Map 1 — Blue route
Through picturesque hills to the confluence of the Sutla and Sava Rivers
With its beauty and viewpoints, as well as its location along the border and proximity to the neighbouring Republic of Slovenia, the hilly landscape of the Marija Gorica region is truly worth getting to know, and as such, we have designated it as the starting point of this especially beautiful landscape route. Marija Gorica is renowned for its 16th century Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Before the arrival of the Franciscans, the place was known as Sveta Gorica (Holy Hill), and became Marija Gorica when the Franciscans, fleeing the Ottoman Turks, brought with them the miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary. In the 18th century, Matija Leonhart, the most esteemed Zagreb builder of the time, constructed a Baroque church with a rich Baroque inventory. The well-preserved Križni Put (Stations of the Cross) is also historically interesting, and a rarity, since the Franciscans were the only order allowed to display and bless it. The colossal Rococo housing of the pipe organ in the church is also of great value. The municipality’s day is celebrated on 29 June, the Feast day of Sts. Peter and Paul, when it is particularly lively here, along with the celebration of Ante Kovačić Day, celebrating the Croatian writer born in nearby Oplaznik.
In the centre of the town, refreshments and accommodation are available at the Ladanjski Raj Inn, on the rise not far from the parish church selected as the starting point of the blue route. 1 Enjoy the ride on the road running along the ridge to point 3 during each season, since the well-maintained plots and the traditional architecture, add to the natural beauty and the atmosphere of this region. 2 1.6 km into the ride you will notice a viewpoint perfect for photographs of the Sutla River valley and Samobor hills. Look to your right towards Slovenia and your gaze will stop at two towers and the village of Kapele. Stop and enjoy the view, even though this is just the beginning of the ride. The parish of Kapele was established by Father Erdavik of Marija Gorica in 1786 and it was consecrated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Since then the local tradition of pilgrimage in these two border districts has been nurtured on the Feast day of the Assumption, 15 August. 3 Please obey the notice on the fence around the chapel and its cemetery and do not enter on a bicycle or any other vehicle.
From Sveti Križ, the route’s highest point at 310 m, the view on a clear day truly extends from Medvednica, across Okić to Žumberak and neighbouring Slovenia. In the continuation of the downhill ride, along the winding Bregovita Street, watch out for the left turn and the alley diverging from the road at point 4, since riding further downhill along the winding road will bring you to Harmica. After the descent and the shortcut on the gravel road, in order to avoid the main roads, the route will find you once again on a paved road. 5 There are a number of turn-offs from here to point 6, but just continue to hold straight on the right main road toward Šenkovec. On the left side of the road, next to the sign marking the entry into Šenkovec, is the Stara Preša rural homestead. 6 From one of the rises that follow, enjoy the view of Mokrice Castle in Slovenia. In order to avoid the main, more congested road, turn at point 7. Point 8 (5.7 km), caution! Continue the ride through Ključ Brdovečki. Next to the Shrine of the Heart of Jesus (Srce Isusovo), turn right and then immediately left next to the crucifix, where at the 7.1 km mark from the start of the route, the gravel trail through the valley to the Sutla River begins, all the way to point 9. At the 9.0 km mark, on the right is turnoff D from the route, via which you will arrive at the confluence of the Sutla and Sava Rivers about 400 m further on. The sand swallows nest in the holes of the steep sandy banks of the Sutla River. From here onward, ride through the valley of the Sava River, much wider and quicker but less romantic than its tributary, the Sutla River. At the 9.6 km mark of the route, cross over the embankment for the second time, and at the Y intersection 400 m on and still on the field trail 10 continue along the right fork. 11 At the Savski Marof railway station (13.8 km), turn right towards Zdenci Brdovečki and Javorje. Cross the railroad that leads to the Pliva factory. Continue riding along the main road past the shrines to the Church of St. Vitus (Sveti Vid) in Javorje, Brdovec.
Brdovec is mentioned in the register of parishes as far back as 1334, around the parish Church of St. Vitus, the patron saint of the municipality, and the municipality’s day is also celebrated on 15 June. 12 The route continues along the street to the main road. Cross the road and continue past the Chapel of the Three Kings (Sveta Tri Kralja), uphill toward the cemetery to point 13. When you start on the road from the castle towards the Šibice settlement, take note of point 14 and turn left. At point 15 turn left into Mokrička Street. You are now in the centre of Zaprešić, passing near the Inter football stadium, across Dr. Franjo Tuđman Square, along the Church of Mary Queen of the Apostles (Marija Kraljica Apostolska) to the roundabout, where you turn right to the main road and point 16 (22.5 km mark). Pass by Trajbar Team Equestrian Club, suitable for a short stop and rest, with a nice view of the horse tracks from the terrace of the restaurant. Ride carefully along the somewhat busier road to points 17 and 18. A downhill follows, then a steeper uphill, but before the climb, there is a fresh water spring to the right. The 26.5 km point of the route marks the end of the ascent, after Zaprešić you are once again on a ridge in Dubrava Pušćanska, with a beautiful view of the Samobor hills to the left and the Pušća region to the right. Continue riding along Dubravačka Street. At the Y intersection with Vinogradska Street, continue along the right fork of the street. This is the highest point of the road running along the ridge, with beautiful landscape and viewpoints on all sides that have brought numerous weekenders here. Pass by a settlement of nice holiday houses and wooden vineyard huts, with vineyards and orchards on both sides of the road. 19 At the 28.3 km mark of the route, there is the Chapel of St. Catharine, a beautiful viewpoint and the second highest point on the blue route. Stop and breathe in the splendours of this region! 300 m from the chapel you enter into the forest from the ridge. 20 You will exit the woods after less than 1 km. To the right in the distance you can see the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene at the top of the hill on the red route. Exercise caution at point 21 (30.2 km). From here you have 1.5 km left to go to return to the route’s start and the centre of Marija Gorica. If not required at the beginning, a stop for refreshments here at the end at the Ladanjski Raj Inn will surely be welcome.
