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Crossing the border at Bregana, Croatia by bicycle

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Crossing the border at Bregana, Croatia by bicycle

Old 03-02-18, 12:20 PM
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raybo
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Crossing the border at Bregana, Croatia by bicycle

I am planning a bike ride from Zagreb, Croatia to Ljubljana, Slovenia. I will need to cross the border. I am a US citizen. From what I’ve read, the only border crossing open to non-EU passports near Zagreb is at Bregana, Croatia. The main border crossing there is on an expressway where bicycles aren't allowed.

According to a local, there is another crossing at Bregana that isn't on the expressway that I can use. No one else seems to know anything about this.I’ve tried to answer the following questions by searching on the web, but the information is confusing and, for bicycles, non-existent.

My questions:

Has anyone (with a non-EU passport) crossed from Croatia into Slovenia at Bregana? What was your experience?

Has anyone been to Zagreb? Is it worth a couple days of riding there and back to visit?
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Old 03-02-18, 04:24 PM
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Hi Raybo,

I can't answer your questions exactly, but my experience might be useful for you. In 2015, I did a cross-Europe ride and tried to cycle from Ljubljana to Zagreb. It was a strange day.

Like you, I'm on a 3rd party passport (New Zealand). I had no idea that some border crossing are restricted to EU citizens only. I attempted to cross into Croatia at Rigonce. I was turned away and the guards pointed to the north. I cycled north until I found another border at Oresje na Bizeljskem. They also pointed me north. I kept riding until I finally reached the crossing to the north of Bistrica ob Sotli. I was able to cross there, but overall the detour added 80km to the ride.

I assume the guards I encountered all sent me north because Bregana was not an option for cyclists. But they may've just been unaware of a cycle option.

My memory of Zagreb is of an enormous city. Walking from one city block to the next took ages. I have a strong interest in archaeology and Zagreb's archaeology museum is excellent, so I found the visit worthwhile. I can't think of too many other reasons to visit it.

I did enjoy cycling around the southern outskirts of the city on a track along the side of the Sava river. The area was very green and flowery.

Cheers,
James
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Old 03-07-18, 05:37 AM
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Personally I loved Zagreb when I was there. I just spent ages walking around the old town and enjoying some of the restaurants. I visited the Museum of Broken Relationships (yes, that really is a thing) because it was just something different. The place was irritating but not impossible to cycle out of.

I can't answer the question on your specific border crossing because I crossed into Slovenia on the coast somewhere near Piran. FWIW, I didn't have any problems at all there.

Do you absolutely have to take the direct route from Zagreb to Ljubljana? You'll miss some pretty amazing places by going direct.
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Old 03-07-18, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris L View Post
Do you absolutely have to take the direct route from Zagreb to Ljubljana? You'll miss some pretty amazing places by going direct.
I have no need to take the "direct" route from Zagreb to Ljubljana. I'd be very interested in places you recommend seeing between the two. Note that I intend to take in Lake Bled and then the Soca Valley on my way into the Dolomites.
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Old 03-07-18, 01:47 PM
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A lot depends on where you're coming from before you hit Croatia. I think the best of Croatia is the islands, Plitvice Lakes and Istria (the northern peninsula near the Slovenian border which is full of medieval villages). If you're coming from Bosnia or the Split/Dubrovnik area, you could almost skip Zagreb and head west, hitting the lakes, a couple of Islands (Cres was my personal favourite) and Istria, before crossing into Slovenia. From there, you could hit Piran, Škocjan and Predjama on the way into Ljubljana.

Of course, if you're actually flying into Zagreb at the beginning, that might require a little more of a detour. As I said, Zagreb is a nice enough city, but it is a little out of the way if you want to take in the best of Croatia and/or Slovenia.
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Old 03-07-18, 03:01 PM
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My current itinerary starts near Venice, heads over to Trieste, rides around Istria and over to the Coast at Opatija, down the coast a bit to Senj, turns east to Plitvice and then north toward Zagreb. From there, into Slovenia, ending up in the Soca Valley (weather permitting) and then up into the Dolomites before returning to Venice.

I considered riding onto some of the islands, but it is early in the season. This makes ferries a bit harder to time. In addition, as I am not going down the coast very far, riding on the islands is a bit out of the way for me. It seems to me that island hopping is better for those who are making there way much further south toward Split and Dubrovnik.

Going all the way over to Zagreb is a 2-day detour (1 day there, 1 day sightseeing) that might be better spent riding through one of the islands or spending more time in Slovenia. In my experience, riding into, through, and then out of big European cities can be both challenging and uninteresting.

Thanks for the information and suggestions. I'd be interested in anything else you can suggest.
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Old 03-08-18, 03:41 PM
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I think the itinerary you have is pretty good. Following the coast road from Opatija to Senj is probably the best option if you're going early in the season. The island route that I followed over that section in July 2015 required me to negotiate three ferries (although it was very beautiful), which could be more difficult in the low season.

If Zagreb requires a two day detour and you're also anticipating issues crossing the border afterward, I'd probably skip it. After Plitvice, you could either head to Karlovac (which has a nice enough castle) and cross the border into Slovenia there, or take the minor road from Slunj to Tounj and head north. There do seem to be a couple of border crossings in that area which might save you some time.
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