Nature of the Geopark

The Geopark offers much more than geology. However, there is always a close connection with geology. It offers unique nature, culture, archaeology, a strong mining tradition and friendly chats with locals.
Nature in the Geopark area between the Koschuta and Hochobir, Olševa and Uršlja gora and Smrekovec and Košenjak mountains exhibits extraordinary biodiversity with numerous plant and animal species on the eastern border of the Alps. Several rare habitats have been conserved for centuries thanks to human persistence.


The area’s botany is very important. Rock walls, screes, mountain meadows and a number of scattered marshes and fens are a refuge to numerous rare and protected plant species like the endemic Zois’bellflower, Kamnik orchid, Peca meadow oat-grass, paradoxical saxifrage, Wulfen’s primrose shares its name with the mineral wulfenite (after their common discoverer) as well as other rare and protected plant species.


The Eastern Karawanken are an extremely important ornithological area because it is a mating area for the critically important grouses (the wood grouse, black grouse, ptarmigan and hazel grouse) and a nesting area for rare owl species (the Eurasian pygmy owl, boreal owl), woodpeckers (the black woodpecker, three-toed woodpecker) and birds of prey (the golden eagle, peregrine falcon).


The water world of numerous source regions, fens and naturally conserved parts of water streams are of great biotic importance as reservoirs of clean water. Marshy habitats are among the most endangered and rapidly disappearing habitats in Europe, and the numerous animal and plant species that depend on these habitats are disappearing along with them. Within the area, there are a few extraordinary marshes, which are the last refuge of rare, endangered and protected plant species, for example: several rare orchids and important animal species, like stone crayfish, dragonflies, and butterflies. There are rare insects protected at the European level, for example dragonflies like the Balkan goldenring and green gomphid, ground beetle species Carabus variolosus, the butterfly species marsh fritillary, the scarce fritillary, the woodland brown, the scarce large blue and Jersey tiger.

Forest density

As there is an abundance of forests in the area, there are a large number of protected trees of extraordinary size or special symbolic value, for example the Najevnik linden tree.

Non-geological points of the Geopark Karavanke

  • Koschuta / Košuta - natural landscape
  • Petzen - Peca (Krischakar)
  • Cave Matjaževa jama
  • Lime tree Najevska lipa
  • Lake Dravograjsko jezero
  • Ursula mountain / Uršlja gora
  • Dolga brda - wetland
  • Vellach kotschna / Belska kočna - nature reserve
  • Trögerner Klamm / Korške peči - nature reserve
  • Dolina smrti (Valley of Death), Žerjav
  • Topla Landscape Park