Educational trails

 Forest trail Bliznec

At the most visited entrance into the Nature Park Medvednica, by the stream Bliznec, there is the Forest trail Bliznec, particular for being completely adjusted to visitors with disability. If you walk all of its 800 meters and read the educational boards along the trail, you will learn a few things about the vivid history of this part of Medvednica and about its flora and fauna. In 2003 the trail was enriched with new contents – the Way of the Cross. Since then, on every Good Friday more and more believers gather to tour its 14 stations. Apart from being completely available to people in wheelchairs, and therefore families with small children, all texts are available in Braille so that the blind and the people with poor eyesight can read them. To prevent them from being damaged, the texts in Braille are placed in unique “Forest books”. The trail is primarily made of wood and it blends nicely with its surrounding. It finishes near the sawmill Bliznec where there is now a catering facility.

If you don’t have much time but you wish to fill your lungs with clean air, rest your eyes on ample green tree crowns and listen to the gurgle of a forest stream, we recommend you take a walk along this unique educational trail.

Geological educational trail Miroslavec

This pleasant trail which meanders from Šestinski lagvić through the forest shade along the Kraljevec stream up to the popular site Kraljičin zdenac mostly attracts visitors who wish to experience nature without much nuisance. Count Miroslav Kulmer had the trail built in the late 19th century for his wife Elvira, so the trail was then named after her but in recent years it became more known by the name Miroslavec. The pleasant walk along this trail is “spiced up” with pieces of knowledge – since is goes through the oldest part of Medvednica, educational boards which present the complex geological history and structure of this mountain in an interesting and unique way are placed by the trail. The walk along the trail lasts about an hour. In that time you will get to know the rocks you can see along the trail, the Greenschist and shale, deep-sea limestone and fossils that can be found in such rocks. The educational trail Miroslavec ends at Kraljičin zdenac where there is a catering facility of the same name.

500 Horvatovih stuba (500 Horvat’s stairs)

These 500 stone stairs are considered to be the most impressive and most beautiful site built by human hand on this mountain.

Vladimir Horvat was a journalist, publisher, restless photo-reporter and a great lover of Medvednica. In 1946 he began to build a stone staircase on a wild inaccessible karst above the stream Bistri jarek. After seven years of hard work he unveiled this hidden corner of extraordinary beauty to visitors. By walking up the stairs we can explore the dark caves, discover beautiful belvederes, look deep into pits and sinkholes, touch the sharp limestone rocks and find out more about these karst phenomena by reading the educational boards along the trail. We can also learn more about the valuable and endangered yew and linden forest through which this unique trail goes. At the bottom of the stairs, near the stream, there is a small resting area Srnec, with wooden benches and a shelter from the rain, where we can take a break and listen to the sounds of the forest.

Horvat’s 500 stairs have completely blended with nature, as if they have always been a part of the karst. They are a nice proof that man and nature can go hand in hand. Even nowadays, 50 years later, they are still a favourite destination of mountaineers and visitors.

You can reach these stairs by taking the marked trail from Hunjka or by car (take the road towards Zagorje and stop at the turning with a small car park on the left side where there’s a big board “500 Horvatovih stuba”).

Educational trail Bistra

The northern side of Medvednica is “wilder” than its south side – steep slopes with dense forests ribbed with deep canyons of mountain streams seem very inaccessible and hostile, so very few visitors decide to go for a walk along the winding forest trails of the north side. But it wasn’t always like that – up until the middle of the last century, the inhabitants of Bistra and surrounding places regularly walked along the steep paths of Bistranska gora, whether they were taking their produce to the Zagreb market, collecting forest fruits, medicinal herbs or firewood. Hunters and coal men wandered this area, and for a while miners and mining engineers searched for silver which was found at the heart of the mountain in small quantities.

The educational trail Bistra brings new visitors to the sleepy forests of Bistranska gora; nature lovers who wish to experience Medvednica in its natural state, get some exercise and have fun, clear their minds, and find out more about the mountain, its forests and creatures that live there.

The trail starts near the old school in Gornja Bistra and leads towards Medvednica, passing near the old baroque castle of the Oršić family, which used to be called “Karjonka” by the locals, after its last owner, the French count Carion. Before it starts to ascend the mountain, like in a time machine, the trail takes us back to distant history when Medvednica was still an island in an ancient ocean full of gurgling volcanoes, leaving behind volcanic rocks which can be nicely seen in an abandoned quarry at the very entrance of the Nature Park. If you decide to go deeper into the mountain, the educational boards placed by the trails will reveal to you many secrets of Medvednica: why does the sulphur spring water smell of rotten eggs, how to tell the difference between spruce and silver fir, what forest fruits were collected by people of Bistranska gora in the old days, how does the red wood ant hill look like, what animals live in the fast streams of Medvednica, how many spines does a hedgehog have, and many others.

The trail is circular and it ascends deep into the mountain, crossing over the ridge to the south side, descending all the way to the Zrinski mine. A walk along the whole trail lasts 4-7 hours, depending on how many times you will stop to enjoy the forest charms and views of Zagorje hills, rest on glades or wander the hidden forest paths. That’s why it is not necessary to walk the whole trail at once; you can return to it many times to have fun and clear your head on Bistra.

Slani potok

On the northern slopes of Medvednica, in Gornja Stubica, near the famous Gupčeva lipa, starts the educational trail “Slani potok”. This trail was arranged by the Public Institution Nature Park Medvednica in cooperation with the Gornja Stubica municipality.

We recommend you take a two-hour walk along this marked trail up to the medieval mine where valuable salt was extracted as early as the 14th century. Along the trail there are many educational boards. Apart from reading interesting stories about the natural, cultural and historical values of this part of Medvednica, from these boards you can learn about the mining business in the Middle Ages, how come there is salt under the ground and why the stream water is salty. It has been noted that during the shortage of salt, the locals used the water from the salty wells called “šokoti”. By the salty water spring there is a canopy with tables and benches. You can reach the picturesque village of Slani potok with St. Fabian and St. Sebastian chapels by a car as well.