Nature Protection Day in the Republic of Croatia – Freshwater Crayfish/

In May 2024, the Public Institution conducted field research on the stone crayfish (Austropotamobius torrentium) in the Barać Caves Protected Landscape area. This research is a continuation of last year’s study aimed at assessing the population status of the stone crayfish. The field research involved a harmless method of investigation, which includes capturing crayfish using traps and by hand, marking the captured individuals, and measuring other parameters (weight, length) to determine the population status and educate the public as part of the Public Institution’s activities. Dr. Leopoldina Dakić, along with the expert and ranger service of the Public Institution, participated in the research.

To educate the public about the importance of nature protection in the Republic of Croatia and the importance of preserving native and strictly protected species, including the stone crayfish, the Public Institution, together with Dr. Leopoldina Dakić, held a workshop with students from Eugen Kvaternik Elementary School in Rakovica. During the workshop, students had the opportunity to listen to a presentation about crayfish, their development, significance, and threats. They were also introduced to a non-native invasive species, the signal crayfish, and watched an educational film titled “The Story of Crayfish” about the history of European freshwater crayfish and the problems they face due to prolonged exploitation for human consumption, pollution, and invasive alien species.

After the lecture, the students had the chance to see a live stone crayfish and showed great interest and curiosity about crayfish. At the end of the workshop, Dr. Leopoldina Dakić distributed an educational picture book titled “The Story of Jacques the Crayfish,” published by the Public Institution Natura Viva for the management of protected natural areas in Karlovac County as part of the project “Control of Signal Crayfish Populations in the Korana and Radonja Rivers,” in which the Barać Caves Public Institution and other organizations and institutions also participate.

Through education, innovation, and active participation from an early age, we can collectively work towards preserving nature protection, biodiversity, and ecosystems, ensuring a sustainable future for all of us.

You can see photos of the field research and the workshop in our photo gallery.

European Natura 2000 Day/

May 21 – chosen to mark Natura 2000 Day, as on this date in 1992, the Habitats Directive was adopted. The Natura 2000 ecological network is a European ecological network composed of areas hosting natural habitat types and habitats of wild species of interest to the European Union.

According to Article 54 of the Nature Protection Act (NN 80/13, 15/18, 14/19, 127/19, 155/23), Croatia’s ecological network (Natura 2000 network) comprises areas of conservation important for birds – SPAs, areas of conservation important for species and habitat types – SCIs, probable areas of conservation important for species and habitat types (pSCIs), and special areas of conservation important for species and habitat types (SACs). The management of the ecological network areas, based on the Nature Protection Act, is under the jurisdiction of public institutions managing national parks or nature parks, as well as public institutions managing other protected areas and/or other protected parts of nature (PIs).

Due to their value in preserving biodiversity at the European Union level, four speleological objects within the municipality of Rakovica were included in the Natura 2000 ecological network in 2013: Lower Barać Cave, Dumenčić Cave, Božić Cave, and the cave system Panjkov Ponor – Varićak Cave. These speleological objects are protected as sites within the ecological network significant for the conservation of species and habitat types.

The Panjkov Ponor – Varićak Cave system is an internationally important underground shelter for bats, where a hibernation colony of two target species, the Mediterranean horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus euryale) and the lesser horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros), has been recorded (Rnjak and Kovač, 2013; Rnjak, 2014).

In Donja Baraćeva Cave, the hibernation of the greater horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum), the lesser horseshoe bat, and the Mediterranean horseshoe bat has been confirmed (DZZP, 2015; Vuković, 2017, 2020).

Certain caves in the wider area of the Significant Landscape represent type localities (sites of the first discovery of a particular species) for specific species. In Lower Barać Cave, two beetle species endemic to Croatia, Parapropus sericeus sinuaticollis and Machaerites pavleki, have been described. The cave is also the type locality for Machaerites pavleki (Hlavač and Jalžić, 2010; Jalžić et al., 2010; Kovačević, 2003).


Electric vehicle charging station at Speleon visitor centre!

At the area of the Public Institution Barać Caves, visitors have access to an electric vehicle charging station. The electric charging station can be used by locals, visitors, and all other drivers passing through who need access to an electric charging station.

✅ Fast Charging: With the MoonPower Public2x22kW charging station featuring two connectors with 11 kW each, allowing two vehicles to charge simultaneously, your vehicle will be ready to drive in record time.

✅ Convenient Location: Located in the parking lot of the Speleon Visitor Center, our charging station enables you to charge your vehicle while enjoying a cup of coffee, exploring the visitor center and Barać Caves, or simply taking in the surroundings.

🌍 Local Support, Global Impact: By visiting our charging station, you support a local initiative for sustainable mobility while also contributing to the global reduction of CO2 emissions and harmful pollutants.

