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13 Best Day Trips from Zagreb, Croatia: Top Destinations

Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, is a vibrant city full of history, culture, and urban charm. While there is plenty to see and do within the city, some of the best experiences can be found just a short drive away. Embarking on day trips from Zagreb allows visitors to explore the diverse landscapes and attractions the surrounding areas offer.

From awe-inspiring national parks to enchanting medieval towns, there is no shortage of exciting destinations within reach. Slovenia, with its fairytale-like Lake Bled and the stunning city of Ljubljana, makes for an unforgettable day trip.

Meanwhile, adventures within Croatia’s borders include visits to the scenic Plitvice Lakes National Park and the historic town of Varazdin. The Risnjak National Park, nestled among the alpine region of Gorski Kotar, offers picturesque views and opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.

Whether travelers seek natural beauty, historical landmarks, or simply a change of scenery, day trips from Zagreb provide various options to suit every taste. The proximity of these attractions ensures that visitors can make the most of their time in this captivating region of Europe.

Best Day Trips from Zagreb

Modern tram on a street of Zagreb, Croatia
Leonid Andronov / Adobe Stock

In case you’d like to explore Croatia from Zagreb, there are a few amazing destinations for day tours that showcase the beauty and history of the country. Some top places near Zagreb are Plitvice Lakes, Trakoscan Castle, Varazdin, and Samobor.

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Plitvice Lakes

Tourists exploring in Plitvice Lakes National Park
Radosław Żydonik / Adobe Stock

Plitvice Lakes National Park is essential to experience the destination on any day trip from Zagreb. The park features a series of 16 stunning turquoise lakes connected by remarkable waterfalls. Visitors can explore the park by following wooden-planked paths and trails that wind around and over the water, offering unforgettable views of the diverse landscape.

One of the most popular day tours from Zagreb, checking out Plitvice Lakes allows travelers to spend their day immersed in the natural beauty of Croatia. The Plitvice national park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and provides a refreshing change of pace from the bustling city of Zagreb.

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Trakoscan Castle

Trakoscan Castle in Croatia
ilijaa / Adobe Stock

Visitors will find Trakoscan Castle, a 13th-century fortress positioned amidst picturesque hills and forests when traveling northwest of Zagreb. The beautifully preserved castle boasts stunning architecture, sprawling gardens, and a rich history.

Guests can tour the castle’s many rooms all day, learning about the intriguing lives of the nobility who once resided there. The surrounding parkland offers opportunities for leisurely walks, allowing for a relaxing day in the Croatian countryside.

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Old castle and city park in Varazdin
Elenarts / Adobe Stock

Known as Croatia’s “Baroque Capital,” Varazdin is a charming, historic city just an hour’s drive from Zagreb. Its well-preserved Baroque architecture and lovely cobblestone streets create a delightful atmosphere perfect for a day trip.

Take the time to visit the impressive Varazdin Castle, explore the city’s numerous museums, and indulge in authentic flavors at one of the many restaurants or cafes. Varazdin is an ideal destination for history and culture enthusiasts looking to experience a different side of Croatia.

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Samobor medieval town scenery
dreamer4787 / Adobe Stock

A quaint, picturesque town just a short drive from Zagreb, Samobor offers a laid-back atmosphere and charming scenery. This lesser-known treasure is known for its dynamic history, beautiful Baroque architecture, and local culinary specialties, such as the Samobor kremšnita (cream cake).

Amble through the town’s lovely streets, visit the Samobor Museum and hike up to the ruins of the medieval Samobor Castle for impressive views of the town and the surrounding area. With its proximity to Zagreb, Samobor makes for an enjoyable and easy day trip.

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Day Trips from Zagreb by Train

Exploring destinations near Zagreb by train allows travelers to experience picturesque scenery while reaching various cities and attractions comfortably. Some popular day trips from Zagreb by train include visits to Rijeka, Ljubljana in Slovenia, and Split.


