Map 10 — Blue route

Sv. Ivan Zelina – Nespeš – Donja Zelina – Sv. Helena – Rakovec – Novo Mjesto – Sv. Ivan Zelina

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This bicycle route is intended to acquaint riders with the steepest hills of the Zelina wine-growing region. The challenge of the many steep climbs and descents is well worth it due to the magnificent viewing points and fine wines. This route is also very inte­resting as it leads you from the main square in the centre of Sveti Ivan Zelina, popularly called Plac (meaning Marketsquare), to the heart of the Zelina Mountains (or Zelinska gora, about 7 km one way) and one of the loveliest viewing points on Mt. Ivanščica in Hrvatsko Zagorje, from the grassy slopes near the mountain hut on Kladeš­čica. The route begins on the main square 1 in Sv. Ivan Zelina in front of the parish Church of St. John the Baptist. This is an ideal start point for the route as you can stock up on refreshments in the nearby shop and have a coffee in one of the cafes on the square while planning your route. The route heads uphill from the square along Bocakova St. alongside the fire hall to the left and the health clinic to the right. After 600 m, you will reach the intersection 2 . At the blue house called Vila Silva, turn left onto Mačkovićeva St. From this intersection, following the hiking signs, riding downhill into the village, through the narrow street; take caution, the street has poor visibility so adjust your speed. At the end of the downhill section, you will reach a y intersection 3 . Take caution while turning right onto the busier Zelingradska St. and continue along to the y intersection 4 , 2 km from the route starting point. Here, the route continues to the left uphill. To the right is a gravel road which is turnoff d which heads towards the Zelina Mountains (Zelinska gora), the archaeological site of the medieval Zelingrad and the mountain hut on Kladeščica, and its fantastic viewing point mention­ed earlier. From this turnoff, the route takes you about 5 km on a light but constant climb up a gravel road to the mountain hut. If you decide to continue along the blue route, you’ll head uphill along the road with several sharp serpentine turns. At the top of the climb in Jušilanki, your efforts will be rewarded with a magnificent view of the Zelina wine-growing hills and the neighbouring town Vrbovec off to the left in the distance. After a short break and enjoyment of the scenery, continue riding along the ridge of the hill past family homes and weekend homes. Pass through the village of Gornje Psarjevo. At the intersection with the crucifix, the road to the right leads to well known winemaker Stjepan Puhelek-Purek. We recommend you try his Kraljevina or the well known Sau­vig­non of Croatia’s first wine queen, his daughter Nataša. After the chapel with the cru­ci­fix, you will begin a steep descent. Take great caution while descending to the t inter­section at the 4.4 km mark of the route. Adjust your riding speed to the road conditions and your riding abilities. At one of the serpentine turns on the descent, a right turn leads you to the Kukovačec Winery. After the downhill section, you will come to an inter­­section of two roads. Take a look to the right at how the Chapel of St. George in Psarjevo Gornje dominates the hill. The chapel is situated in a deep cut bet­ween two slo­pes of the hill and from this angle you have to look hard to see it. At this intersection, turn left and ride over the bridge, continue along the route to the y inter­section 5  where there is a shop and a social hall. Turn right at the inter­section and head over the bridge and continue climbing in the direction of Nespeš. These truly are fan­tas­tic sec­tions! The idyllic landscape delights again and again as the road passes through the vineyards and past wine huts, and the views are unforgettable. After 6.5 km, you will enter into Nespeš. You will see the Chapel of St. Joseph on the left hand side of the road; continue straight to the Nespeš Manor on the left hand side of the road, next to the elementary school. Today this is owned by the Badel company. The wine cellar in the Nespeš Manor is well known as many premium archive wines are kept here for foreign diplomats in nearby Zagreb. Take a rest next to the manor before continuing on the ride. 6 After a short rest and refreshment from the local shop, the route con­ti­nu­es straight along the road through the valley. To the left of the road is the Kos-Jurišić Winery, and a little further down to the right is the Kos family winery. Both families are very kind and open to guests, with lovely wine tasting rooms and excellent wines and spark­ling wines. Visits are best by appointment, as the families work in the vine­yards. Right after the Kos family winery, get ready to take a sharp left turn off the main road up­hill 7 onto Radnička St. A steep though short uphill climb will lead you to the village of Kršaki. Continue along the right road when you see the crucifix on the left hand side. To the right in the distance, one can spot the Chapel of St. Anthony from the turn of the 18th to 19th century on the hill above Blaškovec. A ride through Hasanov breg will lead you to the y intersection 8 in the village of Skujići. This is the 10.5 km mark of the route, though you will feel as though you have passed much more after all the steep, but beautiful climbs. Turn left at the intersection. You will begin a gentle climb on the road towards Hrnjanec and the votive Chapel of St. Vitus 9 . At the intersection with the votive chapel on the right hand side, continue riding straight along the road. If you continue on, you will come to a steep downhill section; take caution as the road is very narrow. After this, you will leave the picturesque, hilly landscape of Hrnja­nec. At the t inter­section, 13 km from the route starting point   10  , turn right and con­tinue along the road leading through the valley towards Donja Zelina. Take caution at the intersection, for this is a busy road. You will enter Donja Zelina after 16.2 km of riding. 