Zagreb and Plitvice : my trip to two totally different places in Hrvatska – Croatia

I love to combine a trip like this one from time to time. It does make my trip more interesting. This time, I visited Zagreb and Plitvice National Park – Nacionalni park Plitvicka jezera. Zagreb is where socialism meets capitalism, and Plitvice is where nature embraces your soul. Now let’s start our journey together, shall we ?

By the way, I use 1 Euro = 7.30 Kuna for the entire blog (Summer 2017). And first thing first, you need to exchange your money to Kuna. My advice is to change only 5-10 Euro at the airport. You just need to buy a ticket to the city, that’s all. As you well know, the exchange rate at the airport isn’t always good.

How to get to Zagreb from The Franjo Tudman Airport :

As usual, you have 3 choices: with a normal bus, a shuttle bus service, or a taxi. As for me, I chose to take a normal blue bus (ZET) Nr. 290, because this bus took me directly to the perimeter of the inner city. The bus stop is called Kvaternikov Trg – Kvaternik Square. From this stop, you can walk along theses streets: Ul. kralja Zvonimira or Marticeva ul. or Vlaška ul. to the inner city and the old town at no time. The ticket price is in the range between 4 – 8 Kuna for a one-way trip. It depends on the mood of the bus driver…Wait…Seriously ? yes, seriously!, because there is no system, some drivers charge you and your luggage, which means they charge you for the price of 2 seats. I was charged only 4 Kuna on the way to Zagreb, my luggage took up another seat though, but on the way to the airport, I was charged 8 Kuna . Anyhow, it’s just 1 Euro at the end, nothing serious…It’s just a little weirdness.

FYI : if you want to take a ZET Bus Nr. 290, you will need to cross the street in front of the airport’s parking space. It is scheduled to run to Zagreb every 30 min. approximately, and it takes around 20-30 minutes from the airport to the city (the end station is Kvaternikov Trg – Kvaternik Square).

As for a shuttle bus service, the bus parks in front of the arrival terminal. The ticket price is around 35 Kuna. It takes you to the Zagreb Bus Terminal, which located close to the central train station. Unfortunately, the central train station is situated approximately 2 km. from the main square (Ban Jelacic Square) by walking, or 10 – 15 minutes by tram.

Where to go in Zagreb :

As for me, my first plan was visiting Zagrebacka Katedrala or in english The Zagreb Cathedral on Kaptol. It is a beautiful Roman Catholic cathedral, and also the tallest building in Croatia. It was built in the mid13th century with Neo-Gothic style. This cathedral stands tall in the middle of the city and you can’t miss it.

Additionally, in front of the cathedral has a beautiful plaza decorated with….a sophisticated Holy Mary column.

Next to The Zagreb Cathedral is the famous Zagreb’s open market where you can buy many kinds of food, fruits, drinks, dried lavender…….oh I love its scent….., souvenirs and etc. It’s very interesting to visit though. If you aren’t a fan of market, you will just walk towards west to the other side of the market and turn left to steps which lead you to Trg bana Jelacica – Ban Jelacic Square.

From this point, you have 3 alternative routes:

A. Going somewhere that’s historic :

You just walk towards west to the end of Ban Jelacic Square and turn right to Radiceva ul. and approximately 70 m. turn left to a little alley called Zakmardijeve stube and then up to steps. Et voilà, you are by now in an old part of Zagreb called Gradec or Gornji grad (Upper Town) where you can get a nice panoramic view of the City. Here is where people stop and take selfies. This part of the city consists of various historical buildings such as; Lotršcak Tower, Muzej prekinutih veza – Museum of Broken Relationships, Hrvatski muzej naivne umjetnosti – Croatian Museum of Naïve Art, and of course the famous Crkva sv. Marka – St. Mark Church, located in Trg svetog Marka- St.Mark’s square. This church was built as early as the 13th century with late Gothic and some Romanesque features. Across the St.Mark’s square is Kamenita ul. which leads you to Kamenita vrata – The Stone Gate. It was once considered the eastern gate to medieval Gradec Town, now a shrine of Our Lady with a gold crown…and you can simply sneak a peek.

B. Going somewhere that’s green and calms your mind by visiting Park Zrinjevac, Hrvatsko narodno kazalište – The Croatian National Theater, and Muzej Mimara – Mimara-Museum respectively :

You just walk towards south to Praška ul., and at the end of the street awaits you Park Zrinjevac where you can enjoy a well decorated park, an open air coffee kiosk (seasonal) . From here, you can walk towards west to Hrvatsko narodno kazalište- The Croatian National Theater, and Muzej Mimara- Mimara-Museum.

C. Can’t decide ? Let’s go shopping!

You just walk towards west to the famous Ilica Street. It’s very easy to recognize, because you can see many people carrying shopping bags. This street could be like a little heaven for those who love shopping. Don’t expect to see very high-end brands though.