- Start of the blue route at the parking lot next to the parish Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Marija Gorica. Start along the cemetery in the direction of Sveti Križ and Šenkovec. At the intersection, 50 m from the cemetery, continue straight uphill.
- At the DVD Sveti Križ (fire brigade) building, continue straight via Bregovita Street, towards the Chapel of the Holy Cross (Sveti Križ).
- Chapel of the Holy Cross – viewpoint (the route’s highest point – 310 m).
- At the T intersection of Vatrogasna Street and a gravel road (3 km from the start of the route), turn left from the paved road onto the gravel road. After 50 m, at the intersection of two gravel roads, again turn left and downhill. Caution!
- At the intersection, the route continues to the left and downhill along the asphalt road in the direction of Šenkovec.
- At the entrance to Šenkovec, at the T intersection, continue straight along Ivana Turka Street.
- Around 50 m before the entrance onto the main road, make a sharp left turn into Školska Street, continue along to the end of the road and turn right to point 8.
- Intersection with the Zaprešić – Harmica main road, cross the road carefully and continue straight along Mokrička Street. A beautiful view of the Mokrice castle in neighbouring Slovenia.
- Following the country lane, climb and cross the embankment to its other, western side and continue to ride along the Sutla River’s eastern bank. Note turnoff D from the route that leads to the confluence of the Sutla River into the Sava River.
- End of the gravel and country lane section of the route, beginning of the paved road, continue towards Prudnice.
- At the Shrine of St. Anthony the Hermit (Sveti Antun Pustinjak) in Prudnice, turn right.
- Railroad crossing – caution!
- At the intersection, turn right into Brdovita Street, towards Lužnica Castle.
- After Lužnica Castle, turn left from the road onto a country lane running alongside the Croatia Messer Plin plant.
- From Pavla Lončara Street, the Zaprešić – Harmica main road, turn left into Mokrička Street. The intersection of the blue and red routes (detailed description on the cut-out part of the Zaprešić map).
- On the main road, turn left towards Dubrava Pušćanska. Caution, increased traffic!
- At the intersection of the main roads leading to Pušća and Pojatno, turn left towards Pušća along the right-of-way road.
- Around 150 m after point 17, turn left again into Dubravačka Road, and ride in the direction of Dubrava Pušćanska.
- Chapel of St. Catharine – viewpoint.
- At the intersection turn left toward Celine and Marija Gorica.
- Intersection with the main road with poor visibility, caution! Turn left in the direction of Marija Gorica.
Cultural, historical, ethnological and natural points of interest
- Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Marija Gorica
- Chapel of the Holy Cross (Svetog Križa)
- Church of St. Vitus (Sveti Vid), Javorje, Brdovec – mentioned in 1334 as the parish church, it was given a Baroque styling in the 18th century; the preserved inventory includes the Baroque altar from 1776 and paintings from that period. The bell tower with embrasures and the southern, particularly thick walls built as an annex, are preserved, suggesting that this church is certainly one from a series of fortified churches offering protection to the local populace from the Turkish raids of the period. The circular Chapel of St. Barbara was built as an annex to the church in the 18th century, a very rare example of a circular building in our country. The construction of this chapel is tied to the tale of galena mines of the French count Carion, beneath the western hills of Medvednica in Bistra, and St. Barbara, the patron saint of the miners, to whom they paid homage here.
- Lužnica Castle from the second half of 18th century, renovated and enlarged in 1971, and the residence of the Rauch family, today the Marijin Dvor Spiritual & Education Centre of Lužnica, www.luznica.com
- Novi Dvori Jelačićevi, Zaprešić and the Matija Skurjeni Museum (see the red route)
- Chapel of St. Catharine, Hrebine
- Accommodation, hospitality offer, sports and recreation
- Ladanjski Raj Inn with accommodation, Rajski Put Road 3, Marija Gorica, tel. 3395 806,www.ladanjskiraj.com
- Trajbar Team Equestrian Club, Bana J. Jelačića St. 199, Zaprešić, tel. 3310 838,www.trajbar.hr
- Zaprešić Tourism Board, Trg žrtava fašizma 9, tel. 3310 309, www.zapresic.hr
- Sava and Sutla Rivers Valley & Hills Tourism Board, I. Gregurića 13, Brdovec, tel. 3398 747, www.turistickazajednica-dib.hr
- Zaprešić Medical Centre, Pavla Lončara St. 1, tel. 3310 061
- Zaprešić Police Station, Drage Švajcera bb, tel. 3310 550
- MTB cycling shop and repair, J. B. Jelačića St. 5, Zaprešić, tel. 5602 200
- Zagrebačka Bank ATMs in Zaprešić: Bana J. Jelačića St. 1, Trg mladosti bb, Trg žrtava fašizma St. 17