LENGTH: 30 km
SURFACE: 97% paved, 3% graved road
TYPE: circular route
As a starting-point of this route, you can pick the river resort of Mrežnički Brig, near the camping site ‘Slapić’. In summer, this is a great place to swim in the Mrežnica, among a host of river islands and cascades. There are sports and recreational grounds near the beach, as well as a restaurant, an old mill, and an elegant, 205 m long, bridge with wooden railing, stretching over the tufa barriers. After all we’ve said so far, one can legitimately wonder: why take a bicycle there at all and why even bother taking it down from the car rack? But, bear with us…
The cycling trail takes you along the right river bank, upstream, gently ascending and winding through the beautiful areas of Donje and Gornje Bukovlje. In Gornje Bukovlje, you’ll come across an important archaeological site, the remains of the early Christian church of St George, within the walls of a prehistoric fort ruins. A little further on, the trail crosses the Mrežnica again, this time over a pontoon bridge taking you to Zvečaj. You can rest for a while there, take a dip in the clear river or have a chat with the anglers.
In Zvečaj you can still see only the barest remains of the eponymous fort from the Middle Ages. The historic road, Jozefinska cesta, runs through Zvečaj. It was built from Karlovac to Senj, and the construction lasted from 1765 to 1779. The railway line, opened in 1873, also runs through Zvečaj. Since we explained the road names in relation to Route 1, here we must stress that this road was named after the Emperor Joseph II, who ordered its construction, after, as the story goes, he fell from a horse at the foothills of the Kapela Mountain. After crossing the Jozefina road and cycling under the railway line, the trail goes on, through groves and meadows, to Lipa on the Dobra river. The community was named after the linden tree, hallowed by Croats in the distant past. Even today, the Croats use its leaves to make an excellent tea. In this picturesque area, you can also visit the St. Nicholas the Bishop church, and the nearby Dvor castle, as well as the S-shaped Ralica river cascade. The Bedem walkway will take you to the remains of the ancient Lipa fort.
The trail continues downstream, along the right coast of the calm Dobra, to Gradišće, Mračin and Dubravci. This is the heart of the so-called ‘Paurija’ area. During the antiquity, there were limestone quarries in that area, producing the sarcophagi. One such carved construction, a trough called ‘škrinja’ (a box, a chest) by the locals, has been preserved south of the Mračin village. From Dubravci, through Gršćaki, the trail descends to Mrežničke Poljice, and joins the Karlovac-Senj road. After a few kilometers to the south, you’ll arrive at Belavići and finish the trail at the Mrežnica bridge. This is the end of Route 2, so you can safely put another notch to your handlebar.