A day for an adventure in Zagreb
You are already well acquainted with the best known parts of Zagreb – you've experienced the pace of the Lower Town, seen the sights of the Upper Town, strolled through the gardens and parks, enjoyed the scenes at the markets, checked what the local cuisine offers, found the perfect souvenirs. But you feel you need more, you are looking for movement, excitement and to explore Zagreb outside of the typical scenario. In a city that has a river, and lakes, and a mountain, and almost a third of its surface area covered by woodlands, it is not difficult to find your own piece of nature and freedom for new adventures. On its margins, Zagreb melds with the natural environment, offering plenty of opportunities for all types of sport and recreation. Medvednica Nature Park is the number one address for outdoor adventures and adrenaline activities, but there are also protected park-forests, Bundek and Jarun lakes, the wildlife of the Savica and the area along the Sava river. Take a turn off the beaten paths and begin an exploration that will show you the city in a totally different light.
1) Adventure for sporty people
There is no better option if you want to burn your energy – Medvednica, or Sljeme, as people of Zagreb call the mountain to the north of the city, after its highest peak. Mountain climbers and recreation enthusiasts from beginners to experienced athletes flock here in all seasons, and nature welcomes them. There are about 70 hiking paths in total, providing numerous possibilities. More advanced hikers may want to go on the Bikčevićeva Trail, which will take you from the Sljeme tunnel, accessible via the public transportation, to the popular Puntijarka mountain lodge. If you're looking for something more quiet and secluded, trail number 55 could be your thing, leading from Gračani to the Brestovac sanatorium. Once a famous health resort for tuberculosis patients, now it is a dilapidated ruin, like a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie. In the fall, a walk can be combined with chestnut harvesting or mushroom hunting, though you will need an expert guide for the latter. For adventurers who prefer cycling, Medvednica offers eight bike trails, as well as a real challenge for experiences mountain bikers – the special Enduro route. At the end of your adventure, take a breather at one of the mountain lodges, enjoying the mandatory bean stew, cheese and sour cream and homemade strudels. After you return to the city, we recommend a costumed nightly walking tour of the Upper Town, dedicated to Zagreb's medieval past and the stories of the witches of Grič.
2) An adventure for families with children
Easily accessible with public or private transportation, Medvednica is a true attraction for nature-loving, active families. Among a multitude of hiking trails, some are completely suitable for small children. Many little Zagrebians have made their first hiking steps on the short woodland trail from the Ponikve meadow to the Glavica mountain lodge. Not far from there is the attractive Veternica cave, home to the many bat species of Sljeme, and once to the local Neanderthals. Guided tours are available from March to November. Trail number 13, from Šestinski lagvić to Kraljičin zdenac, is also very popular and suitable for small children. The trail is surrounded by untouched nature and guides you along a stream. It also features info boards on Medvednica's geological history. Take a break and enjoy a tasty local meal at a mountain lodge or any of the restaurants offering traditional cuisine at the foot of Sljeme. After replenishing your energy, spend the evening hours in the city and visit one of the several escape room adventures that are designed specially for children.
3) An adventure for couples
If you decide to skip the trip to Medvednica mountain this time and stay closer to the city, you don't need to lose out on spending time in nature and hanging out with Zagreb's animals and plants. Savica lakes, once extensions of the Sava river at the southeast periphery, are a small hidden oasis of wildlife and an ornithological reserve in the middle of the city. Zagreb's Biom organization occasionally sets up guided bird watching tours, so check if you can join them. The lakes are also a fishing paradise. You can get a fishing license on the spot, as well as all necessary information from the local fishing association. You can also enjoy some more dynamic activities along the Sava river. A two-hour offroad buggy ride along the river and lakes will certainly get your adrenaline pumping. You can spend the rest of the day in a breezy walk through protected park-forests in the city's center – Tuškanac, Cmrok and Dubravkin put. Only a few minutes from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Town, you will find yourself in a completely different world, one of peace and quiet among the centuries-old trees. An easy two-kilometer trail leads from Dubravkin put to Cmrok, and those who want to go further might want to take the marked trail that leads all the way to Šestine. That route takes about an hour and half to complete, and you then can get back to the city by public transportation. If you're looking for something truly special and romantic, set out on an hour's flight in a hot-air balloon over Zagreb, provided by the seasoned Zagreb Balloon Club, and top it off with a well-deserved glass of sparkling wine.