Hiking in Zagreb might not seem an obvious thing to do, but you might be shocked to learn that while the capital of Croatia does not have national parks, it is still a green heaven that holds a myriad of opportunities.
My guide has 6 of the best Zagreb hikes, with ideas from camping to trekking. The extraordinary nature and diverse range of hiking treks in Zagreb make this the perfect place for hikers who want to be away from the Adriatic Sea and remain close to the hustle and bustle of the city. Keep reading to discover olive groves and mountain huts with short and longer hikes with a dash of cultural immersion in the corner of Croatia.
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Best Hikes Near Zagreb
Zagreb has various hiking trails any hiker would like to try. Enriched by the beautiful views of Zagreb’s unfathomable mountain range and green forests, these trails will provide the adventure-seekers with an unforgettable experience.
In the following list, you can see the best hikes near Zagreb.
1. Stari Grad Samobor – 2.3 km
The ruins of a medieval castle in the middle of a verdant forest stand as a reminder of the mighty past of the area, and bird songs fill the air with tranquillity. In this magnificent route, you will only hear the voices of the past.
Those who want to have a glimpse of Samobor’s past can give the Stari Grad Samobor (Samobor Old Town) hiking trail a try. It is a loop trail around the old town, once home to the area’s earliest settlers.
Although it’s a relatively short trail, Stari Grad Samobor is considered a challenging route and might not be suitable for beginners.
Stari Grand Samobor is a short trail compared to other Zagreb hiking trails. The whole trail usually takes around 50 minutes to finish, and it doesn’t get elevated too much.
The old town was built around the mid-13th century on the hill Tepec above the modern-day Samobor. Although it’s called Samobor Old Town, these ruins are actually of a castle built by King Ottokar II of Bohemia.
2. Bliznec – Njivice – Strmopeć – 4.5 km
This 4.5-kilometre trail is ideal for families and beginners. It usually takes around two hours to finish the route from Bliznec to Strmopeć. Nevertheless, the trail is well-maintained and allows you to enjoy your surroundings without worrying about obstacles.
The trail starts at the entrance of the Medvednica Nature Park and takes you to a hill called Strmopeć. You can view the entirety of Medvednica (Bear Mountain) from the wooden platform on the hill.
On your path, you should be ready to see many natural beauties. The Bliznec – Njivice – Strmopeć route includes various waterfalls, muddy pathways, and a deep forest. Nature enthusiasts should be on the lookout for the endemic wildflowers that beautify the trail.
We have great news for pet owners! The Bliznec – Njivice – Strmopeć trail is a dog-friendly path where you can unleash your dog to enjoy the fresh air.
Although it is a popular trail, you can still experience peace and calmness during off-peak times of the day. Also, it is never a bad idea to socialize with other hikers.
The trail is open all year round, and you can visit it whenever you want.
3. Mikulići – Grafičar – 11.3 km
Considered a challenging route, Mikulići – Grafičar is one of the most popular hikes near Zagreb. The trail usually takes around 5 hours to finish and offers a scenic view.
One of the biggest highlights of the trail is the various caves in the area, waiting for adventurers to explore them. Also, hikers who enjoy birdwatching can see different kinds of birds during their adventure.
Mikulići – Grafičar is a pet-friendly route. You can unleash your dog to let them enjoy the forest.
The trail is open all year round, so you can visit it whenever you want. The trail is also near some of the best spots for camping in Zagreb, providing visitors with different outdoor activities.
4. Medvedgrad – Grafičar – Toranj – 9.3 km
Although this route is not the longest on this list, it is one of the most challenging ones. The almost 10-kilometer-long trail takes around 4 hours to finish, and due to the high elevation at some points, it qualifies as an advanced route.
If you start your route from Medvedgrad, a medieval fortified town, you can enjoy the historical atmosphere of the area before hiking. The path leads to the Grafičar mountain lodge through the forest. Surrounded by birds and trees, hikers can enjoy the peaceful loneliness in the middle of a green ocean of trees.
The mountain lodge is open every day except for Monday so that visitors can enjoy the hiking trail all year round. Nevertheless, you should note that the route becomes too snowy during winter, which might increase the trail’s difficulty for inexperienced hikers.
If you are looking for a green spot for hiking in Zagreb that offers you a green and enjoyable route, you should give Medvedgrad – Grafičar – Toranj trail a chance.
5. Medven Draga – 12.4 km
Starting from Medven Draga and entering the Slapnica Valley, this trail follows a suitable path for beginners. Hikers can enjoy the marvelous scenery Slapnica Valley offers and take lots of Instagrammable pictures there.
The valley has a river flowing along its length, so you should be ready for a slightly wet adventure. As you follow the path among trees and greenery, you will have the opportunity to do birdwatching.
At the end of the trail, you will reach Dragan’s Mill, which is the only inhabited house in the valley. The spring of the river flowing along Slapnica is located hundreds of meters upstream and might be a tad bit challenging to reach.
If you are looking for beginner-friendly hiking around Zagreb, where you can bask in the beautiful scenery, you can always go for Medven Draga.
6. Gračani – Runolist Trail – 12.7 km
This 12-kilometer-long trail offers an adventure through the majestic forest of Gračani. Although the trail is a tad challenging, we’re sure even beginners can enjoy it – thanks to the gorgeous wildlife.
Hikers can enjoy sightseeing and birdwatching while following the path. It is also a pet-friendly route as it doesn’t gain too much elevation.
Don’t forget to bring snacks and charge your phones because this trail usually takes around 5 hours to complete. But don’t worry; you won’t be alone in this adventure! Birds and other friendly animals will probably be there with you, watching you with curious eyes.
