Through the Forest Off the Beaten Path to Paradise: Agrotourism in Na Malenom Brijegu

By 27 September 2017

Continuing our look at the rural tourism businesses of Croatia on September 27, 2017, a trip off the beaten path somewhere between Djurdjevac and Virovitica to the delightful Na Malenom Brijegu. 

Croatia is a wonderful country, and it would truly take a lifetime to explore its various nooks and crannies in sufficient detail. Having moved to continental Croatia from the island of Hvar this year, we are fortunate to have the possibility to explore and discover this much less written about region, where the people are warm, the welcome is genuine, and the tourism is heartfelt.

I wrote recently about a wonderful weekend in the middle of nowhere, an outstanding agrotourism business in the village of Otrovanec near Virovitica, called Zlatni Klas. A business which next month will celebrate 40 years of existence against all odds, in a region where tourism barely exists. And yet the determination of one father and son (ably assisted by the rest of the family) has enabled Zlatni Klas to showcase what is possible in The Beautiful Croatia. Read more about Zlatni Klas here.  

While there, they told me about another rural tourism business which had recently opened in the region, called Na Malenom Brijegu (which translates as On the Little Hill). They were very happy that it was open, for this newer place also had horseriding and stables in their offer, and tourists were now able to ride the 14km between the two locations to enhance their holiday experience. 


We made a call and headed off in the general direction. I am relatively new to driving by GPS, preferring to rely on old school maps and asking passers by, but I am very glad we had the GPS on this occasion. Off the main road we went through pretty little villages until the road got smaller. And then the tarmac finished. 

Continue, said our GPS, and onward we drive, climbing slightly and enjoying this delightful forest, a thing of true beauty. Could the property be located in this? 


Finally we emerged from the forest to a big clearing and rolling hills, and found our imminent hosts located where they promised they would be - on top of a little hill.  


The contrast between the thick forest and the gorgeous landscapes in front was stark - it reminded me a little of England.  


And there were no prizes for guessing what caught the eye of our two daughters - horses! Horseriding is one of the key activities on offer at Na Malenum Brijegu.  


All visits to Na Malenom Brijegu begin with reference to this pear tree, which is a full 100 years old. Out came the welcoming pear rakija, and the assertion that anyone who drinks the pear rakija will live to be 100. I certainly felt that I could live forever after a couple of shots...  


There were animal distractions of all sizes and levels of cuteness.  


And some additional fun for the little ones - tractor rides! 


The kids went for a wander after lunch and things were suspiciously quiet, so I went off in search and soon realised why they had been so quiet - they had volunteered themselves to help out with the horses and were busy feeding them.


Horseriding is a major activity at Na Malenom Brijegu, with the owner himself a very successful horseman in endurance events.  


As with many agrotourism businesses in Croatia, Na Malenom Brijegu started organically. A family which had a weekend house and loved coming there. Friends came for lunch, then more friends, and all marvelled at the peace, tranquillity and wonderful views. A restaurant opened, so that more people came. They loved the hospitality and the peace. Some wanted to stay.  


And so some simple rural accommodation was provided. 


Simple pleasures and modern comforts.  


With fantastic views. More people want to come and enjoy this slice of paradise so the family are now in the process of building two more apartments. Good news travels fast in these parts. A rather delightful place if you happen to be travelling in this part of Croatia, and I was happy to learn as it was getting dark as we left that there are plenty of other access roads to the property without the need to go through the forest again, although it would be a shame to miss the experience at least once.  


There was just one character still to meet - the house 'veda'.  Each house in the Bjelovar - Bilogora region had its own veda, or house guardian (we came across this chap in one of the cellar rooms), who were guardians of the house, keeping them warm, but who could also be bad, for those who behaved badly. The local tourist board has latched on to this theme and devised veda-themed treasure hunts. 

And despite being so remote, this picturesque region has its own famous person, one of Croatia's most celebrated artists, Edo Murtic, who today has a gallery named after him in Split, but as a boy was presumably raised on the stunning views of Na Malenom Brijegu. 

To learn more, visit their official website. and to find them, Google Maps below is your friend.