LENGTH: 28 km
TYPE: CIRCULAR ROUTE
Recommended direction: Ozalj – Veliki Erjavac – Svetičko Hrašće – Jaškovo – Gornje Pokuplje – Levkušje – Zorkovac na Kupi – Polje Ozaljsko – Ozalj
This 28 km long route mostly follows one of the most beautiful Croatian rivers, taking you along the paved roads through the villages around Ozalj, as well as along a partly wooded and hilly trail, with a somewhat steeper stretch at its beginning. As a starting point, we recommend the center of Ozalj, the town of the Zrinski-Frankopan family, who made a huge contribution to Croatian history by its heritage and brave and noble deeds. The eponymous main street will take you along the paved sidewalk, with a fence, following the winding Kupa river, with a railway line and the little tunnels in its valley. One of the tunnels is situated underneath the Ozalj castle on a cliff above the Kupa. After only few hundred meters, before reaching the forest trail, and after turning from the route, into the Kaptol street, the cyclists can visit a small Baroque parish church of St. Vitus, first mentioned in 1349. The church was named after Ozalj’s patron saint, and its graveyard is the last resting place of the famous deaf-mute painter, Slava Raškaj. Her watercolors are the high point of the Croatian watercolor painting at the turn of the 20th century. After returning to the main road, the route will take you to the forest path called Lovački put, which is constantly ascending, so that we recommend a short rest before going on. The trail will then take you through pristine nature, through dense and fragrant pine woods. Halfway between the villages of Belinsko Selo and Veliki Erjavec, there’s a mark telling you to turn form the route for a while and visit Svetice on the eponymous hill, where in 1627 a Pauline monastery and church were founded. Not far from there, at a glade above Svetičko Hrašće, the manor house Hrašće has been preserved. It was built in 1547, for Nikola Zrinski Sigetski. To this day, it has changed hands several times, and the original look has changed accordingly. The 270 m long ascent ends at Veliki Erjavec. After that, the route descends in the direction of the aforementioned Svetičko Hrašće, and continues to the village of Vuksani. Exiting the woods, you’ll enter the sunny Jaškovo, at the crossroads with the eponymous street. Following the more pronounced height differences, the route continues at a leisurely pace along the beautiful natural scenery of broad fields.
The local farmers are thankful for the fact that in the vicinity they have the smaller Dobra river, flowing into the Kupa not far from Gornje Pokuplje. The road leads to that place, between the two rivers. We recommend a short stop and rest, as well as finding some refreshments at local restaurants and cafés. The route continues along an old Turk-Mažuranić castle, following the Kupa up to Levkušje, Zorkovac na Kupi and Polje Ozaljsko, near the river-boundary with the neighboring Zagreb County. At one of the river meanders, there’s a strictly planned mediaeval settlement of Trg, first mentioned in 1329, in Ban Mikac’s charter. This is a unique settlement in northern Croatia, in terms of its geographical position, historic development and its preserved traditions. The historic centre is only partly preserved, close to the All Saints’ Church, while the traditional village houses of hacked beams, with traditional Croatian ‘crossed corners’ and thatched roofs are still visible in the Gornji Trg part of the village. Trška cesta, leading back towards Ozalj, will also take you to the colorful ethnic theme park, an ‘open-air museum’, with the examples of traditional architecture and the pre-industrial everyday objects, tools and utensils. Cycling by the old village cabins with thatched roofs, you are going to end the route at its very beginning.