The Medvednica mountain is a favourite destination for many residents of Zagreb. Because of its proximity and accessibility, us running guides run here at least once a week and often participate in races, including orientation, and we are very familiar with all its secrets.
This trail running tour starts on the last stop of tram number 15. As the trail running tour goes towards the mountain, it passes through a short tunnel that was built by the war prisoners after the World War II, as a starting point of never realized road between the capital and Zagorje – area on the other side of the mountain. Soon after, we pass by the cable car – the easiest but currently non-functioning way to reach the top, and continue uphill to the most popular track – Bikčevićeva track, named after the forester Tomislav Bikčević – the track whose name our runners will simply adore to pronounce, especially those who are not of Slavic origin. At the end of this trail we arrive at the mountain lodge Puntijarka, probably the most visited mountain lodge in the area where we can refresh water.
As the trail running tour continues, we cross the Mijatovac meadow and descend to the foothills of the largest attraction – 500 Horvat stairs which were built after the World War II by local enthusiast Vladimir Horvat – with his own hands, believe it or not. After climbing up the stairs, we continue our trail run uphill to another mountain lodge Hunjka, where we are rewarded with stunning views of the beautiful meadows and unforgettable horizons towards Hrvatsko Zagorje.
From Hunjka towards the peak Sljeme, we run on the ridge of Medvednica mountain, passing by the beautiful Snow Queen hotel, named after the FIS World Cup ski race and perhaps after one of the best Croatian athletes of all time – skier Janica Kostelić. Soon after, our trail running tour passes by the beautiful chapel, built in 1932, that stands 1001 meters above the sea level. It takes less than ten minutes from the chapel to the peak Sljeme – the very top of the mountain, where we can recharge our energy at a few restaurants (refreshment at runners expense).
On our way to the top, our trail running tour crosses the Činovnicka livada, the bottom of the Bijeli spust or White slope which is the least steep ski slope, as well as the start of the mentioned FIS World Cup ski race – the Crveni spust or Red slope. Interestingly, the FIS Ski World Cup “Snow Queen Trophy” is the only ski race in the vicinity of the capital, and is also a race that starts at the lowest altitude (985m) among all others.
Soon after the peak, our trail running tour continues with the last downhill stretch along the trail track called after another forester – Albin Leustek. This is also a very popular track and is very easy going and it will provide a pleasant run to the finish of our tour and return to the tunnel and the tram station that was our meeting point.
Finally, in case you would like to reload with additional energy, during this trail run there will be a few opportunities to reload with traditional Croatian snacks, as we run past a few lodges that prepare traditional Croatian dishes.