Are you looking for the best day-trips from Zagreb? Then you are in the right place!
Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, is a vibrant city with a rich history, culture and unique beauty. With its charming old town, stunning architecture and lively cultural scene, Zagreb is a popular destination for travellers.
However, beyond the city limits, there are several stunning places worth visiting.
So if you’re interested in exploring the country’s natural beauty, delving into history, indulging in local cuisine, and possibly getting to know a neighboring country, there are many day trips from Zagreb that you can do.
That’s because Zagreb’s central location makes it an ideal base for exploring the surroundings!
With easy access to transport options including train, bus and car hire, you can visit many places in a single day. In this article, I will review the best day trips from Zagreb, including destination descriptions, travel information and local recommendations. So, pack your bags, grab your camera and join me on this journey to discover some of the most breathtaking sights Croatia (and Slovenia) has to offer.
Anyway, get ready to be inspired, discover hidden gems and create unforgettable memories from Zagreb, Croatia.
Best day trips from Zagreb
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes National Park is a great day trip from Zagreb for both nature lovers and adventurers alike.
The park is about 2 hours by car or bus from Zagreb and is easily accessible by public transport.
The waterfalls are breathtaking, as are the turquoise lakes and lush forests. By the way, the Plitvice Lakes National Park is considered one of the most beautiful natural wonders in Europe.
You can visit the park independently or join a tour:
Tours from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes:
- From Zagreb: Excursion to Plitvice Lakes and Rastoke: Visit Plitvice Lakes and Rastoke, the fairytale village, in the same day.
- From Zagreb: Rastoke and Plitvive Lakes Park Tour: This tour does not include entrance tickets to Plitvice Lakes Park.
- From Zagreb: transfer to Split and Plitvice Lakes guided tour: This tour is suitable for those who are in Zagreb, want to visit the Plitive Lakes, but instead of returning to Zagreb, continue to Split or Trogir.
Note: the prices and conditions of the excursions may vary according to the supplier, so I recommend that you always confirm what is included in each tour.
Visit the Istrian Peninsula
A day trip from Zagreb to Istria is a great way to experience the beauty and diversity of Croatia, in other words, it is one of the best day trips from Zagreb that you can choose!
The Istria peninsula is a region located in the northwest part of the country and is known for its rolling hills, stunning coastline and vibrant culture. Two of the must-visit towns in Istria are Pula and Rovinj on the west coast of the peninsula.
As one of the largest cities in Istria, Pula has a lot to offer visitors. Explore the Roman Amphitheater, which is Pula’s most famous tourist attraction and one of the six largest surviving Roman arenas in the world, as well as the Forum of Pula, which was the center of Roman life in the city and is now a popular spot for visitors explore and learn about their history.
On the other hand, Rovinj is known for its old town with its narrow streets, houses with red roofs and charming squares. The city has a strong Italian influence, which is evident in its architecture, cuisine and even language.
Anyway, a day trip from Zagreb to Istria is an excellent way to escape the city and immerse yourself in the beauty and culture of Croatia.
Tours from Zagreb to Istria:
- Istria day trip from Zagreb: On the same day visit Pula and its Roman amphitheater, Poreč which has a UNESCO-protected Euphrasian basilica, and Rovinj which is considered the Pearl of the Adriatic.
If you want to stay a day or two in the region, which is a great idea, take note that Flixbus has direct buses from Zagreb to Pula.
Also, in terms of accommodation, you can stay at the D&A Center Apartments with FREE Parking in the center of Pula, or at the Boutique Hotel Valsabbion if you prefer the amenities of a hotel, including a SPA.
Visit Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia
A day trip from Zagreb to Ljubljana is a great way to explore Slovenia’s capital, and of course, it should be on your list of day trips from Zagreb.
Located just over an hour away by car or bus, Ljubljana is a city full of charm, with a very interesting mix of medieval and modern architecture, beautiful parks, riverside walks and a vibrant cultural scene.
Visit Ljubljana Castle, a medieval castle set on a hill and with panoramic terraces. Afterwards, walk through Prešeren Square, the central square and the heart of the city, surrounded by historic buildings, cafes and restaurants.
Also, take a boat trip or walk along the banks of the Ljubljanica River, the river that crosses the city and where several restaurants are concentrated.
Tivoli Park is another must-see attraction in Ljubljana, which in addition to being a very pleasant green area, is the stage for many activities and events throughout the year.
Tours from Zagreb to Ljubljana:
- Ljubljana and Lake Bled Tour from Zagreb: visit Ljubljana and Lake Bled on the same day;
- From Zagreb: Ljubliana and Lake Bled Minivan Day Trip: for smaller groups;
- 1-Day Tour to Ljubljana and Lake Bled from Zagreb: The most expensive option, but the best-reviewed tour at the time of writing.
As you may have noticed, there is a lot to see and do in Ljubljiana, so I suggest staying in Slovenia’s capital.
Flixbus has bus fares starting at €14.99, but it’s important to book in advance. If you prefer to go by train to Ljubljiana, then you should go to Glavni kolodvor station.
In terms of accommodation, there are several options to choose from. The City Hotel Ljubljana is centrally located and generally reasonably priced, while for a more luxurious option, the InterContinental – Ljubljana, an IHG Hotel is a smart choice.
However, if you prefer budget hotels, check out the Penzion Pod Lipo.
Visit Varazdin and Trakoscan Castle
You’ve probably never heard of Varazdin, but it’s a shame as it’s a beautiful region!
So, it makes perfect sense to explore the region on a day-trip from Zagreb. The journey by car takes just over an hour, but if you go by train it takes about three hours. So, if you don’t have a rental car, consider joining an excursion to Varazdin.
I use and recommend renting a car in Croatia through Discovercars, as they offer the most competitive prices, in my opinion, and provide excellent customer support.
Tours from Zagreb to Varazdin:
From Zabreb: Varazdin Barroque City and Trakoscan Castle: Tour for a maximum of 8 people, which guarantees a more personal experience.
- Visit Zagreb: discover the beauty of Croatia’s capital in 3 days
- Plitvice Lakes: Explore Croatia’s Largest National Park
- Franjo Tudman International Airport (ZAG) in Zagreb (Croatia)
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