power plant we mentioned before. You could think that it disrupts the peace and appearance of the place but it is not the case. Power plant is some 100 years old and it blends with the nature. It hasn’t been modernized and it looks like an old house with cool looking machinery inside. Just dozen meters away another house/restaurant is situated where you can rest and taste some traditional food. Just to relax before entering the Devil’s passage. You can reach this place by car but we recommend taking the whole tour starting and finishing at the railway station.
Entrance to the canyon (Devil’s passage) is just few meters from the restaurant and power plant. From that point on you enter in a place where you will hear nothing but a rumbling noise of the water. Passing through the canyon doesn’t take long, some 30 minutes or so, but even short, it will leave you with enough pictures in your mind. You will mostly walk along the water and in the narrowest (and most impressive) part of the canyon you will climb and walk on a staircase made just above the water. Below you, water rolling down it’s own stairs. We are not sure why the canyon is called Devil’s passage but one of the reasons might lay in fact that you will hear voices in the noise the water makes. Maybe it’s just the way our brain function when you can hear nothing but monotone noise. You could hear someone call your name or something like that. If you think about it it happens often but here, with all the noise it’s more distinctive, and yes, creepy.
At the end of a canyon there is a small resting point where you can eat and summarize your impressions. Deafening noise became relaxing sound of a stream so you can talk to whoever you are with without the need of yelling. At the sole end of a trip there is another place you can visit if you are interested in caving. It’s a cave called Muževa hižica (Husband’s house) and it’s some 200 meters long decorated with a kind of ornaments you could usually find in caves. The story goes that there was a man that led villagers in the cave to save them from the attack of the Ottomans. So if you want, after all that noise, total peace and darkness you should definitely visit this place. We advise you to bring something to cover your shoes because it gets muddy inside.
And that’s about it. After the cave you will continue through the woods and you will find yourself standing at the same railway station you started your trip at. Amazed by the things you saw and richer for one more experience nature can give to you. So if you ever find yourself near this place or just passing by to another location, find additional 3 hours and thank us later.