It is one of the most important objectives of the program aimed at the development of the bicycle route network to connect the Croatian and Hungarian towns located in the natural surroundings of the Mura and the Dráva and to make it natural for those living in the area to cycle and get acquainted with the neighbouring areas. This tour starts from Čakovec and ends in Nagykanizsa or, if there is a need, in Zalakaros. Completing the tour during a day is recommended only for really experienced bikers (120 kilometres) but if it is divided into more sections and for more days, it is suitable for bigger crowds to choose this route.
Čakovec is the centre of Medimurje County and the twin city of Nagykanizsa. The county is the smallest county located in the northernmost part of Croatia. It includes the area encompassed by the Dráva and the Mura as well as Croatian-Slovenian border. Medimurje County used to be the part of Zala County in the territory of the Historical Hungary until 1920. Its owners were the Zrínyis between 1546 and 1671.
Čakovec was named after Csák from the Hahót clan who was the ‘ispán’ (comes) of Zala during the reign of Béla IV. He built the first fortress here, which was a tower surrounded by a palisade in 1266. The castle became the property of Miklós Zrínyi, the hero of Szigetvár in 1547 as a compensation for soldiers’ wages that had not been paid. The Zrínyis carried out constructions and made the castle stronger, for instance by means of triangular bastions making up a star fort. During the five generations of the Zrínyis the town as well as the whole area of Medimurje developed a lot. Miklós Zrínyi, the poet and military leader wrote his most important piece of writing, the ‘Siege of Szigeti’ here and he also died here during hunting when a wild boar injured him fatally. There is a historical and hunting museum in the castle now. The other historical monument of the town is the Franciscan church and monastery. The church was inaugurated in honour of Saint Nicholas, the bishop. Its interior is rich in ornaments, in harmony with the Baroque style. The former Late-Romantic castle of the Festetics counts can be found in Szentilonai street. Today it houses the hospital of the town.
Nagykanizsa was built in the southern part of Zala county, 13 kilometres north-east from the Mura, on both sides of the Principális channel that connects the River Zala and the River Mura. The name of Kanizsa was first mentioned in 1245. At the beginning of the 14th century the core of the fortress already existed, which later had a reputation all over Europe after reconstructions and extensions. Unfortunately, nowadays there are not any remnants of the fortress. The golden age of Nagykanizsa was in the 19th century, which defined the current image of the town. It developed first into the commercial, then the administrative and cultural centre of its surroundings. It inherited a prosperous, booming trade and a vivid commercial life from the age of the Monarchy, which significantly determines the current image of the town: banks, buildings with homogenous facades in Classicist, Eclectic and Art Nouveau style, impressive and spacious green areas welcome visitors. The cafés, taverns, confectionery stores and restaurants create a Mediterranean atmosphere and spirit.
Zalakaros owes its good reputation to its thermal water (96 °C). The smallest Hungarian town is one of the 10 most popular settlements at the same time. The excellent spa offers really pleasant relaxation to each age group. After visiting the clean and ordered centre that is always full of flowers it is worth climbing the lookout tower of Zalakaros from where it is possible to spot even Lake Balaton if the weather is nice. On the vineyard surrounding the town the tired travellers can refresh themselves by means of a glass of good quality wine from a pleasant array of wine cellars.