Trsat Castle in Rijeka, Croatia
Valery Shanin / Adobe Stock

Rijeka, Croatia’s largest port city, offers a captivating blend of coastal charm and dynamic culture. The train journey from Zagreb to Rijeka takes approximately 4 hours, providing many options to enjoy the stunning landscapes.

Upon arrival, visitors can explore the bustling Korzo promenade, amble through the historic old town, and admire the amazing panoramas from Trsat Castle. The city center’s rich history, fascinating architecture, and lively atmosphere make it an excellent day trip destination.

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Ljubljana, Slovenia

Cityscape view on Ljubljanica river canal
gatsi / Adobe Stock

Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is a charming destination with a friendly atmosphere, located about 140 miles from Zagreb. The train from Zagreb to Ljubljana takes approximately 2.5 hours, making it a convenient choice for a day trip.

Visitors can explore the picturesque Old Town, meandering along the Ljubljanica River, and walking up to Ljubljana Castle for awe-inspiring views of the busy city below. Ljubljana’s numerous sidewalk cafes, dynamic street art, and iconic Dragon Bridge provide memorable experiences for tourists.

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beautiful lights during night time at split

Split, a stunning coastal city along the Adriatic Sea, offers a unique blend of ancient history and modern lifestyle. The train journey from Zagreb to Split takes about 6 hours, providing ample time to admire Croatia’s diverse landscapes and rural charm.

Upon arrival, visitors can explore the UNESCO-listed Diocletian’s Palace, wander the captivating avenues, and relax on the beautiful beaches. With its captivating history, lively atmosphere, and picturesque coastal views, Split is an excellent day trip option for leisure and exploration.

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Day Trips from Zagreb to Nature and Adventure

Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, offers a range of day trips for nature and adventure enthusiasts. With its rich natural and historical surroundings, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to explore scenic landscapes and experience outdoor activities.


Trakoscan castle on a hill in Croatia
phant / Adobe Stock

Located in the northern part of Croatia, Zagorje is a picturesque region known for its rolling hills, historic castles, and thermal springs. Some popular absolutely essential to experience sites include:

  • Trakošćan Castle is a stunning 13th-century fortification with impressive architecture and surrounding parkland.
  • Veliki Tabor Castle – A medieval fortress famous for its well-preserved structures and captivating history.
  • Kumrovec – A quaint village featuring traditional wooden houses and the birthplace of Josip Broz Tito.

Visitors can also indulge in thermal baths at the Krapinske Toplice or explore the Neanderthal Museum at Krapina.

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Sljeme Mountain

View of Jarun lake and Sljeme mountain in spring
Viktoriya / Adobe Stock

Sljeme Mountain, the highest peak of Medvednica Nature Park, is an ideal destination for those who love hiking, mountain biking, and skiing. The park offers picturesque trails, panoramic views, and diverse flora and fauna. Sljeme Mountain hosts the Snow Queen Trophy, a FIS World Ski Cup event in winter. For a relaxing experience, visitors can take a break at mountain lodges and enjoy traditional Croatian gastronomy.

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Mrežnica River

Crossing the waterfalls with the canoe on the Mreznica river
Goran / Adobe Stock

The Mrežnica River is an excellent spot for outdoor adventure activities around a two-hour drive from Zagreb. The region features prominently lush green landscapes, crystal clear waters, cascading waterfalls, and numerous swimming spots. Popular adventure activities in this area include:

  • Kayaking – Paddle through the scenic river and enjoy the views.
  • Rafting – Adrenaline junkies will love navigating the wild rapids of the Mrežnica River.
  • Zip-lining – Soar through the air and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the river canyon.

No matter which outdoor activity you choose, Mrežnica River promises an unforgettable day trip immersed in Croatia’s natural beauty.

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Weekend Getaways

Weekend trips from Zagreb allow one to explore Croatia’s beautiful landscapes and charming cities more. The following destinations are just a few examples of perfect weekend getaways that can be easily reached from Zagreb.


