Active Day Trips from Zagreb: Lakeside Sveta Nedelja Cycling

Total Croatia News

Pumptrack Sveta Nedelja, a popular attraction for cyclists and skateboarders
Pumptrack Sveta Nedelja, a popular attraction for cyclists and skateboarders

November 8, 2020 – Perhaps best-known as the home of Rimac Automobili, Sveta Nedelja cycling charms are attracting many out of the nearby capital, Zagreb. 

When my kids heard the itinerary, they both laughed and declared that we were DEFINITELY going. Dad – on a bike. This they had to see. 

For even though they are keen cyclists, my kids had never seen me on a bike. Some bodies are not destined for two-wheeled travel. Indeed, I had only been on a bike twice in 25 years, once when I got ambushed by a cycling group in Novi Maruf during a tour organised by Varazdin County Tourist Board, and once when Jutarnji List did a 2-page feature on the fat Englishman starting a portal to the delights of inland Dalmatia. 

sveda-nedelja-cycling (2).jpg

I managed to stay on the bike long enough for the photoshoot in picturesque Vrlika, close to the source of the Cetina River north of Split. 

And so when the chaps from Sveta Nedelja invited me to come and visit the businesses of Croatia’s most successful entrepreneurial town and also enjoy an active tourism weekend, including boating, cycling and horseriding, I wasn’t personally keen, but I knew that it would be a good family experience. 

And so it proved. 

To my shame, I knew very little about Sveta Nedelja before we visited, apart from Rimac and the fact it has the most progressive and transparent local administration in Croatia. Of tourism, I had low expectations, which is probably why what I found there was the greatest surprise. 

And the cycling was fun. 

Sveta Nedelja is a municipality which is doing everything right, or so it seems from the outside. In an age of emigration, unemployment and economic depression, Croatia’s youngest town has increased its population by 10% since the 2011 census, created 20% more jobs since 2017, and has an enviably low rate of unemployment at just 3.9%. Its progressive, business-friendly tax polices have slashed taxes while increasing revenues, much of which has been invested into projects to improve the lives of its citizens. I have genuinely never seen so many kindergartens in a town that size, and the imminent introduction of free buses within the municipallity is the latest progressive move. 

It also appears that active tourism is something that Sveta Nedelja is investing in, with the e-bikes provided for our visit having been purchased by the town to make them available for tourism.  The sound of e-bikes relaxed me somewhat – a lot easier to handle than a regular bike. 

sveda-nedelja-cycling (9).jpg

There was a well-developed network of bike routes, all clearly marked in helpful info boards such as this one, with the town’s lakes an obvious attraction. 

And no wonder. 

sveda-nedelja-cycling (7).jpg

They were beautiful, and it once I got the hang of being on a bike again after all these years, it was fun to breathe in the fresh air and get immersed in total nature, just a few minutes drive from the city centre. 

sveda-nedelja-cycling (10).jpg

There were plenty of places to stop off on the way, if you want to mix your active day with something a little more relaxing. Life at Camp Zagreb by the lake on a Sunday morning in late September. 

sveda-nedelja-cycling (5).jpg

From the lakes to a canal leading to the River Sava.  

sveda-nedelja-cycling (4).jpg

And on to the grasslands, with some grass paths taking us a little away from the lakes, and on to some other surprise activities. 

sveda-nedelja-cycling (3).jpg

Clay pigeon shooting, an activity I had not tried since my schooling days, and It was interesting to watch the local hunting association in action. Even more so that the pellets were apparently biodegradable after 24 hours. 

Having watched the experts in action, we were invited to have a go. I even managed to hit my moving targets twice, AND there is a video to prove it (but of course I cannot find it at the crucial moment when I come to blog about it).  

sveda-nedelja-cycling (6).jpg

From the local hunting association to the local fishing association and some delicious local delicacies – carp prepared the traditional way. I liked the way we cycled through different communities, who were all indulging their passions in the Great Outdoors – hunting, fishing and, of course, just chilling.  

sveda-nedelja-cycling (1).jpg

Rather than let its tourism just happen, the Sveta Nedelja cycling offer comes with investment in addition to the paths, maps and info boards. 

One very popular example of this which is bringing cycling and boarding enthusiasts out of the countryside is the recently installed Pumptrack Sveta Nedelja.  

A little extra adrenaline rush for the experienced cyclist.  

Despite my growing confidence on my third cycling outing in a quarter of a century,  I decided to leave it to the experts.  

From cyclist to skateboarder, and sometimes the two in tandem, a nice little touch to the Sveta Nedelja cycling offer.  

 And this is how it looks through the eyes of a cyclist. 

sveda-nedelja-cycling (8).jpg

When we initially got the bikes, I was hoping for my ordeal would be over quickly (with half an eye on the weather, hoping the promised rain would save me), but as we cycled on, touring lake after lake, I was seduced by the natural beauty of it all, and was really beginning to enjoy myself (please don’t tell the kids…). Before we knew it, the light began to fade and evening descend on this exceptionally beautiful part of Zagreb country – the lights of the capital a reminder of its proximity (less than half an hour from the centre). 

It may be time to resurrect my cycling career. 

To learn more about the Sveta Nedelja cycling opportunities, check out the Sveta Nedelja Tourist Board website.

For the latest news from Sveta Nedelja, check out the dedicated TCN section

(The author was a guest of the Sveta Nedelja local authorities)



Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment