Map 12 — Blue route
Vrbovec – Lovrečka Varoš – Preseka – Gornji Tkalec – Gradec – Vrbovec
This picturesque route through the hilliest part of the Vrbovec area takes us along trails and roads through idyllic landscape and distant villages. The route begins in the centre of Vrbovec at the large parking lot 1 next to the Art Gallery. From the parking lot, head down Stjepana Radića Street towards Zagrebačka Street. At the intersection with the very busy Zagrebačka Street 2 , take caution while crossing the road and continue straight along Kutenova Street in the direction of the village Cerje. Ride along the less travelled road through the field, and after a short climb you will enter into Cerje, the best kept village in the Vrbovec area. The village has many lovely and well-kept homes and yards, while in the spring and summer months, ower baskets hang from the electric poles. The local chapel and the small, local dairy plant are also decorated with owers. After Cerje, the route continues with an uphill section through the vineyards, between the vineyard huts. If you look over your shoulder, you will see a lovely view of Vrbovec and its two recognizable towers of the parish Church of St. Vitus and the Vrbovec water tower. Next is a downhill ride to Lovrečka Varoš. This village is known for its beautiful, late Baroque Church of St. Lawrence. The interior contains a unique pulpit shaped like Jonah’s fish (or Jonah’s whale from 1780).This is the only pulpit of its kind in Croatia, belonging to the type of natural pulpit that is commonly seen in the Czech Republic and Silezia. The pulpit is the work of an unknown sculptor, perhaps an artist from baroque city of Varaždin, with a strong and impressive sculpting style. At the y intersection 3 in Lovrečka Varoš, turn left and continue northwards past the cemetery towards Hruškovica. At the 6 km mark from the route starting point, you will reach the t intersection in the village of Cerik. To the left of the intersection is the Chapel of St. Valentine and the Heart of Mary. At the intersection, continue riding straight through. The ride takes you through picturesque landscapes surrounded by orchards, meadows and fields, with lovely views on each side. The blue route takes you along the less busy roads through the villages of Hruškovica and Kamenica. At the 10.8 km mark, you will reach a y intersection 4 . Here turn right in the direction of Preseka. At the intersection you will see the monument to the fighters of the NOB (National Liberation Battle). To the left is a paved road that leads to Pogančec. This village is not on the blue route, but it is particularly interesting, as it was already mentioned as an estate in 1481. Today, the village is dominated by the refined, architecturally interesting Church of Our Lady of Loretto. This lovely church is today in poor condition. It was completed in 1780 as a votive church by the nobleman Antun Petričević, who built it in thanks for returning home alive from the Seven Year’s War (1756 – 1763). If you continue further along the blue route, after a long uphill climb, you will enter into the municipal centre, the village of Preseka, at the 13 km mark of the route. In the municipal centre stand the district school, hunting lodge, taverns and several shops. The centre is dominated by the parish Church of St. Peter, which stands upon an impressive clearing. In the centre of Preseka, turn right at the t intersection 5 . To the left is turnoff a which takes you about 7.5 km one way to link to the bicycle routes on Map 10 of the Zelina area and the village Zrinščina with its old charcoal kilns. The turnoff route is very hilly and somewhat more demanding. After turning right, you will reach a steep downhill section, so take caution. Continue on in the direction of Kraljev Vrh. Pass through Kraljev Vrh and ride through the lovely valley of the Velika stream towards Gornji Tkalec. Before entering Gornji Tkalec, you will have a light climb alongside a fallow deer farm before riding along the ridge of the hill with its lovely vistas. At the 19 km mark of the route, you will enter into Gornji Tkalec with its Church of St. Mary. At the t intersection in the village, continue straight through, as the road to the left leads to Veliki Raven. After Gornji Tkalec, at the 19.8 km mark, you will reach the y intersection 6 with the busy road. Here turn right and ride cautiously for 200 m to the next t intersection, where again take caution while turning left onto the side road for Novaki Ravenski. In Novaki Ravenski, the gravel road begins and will lead you straight to the village of Zagorci. At the t intersection 7 in Zagorci, the gravel road ends, and the route continues to the right, downhill along a paved road towards Repinec. The views on this part of the route are magnificent, as you are riding along the ridge of the hill. On the downhill section, take caution, as the descent ends at the intersection with the busy road that leads to Gradec. At this t intersection 8 , at the 24.3 km mark, turn right and continue past the chapel-shrine to the Queen of Peace (1916). The route continues through Podjales, offering spectacular views over the entire area, and leads on towards Gradec. Before entering into the centre of Gradec, you will reach a t intersection 9 at the 27.8 km mark. Here turn right and head downhill in the direction of Mali Brezovec. Be sure to stop in at nearby Gradec, the centre of the municipality, which is dominated by the parish Church of the Wounded Jesus (constructed from 1768 to 1824), with its main Historicist altar designed by Herman Bollé. The local cafes are a good spot for rest and refreshment. After turning at the t intersection, ride downhill to Mali Brezovec. At the 29.4 km mark of the route, continue the ride along a gravel road, next to the stream. The gravel road ends in Gostović at the t intersection 10 with the busy road at the 30.9 km mark. At the intersection, turn left and continue riding cautiously along the main road Vrbovec – Križevci. After 400 m, you will reach the next t intersection 11 . If you continue down the main road, you will reach the Lovrečina Grad castle (closed to the public, known since 1540, adapted in the mid 19th century). At the intersection 11 continue riding straight along the side road alongside the meadows and fields through Kućari. After the 33.1 km mark, you will again reach a t intersection with the main road. Turn left here and ride cautiously for 400 m until the next t intersection 12 , where you will turn right off the main road onto a narrow, less busy road for Lovrečka Varoš. After a short climb, you will reach Lovrečka Varoš and again come upon the section of the blue route you have already ridden. Enjoy the gentle descent through the vineyards and the village of Cerje, and sort through the many impressions you have taken in from this beautiful bicycle route through the hilliest and loveliest viewpoints of the Vrbovec area. Head back to the centre of Vrbovec, and treat yourself to a coffee in one of the town’s many lovely cafes, while reecting upon some of the many famous people from Vrbovec, such as Croatian writer and journalist Marija Jurić Zagorka or perhaps the great Croatian Ban (Vice-roy) Petar Zrinski, and the Zrinski-Frankopan conspiracy and their execution at Wiener Neustadt in 1671.