EuroVelo and other international cycling routes in Croatia
EuroVelo and other international cycling routes in Croatia
The EuroVelo network of cycling routes in Croatia
Croatia is integrated in the EuroVelo network of cycling routes (www.eurovelo.com), which connect the whole of the European continent. The designated routes throughout the whole of Europe can be used by tourists for trips and multiday journeys as well as the local population who pass shorter sections of the EuroVelo route for everyday cycling or enjoying biking excursions along them. Within the EuroVelo network there are 15 cycling routes over 42 European countries with more than 70,000 planned kilometres by the time the network will be fully completed in 2020.
The 138 km long Danube Route (EV6) passes through the northeast part of Croatia following the flow of the River Danube. It enters Croatia from the Hungarian the town of Mohács at the border crossing of Duboševica. It continues to Baranja through the towns of Draž, Batina (on the Danube with the memorial complex of the Batina Battle and accommodation), Zmajevac (with a road of wine cellars known as surduk), and Suza (cycling campsite), where it turns left towards the Kopački Rit Nature park. Travelling by bike is a nice way to visit attractions such as Tikveš castle, the Zlatna Greda eco centre and hostel, the visitor reception centre in Kopačevo and the campsite and rural tourism facilities in Kopačevo and Bilje. Using the local road, the route leads to the area of the nature park through the places of Mirkovac, Sokolovac, Kozjak and Podunavlje, all the way to picturesque Kopačevo.
Also passing down this cycling route is the Osijek – Sombor Pannonian Peace Trail (75 km). From Kopačevo the route passes through Bilje (alongside the castle of Eugene of Savoy and the bike-friendly accommodation) to the city of Osijek (on the Drava with its baroque fortress, museums, galleries, parks, accommodation, zoo, ferry – Kompa on the Drava, plus the beach – the Copacabana Recreation Centre). It continues through Nemetin and Sarvaš to Aljmaš – the mouth of the Drava into the Danube (a pilgrimage centre with the shrine to Our Lady of Shelter and accommodation) and further on through the village of Erdut (with its famous vineyard, wine road, fortress above the Danube and accommodation) and Dalj (on the Danube with the birth house of Milutin Milaković, the scientist, astronomer and geophysicist of global repute). Through Borovo the route comes to the town of Vukovar (on the Danube, “the town of heroes” with the Vučedol Culture Museum, the Eltz castle, the Adica picnic site, the sandy island and beach of Vukovar Ada and the memorials of the Homeland War). The EV6 continues through Sotin, Opatovac (accommodation), Šarengrad (picnic site on the Danube) and comes to Ilok (the fortified town on the Danube with a museum in the Odescalchi castle, the Ilok wine cellar and vineyards of Principovac with accommodation) where it leaves Croatia.
The Iron Curtain Trail (EV13) enters Croatia from Hungary at the border crossing of Gola, and there is also another entrance at the border crossing of Goričan in Međimurje with the possibility of visiting Donji Kraljevec, the birthplace and house of Dr Rudolf Steiner, the philosopher, father of anthroposophy and biodynamic agriculture. The route passes idyllic places in Međimurje, Podravina and Slavonia along the River Drava all the way to the town of Donji Miholjac, where it briefly leaves Croatia, to return again to it at the Baranjsko Petrovo Selo border crossing. It passes the northern part of Baranja and in Batina at the Danube it leaves Croatia and continues further into Serbia. This is the longest EuroVelo route and it passes through 20 European countries, with a total length of more than 10,400 kilometres, whilst the total length of the route that passes through Croatia is approximately 240 km.
The Baltic – Adriatic Route (EV9) from Gdańsk to Pula, a total length of 1,930 km, passes about 80 km through Croatia, from the Slovenian border Sečovje/Plovanija to the city of Pula in Istria. It is the shortest EuroVelo route that passes through Croatia, but it is the only one that ends in Croatia, and this is in the beautiful, ancient city of Pula (www.pulainfo.hr), whilst from the Slovenian border it also passes partly down the Parenzana route, the MTB route of the former Trieste-Poreč narrow-gauge railway (www.parenzana.net).
The other international cycling routes in Croatia
Apart from the EuroVelo routes, other especially interesting and attractive international cycling routes also pass through Croatia. On the continent in central Croatia and Slavonia there are two interesting cyclotourist river routes, the Mura and Drava cycling routes (www.visitmedimurje.com/bike) which from Austria and Slovenia, from the source of both rivers arrive in Croatia following their course. Both are very popular and keenly ridden cycling routes.
