Even though, for a lot of tourists who are visiting continental part of Croatia the capital city is the main destination, once in Zagreb, you are only 1/2h away from lash green countryside named Zagorje. Zagorje region is located in northern part of Croatia (map), just north from it’s capital city. Actually, only Medvednica mountain separates Zagreb (photos) from Zagorje region.
So, to go to Croatian Zagorje from Zagreb you follow signs for Krapina. Another option is to go around east slopes of Medvednica mountain by following signs for Vrbovec and Krizevci. Both, highways and alternative routes are available.
More photographs like this one find in Old Zagorje photo gallery…
Once in Zagorje you are surrounded by rolling hills blanketed with patches of forests, vineyards or fields of grain. Here you’ll discover hospitable people of noble nature. People who have endured history of foreign rulers, numerous invasions, hardship nature had thrown at them and despite, they have preserved their specific dialect of the Croatian language, culture, traditions, cuisine and most importantly, land and water that surrounds them.
Roads throughout Zagorje countryside connect scattered towns and villages as well as medieval castles or large nobleman’s manors that often proudly stand tall for many centuries. Today most serve as museums, while others are quietly whispering about their place in history, eider as ruins or partially incorporated into newly build structures of towns and villages.
Regional museums, like one in Krizevac, display artifacts created by human hand dating back 5,000 years. Museum in Krapina on the other hand, will introduce you to findings of some of the European Neanderthals (more than 120.000 years old).
Finally, what attract most of us to Zagorje, beside culinary dishes, are mineral thermal water springs, spas with numerous swimming pools – Stubičke toplice, Tuheljske toplice, Krapinske and Varaždinske toplice.
Culinary dishes in Zagorje region could be labeled as continental central-European with it’s own flavors. Traditional dishes of the region can be found in many local restaurants but also in most of the restaurants in Zagreb.
If opportunity presents itself and you are able to join a local family for a traditional meal, aroma and flavors of dishes will be something you’ll remember long after. But, that’s the case only if a modern day industry did not already infiltrate the local way of life and the way food is grown and prepared.
Some of the dishes you must try while in Zagorje or elsewhere in Croatia:
- Zagorje štrukli
- Sarma (featured in our recipe)
- Češnjovke sausages (home made)
Croatian Zagorje photo gallery…
Travel notes about Trakoscan…
Much more from Croatia…
Zagreb photo gallery…