First of all, don’t expect to find in Zagreb the charm and grandeur of other big European capitals, like Paris, Rome, or London. But, nevertheless, the town has a cool vibe, interesting sights, lots of green spaces, and quirky museums. A town center is car-free and full of locals lounging at the pavement cafes.
Zagreb originally existed as two different towns – Kaptol which was inhabited mainly by the clergy, and which houses Zagreb Cathedral; and Gradec inhabited mainly by farmers and merchants. These two towns were united in 1851 by ban Josip Jelačić after whom the main city square is named. Tkalčićeva Street, today famous for its small historic houses featuring numerous bars, at that time was actually a creek. In recent years Zagreb has become an appealing tourist destination so it is no surprise the city attracts more and more visitors every year. This has resulted in the opening of a number of hotels, hostels and private apartments, interesting restaurants, and lots of different activities.
HALFWAY BETWEEN PEACE AND THE HUSTLE AND THE BUSTLE OF THE CITY
When searching for some peace and quiet without leaving the hustle and the bustle of the city, meet us halfway and join us on a trip to the St. Jana region, Jastrebarsko and Krašić. Here you will find beautiful nature, preserved history, tradition, tranquility and the bustle. The Erdödy’s park prides itself with the crystal clear stream Reka, the lake Park and a most valuable “exhibit” – the Erdödy castle. A Franciscan monastery and the church of St. Mary with a Gothic center from the 16th century constitute an extraordinary sacral object. The Sveta Jana spring is an old, very rich thermal spring that has, since the ancient times attested to the abundance of quality water in the region. The highest peak of the Samobor Hills – Japetić, is one of the famous resorts of this region. Make sure to visit the memorial room of Alojzije Stepinac in Krašić, where you can also visit the ethno-house Mrzljak, a testament to how people lived a hundred years ago. The ethnohouse Mrzljak boasts a great collection of antique everyday items.
IN THE LAND OF A THOUSAND CASTLES
Fairytale hills embraced by rivers, castles amidst tame nature … Join us in visiting northwestern Croatia and discover the legends bringing us back into the times of the royalty and noblemen of the Middle Ages! The journey begins in the Old Town of Medvedgrad whose fortified walls offer a beautiful view of the town. From the Croatian capital, through the fortresses Veliki Kalnik and Konjščina, up to Varaždin – the Croatian Vienna, town of the Baroque, of music and flowers, whose streets reflect a specific atmosphere of intimacy and warmth. The most beautiful Croatian castles of Trakošćan and Veliki Tabor and the idyllic landscape of Croatian Zagorje will leave an indelible mark in your hearts. You will be won over by the unique flavors of this region – along with the reception by the Town Notary, we will enjoy the local delicacies in the most famous restaurant in Varaždin. In the land of a thousand castles, refresh yourself with Međimurje beer made exclusively of natural ingredients and, at the end, with the famous Samobor kremšnite (custard slices) sweeten your favorite trip.
BEAUTIES AND FLAVORS OF THE CITY OF SAMOBOR
Samobor is a town with a picturesque, baroque old city center. It was made famous in the most unusual way; popularized by the film by Krešo Golik “One Song a Day Takes Mischief Away”. Because of its proximity to the capital, it is one of the more popular resorts for the dwellers of Zagreb. Drinking coffee and eating cake are a must for every visitor. This town will excite all your senses. You will experience the beauties of the Livadić castle museum, delight your taste buds with the acclaimed, specially made Samobor “kremšnite” (creamy layer cake). Those who wish to escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life, return to nature and fairy-tale fantasies, can visit the Fairytale Mill, a picnic area with a wine shop, located in a renovated old mill from 1904. The mill lies on the Bistrec stream and is a working testament to traditional processing of grain. The St. Barbara mine in Rude is now a 1.5 km long mining-botanical educational path. Find out why Samobor is one of the oldest and most popular tourist destinations in Croatia!
RICH HERITAGE OF THE ZAGREB REGION
In the immediate vicinity of Zagreb lies the town of IvanićGrad. Ivanić-Grad has always been an important crossroads, and roads always brought culture and progress. The history of the church of St. Peter, situated in the city park, dates back to the history of Ivanić, when the town boasted a fortress that defended Zagreb from the Turks. Today, many consider the special hospital for medical rehabilitation ”Naftalan”, a “must see” site. The site is specific because it is one of the only two known naphthenic oil sites in the world: in Azerbaijan and in Ivanić-Grad. You will feel particularly inspired by visiting the church of St. Martin in Martin Breg, which dates from 1209. A wooden sculpture of St. Martin, the patron saint of the parish, city, vineyard and winery stands in front of the church. When you just want to relax, do it by the lakes that are ideal for fishing, nature walks or recreation.