By the way, If you are a museum fan, you will probably fall in love with Zagreb, because Zagreb has numerous museums such as; Archaeological Museum, Arts and Crafts Museum, Croatian Museum of Naïve Art, Croatian Natural History Museum, Ethnographic Museum, Mimara Museum, Moderna galerija- Modern Gallery, Museum of the City of Zagreb , Museum of Contemporary Art, Technical Museum. I guess, one could spend up to 7 days in order to see them all. As for me, I had only 3 days in Zagreb, so I chose to roam around and enjoy outdoor activities.

Speaking about outdoor activities, to me…. it was like travel back in time sometime when I was walking along the streets in Zagreb. As mentioned before, Zagreb is where socialism meets capitalism. It means, you can still see some broken buildings from the socialist era stand tall in the middle of the city, or the whole street is filled up with unmaintained buildings, or in some streets have several unmaintained buildings stand next to a very modern one. Zagreb has been undergoing a huge change. The century has also brought new construction to the old Zagreb, and many unmaintained buildings have been restored or rebuilt.

As usual I like to combine somewhere different for my trip. This time I also visited Plitvice Lakes National Park a.k.a. Paradise Park!


Station 2 – P2


Station 1


Station 1


Station 1

Before you go to this paradise park, you should prepare yourself to some extent, because Plitvice Lakes National Park is huge, packed with tourists especially during summer, and has 3 stations which located in different directions. In order to plan your trip happily and efficiently, I have created various simple combinations for you here, so you can check whether you can accomplish 3 stations or not!

Healthwise:
A. You are fit and be able to walk 12-13 km. “up and down hill” within 4 hours straight.
B. You are not fit enough..so la la…and unable to do the above mentioned A.

Timewise:
C. You have only 4 hours or less in the park.
D. You have more than 5 hours in the park.


Click image to enlarge

According to the above mentioned A,B,C, and D, now it’s time to choose your combination!

A+C. = You could probably be able to see almost 3 stations.
A+D = You could be able to see in more detail..enjoy the paradise in all 3 stations.
B+C = You have to choose only 1 or 2 stations out of 3. My advice is choosing Station 1 (ST1)
B+D =  You may accomplish 2 stations, but hey that 2/3 of the park! Don’t be sad.


Station 2 – P2


Station 3


Station 2 – P2


Station 2 – P2


Station 2 – P2

FYI : No flip flop or heels, because the pathway in the park is made of either wood or natural stone, just around 1.20 – 1.50 m. width, and has no balustrade!! I believe, you don’t want to fall into cold water or off a cliff!

Now comes another tricky part: an entrance ticket.
There are different prices according periods of the year, and person

Winter Period : 1 Jan – 31 Mar and 1 Nov – 31 Dec., panoramic trains and electric boats between station do not operate during these periods, and hence tours are possible on foot only.)
Price per person for a day ticket : Adult 55 Kuna, Student : 45 Kuna

Spring and Autumn Period : 1 Apr – 30 Jun and 1 Sep – 31 Oct
Price per person for a day ticket : Adult 110 Kuna, Student : 80 Kuna

Summer Period : 1 Jul – 31 Aug
Price per person for a day ticket : Adult 180 Kuna, Student : 110 Kuna

Summer 2017 : Plitvice’s ticket office – Entrance 2

Tips :

    • For buying a ticket 1 : you should go to the “Entrance 2”, because you will spend less time waiting, especially during a summer time. During this period, you can expect 40 min. – 1 hour waiting at the Entrance 2. To avoid this unpleasant situation, you should try to get there as early as possible!
    • For buying a ticket 2 : online purchase is not available.
    • For choosing when to visit : there are pros and cons in this matter.

Summer : it’s a fabulous time to visit, because there is often blue sky and less rain. But there are some catches: there are always a lot of visitors literally, the heat could be unbearable, expensive ticket, and also you spend longer time waiting in front of the ticket office.
Spring / Autumn : there are less visitors, cheaper ticket. The catches are: it’s kinda tricky to know whether it would rain or not, the path inside the park could get nasty, slippery, muddy and dangerous when it got wet.
Winter : well, I’d say, you’d better travel somewhere else, unless you’d like to experience a winter adventure. It’s a no no.

How to get there : Flixbus from Zagreb Bus Terminal
It departs Zagreb around 8:00, 9:45, and arrives at Plitvicka Jezera stop around 10:30 and 11:50 respectively. On the way back from Plitvicka Jezera to Zagreb, it departs around 16:15 and 18:35 and arrives Zagreb around 18:40 and 20:40 respectively. A ticket price is 13 Euro for a one way trip.

This was another memorable trip to Croatia. The country has so much to offer and people are mostly very kind, helpful and friendly. You will probably love this country like I do, once you visit it!

Das Leben ist zu kurz, um zu Hause zu bleiben!!! Deshalb reise ich gerne…Life is too short to stay at home !!! That’s why I like traveling 🙂

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