If you have some spare time in Zagreb then this loop is definitely worth getting the Lycra on for.
Starting and finishing in Trg bana J. Jelacica, the main square at the heart of Zagreb, this route gains 1075m in elevation in a mere 35km of riding.
The climbers will relish this one.
From the square point your bike in the opposite direction of the Ban Josip Jelacic statue and head towards Zagreb cathedral. This route does not give your legs much time to warm up as you will be climbing as soon as you leave the square.
After passing the hospital you will reach Mirogoj Cemetery, which is definitely worth a visit when you are in Zagreb.
The route then follows quiet, tree lined roads on the way to the bottom of the real climbing. Eventually you will leave the houses behind and start the real climbing on Sljemenska cestra. For the most part this road is a one-way system. If you decide to cycle on a hot day then the trees provide plenty of shade up the climb.
At 9.8km long the climb will certainly test the legs especially as the gradients rise out of each of those hairpins meandering up.
The Strava segment above shows what you will need to do to be crowned the virtual KOM or QOM up this famous climb. If TV transmitter towers are your thing then the top of the climb at 1035m will not disappoint. The Zagreb TV tower is 169m tall and was built in 1973. Inevitably it was damaged during the Croatian War of Independence and even has potential for a restaurant. There are other places to stop for a quick bite on the hill but with such a short loop it is likely that you will want to continue back into Zagreb for some food.
The best thing about this descent is that, like the ascent, it is a one-way traffic system so you should never have to avoid oncoming traffic. That being said, care should be taken on the middle section in particular which is quite technical with some blind, tight corners.
The road is narrow but the road surface is relatively smooth.
On the way down hill the trees start to clear enough to offer great views over Zagreb
Around halfway down the climb you will come to a fork in the road as shown above although you are not allowed to take a right ontot the road due to the one-way system. This road leads to Medvegrad, a medieval fortified town built between 1249 and 1254 after the Tatar invasion of 1242.
On a clear day you can see this fortress from Zagreb and it in turn offers great panoramic views across to the city below. If you are comfortable walking in your cycling shoes then I would walk from here to save you cycling back up this road from the bottom of the hill.
The descent ends abruptly at a roundabout so make sure you have scrubbed enough off enough speed by this point. From here it is only a few more kilometers of mostly quiet streets until you are back in the heart of Zagreb.
No doubt the best way to finish this ride is with a cold Karlovačko at one of the bars that line the main square as you reflect on a short ride that has it all; epic climbs, technical descents and all on the doorstep of Zagreb.
This route has been designed for those who want to get he most out of cycling in Zagreb but are short on time. Please contact us if you need any more information about the route, places to eat and drink on the way or where to hire bikes.
We can create custom routes if this one does not exactly match your needs or perhaps you want something a bit longer. If that is the case then drop us an email and we will create a custom route complete with map files and an information booklet to get the most out of your time in the saddle.