THE ZAGORJE TIME MACHINE
Experience history in an entirely new way. Start your journey through time at Zagreb’s Western Station, and relive the memory of the first arrival of the train in Zagreb 150 years ago. Enjoy the beauty of the architecture and go back to the golden age of the railway with a sightseeing tour the interesting exhibits in the Croatian Railway Museum. By visiting Kumrovec Ethno Village, step into the everyday life of Zagorje and learn how the farmer’s life once looked like in this area. And with a visit to the Museum of Krapina Neanderthals you will have the opportunity to travel back into the distant past. Take a short break in Donja Stubica and in the Peasant’s Revolt Museum learn how the Zagorje peasants fought against the nobles. After that come back to the present and refresh your body and soul in Stubičke Spa. In Novi Dvori (New Castles) in Zaprešić visit the summer villa and tomb of Viceroy Josip Jelačić and thus round off your little historical adventure.
ADVENTURE IN THE HEART OF CROATIA
Adventure in the heart of Croatia is a magical mix of activities, nature, people, culture, gastronomy and fun. It takes place in the Zagreb County, a true hidden pearl of continental Croatia. A small baroque city of Samobor is less than an hour’s drive from the Croatian capital, and it is surrounded by hills of the Nature Park Žumberak – the Samobor Hills, which will be the basis of our journey. The days will be filled with hiking, cycling and kayaking across the valleys and hills, river canyons and local villages. Experienced guides will take you off the beaten path to explore the hidden natural treasures and the local way of life. The time between the activities will be spent enjoying the local atmosphere and tasting the many delicacies such as: a delicious mushroom soup, fresh water fish, “kremšnite” (creamy layer cakes) and wines from the Plešivička Wine Road.
HIKING IN THE ŽUMBERAK AND SAMOBOR AREA
It is hard to believe that such a place of extraordinary beauty is situated near the city of Zagreb. The Nature Park Žumberak – Samobor Hills is a popular tourist destination for hikers, climbers and nature lovers from both central Croatia and beyond. Its uniqueness lies in the unique combination of karst phenomena with canyons and streams, dotted with hills covered with flowers. The forests of beech and oak trees, orchards and vineyards alternate with vast meadows and pastures. Small villages seem to be frozen in time, creating an idyllic village atmosphere. We will explore this beautiful area on foot and, depending on the wishes and possibilities of the group, we will select one of the many hiking trails. Before or after hiking, we will visit the city of Samobor, a true hidden pearl of Baroque architecture.
CYCLING ACROSS THE ZELINA AND THE NEIGHBORING HILLS
If you love cycling and the wonders of nature, then this entertaining cycling adventure across beautiful Croatian countryside is just the thing for you. Be among the first to explore this interesting area and enjoy the sights of the wine road with a break at Kladeščica for some local culinary delights. Cycling down the sharp “bregi” (hills) of the Zelinska Wine Road and the rocky paths of Mt. Zelina, explore some of the steepest vineyard hills of Zelina. A challenge of climbs and descents with some of the most breathtaking views imaginable. The trail runs from the picturesque center of Sveti Ivan Zelina, down the main square Placa and takes you to the heart of Mt. Zelina and one of the most beautiful foothill belvederes on Ivanščica. Reward yourself with exquisite local cuisine at a lunch arrangement.
THE SECRET OF THE BLACK QUEEN
Human nature is investigative and curious, and journeys into the past – coupled with a promise of uncovering some dark secrets of distant times, are the sweet temptations, especially for those attracted by the mysterious atmosphere of old castles and fortification and the life their occupants led. Enter the world of secrets of the Croatian and European history, and find out who Barbara Celjska was, and why, following the death of her husband King Sigismund of Luxembourg, she came to be known as the Black Queen. Find out what did happen with this woman who Pope Pio II declared to be depraved and wanton, and whose character was used by A.B.Stoker as the model for Dracula, in the story which takes us through as many as nine jewels of Croatian cultural heritage – castles and fortreses that once were owned by the Black Queen. The burgh of Veliki Tabor which comes straight from a fairy tale, the Garić grad hidden by the dense forests of Moslavina, the local dishes prepared in the traditional rural homesteads are but a few of the reasons why you should partake in our wondrous return to the Middle Ages.
A WALK TO MARIJA BISTRICA
It is well known that the shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of the most popular and most visited Marian shrines in Croatia. This is also the Croatian national shrine. Do something different and go for a walk to the pilgrimage center in Marija Bistrica and feel the peace that permeates this place. The Mariana path from Sveti Ivan Zelina to Marija Bistrica starts in front of the parish church of St. John the Baptist. We will take a couple of short breaks with one at Kladeščica where we will enjoy a picnic of local delicacies and taste the local Zelina herb brandy. The route continues through the forest and down beautiful meadows with vistas of Kalnik, Ivanščica, Ravna Gora and Sljeme. Following the path we will enter the parochial forest passing by centennial beech trees before arriving to the last station of Calvary above the very shrine in Marija Bistrica.
THROUGH UNKNOWN CROATIA
Simply you, your bicycle and our Olympic veteran – this is the perfect formula for a fun biking adventure through the wonderful continental eastern area of Croatia. Only a few bikers have explored this beautiful part of Croatia so be one of the first to learn about the full potential of biking, first hand. We visit rural places together, stop at petite picturesque villages and nature parks. Riding through a beautiful landscape, enjoy learning about cultural and historic wealth and tradition. Visit Trakošćan, according to many, Croatia’s most beautiful castle and sense the spirit of Kumrovec, birth-place of the legendary Tito. Along this adventure, taste local and traditional specialities of the area and enjoy yourself relaxing in the green fields and blossomy meadows that constantly surround you!
