If you love birds, especially storks and stories that surround them, the place to be is Čigoč. Declared a European Stork Village, it is a summertime home to white storks, who built their nests on top of houses, usually around chimneys. From late March to early October in Croatia, storks make their way back from their wintertime in Africa, many of them landing in the same exact nest. Upon finding a partner, they rear their young, so in May and June the nests are full of white feathered storks with red beaks and legs.
But what makes Čigoč a special place is not just the storks. Houses are made from sturdy oak, in a style common in the area along the Sava River. The houses themselves, with additional charming details in wood carvings and rose bushes, are a sight to see. Combined with rooftop nests populated by storks, this small village is quite a treat.
Only an hour from Zagreb via a scenic drive that passes through the town of Sisak, I certainly recommend taking the time and visiting storks in their Croatian home. Naturally, storks nest all around central and eastern Croatia, especially marshes, but Čigoč is a special place and easily reachable; a treat for photographers. The village is part of Lonjsko Polje Nature Park.
If you are there in early spring, on the other side of the road through Čigoč (as houses are only on the elevated side of the road) there will be a flooded forest, with water overflowing from the nearby Sava. This still and temporary lake covers the local football field and small wooden bridges built by locals. This gives an additional charm to the place, offering mirror images of the forest.
No matter what time of year you visit, make sure you bring mosquito repellent 🙂 For photography, bring along lenses ranging from 24-200mm. Wider or tighter picture opportunities will be rare.