Hello all of you nature lovers. This time we have a treat for you ?
It is well known that Croatians are huge nature lowers and that we adore our small and big green oasis. Zagreb made sure we have enough of parks, forests, lakes, courtyards, and even a mountain so we can enjoy their beauty and peace.
Of course, we are not selfish and we will share our green spots with all of travelers and tourists so here is my share:
Starting with the popular one – Lenuci´s horseshoe – a sequence of parks and squares, forming a horseshoe shape, each special in its own way. Among others this includes Zrinjevac – the most popular park in the city which hosts many outdoor events such as jazz concerts, dance evenings, movie nights, stands up,… Even when nothing is happening, you can always find people here chillin´.
One more from the “Lenuci family” is the Botanical Garden – a perfect hideout from the city buzz with over 10,000 types of plants and full of small paths and cute corners (perfect for a date ?).
The green horseshoe is the Downtown, but the Uppertown also has its charms – The Courtyards. Since Zagreb is a medieval city you can imagine how picturesque it must be to walk trough the streets and every now and then pop into a hidden courtyard. Many of them are private and usually closed but twice a year about 10 of them are opening their doors to public organizing small live concerts or shows.
A little bit outside of city center Maksimir park is welcoming its visitors. Bigger than Central Park in New York it hides many interesting spots and features. It is the home of Zagreb ZOO, 5 lakes, many playgrounds, and my absolute favorite – a memorial mound made out of soil brought from 155 places around Croatia. This was built in 1925 on the 1000th anniversary of the Croatian kingdom, along with a time capsule holding random things from that period with a plan to open it in 100 years. If my math is correct that in 5 years ??
When it comes to recreation, the synonym for this are two of our city lakes – Jarun and Bundek. Both of them are man-made. Jarun is bigger and maybe more popular among tourist because of the InMusic festival. There are many outdoor activities available – bike rides, swimming, volleyball, rowing, kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddling, wind surf, and more. With bars and a lot of public areas for hanging out, laying on the beach or having a picnic these two lakes are a perfect nature getaway.
Next one will not fit the vibe we had so far but that does not mean it is not beautiful and definitely worth exploring – Mirogoj – our central cemetery. Built in the 19th century by Hermann Bolle, this masterpiece except being the last resting place of many Croats is also a “outdoor gallery” of some kind. The front features monumental arcades which symbolizes a “wall between live and dead”, and the inside hides many chapels, sculptures along with a peaceful nature.
The most obvious green place of Zagreb i also the biggest – Medvednica hill with little over 1000m standing above us looking over its faithful visitors. With many hike and bike trails, mountain houses and restaurants, medieval castle Medvedgrad and numerous beautiful viewpoints, this wonderful place is the most popular weekend getaway for citizens of Zagreb. It is also a place where a cave Veternica ( 6th by size in Croatia ) is hiding its secrets – ones home to prehistoric animals such as cave bear and lion, leopard, cave hyena, rhinoceros, wild cattle and giant deer – today only bats live inside.
And last but not least 2 of my favorites:
- „Park Mladenaca“ – a small park in neighborhood ( Trnsko, New Zagreb ) that exists only because newlyweds would plant a tree there after getting married – setting the roots in a way. Needless to say, that this fun fact was not important to me when spending a childhood there, and today it is still a very dear place of mine.
- Swanky Monkey Garden – one of the most popular bars in Zagreb located in strict center, only 5 minutes away form the Main Square. Now you would think that it is noisy from the city rush but let us prove you wrong – if you come in the morning, your background sound will be birds singing from the forest behind, and if you come in the evening that sound is replaced by great DJs or live concerts.