If you are visiting Zagreb and have a day or two to spare, take the opportunity to explore some of the stops beyond the city limits.
Samobor is the perfect escape for those who want to get away from the hustle of Zagreb. A thirty minute drive from the city, Samobor is a 13th century town known around the country for its pastries (the rudorska greblica, a special cheese cake, and the Samoborske kremsnite, a custard cake with flaky pastry) and its annual carnival held in January- February. At the heart of the town is the main square, Trg Kralja Tomislava. Multiple cafes fill up the square and are especially busy on weekends. Also worth a visit are the ruins of the Samobor Castle.
Veliki Tabor & Trakoscan Castles
If you like castles, the Veliki Tabor and Trakoscan castles make for a great day trip from Zagreb. Both double up as museums and chronicle the aristocratic, military and ethnographic history of the region.
Veliki Tabor is a 12th century fortification 57 km from Zagreb. Its exhibits include medieval weapons, tools, paintings, pottery, etc. [Note: the fortress is undergoing renovations, so it is best to check on status before a visit]. Similarly, Trakoscan is a 13th century fortification. Along with the castle exhibits, the large castle grounds and cafes will keep you busy for the day.
Krapina is located about 55 km from Zagreb. While the town in itself is very charming, full of cultural and religious highlights, it is mainly known for its archeological park. In 1899 archeologists discovered the remains of a Neanderthal community in the caves around the region. The excavations and discoveries are today exhibited at the local museum. This is a great stop for kids.
Plitvice & Rastoke
The Plitvice Lakes National Park (Plitvicka Jezera) ranks amongst the best sights in Croatia. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Lakes are a collection of sixteen interlocking lakes across three mountain ranges; the park offers a number of hiking trails past waterfalls, cascades, caves and crags. On your way back from the national park, stop at the mill village of Rastoke for a coffee break. With cafes sitting on top of cascades and along the gushing stream, this is the perfect way to end the day.
Best of Zagreb Tips
You’ll find lot of ideas for things to do in Zagreb in our Best of Zagreb collation post.
More Tips for Things to Do in Croatia
We’ve lots more tips on what to do in Croatia on Europe a la Carte.