Central Croatia Region

Central Croatia Region

An active green holiday from your dreams, along magical hills, the cultivated landscape, pleasant forests and therapeutic waters

In central Croatia bicycles have been a tradition and a very popular means of transport since the second half of the 19th century, due to the fact that the region is both rural and traditionally agricultural, as well as industrial, so bicycles arrived here also as the first means of transport between the towns and villages, as well as incentives to get to know the landscape. The landscape is mostly low lying, with a few mountains and highlands, crisscrossed by the longest rivers in Croatia and their gentle valleys. The favourable configuration of the land and transport network of the local, less used roads and river embankments for cycling are contributing to the development of cyclotourism of this region. After a pleasant and active day of cycling on offer is a break in one of the therapeutic spas with their natural thermal-mineral springs or a relaxing time in one of the picturesque villages with the tasty culinary choices of the region and a welcoming host. The winegrowing hills, old villages and the traditional river ferries on the Sava, Mura and Drava are just some of the hidden treasures of the area!

 

The region is made up of seven counties, and each of them in their own way has grown up with the bicycle in the sense of a long-term tradition and it is also increasingly developing, and open to, cyclotourism.

Terme Sveti Martin / TZŽ Međimurje

Međimurje in the most northern corner of Croatia is the real cycling paradise of the continent with many well-thought-out cycling routes, as well as cycling infrastructure on the roads for safe riding.

Along the rivers Mura and Drava stretch sections of international cycling routes - the Mura and Drava routes, which in Međimurje come from the neighbouring countries of Italy, Austria, Slovenia and Hungary. Along them, also entering Croatia at Goričan is theEuroVelo 13 – The Iron Curtain Trail, which leads towards Legrad, the mouth of the River Mura into the River Drava and further across Podravina towards Slavonia and Baranja, and the whole region has been declared as the UNESCO transboundary Mura-Drava-Danube biosphere reserve. The most attractive three circular routes that cover almost the whole of the Međimurje region are: Steiner's Route (41.8 km) from Donji Kraljevac, the birthplace of the great scientist, anthroposophist, the father of organic-biodynamic agriculture, Dr Rudolf Steiner, after that Eko Mura (53.7 km) from Toplice Sveti Martin to the most beautiful parts of the River Mura and the traditional ferries and Pušipelova route (53.9 km), somewhat more demanding with many uphills considering that it runs from Čakovec over the Štrigova hillsides of the picturesque Međimurje wine road.

 

The centre of Varaždin County is the baroque city of Varaždin, also known as the city that loves bikes and as the city that since 1897 has been promoting cycling via its Sloga bicycle society. This city alongside the Drava was the capital city of Croatia from 1767 to 1776. For cycling there is the Drava forest-park and Varaždin Lake, whilst the best-known cycling route is the circular Toplice route (45 km), which leads through Varaždinske Toplice and over the winegrowing hills with beautiful views of the city of Špancirfest and the many red towers of its historic city centre. Also interesting are the cycling routes of nearby Lepoglava - the town of lace, which through picturesque Zagorje hills and villages leads circularly to the protected nature of Ravna Gora with the Filićev Dom mountain lodge (37.2 km and 780 m total ascent) and to the castles of Klenovnik and Trakošćan (31.5 km, 1,120 m total ascent). Also very interesting in Varaždin County are the surroundings of Novi Marof with a beautiful circular route (31 km and a total ascent of 330 m)over the mountain of Ivanščica at the pass of Podrute where the mountain is the narrowest and smallest.

Thanks to the comprehensive cyclotourism project ZagorjeBike, the neighbouring Krapina-Zagorje County has been branded as a real cycling paradise, with a total of 21 cycling routes over four quality maps with descriptions of the routes and the ZagorjeBike mobile app with GPX tracks of all the routes. The Two Springs and Following the Hot Springs route (38 km) links the Tuhelj and Krapina thermal spas circularly, whilst the route towards Klanjec and the valley of the River Sutla (41 km) leads from Klanjec along the beautiful ridge roads of the border part of neighbouring Slovenia and Zagreb County. With the Roads of the Peasants’ Revolt route (36 km) it is possible to visit the pilgrimage site of Marija Bistrica and the historical important Gornja Stubica with its castle and Museum of the Peasants’ Revolt, whilst with the hills, valleys and belvederes of northeast Zagorje route (42 km) from Konjščina it turns towards the southern slopes of Ivanščica, to the site of the fall of the Hrašćina meteorite and onwards to the picturesque vantage point from the winery of Vinski Vrh.

 

Koprivnica-Križevci County has a Croatian cycling town, Koprivnica with its unique open-air bicycle museum under the title of ‘From Leonardo da Vinci to Today’. The town also has a system of public bikes – BicKO, which includes standard and electric bikes. An online map of cycling routes – the Bicycle Oasis Map offers three cycling routes: The Drava route from Legrad to Pitomača; the EuroVelo 13 from the Letenye/Goričan border crossing to Budakovac northeast of Virovitica and the Regional route R3 Koprivnica – Hlebine – Torčec – Legrad – Koprivnica (circular 61 km over flat terrain) plus local recreational trails.

Lidija Mišćin

The town of Križevci offers a map of 10 cycling routes: BOP – By bicycle around Prigorje (seven routes), BOK – By bicycle around Kalnik and KUB - MTB (two routes). BOK – By bike around Kalnik route is an especially beautiful, signposted, circular route with almost no motorised vehicles around the protected region of nature of the mountain of Kalnik with unique vantage points of the villages below it. The route is 25 km long, more for MTB, trekking and e-MTB considering that it is half asphalt and half forest macadam with many steep uphills and downhills.