Stunning panorama of Dubrovnik old town
gatsi / Adobe Stock

Dubrovnik, often called the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic,’ is an excellent choice for a weekend getaway from Zagreb. The city boasts a stunning, ancient Old Town and historic center, surrounded by imposing stone walls dating back to the 16th century.

Visitors can amble along the city walls or explore the narrow, cobblestone streets dotted with historical monuments and buildings. To fully enjoy its beauty, consider spending at least two days here.

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Istria Peninsula

Stunning view of Istria Peninsula
janoka82 / Adobe Stock

The Istria Peninsula is an enchanting Croatia region stretching into the northern Adriatic Sea. It is known for its lush, green landscapes and hilltop towns with narrow, winding streets.

Some essential to-experience towns include Rovinj, Pula, and Motovun. Discover the region’s Roman amphitheater in Pula, admire the picturesque old town of Rovinj, and enjoy the amazing panoramas of the rolling hills in Motovun. Istria is ideal for a relaxing weekend filled with beautiful sights, delicious food, and charming towns.

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Krk Island

Coastal town in Krk Island, Croatia
leszekglasner / Adobe Stock

Krk Island is the largest island in the Croatian Adriatic Sea and can be easily accessed from Zagreb by car, making it a perfect weekend escape. The island offers a combination of natural beauty, rich history, and dynamic culture. Visitors can explore the picturesque Krk town with its ancient city walls, narrow streets, and stunning beaches.

Other notable attractions on the island include the Biserujka Cave, Vrbnik village, and the beautiful sandy beaches at Baška. Spend a weekend enjoying the island’s natural beauty, relaxing on the beaches, and indulging in its authentic flavors.

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Which are the best day trips from Zagreb?

Some of the best Zagreb day trips include visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park, exploring the charming Slovenian capital of Ljubljana, and discovering the picturesque hilltop towns of Motovun and Grožnjan in Istria. Other popular destinations include the historic cities of Split and Dubrovnik, although these are farther away and may require a longer travel time.

Can I visit Slovenia on a day trip from Zagreb?

Yes, Slovenia can be visited on a day trip from Zagreb. The charming capital city, Ljubljana, is an ideal destination to explore on a day trip, with its dynamic Prešeren Square, impressive architecture, and charming Old Town. Travel time between Zagreb and Ljubljana is approximately 2.5 hours by car or train.

Is Plitvice Lakes National Park worth visiting during a day trip from Zagreb?

Plitvice Lakes National Park is worth visiting during a day trip from Zagreb. The stunning park features 16 interconnected lakes, cascading waterfalls, and lush green forests, making it one of Croatia’s most beautiful natural attractions. A day trip from Zagreb is ample time to explore the park’s scenic trails and boardwalks and capture awe-inspiring photos of the landscapes.

How can I travel from Zagreb to nearby destinations for a day trip?

A few transportation options are available for day trips from Zagreb, including:
Car rentals: Renting a car offers flexibility and allows you to explore at your own pace.
Public transportation: Buses and trains connect Zagreb to many popular destinations, offering an affordable and environmentally friendly option.
Guided tours: Many companies offer guided day tours from Zagreb, providing knowledgeable guides, transportation, and a curated itinerary.

What are the best scenic places to visit on day trips from Zagreb?

There are numerous scenic places to visit on day trips from Zagreb, such as:
Plitvice Lakes National Park: A UNESCO World Heritage site featuring stunning waterfalls and crystal-clear lakes.
Ljubljana, Slovenia: A picturesque city known for its charming Old Town and dynamic atmosphere.
Motovun and Grožnjan: Two hilltop towns in the Istrian region, renowned for their cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and panoramic views.

Are there any guided day tours available from Zagreb to famous tourist spots?

Numerous companies offer guided day tours from Zagreb to popular tourist spots. These tours typically include transportation, a knowledgeable guide, and a curated itinerary, allowing you to make the most of your day trip. Some popular guided Zagreb day tours include visits to Plitvice Lakes National Park, Ljubljana, and the Istrian hilltop towns of Motovun and Grožnjan.

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