ŽUMBERAK THROUGH NATURE, FLAVORS AND CULTURE
From time to time, everyone needs a peaceful place to rest, and we are taking you to a place rich in nature, fresh and clean air and springs and streams with drinking water. Nature Park Žumberak – Samobor Hills is also referred to as the Green lungs of the Zagreb County and Croatia in general. Since Žumberak is a secluded Croatian region with rich natural and cultural heritage, not far from the main roads that connect the entire Croatia, we can say that it is in an excellent position for both a short visit or a longer stay. This program not only includes Žumberak, but also its surroundings with some of the major Croatian attractions. The proximity and good traffic connections with the Croatian capital and our most famous National Park the Plitvice Lakes, allows us to organize visits to other significant Croatian landmarks that make this program a versatile offer.
Numerous visitors of the Nature Park Žumberak – Samoborsko gorje have had diverse requirements. Those who like to learn about innovations through activities, healthy habits, gastronomy and nature will do it best by walking down its hiking trails, walking paths and forgotten paths that connected the villages with vineyards, hay fields, forests and other populated areas and sacral objects. Within the program, we have set aside two days of rest from walking, where we will take you on a ride down the slopes of Žumberak Mountains to Vivodinska wine road, and the central part of Žumberak with its rich sacral and cultural tradition. Enjoying panoramic views, wine tasting and meat products, visiting the Sisters of St. Basil and a workshop for the preparation of medicinal teas, juices and jellies are only a part of the activities awaiting you during your stay.
THE RICH WINE STORY OF THE ZAGREB RING
If you are a wine lover and/or connoisseur or simply wish to know the wine, maybe learn a bit more and enjoy the magic of wine drinking and all the processes associated with the wine, you should not miss to visit Zagreb “green ring”. Due to numerous vineyards and wine cellars, Zagreb County is in terms of wine production among the best wine regions in Croatia. There are three wine routes to choose from: Plešivička, Zelinska and Samoborska Wine Road. Visit the cities of Jastrebarsko and Samobor and get to know their cultural and historical heritage. The gastronomy of the region is closely linked to wine tourism hence this route offers the pleasures of traditional food specialties at one of the many family run farms. Allow your senses to run wild and take you on an unforgettable wine journey across the Zagreb County.
WINE ROADS OF ZELINA
The town of Sveti Ivan Zelina is known for its numerous vineyards and the production of quality wines. From a tourist point of view the Zelina Wine Road is of particular interest as it passes through the wine-growing countryside of the Zelina region. It is an opportunity to enter the wine cellars, vineyards and vinedresser’s huts of famous Zelina wine-growers to toast and have great fun while enjoying excellent local specialties and quality wines. The local wine offer is rich and you will taste Riesling, Chardonnay, Traminer, Yellow Muscat, Furmint, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Kerner… and, of course, Kraljevina, the County brand, a specific light smooth white wine appreciated and enjoyed by many wine lovers. You will be welcomed by local winemakers who will take you on an unforgettable adventure with wine tasting where you can enjoy local specialties such as Loparka (thin layered cake).
THE BEER MIRACLE OF NORTHERN CROATIA
They say that the most important ingredient of excellent beer is quality water and that is precisely the reason why the northwestern Croatia – an area abounding with springs of cool, clear drinking water – boasts many breweries of different capacities, and their product is known throughout the land. Take a trip through Čakovec and Koprivnica, Zagreb and Velika Gorica, and find out all about beer making and all, or almost all, the secrets ingredients that make this frothy beverage so tasty. Never without good company, enjoy all the gastronomic delights of the beer menu, and many, many other things… Fortifications, castles, manor houses and museums are only some of the places which, interwoven into our tale of beer, offer more than a usual travelling experience. Come and have a taste, see for yourself how irresistible the power of charm of the Croatian beers is – and they will surely capture your heart as well.
FROM LEAF TO TEA WITHIN THE EMBRACE OF GREENERY AND HEALTH
In the heart of the mountains of western Croatia, snuggled between the peaks of Plešivica and Oštrc, lies the home of numerous plant species – the first private botanical garden, the Suban garden of medicinal herbs. Within the fold of greenery and fragrances of nature you can learn how to identify individual plants and fruits, enjoy their taste and prepare meals which are not only good to eat but are also good for the body and mind. Our hosts in the Suban garden, who have devoted their knowledge in all things botanical to the production of only the best herbal preparations, will tell you everything one needs to know to prepare the tea, and how its consumation can help you to achieve good health. Numerous tasting sessions, unlimited quantities of the Suban Vita C tea and tuition on how to prepare juices, vinegar and wine are a segment of this wonderful journey which, when recalling the alluring strength of fragrances and a flavour of herbs, you will undoubtedly want to repeat at least once more.