Three Days of Zagreb and Surroundings for Nature Lovers
Zagreb is a big and lively city, but it takes only half an hour to enter its vast green surroundings, so much different and quieter than the urban jungle. Nature parks, picturesque villages, hills and ridges, streams, waterfalls, lakes, dense forests, gentle plains and meadows, it's all there, within easy reach. And since Zagreb is situated between the wooded Medvednica Mountain and the Sava River, different areas of untouched nature are dispersed over the city itself. From the attractions of Medvednica to the city's lakes, you don't even have to leave Zagreb city limits to find your piece of nature. Zagreb is a very humane city, cosy and convenient, and relaxing walks have always been important to its citizens – from the very heart of the city towards the outskirts, numerous public parks, gardens and promenades are evenly distributed. In only a few days spent in Zagreb, it is possible to enjoy the experience of the capital and all it has to offer, but also stay in touch with nature. This itinerary suggests how to mix both worlds successfully.
The Lower and the Upper Town are the core of Zagreb, the first thing you have to see and take in. Even though the downtown streets and squares are the most vibrant part of the city, there is also the so-called Green Horseshoe, a system of seven elegant squares and parks, where the rhythm slows down a bit. At the end of it, find the leafy Botanical Garden, an exotic green oasis in the centre of the city. Take a stroll through the bustling Tkalčićeva Street and next to Felbinger Stairs you will see a curiosity – an urban vineyard. Climb up to Radićeva Street and set foot in the Upper Town. After a casual walk in and out the old Zagreb and its past, go to Dubravkin put and enter the shade of Tuškanac park-forest. Here you can simply get lost and enjoy, and later find your way back to the city through the hidden little park called Rokov perivoj. Treat yourself to some refreshments in Dežman Passage. End the first day in one of trendy bistros with a modern approach to traditional cuisine.
Wherever you find yourself in Zagreb, in the background you will see a wide green mountain colloquially called Sljeme, after its highest peak. Medvednica is a protected nature park and everyone’s favourite destination for a quick getaway from the city. Even though you can reach the top and most of the spots by car and public transport, choose one of the hiking trails, like the not so demanding Leustek trail, or a bit more challenging Bikčević trail. No need to hurry, take your time to marvel at nature or visit some of the sites, the chapels of Medvednica, the medieval fortified town of Medvedgrad or Horvat’s Stairs. At the end of the hike, find a nice spot in one of the mountain huts and enjoy typical homemade food – cottage cheese and cream, bean stew or roast turkey with mlinci pasta, strudels. Of course, a trip to Sljeme is also possible on a bike if you are the athletic type, as there are several cycling trails, and also an Enduro trail for adrenaline junkies.
It’s time to get to know Zagreb County – the city’s beautiful surroundings rich in history and cultural heritage. The choice is not easy, but head to Žumberak – Samoborsko gorje Nature Park, an area with scarce population, yet full of natural beauty. If you want to learn something about the local history along the way, visit the archaeological site and an easy walking trail called Budinjak, one of the spots on the much wider Žumberak Archaeological Trail. It includes Okićnica trail, leading to the remains of the Old Town of Okić, and close by you can take a look at the Ethno House under Okić, with an interesting heritage collection. The best possible way to finish this trip is to taste traditional food in one of the local restaurants or family farms around the town of Samobor. If you have the time, throw in a tour of Grgos Cave, a nice little underground attraction.