With a U-shaped chain of parks that curve around the Lower Town (Donji Grad) and trail-threaded expanses on the outskirts of town, Zagreb is blessed with a wide variety of green spaces. Here are our top picks for parks in the Croatian capital.
Zagreb Botanical Garden
Founded in the 19th century, the Zagreb Botanical Garden—part of the Lenuci, or Green, Horseshoe, a chain of eight landscaped parks that loop around the Lower Town—offers some 10,000 different plant species. The 11.6-acre (4.7-hectare) space also has several glasshouses, an arboretum, rock gardens, ponds, and tranquil corners that provide the perfect respite for weary sightseers.
Also located in the Lower Town, this picturesque green square is surrounded on all sides by important cultural institutions and government buildings, including the Supreme Court of Croatia, Zagreb’s Archaeological Museum, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters. At its center is a music pavilion that hosts concerts in summer and a festive Christmas market in winter.
Open since 1794, Maksimir is one of Zagreb’s oldest parks. Today the 780-acre (315-hectare) patch of green is also one of the city’s most popular, with woods, meadows, lakes, cafés, ample walkable pathways, and the Zagreb Zoo.
Well-situated on the elevated southern boundary of the Upper Town (Gornji Grad), the tree-lined Strossmayer Promenade makes for prime strolling turf. The walkway offers excellent views of the city; during summer, it hosts a solid lineup of concerts and art exhibitions, all open to the public.
Located 20 minutes by road from the center of Zagreb, Mt. Medvednica is an easily accessible retreat for city-folk. During winter, the snow-covered park has top-notch skiing and sledding; in summer, it’s a favorite among hikers making the 2.5-hour trek to the top of its highest peak, Sljeme, which sits more than a half-mile (0.8 kilometers) above sea level. Not a hiker? Fear not—you can catch a bus straight to the top.