When visiting the capital city of Croatia, Zagreb, you might be surprised how close it is to the border with Slovenia (and later on Austria) so it is possible to make day trips to the surroundings and even visit other countries! Take a look at our suggestions for the best day trips from Zagreb!
Rijeka is the third biggest city in Croatia, right after Split, and the main seaport. Because of its geographical position, the city was constantly fought over throughout the centuries. The main street where all the main events happen is called Korzo, located inside the Old Town. Don’t miss to visit the cathedral of St. Vitus, the patron saint of the city. Rijeka is also famous for its carnival parade held for over 100 years. It may not be as spectacular as the one in Venice, but it surely is special.
Getting from Zagreb to Rijeka:
- By bus: There are in total 6 companies which provide transportation from Zagreb to Rijeka, prices range from 50-118 kn, depending on the company you choose. Here you can see all the info about the prices, timetable and station location
- By train: Trains to Rijeka depart from the main railway station in Zagreb 3 times a day (08:12, 12:00, 17:05) and the price of a single ticket is 111-118 kn (for 2nd class)
- By car: The distance between Zagreb and Rijeka is approximately 166 km and it is at least 2 hours drive on the highway road A6 (it might take you even more during summer)
The first thing that pops to our minds when we think of Pula is the Pula Arena, the only remaining Roman amphitheatre to have four side towers and among the six largest in the world. The arena is often used as a venue for concerts; some artists like Elton John, Sting, David Gilmour and Leonard Cohen have already performed in this amphitheatre. Besides the arena, Pula is also known for the Temple of Augustus and the Arch of the Sergii, located in the very centre of the city.
Getting from Zagreb to Pula:
- By bus: There are up to 30 departures from Zagreb terminal to Pula, ticket prices for adults range from 75kn to 162kn. Find all the info and buy your ticket here.
- By train: You can reach Pula from Zagreb railway station by one of 9 trains which depart daily. One-way ticket costs 153/160 kn and it can be bought either at the station or on official page of Croatian Railways (HŽ)
- By car: It normally takes 3 hrs and 15 mins to get to Pula from Zagreb, but considering frequent traffic jams, it might take you a bit longer. In case you don’t have your own car, you can rent one.
The capital of Slovenia is relatively close to Zagreb, so why not go over the border to visit this beautiful city. Among the main attractions in Ljubljana you will find the Triple Bridge, which is also displayed at Mini-Europe in Brussels, and don’t forget Tivoli Park and Neboticnik skyscraper from 1933. Check our 24-hour plan of what to do in Ljubljana.
Getting from Zagreb to Ljubljana:
- By bus: 6 companies provide transportation from Zagreb to Ljubljana and there are up to 12 departures (depending on the season). The price of one-way ticket ranges from 30 to 80 kn. → timetable and other info
- By train: There is a line operated by Slovenian Railways (SŽ) Zagreb-Ljubljana which departs 5 times a day. The price of a single ticket for adults is 9€ (~66 kn).
- By car: The distance between Zagreb and Ljubljana is 140 km and it takes approx. 1hr and 45 mins to get there with a car if you drive on highway A2/E70. But always bear in mind that traffic jam is possible, especially on state border.
4) Lake Bled
If you decide to visit Ljubljana, make sure you don’t skip this nature attraction located in the Julian Alps, most notable for the small church on an islet right in the middle of the lake. And when you get hungry, try delicious Bled’s cake called ‘kremsnita’. Check our article about Lake Bled, what to do and how to get there from Ljubljana.
Getting from Zagreb to Lake Bled:
- By bus: You can either first go to Ljubljana and then get on a bus to Bled, or go directly with a bus line Zagreb-Bled which departs from terminal at 9:00 and arrives to Bled at 12:18 (optimally)
- By train: Reaching Lake Bled with train is a bit tricky because the nearest train stop is in Lesce which is 4 from the lake. But once you get there, you will find a local bus stop to Bled right across the station.
- By car: The best way to reach Bled by car is first going to Ljubljana and from there go on A2 highway which is the most convenient and easiest option. Since getting to Bled by public transportation is very limited, maybe you should rent a car for a carefree trip.
5) Plitvice Lakes NP
National park Plitvice is undoubtedly the biggest and the most visited national park in Croatia, located in the county of Lika. The park has been part of UNESCO’s World Heritage list since 1979. The interesting fact is that today, in the area of Plitvice Lakes National Park, there are still autochthonous animal species.
Getting from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes NP:
- By bus: All the info about buses to and from Plitvice (including Zagreb) check here.
- Alternatively, you can get there by car in approx. 2 hours which will in total cost you around 250 kn (gas and toll charges). And if you don’t have your own car, renting one will cost additional 570 kn per day.
6) Trakošćan castle
Trakošćan castle is an excellent destination for a day trip in the nature since it is only 80 km from Zagreb. The castle was built in the 13th century, but it was not until 1944 when it became state property. The castle is now a museum which you can visit for 30 kn (children 15 kn) or spend a day having a picnic on the meadows by the lake surrounding the castle.
Getting from Zagreb to Trakošćan:
- By bus: Bus company Presečki Grupa provides transport from Zagreb to Trakošćan but their buses only run on weekends
- By car: The best option would be going by car since there is barely 80 km and you’ll get there in no time, especially if you are travelling with family or friends. First go to E70 from direction Savska cesta, then A2/E59 to Gornji Macelj and exit highway at Exit 1, take D508 to Trakošćan.
Graz in Austria is also a very popular destination for a day trip from Zagreb. The historic centre of Graz has been introduced into UNESCO World Heritage list thanks to over 1,000 buildings of different styles, from gothic to modern. The main attraction is Schlossberg hill located in the very centre, known for its Clock Tower which gives spectacular panoramic view of the city. On this hill was once built a small castle named Gradec, after which Graz got its name.
Getting from Zagreb to Graz:
- By bus: There are up to 8 departures from bus terminal in Zagreb to Graz Europaplatz station. The price for a single adult ticket ranges from 110kn to 130kn. You can buy your ticket online or at the bus station.
- By train: You can either choose to go with direct train to Graz, or one which goes to Vienna and stop at Graz railway station. One-way ticket costs 19€ (~141 kn)
- By car: The shortest distance between Zagreb and Graz is 183 km and the easiest way is to follow A2/E59 highway road.
And the last but not least on our list is Varazdin, an old baroque city in the north of Croatia. The biggest attraction of Varazdin is the fortress known as Old Town, located in the northwestern part of town, and today is the seat of the City Museum of Varazdin. Every year during late August the streets of Varazdin become the venue of a street festival named Špancirfest which presents street performers, jugglers, jazz players and famous Croatian singers and some international stars like Blondie and Skunk Anansie.
Getting from Zagreb to Varazdin:
- By bus: 2 bus companies provide transport to Varaždin, the earliest departure from Zagreb is at 02:00 and the latest at 22:30. The journey lasts approx. 1hr and 30 mins. → info about ticket prices and bus schedule
- By train: Trains leave from the main station in Zagreb 13 times a day, the earliest at 05:41. The price of a single adult ticket is 64.60 kn.
- By car: Zagreb is only 76 km from Varazdin, to get there follow E65 road. Have enough kunas on you because you will have to pay several toll charges.