Geographically it lies north of the Sava River and is bordered with the Medvednica Mountain and Slovenia.
One of the hubs of man in Europe, Zagorje is a home to the Neanderthals near Krapina, ancient ruins, hot springs, endless forests, vast vineyards, and hilltops. People are warm and friendly and will occasionally call the stray cyclist in for a gemisht, a drink of wine with sparkling water. Zagorje is a wine region and gastro haven.
Wine is in Zagorje’s blood, roads meander through the hills dotted with vines, vineyards and wine cellars (Kleti) where small wooden cottages can be seen throughout. Regardless of your love of wine, during autumn, you won’t be able to resist stopping to enjoy eating ripe grapes picked right off the vine.
A land with a rich history, Zagorje’s cuisine is a mix of German, Hungarian, Slovenian and Croatian with an occasional oriental touch. However, everything you eat feels authentic and like it was made at home. Be it “purica with mlinci”, or “zlevanka” pie, pumpkin pie, and many others, we promise, you won’t have better food anywhere else.
With a rich culture and long history, men have inhabited these lands from the prehistoric age, where neanderthal remains were found near Krapina and Ivanščica. Let's not forget the middle age forts and numerous churches, chapels and burgs which dot the landscape as well. Whether you start from the north or the south, you will enjoy roaming Zagorje and the history will find you.
Veliki Tabor, a burg unique in Europe in whose halls the legend of Veronika Desinič and her doom still roams, to country residencies of Mihanović, Oršić, to baroque castles of Bežanec and Miljana, are all a rarity even in Europe. If you prefer to see the history of the written word hit the pedals towards Stubički Golubovac and read over 600 thousand of books of “Kajkavski” poems, novels, documents and decrees.
While cycling around Zagorje, you will notice hundreds of Christian pillars, chapels, churches, landmarks. And, then you will discover Marija Bistrica, a place of great sanctity to the Christians, only second to Lourdes in France. Thousands of pilgrims visit Marija Bistrica every summer and throughout the year.
Where to start in Zagorje? If you stay in Zagreb, hit the Medvednica, just a 15-kilometre ride from Ban Jelačić Square and enjoy the ten kilometre downhill ride into the heart of Zagorje itself. If you come from Slovenia its best to base yourself around Krapina or Marija Bistrica and go for a multi-day trip.