The Mura Route enters Croatia at the Gibina/ Bukovje (Sveti Martin na Muri) border crossing in Međimurje and with the length of about 70 km it runs along the River Mura and river ferry through towns such as Žabnik (with the Miller's Way and mill on the Mura), Mursko Središće (with its tradition of mining and accommodation), Peklenica (the first oil well in the world), Križovec, Podturen (with a turning to the town of Čakovec), Domašinec, Donji Hrašćan, Hodošan (with a turning for Donji Kraljevec with the Dr Rudolf Steiner Centre and birth house, accommodation and the town of Prelog with the Dubrava lake, marina, baroque church and accommodation), Goričan, Draškovec, Sveta Marija (lacemaking centre), Donji Vidovec (accommodation) and Donja Dubrava. At Legrad, where the Mura meets the Drava with its special zoological (ornithological) reserve of Veliki Pažut which is part of the Mura-Drava-Danube biosphere reserve UNESCO’s largest transboundary reserve, the Mura cycling route formally ends, however, one can continue further along the Drava Route and the EV13 across Croatia.
The Drava Route enters at the Središće ob Dravi / Trnovec border crossing . The Drava is a 725 km-long river, from Italy across Austria, Slovenia, Hungary and Croatia where it flows into the Danube. It flows 305 km through Croatia. At first the route leads through the areas of the municipality of Nedelišće (Gornji Hrašćan – Pušćine – Gornji Kuršanec) in Međimurje to the baroque city of Varaždin (with its castle, churches, museums, galleries, accommodation, Špancirfest) and onwards along Lake Varaždin, then along the canal and lake of Dubrava to Prelog (with its baroque church, bike-friendly hotels and nearby Donji Kraljevec – the birthplace of Dr Rudolf Steiner). It continues along the northern bank of Dubrava lake through Donji Vidovec (accommodation) to the mouth of the Mura into the Drava in Legrad (accommodation and the Veliki Pažut special zoological reserve). It then follows a combination of the EuroVelo 13 and Drava routes which fully overlap in places, and in places they divide and meet up once more. The routes travel on through the villages of Đelekovec, Torčec and Peteranec, then into Koprivnica (open-air bicycle museum, accommodation) and Hlebine (gallery of naive painting) and Molve (church, naive painting). At the Gola border crossing the EuroVelo 13 route enters Croatia from Hungary and continues through Ždala, Novo Virje, Ferdinandovac and Podravske Sesvete towards Pitomača (accommodation). It passes along Križnica (a protected natural landscape on the River Drava and picnic site which can be reached by ferry or over the suspension bridge). It continues through the towns of Bušetina and Turanovac to Kapela Dvor (with its Janković manor house, heritage hotel and cycling information centre on the Virovitica - Terezino Polje border crossing road). The route continues through Lukač and Gradina to Budakovac and with an embankment along the Drava to Noskovačka Dubrava (the hostel of the Drava Story, by appointment). Note – by turning from the route at Kapinci via the embankment to the south through the villages of Kapinci, Vaška and Novaki one can head towards Pustara Višnjica – an EDEN destination (bike-friendly hotel and horse stud farm with ecological vegetable cultivation).
Here the EuroVelo 13 enters Hungary, whilst the Drava Route continues through Sveti Đurađ, Podgajci Podravski, Črnkovci and Gat to Belišće (on the Drava, with a castle and accommodation) and the neighbouring town of Valpovo (with a castle and accommodation, and the nearby Bizovačke Toplice thermal spa (10km)). The route leads through Ladimirevci, Satnica, Petrijevci, Josipovac and Višnjevac to the city of Osijek. In Osijek – the cycling city of Slavonia, it is worth spending a whole day or even two (museums, galleries, parks, baroque fortress, zoo, ferry over the Drava – Kompa, beach on the Drava - the Copacabana Recreation Centre, the nearby Kopački Rit Nature Park accessible by bike – the visitor centre at Kopačevo, the Tikveš castle, the Zlatna Greda eco centre and hostel, the campsite and rural tourism facilities in Kopačevo and the Eugene of Savoy castle in Bilje). In Baranja and the Kopački Rit Nature Park two EuroVelo routes link up (the EV13 and EV6). From Osijek the route continues through Nemetin, Sarvaš and Bijelo Brdo to Aljmaš - the mouth of the Drava into the Danube (a pilgrimage centre with accommodation and the Erdut Wine Road) where the Drava cycling route formally ends, however, it is also possible to continue onwards with the EuroVelo 6 route – the Danube Route to Vukovar and Ilok (see the description of the EV6 route).
In the continental part of Croatia there is also the north-southwest cycling connection of the Balaton–Adriatic International Cycling Corridor (BA Biking Project; www.kub.hr).
In Slavonia and Baranja there is the first international, post-war cycle route, the 75 km long Pannonian Peace Trail between Osijek and Sombor in Vojvodina in Serbia (Panonski put mira).