🚗 Clean Energy, Clean Air: Our charging station utilizes renewable energy sources to power your vehicle with clean energy. Reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a cleaner environment every time you charge your vehicle.

This initiative aligns with Directive 2014/94/EU of the European Parliament and Council, which supports sustainable transport and the establishment of an uninterrupted network of alternative fuel infrastructure in the European Union.

For more information about the electric charging station, please visit the following link:

Labor Day is ahead of us, and how to make the most of your time for relaxation and a one-day trip, we discover below!

Just an hour and a half away from Zagreb or Zadar, not far from the Plitvice Lakes National Park, lies the Significant Landscape of Barać Caves! In untouched nature, on just 5.19km², there are numerous amenities – all in one place! Here’s how our ideal day would look like!

10:00 am – Morning coffee at the Speleon Visitor Center: Morning coffee with a view of the hilly landscape and mixed forests, next to the magnificent architectural building in a peaceful environment. For children, there is also a free thematic playroom “speleopoly” within the center.

10:30 am Visitor Center Tour: Our guides will welcome you at the visitor center and provide all the information about the tour and answer all your questions. The tour is organized with expert guidance included in the ticket price, and prior reservation for less than 15 people is not required! The tour lasts from 45 minutes to one hour.

11:40 am Arrival at the Barać Caves excursion area: Just a kilometer away from the visitor center is the Barać Caves excursion area. The cave tour is also accompanied by expert guidance included in the ticket price. The tour lasts approximately one hour, and the guidance will momentarily turn into absolute silence and darkness for you to carry that unique underground experience with you forever.

1:00 pm Break at the snack bar: In the fir forest, next to the Baraćevac spring, our snack bar is located with a selection of savory and sweet snacks. With a wide range of drinks and beverages, catch some sunlight and get ready for the next activity!

2:00 pm Hiking trails: Three well-maintained hiking trails are available to you. The trails vary in length and circular shape starting and ending at the Barać Caves excursion area! Each trail has a different length; you can choose between the bear trail – 7.5 km, lynx trail – 3.1 km, or wolf trail – 1.2 km. Depending on the trail you choose, your tour will last for 20-30 minutes, 1:00-1:30 hours, or 2:30-3:00 hours.

The rest of the day? – After walking the hiking trails, relax in the picnic and recreation area; numerous loungers and benches are located by the stream for you to rest in the shade of the fir tree. Free recreational facilities such as a badminton court, soccer field, and children’s playground are available for you!

No reservation is required for groups of less than 15 people.

Speleon Visitor Center’s working hours are from 10 am to 6 pm.

Upper Barać Caves’ working hours are from 10 am to 6 pm.

Snack Bar’s working hours are from 10 am to 6 pm.

Photo: Marina Magdić, Patricia Rubčić, Josip Durdov, Dinko Neskusil, Denis Stošić


April 22 – EARTH DAY/

Earth Day is celebrated on April 22nd every year with the aim of protecting our planet’s natural resources and drawing attention to serious environmental issues we face, from air pollution and deforestation to climate change. Croatia has been observing Earth Day since 1990.

This year’s theme for Earth Day is PLANET AGAINST PLASTIC.

For Earth Day 2024, EARTHDAY.ORG has launched a campaign to eliminate plastic for the well-being of both people and the planet, demanding a 60% reduction in plastic production by 2040. Plastic is not just an ecological problem but also poses a serious threat to human health. Plastic degradation into microplastics releases toxic chemicals that contaminate our food and water sources and circulate through the air we breathe. Plastic production has surged to over 380 million tons annually. In the last decade, more plastic has been produced than in the entire 20th century!

To achieve a 60% reduction by 2040, EARTHDAY.ORG’s goals include:

  • promoting broad public awareness of the harm plastic poses to human health, animals, and overall biodiversity and demanding further research into its health implications, including the disclosure of all information regarding its effects to the public;
  • faster elimination of all single-use plastics by 2030 and the implementation of a gradual phase-out commitment from the United Nations Plastic Pollution Treaty by 2024;
  • robust policies that tackle the scourge of fast fashion and the enormous amounts of plastic it produces and utilizes; and
  • investment in innovative technologies and materials to build a world without plastic.

For more information, visit the website

Holiday working hours

Dear visitors,

As the holidays approach, we want to inform you about temporary changes to the working hours of Speleon – Centre of subterranean heritage. In an effort to provide both you and our staff with more time to enjoy the holiday atmosphere with family and friends, we will be operating on a reduced schedule during the holidays.

The holiday opening hours for Speleon will be as follows:

🕒 December 24, Sunday (Christmas Eve) 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

🕒 December 25, Monday (Christmas) closed

🕒 December 26, Tuesday (St. Stephen’s Day) closed

🕒 December 31, Sunday 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

🕒 January 1, Monday (New Year’s Day) closed

🕒 January 6, Saturday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

On other days, Speleon is open every day from Monday to Sunday from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Thank you for your understanding, and we look forward to your visit.

