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Sutla Valley - Rolling Hills and Heritage of Brdovec, Marija Gorica and Dubravica

Updated: Mar 2, 2019

The River Sutla flows as a border stream between Slovenia and Croatia, and is a tributary to the Sava River. The wetlands and hills on spot where Sutla and Sava join is first point of our two-day journey along the Sutla Valley. Three municipalities – Brdovec, Dubravica, and Marija Gorica, form a picturesque tourist destination very close to Zagreb, capital of Croatia.

Our first visit of the day was Lužnica Castle, a tremendous experience we would recommend to everyone visiting this area.

Afterwards we got acquainted with the past of this region in the local museum of Brdovec. Very interesting archaeology collection from places Šibice, Javorje, Drenje and Sveti Križ shows long history of life here. Findings from the Stone Age include axes, a helmet, graveyard items, etc. Romans were also present in the region, as it lies on the main corridor from Zagreb to Ljubljana, has tranquil hills with woodlands and vineyards. Even today, the area is packed with weekend retreats, as well as noblemen homes and curias.

In fact, there are three castles which take the visitors’ breath away. Apart from Lužnica, there is Januševac Castle in Prigorje Brdovečko, one of the most representative classicistic castle in Croatia, built in 1830 for baron Josip Vrkljan, and later owned by several other families. Another beautiful example of manor house is castle and park in Laduč, built in end of 19th century on place of an older estate. Last owners were barons of Vranyczany-Dobrinović, an important family for economy, politics, and culture of Croatia on turn of century. Today, it houses a social care institution for children.

Brdovec is one of the oldest parishes in Zagreb Archbishopric, founded in 1334. Famous Croatian personalities were born here, such as Zagreb canon priest Baltazar Adam Krčelić, first Croatian professional journalist, literate and politician Ivan Perkovac, painter Mihovil Krušlin, and especially Ante Kovačić, greatest writer of Croatian realism. He was writing about life of ordinary peasants and their psychology. Where these peasants were living is visible in the Brdovec ethnographic part of museum, in two replicas of traditional village houses. Next to it, one can also see religious scenes made in wood by local artists.

In such traditional houses, homemade foods consisted of staples found in the area. One such place worth of visit is the rural homestead Stara Preša, in place Šenkovec. The homestead includes restaurant, large wine cellar, and two accommodation facilities for five people all together. Here you can try best gastronomy offer of the traditional and family background, such as Zagorje soup, štrukli soup, turkey with mlinci, roasted duck, filled veal breasts, filled chicken, roasted pork, suckling pig and lamb on grill, wild game salami, homemade sausages and cheese, cheese and sour cream, apple pie. Especially in winter, Stara Preša will offer you variety of hearty local products, such as venison stew with homemade gnocchi, pork with potatoes and sauerkraut, blood sausages, garlic sausages, etc. Wine cellar is especially pleasing as it includes some of the best wines in Croatia. House wines include Green Silvaner, Sauvignon, Yellow Muscat, Frankovka, and Pinot Noir.

Adresa Ivana Turka 50, Šenkovec Tel +385 1 3391 129 GSM +385 98 9978 333, +385 98 1980 694 Email:

Kovačić was born in a village close to Marija Gorica, a hilly municipality with beautiful panorama all around. The municipality is famous for its parish church of Holy Virgin Mary, but even more for its official emblem. It is an elephant, and many wonder what does an elephant in Croatia? It is in fact an elephant ancestor from the Ice Age, whose remains were found in Marija Gorica.

Marija Gorica is also place of an old and excellent gastronomy venue Ladanjski Raj. Situated close to the centre of Marija Gorica, on Lipa Hill, with a tremendous view on Sutla Valley and Slovenian hills, this place caters guests already 43 years, seven days a week. Many locals come here for cheap and plentiful meals based on everyday nutrition of continental Croatia.

Rajski put 3, Hrastina, Marija Gorica Tel +385 1 3395 806 Fax +385 1 3395 846 Web

Third municipality, Dubravica, is moreover known for its forests and rare plants, including those from bogs and fens near the Sutla river. Also the emblem of Dubravica is one of such rare plants, endemic carnivorous plant. Most of these plants can be seen in special botanical garden in Dubravica. This municipality is also known for preserved old authentic village houses.

A special dialect of this region, beautiful castles, tranquil nature, Sutla-Sava valley and rolling hills with great vistas, old traditions and heritage together with some delicious homemade foods is indeed a very good reason to visit this area so close to Zagreb. Our visit would not have been the same without help and suggestions of Mr Stjepan Esih, director of Tourist Board of Sava-Sutla area, whom we thank in this way.

Ilije Gregorića 13, Brdovec TEL.: 00385 3398-747 FAX.: 00 385 3398-747

Photos by: Andrea Seifert, Mint Media


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