Kostanjevac – Slapnica Canyon – Mrzlo Polje – Gornja Vas – Petričko Selo – Jurkovo Selo
- Red route Samobor – Bregana – Grdanjci – Koretići – Jelenići – Dragonoš – Šipački Breg – Smerovišće
The route begins at Kostanjevac, a small village which is the administrative centre of the Žumberak municipality. You can park your vehicle near the municipal building and the bistro Mateo. From Kostanjevac, take the main road back south about 4 km in order to arrive at Medvenova Draga, the Medven family manor and the Nature Park Info Centre on the left hand side of the road. 1 About one kilometre from the main road, cross the bridge and enter into the stone quarry. Here the paved road turns into a gravel road and the constant climb all the way to Budinjak begins. The route will lead you into the canyon of the Slapnica River, one of the largest tributaries of the Kupčina River. At the 7.8 km mark from the route starting point, turn right into the forest for Vranjački waterfall. Cross over one of the many bridges over the windy course of the Slapnica River that you will cross while riding through the canyon. If you leave your bicycle, you can hike up the marked hiking trail to Vranjački waterfall only ten minutes away, and further, to the village of Vranjak if you wish. The bicycle route continues along the main gravel road, pushing deeper into the canyon cut through dolomite rock. At approximately the 10.5 km mark, there is another marked hiking trail to the right which leads to the Brisalo waterfall, 10 minutes away. This fifteen metre high waterfall is particularly charming due to the thin stream of water which falls from the very top of the waterfall directly to the bottom and due to its lake, making it very similar to tropical waterfalls. At the 12.3 mark from the route starting point, the gravel road will reach the place where the Slapnica River Valley is at its broadest, stretching into a wide, grassy valley. The rumble of the river, as it falls over numerous small falls and cascades formed by travertine barriers ends, and the Slapnica River begins to quietly meander through the wide valley embanked by forests. The Draganov mlin (mill) on the left hand side of the road completes this idyllic picture in the wide section of the canyon. Continue riding another 1 km along the course of the Slapnica River. Following the sharp right turn, you will leave the canyon and continue climbing up the steep gravel road with unforgettable views over the canyon. The entire length you have covered in the Slapnica Canyon is 10 km. Before you now is a constant and di÷cult climb along the poor gravel road through the forest. At the intersection, follow the bicycle trails of the Žumberak – Samobor Mountains Nature Park which lead towards the Budinjak Eco Centre. From the end of the Slapnica Canyon, the total climb to Jelenići is 7.5 km. 2 From Jelenići, there is another 3 km to the intersection and paved road in the village of Vidovići. 3 At the 23.6 km mark from the route starting point, you will be in the village of Vidovići. Turno≈ a leads straight uphill and continues along the gravel road through the forest to Budinjak and the Nature Park Eco Centre, with its valuable archeological sites, educational trail and the Chapel of St. Petronius (772 m), which o≈ers a lovely view. The blue bicycle route continues to the left at the intersection in Vidovići along the paved road through Mrzlo Polje to Gornja Vas. 4 Gornja Vas is one of the larger Žumberak villages, on the border of the City of Samobor and the municipality of Žumberak. It is situated in a prominent location with an excellent view over most of Žumberak, a portion of the Samobor Mountains and Pokuplje, and the whole of Gorski kotar with Mala and Velika Kapela and the cli≈ Klek above Ogulin. At the shop in Gornja Vas, the road to the left heads for Kalje, and it is possible to take a marked hiking trail to descend back into the Slapnica Canyon. From Gornja Vas, the paved road continues downhill towards Petričko Selo. In Petričko Selo, it is possible to turn right o≈ the main road onto the gravel road 5 . Turno≈ b is recommended only for those with stamina, and who wish to become better acquainted with the beauty of Žumberak. The turno≈ from the route on the section Petričko Selo – Tomaševci – Kekić Draga o≈ers beautiful views over the archeological finds of Stari Grad Žumberački to the left of the road. As you continue, you will also pass by the Sopotski waterfall and the Jazovka Pit, and arrive at Sošice. The section from the turno≈ Petričko Selo – Sošice is 9.5 km in length along a gravel road (the Sopote – Sošice part is paved road), while the section Sošice – Kostanjevac is 11.5 km along a paved road. This turno≈ extends the route by 10 km, but it remains circular and ends in Kostanjevac. If you decide not to turno≈ the main road, continue riding straight along down the constant downhill section towards Kostanjevac. The steep descent contains several sharp turns, and therefore it is necessary to adjust your riding speed. You will pass through the villages of Hartje, Drašći Vrh and Željezno Žumberačko, all situated along the ridge and o≈ering splendid views of the Žumberak region. At the 38.7 km mark of the route is turno≈ f at point 6 . Turno≈ f from the route in the direction of Kupčina Žumberačka takes you to the valuable Church of St. Nicholas with the ruins of Novi Grad Žumberački. You can find rest and relaxation in the rural tourism home Podžumberak on the same road. The small road through the valley of the Kupčina River and the Vorbašica Creek is so lovely that the turno≈ is well worthwhile. This turno≈ extends the route by about 6 km. In Jurkovo Selo is the birth house of Petar Skok (1881–1956), Croatian linguist and Romanist. From here, you arrive at point 7 , where another 800 m along the main road to Kostanjevac will bring you back to the route starting point.
Natural, cultural-historical and ethnological points of interest:
- Medven family manor with water-mill, Medvenova and Öunkova Draga. (see map 4)
- Slapnica Canyon – a protected landscape. The 10 km long valley stretches from the foothills of the main Žumberak ridge under Gornja Vas to Medven Draga, where the Slapnica River drains into the Kupčina River. The Vranjački waterfall and Brisalo waterfall, Vranjačka Cave (also known as Zidane pećine) give this canyon a special ambient and the Draganov mlin (mill) is the only inhabited house in Slapnica Canyon. Travertines are formed along the entire length of the Slapnica River, especially at the cascades.
- Vranjački waterfall, Slapnica Canyon
- Brisalo waterfall, Slapnica Canyon
- Budinjak archeological site – at Budinjačko polje there is a large necropolis consisting of grave mounds with ruins of a city-fortress just above the graveyard. A total of 141 grave mounds have been discovered. Current research methods have estimated the age of certain necropolii to be from the period between the 9th and 6th centuries bc.
- Chapel of St. Petronius, Budinjak – erected in 1827 in the classical style.
- Church of St. Peter and Paul, Mrzlo Polje – recent archeological studies on the plateau under the parish church have revealed the foundations of a Romantic church. The new church was erected in 1666, expanded and adapted and completely restored in 1907. Preserved of the old church are a section of the sanctuary and an iconostas dating back to the period of restoration in 1907 and bearing art nouveau paintings and motif architecture.
- Roman necropolis at Gornja Vas – situated on a plateau just under the village at an altitude of about 600 m. Archeological digs have studied 54 graves which were pyres. It is thought that the Roman village at Gornja Vas arose due to the wealth of ores in the area, and functioned in the second half of the 1st century and early 2nd century ad.
- Stari Grad Žumberački, near Kekić Draga – situated at the top of a conical hill east of the village of Kekić Draga. It was mentioned back in the 9th century, and in the 12th century was under possession by the Sichelberg nobles, from whom it received its name, and later the name likely spread over the entire region. In the 14th century, it was owned by the Habsburg dukes. It changed hands several time, until the invasion of the Turks and the inhabitation by the Uskoks, at which time the city was abandoned and Novi Grad Žumberački built. Next to the city walls are the restored defensive tower and the Chapel of the Holy Cross.
- Greek Catholic Church of St. Peter and Paul and Roman Catholic Chapel of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Sošice (see photo)
- Ethno collection of the Žumberak region, Convent of the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great, Sošice 11, Sošice, tel: +385 1 6297 559
- Jazovka Pit, Sošice-Sopote – located 1 km east of Sošice, in the forest to the left above the road. The prayer gathering is held every 22 June.
- Sopotski waterfall, Sopote near Sošice.
- Novi Grad Žumberački, Church of St. Nicholas and the Žumberak pil (pillar), Žumberak – the complex is situated outside of the village of Žumberak in the valley between two hills. Together with Church of St. Nicholas (current church built in 1654), the parish court and the Baroque pillar of shame from the 17th century, this forms a remarkable entity.
Accommodation and hospitality facilities, sports and service information:
- Žumberak – Samobor Mountains Nature Park, Info Centre in the Medven manor, Medvenova Draga 13, Budinjak Eco Centre, Budinjak 7, tel: +385 1 3385 740, 3327 660, 3327 661, www.ppzsg.org
- Vodice Mountain Hut, Horvat family, near Sošice, accommodation, hpd Dubovac, Karlovac, tel: +385 1 3362 725, +385 98 957 1177, http://hps.inet.hr
- Medven family water-mill on the Kupčina River, Öunkova Draga 19, 10455 Kostanjevac, accommodation, tel. +385 1 6270 665, 6270 347
- Bistro Mateo, Kostanjevac 5, Žumberak, tel: +385 1 6271 282, 6297 081
- Deško commercial fishpond-grill, Kostanjevac 32a, Žumberak, tel: +385 1 6272 060
- Ribnjaci Inn, Žamarija 1, Žumberak, tel: +385 1 6272 033
- Podžumberak rural tourism home, Klanfar family, Žumberak, tel: +385 1 6271 254
- Tena Pub and Grill, Tupčina 2, tel: +385 1 6297 038, +385 98 41 55 49
- Oštrc restaurant, Staničić family, Tupčina bb (Oštrc), tel: +385 1 6297 099, +385 91 6297 099
- Radić–Ilas Inn, Sošice 15, Sošice, accommodation, tel: +385 1 6297 518, +385 98 1631 080
- Žumberak Inn, Sošice 17, Sošice, accommodation, tel: +385 1 6297 537, +385 98 885 219
- In Cafe and Shop, Jezerine 13, Jezerine, tel: +385 1 6270 221