So, where to go from Zagreb? Here are some ideas:
The hilly, green region of Hrvatsko Zagorje, only a short drive away north from Zagreb, boasts magnificent historic castles, overlooking the picturesque villages and green mountain slopes. Veliki Tabor Castle is one of them. Built in the 16th century in its present form and remarkable for its circular red towers, this beautiful castle is not to be missed!
Trakošćan Castle is probably the most visited castle in Croatia. Originally built in the 13th century but reconstructed later, Trakošćan overlooks the area, surrounded by a vast lake and a park. This is a perfect day trip destination for those interested in history and architecture.
Guarding Zagreb from the North, the Medvednica Mountain and the Medvednica Nature Park offers many biking, hiking and walking trails. Come here if you wish to escape the city and spend a day in nature. Medvednica hides many interesting places, one of them being the Zrinski Mine, dating from the 16th century. This mine once belonged to the Zrinski family, the famous Croatian noble family, hence the name. On the southern slope of the mountain, you’ll find the 13th century Medvedgrad – the Medieval castle built after the invasion of Tatars. Don’t miss out on Veternica Cave, once a home to the prehistoric Neanderthal men who inhabited the area.
Only a 2-hour drive away from Zagreb, the Plitvice Lakes National Park is famous for the beautiful nature, emerald lakes and countless waterfalls. This UNESCO-protected park is a perfect choice for a family day out in nature. Walk the wooden paths and take the boat across the lakes. Don’t forget to bring the camera with you!
Once a popular venue for various political events in Former Yugoslavia, Bled Lake in Slovenia boasts immense natural beauty and wonderful scenery. Overlooking the lake from the cliff above is the Bled Castle built in the Middle Ages, today a popular wedding venue. In the middle of the lake is a small island with the 16th century church. Take a boat to visit the island or simply stroll around the lake.
Day trips from Zagreb to the neighbouring countries of Austria, Italy and Slovenia are a popular and convenient way to explore the urban centres of central and southern Europe. The Austrian capital of Vienna is particularly popular in the Christmas time, when the whole city glitters in Christmas lights, with wonderful Christmas market in its centre and the smell of mulled wine in the air.
Another popular destination is beautiful Venice, especially during the famous carnival in February. Walk this historic city’s Medieval streets, take a picture on the Rialto bridge and don’t forget to have pizza for lunch.