Croatia's capital and one of Europe’s up and coming city break destinations, Zagreb has for centuries provided an invaluable window into the country's culture, arts, architecture and gastronomy.
The mini metropolis is made for strolling the streets, drinking coffee, searching out museums and galleries while soaking up the atmosphere in this fascinating capital. Zagreb is also famed for its beautiful botanical garden and excellent parks, so take a break from all the culture and enjoy a well deserved rest with a delicious picnic.
Background to Zagreb
May to October -Zagreb offers a warm climate and enjoyed throughout the summer period. The shoulder months of Months May, June, September and October offers slightly cheaper accommodation and lesser crowds. The months of July and August are generally hot and can reach 30 degrees.
November to April -Zagreb is a year round destination. The winter months are usually cold with snow not uncommon. The Christmas run up New Years Eve in Zagreb is especially a highlight.
Ideal for: Visiting the many historical gems in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia & Montenegro
Departure dates: Between Apr to Oct 2016
Visiting: Zagreb, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Mostar, Budva, Kotor and Dubrovnik
Timeless Beauty of the Balkans Tour
12 Nts from £2095 pp
Slovenia, Croatia & Montenegro Tour by Rail
Type: Rail/ Coach/ Fly tour
Ideal for: Visiting many of Croatia’s, Slovenia and Montenegro’s highlights
Departure dates: Between May to Jun 2016
Visiting: Lake Bled, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes, Split, Dubrovnik, Kotor
Things to do in Zagreb
Explore Zagreb: The lower town (Donji grad) is a nineteenth century development where most of the city's museums and art galleries are interspersed with parks and cafes. The link between the two is Jelacic Square, the geographical heart of the city and a hub for the rumbling trams that criss-cross the capital. Make sure your first few hours in Zagreb are dedicated to exploring and gathering your bearings. Zagreb is famous for its cafes. Join the locals, especially in the morning for a spot of people watching and soak up the relaxed atmosphere this fantastic capital has to offer.
Background to Zagreb: Holidays to Zagreb are all about exploring: the city centre is divided into two halves, both of which have retained their medieval air and perfect to explore. The thousand-year old upper town (Gornji grad) is chock-full of red tile roofs and cobbled streets lit by gas lamps, conjuring up a millennium of secret lives. This charming area contains the Presidential Palace, the historic church of St. Mark's (pictured), the Croatian parliament, the historic Kaptol Square and the famous Dolac Market.
Culture Ahoy: Zagreb is called the city of museums as there are more of them per sq ft than anywhere in the world. Both Croatian and global history is reflected in the many collections including. The Archaeological Museum has around 450,000 artefacts and monuments on display including its highlight, the Zagreb mummy. Art lovers will love the Modern Gallery, a vast collection of over 10,000 paintings, drawings and sculptures from recent Croatian artists. Other highlights include the Museum of Contemporary Art and the quirky Museum of Broken Relationships.
Botanical Gardens and Parks: The luxuriant 5 hectare Botanical Garden, built in 1890 and hosting 10,000 species of plants is an enjoyable change that seems a world away from the city buzz, can be easily slotted into any Zagreb city break and it's free! Maksimir is Zagreb's answer to New York's Central Park (albeit a few minutes' walk east of the centre). The 18 hectares of forests and greenery, four man-made lakes and numerous trails to explore is a fantastic way to spend a couple of spare hours in Zagreb. Now is the time to pack that picnic!
Excursions from Zagreb
Sljeme & Mount Medvednica: Mt Medvednica is within close proximity to Zagreb and an ideal for those outdoorsy types. The Nature Park contains a number of trails, ideal for a hiking. Sljeme is Medvednica’s highest peak at 1035m and the 4 km long cable car makes for a fun way to get to the summit. If you’re arriving in winter you can hit the slopes on the north side of Sljeme and although it’s relatively small it makes for a fun and inexpensive day out. To get here, take the number 8 or 14 tram northwards to the end,then change for number 15 to Dolje, where you can walk to the cable car.
Plitvice Lakes National Park: Plitvice Lakes is the oldest and largest National Park in Croatia. The UNESCO protected site features 16 tiered crystal-clear lakes, interconnected by gushing waterfalls and cascades, surrounded by lush vegetation and home to a variety of rare birds, insects and animals. The park is open all year round and each season has its attractions. In spring, the cascades are in full flow, in the summer, the vegetation is lush and the lakes turn turquoise. In autumn or winter you will find fewer visitors. You can arrive from Zagreb by bus, which takes 2 hours.
Varazdin: One of the prettiest and most interesting towns in the whole of non-coastal Croatia, Varazin is often overlooked by tourists. Once the capital of Croatia, the well preserved town centre features impressive Baroque architecture rich cultural offerings. Head for the main square of Trg Kralja Tomislava and work your way to the town hall, Draskovic Palace and the nearby cathedral and Stari Grad (Old Town) fortress. It’s easy to get to Varazdin from Zagreb with numerous buses taking around 1 hour 30 minutes. More information on Varazdin can be found on the Tourist Information’s website.
Samobor: If you’re looking for a spot of tranquility after a hectic few days of sightseeing, head to the picturesque town of Samobor. Only 20 km from Zagreb, you’ll find trickling streams, red roofed houses, a medieval atmosphere and fine cuisine. The local tourist office recommends four different walking sightseeing tours. Finish your day in Samobor with a meal at one of the many restaurants, where no research is required as all offer excellent, local and traditional dishes. You can easily reach Samobor from Zagreb with buses every half an hour, taking half an hour.
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