Wishing you warm and joy-filled holidays!


Dear visitors,

bats are protected species and they hibernate during the winter. Hibernation is extended period of deep sleep that allows them to survive cold winters so Barac caves will be closed from November 2023 to April 2024

Bats are extremely important part of the world’s ecosystems and they are threatened by loss of shelter and hunting habitat. Systematic monitoring has shown that the number and distribution of individuals in our cave is approximately the same, which indicates that such protection measures are effective.

We are opening again in the Spring when our presence won’t be a threat to them.

You can visit us at the Speleon visitor centre, which is open all year round and is only one kilometer away from the Barac Caves picnic area.

We remind you that our hiking trails are open all year round but we don’t recommend hiking in case of a bad weather.

Thank you for understanding!


From October 1st to October 8th, visit Barać Caves and Speleon – Centre of subterranean heritage
and buy tickets at a promotional price!

The individual ticket price for the Upper Barać Cave and Speleon – visitor centre (for each of the localities) will cost:

Adults – regular ticket price €11.00 (KN 82.88) -> promotional ticket price €9.00 (KN 67.81)
Children (7-18) – regular ticket price €8.00 (60.28 HRK) -> promotional ticket price €6.50 (48.97 HRK)
Students, pensioner, hikers, scouts, speleologists, geologists- regular ticket price €9.00 (67.81 HRK) -> promotional ticket price €7.00 (52.74 HRK)

  • If you are visiting Upper Barać Cave and/or the Speleon visitor centre individually (without an agency arrangement, with less than 15 people), no prior notice is required.
  • In October we are open for visits every day, including weekends and holidays.
  • Working hours of the Upper Barać Cave: from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., working hours of the Speleon visitor center: from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

In addition to the mysterious world of the underground, get to know the inhabitants of Speleon –
the fossilized remains of animals from the Ice Age, found in the Upper Barać Cave, and their hyper realistic specimens will take you back tens of thousands of years, to the time when lions, hyenas, woolly rhinoceroses and other large animals lived in this area!



By buying a voucher booklet for Lika destinations, you can experience the beauty of continental Croatia with a discount for 9 locations! Vouchers can be used in the period from July 20 to October 5, 2022.

INSTEAD OF 720,00 KN, PAY 490,00 KN

Read More


The discovery of a stone tool representing a typical Mousterian tool confirmed that the site of Barać Caves in the municipality of Rakovica hides the remains of the material culture of the Neanderthals.

Encouraged by the great find, further research was initiated into the entrance part of Upper Barać Cave in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, the Ursus spelaeus speleological club, the University of Wyoming and the University of Oregon from the USA. Research is taking place from June 27 to July 15, and all visitors of the Upper Barać Cave are allowed to attend the research as part of a regular tour!

This is a unique opportunity to learn more from the field researchers and ask the questions you’ve always wanted to know about Neanderthals and their way of life. 

Cooperation with well-known universities from the USA has been ongoing since 2013, and so far, four joint archaeological, anthropological and paleontological research projects have been carried out, during which more than 100,000 different remains of animal bones from the Ice Age were found, belonging to animals that lived in these areas more than 50,000 years ago!

The cooperation in 2022 continues with the aim of finding additional evidence of Neanderthal life in Upper Barać Cave. While landscaping the entrance part of Upper Barać Cave, a stone tool was found that looked different from the other finds at the site, which gave the impression that it was a rare and completely new finding. The tool was found next to the toe (phalanx) and tooth of a cave bear from the Pleistocene, when Neanderthals lived in these areas at the same time.

Participants of this project are Krešimir Raguž, a graduate archaeologist from the Ministry of Culture, Nataša Cvitanović, Hrvoje Cvitanović and Natalija Sudar – speleologists from the Ursus spelaeus speleological club in Karlovac, under the supervision of Dr. Rick Weathermon and archaeologist Eli Mrak from the University of Wyoming, as well as 13 students from both American universities. In addition to the search for Neanderthals, there are also archaeological investigations of medieval finds from the time of the Ottoman invasion of these areas and anthropological investigations of human remains in caves.

The specific goal is to research the layers in which the Neanderthal tool was found in order to confirm the activity of Neanderthals and find out to what extent they were present in Upper Barać Cave.

Upper Barać Cave is open to visitors every day from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and you will be able to participate in the research from Monday to Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. During the guided tour, visitors stop in the first hall, where they have the opportunity to talk with the researchers and follow the progress of the excavation of the probe by the minute. This unusual experience, which will enrich your visit to the cave, is included in the regular ticket price.

 Avoid the summer heat by staying at 9 degrees Celsius and find out with us what else is hidden in the darkness of the past!