These roads have been somewhat forgotten over time, until now where there is an increasing amount of interest in the routes thanks to the authors of the book "the Old Road to the Sea" by Lara Cernicki and Stašo Forenbaher who spent a few years putting together a detailed account of the routes and their architectural significance to Croatian heritage.
Starting in the Pannonian plain and passing through the Gorski Kotar forests onto the Croatian coast, the construction of Carolina, Jozefina, Louisiana and Rudolfina roads, all named after the Austrian rulers or members of their families, were designed and built by Croatians for the most part. Interestingly, many parts of the old roads act as existing roads and have long been covered in bitumen with many people being completely unaware of the significance of the road they are using.
If you'd like to take a ride through Croatia's history through some spectacular landscapes, along rivers, through forests, to some impressive architectural and cultural monuments and through the mountains, and finishing your ride by descending to the coast, the old roads of Croatia is the perfect cycle route for you.
This road was the first to connect continental Croatia with the Adriatic sea and was constructed from 1726 to 1732. The road starts in Karlovac and was built as a transport route for grain to the port of Bakar.The road was named after the Emperor Charles VI Habsburg and is 105km long.
Constructed from 1770 to 1779 by Emporer Joseph II Habsburg, the Jozefina road goes from Karlovac to Senj and is 100km long. The roads highest point is located at Mala Kapela at 888m and takes you through Duga Resa, Mrežnički Brig, Gornji Večaj, Generalski Stol, Tounj, Skradnick, Josipdol, Križpolje, Žuta Lokva and then descends into Senj.
This road goes from Karlovac to Rijeka is 140km long and was constructed from 1803 to 1811. At the time is was known as one of the most picturesque routes in Europe. The highest point of the route takes you to 928m as you pass through the beautiful forests of Gorski before you descend into the port town of Rijeka.
In 1874 the Croatian Ban Ivana Mažuranića constructed the Rudolfina road which branched off from Jozefina road at Josipdol and passes over Velika Kapela to Ogulin then onto Novi Vinodolski. This road reaches its highest point of 1083 metres and was interestingly was only paved in 2005.