The Zagreb Times Sinke

Bjelovar-Bilogora County is full of small pictureSque towns and villages scattered across the gentle hills of Bilogora, Papuk and Moslavina. The locals in this region have been engaged in cattle breeding and agriculture for centuries. Thus, it is no surprise that in 2016, Bjelovar-Bilogora County became a member of EDEN, a European Network of Destinations of Excellence aimed at promoting sustainable tourism. Moreover, last year the county was the finalist in the EDEN competition for the award in the category of Tourism and Local Gastronomy

On several occasions, the county has been given the Green Flower Award for the excellent landscaping and management of towns, squares, parks and gardens.
Bjelovar-Bilogora County is famous for its rich variety of food and long tradition of winemaking. Excellent gastronomy and the wealth of wines that are part of its rural tourism earned Bjelovar-Bilogora County membership in EDEN in 2016.

This region invites tourists to try plenty of traditional specialties and visit numerous wine roads, as well as facilities for active vacation, such as various hiking and mountain biking trails.

Daruvar Health Spa
The area of the county is also rich in thermal springs, and the most famous health spa is located in Daruvar. As early as Roman times, Daruvar was known as a thermal town where ancient Romans would go to enjoy the spa. Today, the spa is the first classified health SPA hotel and a member of EHTTA, the European Historic Thermal Towns Association, whose members are renowned health spas such as Vichy, France.

The health spa hotel has two outdoor swimming pools and one indoor swimming pool with healing thermal water that has a temperature between 28 and 35 °C, and a hydro massage. Accommodation is provided in a block of buildings located in a beautiful centuries-old park surrounded by sports grounds and a lake.

Equestrian tourism
There are about 10 active equestrian clubs in the county, more than 100 kilometres of marked equestrian trails and about 15 Horse Welcome Points. This year, international association ENGEA (Ente nazionale guide equestri ambientali), which has 35,000 members in Europe, has opened its first branch in the county and the first 12 horseback riding guides have already been certified.
Bjelovar-Bilogora County certainly lives up to its equestrian reputation – it hosts domestic and international endurance riding competitions and it offers tourists a number of routes and walking paths for horseback riding. Tourists can also visit horse stables or enjoy a unique experience of riding horseback to the pristine nature of Bilogora.

Blatnica Information Point and LokvanjiC Educational Trail
Blatnica Information Point in Bjelovar-Bilogora County was opened in 2016 with the aim of preserving the wetland area, the carp fishponds and the wetland birds. There are 101 species of birds in the area of Blatnica fishponds and visitors can register at Blatnica Information Point to participate in the bird watching programme for tourists. Blatnica Information Point was established in order to promote areas that are part of Natura 2000 – an environmental network of the European Union comprised of core breeding and resting sites for preservation of endangered species and habitat types.
There is also the LokvanjiC Educational Trail, named after the fringed water-lily (Nymphoidespeltata) which the locals also dubbed lokvanjiC. The trail is lined with 10 educational wooden boards with a lot of information on the area’s flora and fauna. On the 2.9 kilometre-long LokvanjiC Educational Trail there are also two birdwatching towers.

Mato Lovrak Cultural Centre and newly opened Veliki Grdevac Sports & Recreation Centre
The Mato Lovrak Cultural Centre was founded in Veliki Grdevac, at the site of the birth house of Mato Lovrak who was a popular Croatian children’s writer. Besides the writer’s birth house, there are also some objects associated with his most popular books, such as the Mill from the book Druzba Pere Kvrzice and the steam locomotive with three carriages from the book Vlak u snijegu, as well as an interpretation room and the Friends of Nature Trail.

In June 2016, Veliki Grdevac Sports & Recreation Centre was opened in the vicinity of this educational centre celebrating Lovrak’s work. The Sports & Recreation Centre that is an addition to the Mato Lovrak Cultural Centre features a 25-metre long swimming pool, a shallow pool for toddlers, a hydro massage pool with thermal healing water and numerous sports grounds for tennis, volleyball, table tennis, table football and billiards.

Visit the official website of Bjelogorska Bilogorska Tourist Board, and learn more about this fascinating place in Croatia.

Written by: Viktorija Macukic

Photo: TZ Bjelovarsko-Bilogorska County