Winter paradise at a stone’s throw from Zagreb

In winter, the surroundings of Zagreb do not offer ostentatious attractions like the famous alpine ski resorts or distant exotic resorts, but they do not lack warm winter atmosphere or a sincere welcome. Just a short drive from the bright lights and crowds of the capital you can step into a quieter and safer environment, where time flows more slowly, and the daily rhythm is in harmony with nature.

Each visitor will choose the path they want to take. One road leads out, under the clear sky, along marked, more or less paved forest and hiking trails. Untouched hills and valleys dreamily lure walkers to enjoy the winter magic, and the rush of fresh air and healthy frost removes all thought of stress. Natural wonders such as the waterfalls of Žumberak, lakes along the Sava River or the oak grove in Turopolje wear a completely different face in winter – the environment seems a bit bare, quieter, certainly less colorful. In these modest conditions, though, the therapy of nature seems to strike faster and work stronger. And when everything is covered with snow, the invitation to enjoy the joys of winter is hard to resist. With a little effort, everyone can find their secret toboggan run, snow playground or just a perfect backdrop to admire the fairytale winter landscape.

The second road leads into picturesque little villages, to get there simply follow the chimney trail that steams the winter sky. Fireplaces in numerous rural households throughout Zagreb County are ready to warm and accommodate travelers eager for local flavors and a pleasant, informal atmosphere. Gathering around the table on cold and dark winter days was once a necessity, and today is almost luxury. It is completely natural that winter food is more plentiful, heartier, created for long feasts. Natural resources may have dried up, but now is the time to enjoy the fruits of an entire year of hard work. From the stove and from the pantries, smokehouses and cellars, delicacies come out that at the same time feed us, comfort us and in their best edition demonstrate the sustainability and creativity of the original country cuisine. This is a time to say heartfelt toasts, leave the past far behind and hope for a bright future.

In addition to the ones leading into the embrace of nature and autochthonous gastronomic experiences, there is a third road which leads to the tame little towns of the Zagreb area, the hubs of life of their respective micro-regions. The lighter rhythm of winter leaves enough time to tour everything we may have missed during the previous, busier months.  Exploring the sights, historical monuments and local customs is a combination of pleasant and useful, a cherry on top every good trip, the perfect way to round off another year. A festive atmosphere, and especially the Advent celebrations in small places within the Zagreb green ring, emphasizes the original values which are sometimes lost in larger areas – human warmth, connection and nurturing of heritage. Communities that still proudly preserve their local character are more willing to warmly welcome their guests and leave an unforgettable impression in their hearts.       

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