Take it easy
If you’re looking for a break from the faster-paced (but still pleasant) activities in Zagreb, take the bus or drive about 30-40 minutes to the small town of Samobor. There is a regular bus service every half-hour or so to and from Zagreb all day, and it is well worth the trip for the food and the walking paths. The town is situated in the middle of the mountainous Samoborsko Gorje. Because of this, Samobor offers visitors numerous hiking opportunities in lush forests and beautiful views at the top.
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What you’ll see
The town of Samobor recalls the Baroque period, and it has a long tradition of tourism. Boasting several covered bridges, a trickling brook and red-roofed houses, this pleasant little town is a great day venture. Samobor does become very popular and crowded in mid-February during its famous carnival, so if you’re planning on visiting then, make arrangements ahead of time.
What you’ll taste
While visiting, tourists should definitely taste some of the authentic dishes from the region. Order Rudorska greblica, which is a type of cheesecake prepared according to an ancient recipe. Another good option for a treat is Samoborske kremsnite, a flaky and custardy pastry cake. Traditional meals are also a good bet in Samobor. Try Pri Staroj Vuri near the main square and order Samobor’s famous sweet wine, Bermet, before your main course. Cafe U Prolazu and Café bar Ara are two establisments that come recommended. If you’re in the mood to cool off, try an Kaffe Eis (Ice Coffee), which is more of a milkshake, with whipped crème and icecream over espresso. Not the healthiest of choices, but you can burn off those extra calories with some hiking.
Where to stay
One day is certainly enough time to explore Samobor, but there are a few hotels and private accommodations available, and the price is reasonable compared to hotels in Zagreb. Hotel Lavica is a famous 3 star hotel on the outskirts of the city, while Hotel Livadic is a pleasant hotel in the town center. Garni Hotel Samobor is a comfortable and well-furnished two-star hotel in town.
Where to go
Visit the tourist office in the town square for a map of the area, and get lost in the peaceful forests across from the square. While hiking, you might happen upon the baroque church of the Ascension of the Virgin Mary, with beautiful baroque altars.
Visitors might want to check out the ruins of the Samobor Castle, easily accessible by hiking a short distance from the town square. Supporters of Bohemian king Otokar Pøemisl II built the castle around 1271 on the hill above the town. In the year 1274, the castle was taken over by duke Ivan Okiæki. After that, the castle changed hands often, and the struggle for ownership and privileges lasted for three hundred years. The castle continued to deteriorate throughout this time, and in 1902, the town of Samobor bought the ruins. It is definitely worth the hike not only to see the ruins but also for the stunning view of the town and surrounding area. For those eager for even more information about Samobor’s history, the Museum of Samobor is located in the Livadic mansion.
Though it touts plenty of natural beauty, Samobor also has a significant amount of ruins and artifacts from ancient times. The oldest artifacts found originate from The Stone Age, while more was dug up from Bronze Age, Iron Age and from the age of the Roman Empire. The area of Samobor was populated by Illyrian tribe of Iapodes. There are several other archeological sites in Žumberak hills, near the villages of Budinjak, Bratelji and Gornja Vas.