One more international cycling route from the Hungarian lake of Balaton to the Lonjsko Polje Nature Park is the Bilodravski cycling triangle from Pitomača over Bilogora to Bjelovar and back to Đurđevac and into Pitomača. The route is circular, 120 km long and very interesting considering that it crosses the picturesque Bilogora twice, with several macadam sections and it leads down quiet, scenic roads.

 

Bjelovar-Bilogora County has an attractive cycling centre in three towns: the town of fairs and cheese at the foot of Bilogora – Bjelovar, the town of beer and thermal springs at the foot of the north-western slopes of Papuk – Daruvar, and the town of a million lamps and magical light at the foot of north-western slopes of Moslavačka Gora – Čazma. On the lowest, but widest highland of Croatia the attraction of the village Maglenča on Bilogora is the Romany House, the first and only museum of its kind in Europe. The indigenous Croatian Lovari Romany people are the oldest of eight groups of Romany who live in Croatia today. The circular 25 km long route from Bjelovar leads down local asphalt roads to Veliko Trojstvo and Maglenča. The oldest fish farm in Croatia in Končanica, a settlement where the Czech national minority is the majority because Daruvar and its surroundings are the cultural centre of Czechs in Croatia, can be reached via a circular route (32 km) from Daruvar with the Daruvar toplice (thermal springs). Čazma has three beautiful cycling routes, but the most beautiful is the nature which is passed down on a marked, circular route named “Around Čazma's Kaptol" (36 km) all the way to the mouth of the Glogovnica into the Česma.

 

Sisak is the centre of Sisak-Moslavina County and a town on two river mouths, the Odra into the Kupa and the Kupa into the Sava, on whose mouth the monumental Stari Grad (Old Town) of Sisak is located, at the same time also worth a visit is the Town Museum. It is easy to reach Sisak by bike on the train from Zagreb, and there is also NextBike Sisak in two locations on the right bank of the Kupa. The town is adorned with exceptionally beautiful and rich cultural and industrial heritage when considering that it was an important industrial centre for Croatia in the 20th century and an important river port for transport on the Sava.

Zoran Jelača

Alongside the river idyll it is most beautiful to turn into the heart of the Lonjsko Polje Nature Park – marked on the Sava route all the way to Novska, a linear route of 82 km and back to Sisak or Zagreb with your bike on the train. The joy of a trip to the last area of Europe where the tradition of grazing cattle and the unique, traditional wood construction in the village of Krapje have been preserved, including a visit to Čigoč the European stork village and an overnight stay in a rural household are experiences of Lonjsko Polje which shouldn’t be missed.

At the mouth of the Petrinjčica into the Kupa lies the town of Petrinja with four beautiful cycling routes – Zelena Dolina (circular 41.5 km), Kotar Šuma (circular 34 km), Along the Riverbanks (circular 27.2 km) and the Chestnut Route (circular 22 km). The nearby Topusko Top Terme is an ideal destination for rest and relaxation in their thermal mineral waters after a ride. In Topusko there are five cycling routes to choose from with the attractive nature of the River Glina valley and towards Petrova Gora in neighbouring Vojnić. From northern Banovina there is a pleasant ride to the southern border of Croatia – the River Una. The most beautiful vantage points of the river above Hrvatska Kostajnica – the town of chestnuts and springs are from the hills Djed and Čukur, to which the local cycling routes lead.

 

In Zagreb County the cycling routes along the River Sava which characterises this region are attractive. Particularly interesting today are the already scarce traditional river ferries which are driven by the power of the water. On the River Sava there are as many as three: Medsave – Zaprešić, Oborovo – Vrbovo Posavsko and Desni – Lijevi Dubrovčak. The cyclotourism offer includes 13 cycling maps of Zagreb County and the mobile app ZG BIKE with five routes: Žumberak – Route of waterfalls (linear, 48 km), Sava route (linear, long 87.6 km and short 16.7 km), Route of birds and turtles (linear, 30 km), Route of bridges and ferries (linear, 40.8 km) and Zagreb route (circular, Zagreb - Velika Gorica, 41 km). There are also the attractive hilly roads of Vukomeričke Gorice through Kravarsko, Pokupsko and Pisarovina with which nine wooden, baroque chapels can be visited (the circular route from Pisarovina, 60 km) as well as the Plešivica Wine Road (circular from Jastrebarsko, 23 km).

 

To end on, a historical sketch of the bicycle tradition in the region of Central Croatia. Back in 1887 three graduates from Zagreb - Erik Alexander, Mirko Bothe and Mirko Kleščić – travelled from Zagreb to Trieste (via Karlovac, Delnice and Rijeka, and on the way back through Ljubljana and Krško) on velocipedes, bicycles of a specific attractive look with a large front wheel. The journey on velocipedes to Trieste and back took a month and was a real adventure! The original velocipede with the described cycling adventure from the end of the 19 th century, owned by Mirko Kleščić from Samobor, is still kept in the Samobor Museum. Have a look for it, as well as the map of the seven new cycling routes on offer in the town of Samobor.

The bicycle is the best way to experience the picturesque, natural and cultural-historical diversity of this region, and you will certainly not lack any ideas about which way to go on a cycling excursion or tour!