Many see Zagreb as the colorful, historic and vibrant Croatian capital situated at the foothill of Medvednica mountain. Zagreb has more to offer than strolling down the cobblestone streets of the old town. Just a short drive, or tram ride away from the heart of the city, visitors can find the peace and quiet of nature in between the rich flora and fauna of Medvednica Mountain. If you are looking for some great ideas for a day trip from Zagreb Croatia, keep reading as I have prepared the ultimate guide to Medvednica Mountain and its highest peak Sljeme.
Rising at 1,035 meters (3,396 ft), Sljeme is the highest summit within the Medvednica mountain. Regardless, which time of the year you are visiting, the area is a fantastic day trip from Zagreb and offers a huge variety of activities to choose from. There is something mystical about this mountain, I haven’t been able to get a definitive answer as to why, but it’s always much cooler up here. Not just the standard it’s a higher elevation cooler, but the feeling of air conditioning under your feet sort of cooler you feel when walking above a mountain spring. It’s amazing in the summer and worth the visit just to cool off when it’s hot.
How to Get to Sljeme Summit
Even if you’re not an experienced hiker, Sljeme Summit is easily accessible. You can take the three-seater cable car from Dolje to the top of the mountain. In less than 20 minutes, the lift will take you on a 4 km long journey offering beautiful views of the surrounding green forests. You can drive and park there, or park at the trail head. If you aren’t driving take the number 14 trams to the last stop then the second tram to get to the cable car, take the bus from where you get off the tram, or take an Uber/Bolt from the city center for about 50 Kuna (July 2020 price). The schedule for the bus is on the post across the parking lot from where the 14 tram drops you off.
If you’re looking forward to spending the day outdoors, fully immerse yourself in the beauty of Medvednica Mountain, choose from a variety of hiking routes, trail 18 being one of the most popular ones. Also called Bikčevićeva staza, visitors can find the starting point for the trail at Restaurant Pliana Bliznec. If you start early, you might be able to find a parking slot right in front of the lodge. The beginning of the trail will welcome you with a steady and steep incline, the second portion is a lot easier with many flat parts. The entire hike is just under 6 km and is suitable for people from all skill levels, as well as children. The path ends at Puntijarka lodge, which offers delicious meals, perfect to munch on after spending a few hours of hiking.
Activities in Medvednica mountain
Visitors are often surprised that hiking is not the only activity that Medvednica mountain offers. If you’re into mountain biking, you will be happy to hear that there are a number of trails, which are also suitable for beginners and experienced mountain bikers. It’s advisable to book a tour with a professional, though, so make sure to check out Blue Bike.
If you’re visiting during the winter season, Sljeme will welcome you with excellent ski slopes. While you are not going to find good options for free-riding, 5 ski slopes, the ski resort area is perfect if you are just starting out or if you have a little bit of experience with winter sports and you would like to practice some more. Winter hiking is also a lovely activity.
Places to See in Medvednica mountain
You might be surprised but on the very top of Medvednica mountain, you can also find intriguing history that dates all the way back to the 13th century. The Medvedgrad fortress was built to protect the city. Today, visitors can take a step back in time and explore the massive tower, after years of renovations the fortress is once again open for visitors.
On the western edge of the mountain, visitors will also be able to find the sixth-largest cave in the country – Veternica Cave. You need to keep in mind, that the cave is only open during the summer months, and visitors are only allowed inside on guided tours. There are massive formations and ancient fossils.
Staying Overnight at Medvednica mountain
The vast majority of tourists only plan a day trip to Medvednica mountain. If you have additional time to spare and you are looking forward to fully experience the deep green forests, you can also plan an overnight stay. The 3-start Hotel Tomislav is a fantastic choice with its location right at the heart of Medvednica National Park. The simple, yet modern and comfortable rooms will guarantee you a goodnight sleep and will allow you to fully recharge your batteries with its peaceful surroundings.
Spending a day in the lush greenery of the rolling hills of Medvednica mountain is definitely worth the trip from Zagreb. Would you plan a trip like this?
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