Going to nature is the bestbolji is an escape from the asphalt and hectic lifestyle, especially in these hot summer days ahead. Rivers, lakes, forests and mountains are a cure for everyday stress, but also a safe haven today in times of pandemic. Nature walks are especially interesting at this time of corona virus when everyone wants to stay in the fresh air and outdoors without a big crowd.
We explored the corona free walks and trails located in Zagreb County all close to the capital, but also quite far enough away from it to ensure you peace, security and social distance.
Excursion site Japetić is the highest peak of the Samobor hills and is one of the favorite places of many mountaineers. Near the very top is the Žitnica Mountain Lodge, near which is a pyramid from which visitors can see mountainous and northwestern Croatia, but also Slovenia, all the way to the Alps. Until 2007, a regular annual meeting of amateur astronomers known as the Japetić Star Party was held on Japetić, but due to the growth of light pollution in the town of Jastrebarsko, the meetings were moved to Petrova gora. This resort is rich in forests, numerous protected plant species, but also trails that eagerly await their visitors. If you are a fan of paragliding, try the competitions that take place on the meadow below the Mountain Lodge.
Another peak of the Samobor hills is Oštrc, a conical stone ridge with a view of the surroundings. It is characterized by a pyramidal shape with steep slopes. The top is covered with a meadow which provides an excellent view of the rest of the Samobor hills. Precisely because of the mountain characteristics, Oštrc is said to have an alpine appearance. After a strenuous walk and enjoying nature, you can look for a vacation at the Željezničar Mountain Lodge. This area is recognizable by the steep slopes on both sides. On the south side of the peak is the Flink rock, 15 meters high. The shortest and steepest way to the top is from the village of Braslovje and it takes about 45 minutes to climb. If you are attracted to mountaineering, Oštrc is a picnic spot that you must visit.
Back in 1834, the first climbing ascent in the history of Croatian mountaineering was recorded at the top of Okić. It is about the Illyrian Dragojla Jarnević who climbed to the top of Okić through the rocks. The rocks on the south side are used as an alpine training ground, and below Okić is the Dr. Max Plotnikov where you can take a break after visiting this peak. The Old Town, one of the oldest medieval noble towns, was built on the rocks of Okić. It is located in a special position of very valuable preserved Romanesque architecture, unique for continental Croatia. Nearby settlements are marked by this name; Novo Selo Okićko and Sveti Martin pod Okićem. The forests on the east and south sides have been turned into vineyards and orchards, and the Okica cherries are especially famous. Apart from a walk through forests and meadows, the Ethno House under Okić is also worth a visit.
One of the most beautiful valleys of the Samobor hills is the Slapnica valley. It got its name from the numerous waterfalls through which the water descends through a narrow, deeply cut valley, and most of them are formed due to the process of travertine deposition. One hundred meters upstream is the spring of Slapnica, in the hinterland of which the real karst world hides. This picnic area is located in the central part of Žumberačka gora, on the border of the municipalities of Žumberak and Krašić. Most of the valley was protected in 1964 as a significant landscape, and since 1999 it has become part of the Žumberak - Samoborsko gorje Nature Park. Apart from the beauties of untouched nature, at this resort you can find the only permanently inhabited house in the valley - Dragan's mill. There is also an old farm and the manor of the noble Medven family, which you can also visit.
The second highest peak of the Samobor hills is Plešivica. This mountain massif covered with dense forest is one of the most famous wine-growing areas in Croatia. The forests of Plešivica were created mainly by afforestation, and are rich in coniferous trees. At the top of Plešivica there is a lookout tower which was originally built of wood. It burned down in 1881, and the other, from 1905, stands to this day. It offers a view of the southern slopes of the mountain, where villages and vineyards are scattered. This picnic area is known for its wine festivities and the rich offer of the Plešivica Wine Road, and in addition to wine lovers, it is also attractive to mountaineers. If you are one of them, be sure to visit Pleševica.
EDUCATIONAL TRAIL OTRUŠEVEC
The first educational trail in Croatia was opened in 1990 at the instigation of the Environmental Society of Samobor. It was renovated in 2018 and consists of nine stages: landscape, forests, village, lookout, vineyard, sinkhole, blower, Grgos cave and limestone. Each stage of this trail hides its charm, and the above-mentioned Grgos Cave, discovered thanks to Josip Grgos in 1973, stands out. It is the most beautiful cave in northwestern Croatia, which has become a protected geomorphological monument of nature. In addition to the rich flora and fauna, visitors will be able to delight with cleaner, richer air and much clearer vistas. In addition, fossils from ancient times can be found here because this area was once covered by the Pannonian Sea.
KNEŽEVA TRAIL - BUDINJAK
In the central part of Žumberak, between Bregana and Krašić, there is Budinjak, a town with only a dozen inhabitants and an extremely rich past. Hiding millennial legends about fairies and elves dancing a wheel on Budinjačko polje, the place has remained almost completely preserved to this day. The dukes' trail in the Budinjak Eco Center offers just over four kilometers of natural beauty and a rich past that has been created and maintained by locals for thousands of years. In addition to preserved nature and geological phenomena, you can also find archeological finds from the Early Iron Age and Roman times.
The hills, forests and meadows that merge with the peaceful Sunday resorts offer several pleasant hiking trails tailored to undemanding walkers. Ribolov on the lakes or paintball in the adrenaline park prove that this resort is an ideal place for lovers of peaceful excursions, but also for adventurers. The place is also suitable for cycling enthusiasts, and the special charm is given by the beautiful views of Zagreb, Samoborsko gorje and Hrvatsko Zagorje. On one of the hills, visitors to this area will be delighted by the church of the Holy Trinity, several centuries old.
INSTRUCTIVE FOREST TRAIL
The nine-kilometer-long Šumarica hiking trail connects the settlements of Krušak and Kozjača. You can walk around the trail in just two hours. Along the trail there are information boards that talk about the history of Vukomeričke gorice, wooden construction, flora and fauna. The path will lead you through the forest, forest slopes and cuts, along the stream Curek and across the stream Kozara, then past meadows, vineyards and cellars. In addition to natural resources, the village yards and estates of Žitkovčica to the Lakovica lookout point will catch your eye.
Not far from Vrbovec is Varoški lug, the kingdom of pedunculate oak and hornbeam. Since 1982, it has been declared a Special Zoological Reserve due to the richness of animal species. The resort offers high observatories from which you can observe animals, a rich landscape and the watercourse of the river Glogovnica. With an easy three-hour walk, this resort offers a rapprochement with nature and its riches. The eight-kilometer-long trail hides small differences in altitude in which Glogovnica played a key role, with its natural and later regulated course. It is for this reason that there is no need to climb because you will find yourself on a distinct plane that does not require too much effort.
Cover photo: Zagreb County Tourist Board