11 Take extra caution when crossing the busy old Varaždin road! At the inter­sec­tion, turn right and continue along the sidewalk to the next intersection, where you will turn left onto Sv. Nikola St. named after the parish Church of St. Nicholas in Donja Zelina. After the church, you will come to a steep uphill climb through the woods, so push on! At the end of the steep climb, turn left at the t intersection and ride along the wonderfully panoramic road through Goričanec towards Sveta Helena. This section of the route is a reward for all the effort to this point, as the views of the hills, fields and meadows surrounding you for the next few kilometres are certainly relaxing. Upon entering Sveta Helena, turn left at the t intersection 12 at the 20 km mark from the route starting point and continue straight to the next t intersection with the chapel. Here turn left onto the gravel road towards the nearby Mikšić Manor, which is unfortu­nately in poor condition today, and the Chapel of St. Helena with the lovely altar of St. Helena. The meadows surrounding the manor and the chapel offer a bench as an excellent place for a short break. Stop and breathe in the smells and absorb the sounds of the nearby fields. After a rest, head downhill towards the intersection near the Sveta Helena high­way interchange   13  . Here turn left, but very careful while crossing this busy inter­section. After the intersection, ride carefully along the short section of this busy road. You will soon come to a t inter­section. Here turn right and continue over the over­pass in the direction of Mlaka and Rakovec. After crossing this highway, the route heads down a road through the fields and woods towards Rakovec. Rakovec is the centre of the municipality of the same name, and the parish Church of St. George domi­nates the municipality. Turn left at the y inter­section at the 27 km mark of the route 14 towards Krečaves. Here you will ride on the same stretch of road as on the brown route, which heads from Komin to Rakovec via Salnik. Before point 15 you will see a gravel turnoff at the left bend in the road for “Joko­banja” (literally: “shower in the field”), a thermal water spring which is said to have medi­cinal properties and which the locals have been visiting for years. But take care, the water can sometimes be very hot and someone is always showering! In Krečaves, turn right at the intersection with the Chapel of the Heart of Jesus on the right side of the road. This is an area of beautiful villages with preserved architecture. In Novo Mjesto, be sure to stop at the late Roma­nesque Chapel of St. Peter dating back to the 13th century. Novo Mjesto is at the 32.5 km mark of the route. Turn right off the main road at the y intersection 16 onto a smaller road. Soon after the y intersection, the road turns into gravel. Here you can choose to take a right turn onto turnoff c towards the Mokrice fish-pond. The large and well main­tained lake is a great spot to take a breather, but please respect the peace and quiet of the local fisherman’s society. The gravel sec­tion of the route offers a lovely view left over Zelina or north towards the church in Komin. The gravel section ends at Nizeki where a gentle downhill section about 200 m long brings you to a t intersection with a chapel at the 34.5 km of the route. Caution, you will again be turning onto a busy road! Turn right. After 500 m, turn left at the y intersection in Donje Polonje 17 and head over the over­pass towards Hrastje and Zelina. In Hrastje, take care while crossing the road 18 and continue straight past the fire hall. At the intersection at the 37.5 km mark in Örečan, turn left. After a short uphill section to the gravel road, you will come across a y intersection; turn right here and head uphill. At this intersection, the blue route crosses the red route coming from Zelina and con­tinuing onto Donje and Gornje Orešje. A little further on is turnoff a which leads to the viewing point next to the Chapel of the Holy Spirit in Vrtače. The blue route continues along Mate Žigrovića St. and Top­lička St. to the intersection with Vladimira Nazora St. After the intersection, continue to the right, riding cautiously uphill to the intersection 19 where you will turn right onto Ivana Žigrovića St. in order to avoid the main street through Zelina. Žigrovićeva St. is very steep, meaning that you will have to push hard to get to Bocakova St. Here turn left and enjoy the gentle descent to the centre of Sv. I. Zelina where this pictu­resque route along the Zelina wine-growing hills and the Zelina Mountains ends. To re­ward yourself before heading home, find refreshment in one of the lovely bistros on the main Zelina square, popularly called Plac, and plan your next route in the Zelina area.