Also, since it’s a popular trail, you can expect to see lots of other hikers on your way to Runolist. We highly recommend this Zagreb hiking trail to every hiker who wants to find themselves in the middle of verdure greenery!
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Where To Stay In The City Of Zagreb
Are you in Zagreb for a peaceful holiday and looking for a place to stay near the hiking trails you’ll visit? We’ve got you covered! Here are three hotels near the most prominent hiking trails in Zagreb.
1. D_View House Samobor
An inspiring holiday apartment rental in Samobor, D_View House Samobor is near the medieval Samobor Old Town. The venue might be a perfect base for hikers and those who want to discover the area. The hotel boasts a contemporary design and luxury facilities..
2. Hotel Puntijar
A 4-star hotel located near Gračani, Hotel Puntijar aims to offer its visitors everything they need. It is only a 2-minute walking route from the nearest railway and close to various attractions nearby. The hotel is also close to the best hiking trails, which might offer hikers the ideal stay..
3. Trsje Apartments
Trsje Apartments is a 4-star hotel near the hiking trail in Mikulići. The hotel has a large garden where guests can have walks. Thanks to its central location, the hotel provides its guests with a wide variety of stores, restaurants, and cafés..
What To Know Before A Zagreb Hike
We know you want to start your journey through Croatia’s mountains and forests right away. Nevertheless, there are a few things you need to know before hiking in Zagreb:
- Always choose the right trail for your experience: you don’t have to be a hiking expert to go on a walk in nature. However, if you’re a visitor who isn’t familiar with Zagreb’s nature, you should be careful choosing the right trail for yourself. So, for the first time, try to choose a route that is suitable for beginners and tourists. If you are already experienced, then you can consider more advanced trails on our list
- Check the weather forecast before hiking: bad weather can be dangerous for hikers. That’s why it’s important to check the weather forecast in advance. If it’s a rainy, snowy, or windy day, you might want to put off hiking. Zagreb has lots of interesting places to visit, including museums, landmarks, monuments and restaurants
- Always let someone know where you are going: this step might be the most important one – especially if you are hiking alone. Anything can happen on your trail. So, letting someone know where you are going and when you are going might help people you know to alert the authorities in case something unexpected happens
- Bring food and lots of water: water, snacks, sunscreen, a first-aid kit, and a map are among the essentials of a safe hiking trip. Also, don’t forget to pack a compass, flashlight and extra clothing for unpredicted scenarios
- Be aware of dangers and be prepared: since Zagreb has some of the most secure hiking trails in the world, you should always be mindful of dangers. You’re going into the wild, and even the most well-maintained trails might hold risks. Getting lost or injured isn’t uncommon among hikers, and knowing what to do in such cases might help you have a safe hiking trip. Therefore, always be prepared and know where you are going
- Leave nothing behind: nature is beautiful as it is. Leaving human-made stuff, such as cans or bottles, will not make it look better. So, pack your trash, respect wildlife, and don’t disturb nature. Your journey through the forest is an occasional thing, but animals are living there. Respect them the most and avoid any actions that might cause harm to them
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What Croatian Food Is Perfect To Enjoy After A Hike
These are small, grilled minced meat sausages, often served with flatbread (somun) and chopped onions. They are a great source of protein and energy after a hike.
Peka is a traditional Croatian dish made with either veal, lamb, or octopus, cooked under a bell-shaped lid with vegetables and spices. It’s slow-cooked to perfection and is a hearty and flavorful option.
Pasulj is a Croatian bean stew, usually made with white beans, smoked meat (like ham or sausages), and a variety of spices. It’s a warm and comforting choice after a long hike.
Similar to a hamburger, pljeskavica is a ground meat patty (usually a mix of pork and beef) that’s grilled and served in a bun. It’s often garnished with toppings like ajvar (red pepper sauce) and kajmak (dairy spread).
Croatian risottos, such as seafood risotto or black risotto (made with squid ink), are rich and satisfying options, especially if you’ve been hiking along the coast.
Soparnik is a traditional Dalmatian dish made from layers of thin dough filled with a mixture of Swiss chard, garlic, and olive oil. It’s both delicious and nutritious.
For dessert, you can try fritule, small deep-fried doughnuts often flavored with lemon zest and sprinkled with powdered sugar. They are a sweet treat to reward yourself after a hike.
Local Cheese and Wine
Don’t forget to sample some Croatian cheeses and wines, which vary by region. A cheese and wine platter can be a perfect way to unwind after your hike.
What Should I Bring When Hiking In Zagreb
A common question most people ask about hiking is what they should bring on a hiking trip. You can guess the essentials: food, water, a first-aid kit, a flashlight, and snacks. But there is more…
Let me remind you of things you should bring to a hiking trip:
- Hat: this will help you keep the sun off your face and neck. The season doesn’t matter; you should always have a hat with you. Here are some of our favorite sun hats
- A map of the area: you can get the area’s map from stores. You cannot trust your phone’s signal when hiking through forests and mountains
- Compass: a compass might help you stay on track in case you get lost
- Firestarter: you don’t know how long your trail will last. So, always have a fire starter in case you need a fire to stay warm or cook food
- Bear spray: before your journey, make a quick search to see whether bears are on your hiking trail. If they are, a bear spray might be helpful
- Bug spray: although bears aren’t everywhere, bugs are. Don’t forget your bug spray – if you don’t want to feed some mosquitos, of course
- Knife: a knife can do various tasks; you can open cans, cut food, repair gear, or build shelters with it
If you are planning to go on a hiking trip to the capital of Croatia, I am sure that you now know all you need to know about hiking near Zagreb.
And stay tuned as we are working on a guide to the full collection of hikes with the help of the citizens of Zagreb we know.