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As much as I love spending time in Croatia’s capital city of Zagreb, there are times when I would like to get away from the hustle of the city streets and head to smaller, lesser known cities and towns to bask in the quiet, serene scenes that the vast Zagreb Region has to offer. And what better way to do this, than to take an impromptu day trip?
I had always heard about the small medieval town of Samobor, Croatia, which lies approximately 25 kilometres from Zagreb’s city centre and is also located about 5 short kilometres from the Slovenian border. After searching up some photos and bus routes, I decided that one of my days in Zagreb would be spent taking a short day trip via bus to the quaint little town of Samobor.
Samobor is surrounded by the lush Nature Park Žumberak – Samoborsko gorje Hill Range and offers numerous attractions to see, walks, waterfalls and a series of activities from hiking and cycling to paragliding. If you have some time, head up to the Samobor castle ruins as well.
Samobor is home to numerous handicraft makers still to this day. Millers, leather makers, hat makers, boot makers, glass makers, locksmiths, blacksmiths and crystal manufacturers – although slowly disappearing, they are still very much alive in Samobor where numerous products are made in small family facilities – glass, ceramics, crystal, candles, hand-painted souvenirs, metal fences, wooden doors, cosmetics, gastronomic delights can all still be found here in the many small shops around town.
Samobor is noted to be a very relaxing destination for Croatian locals from Zagreb and judging by the photos I’ve seen, I can see why. Samobor is a small town filled with beautiful medieval architecture, local bakeries and bars lining the town square and of course, home to the famous cream cake, or kremšnita, which includes a puff pastry base and custard cream. Although Samobor is famous for this cake, you can find the decadent kremšnita all over Croatia.
If you find yourself looking for an easy day trip from Zagreb that won’t break the bank, keep reading for information on how you should spend a day in Samobor, Croatia.
Getting To Samobor
Taking a day trip to Samobor could not be easier. Samobor is well connected by the bus company called Samoborček, which can pick you up from Zagreb’s central bus station or Črnomerec bus station. If catching the bus from the central station in Zagreb (Autobusni Kolodvor), tickets can be purchased from one of the numerous ticket windows and cost (at the time of my visit) 44 Kuna (€5.79) for a one way ticket. The bus will arrive on platform 610 and is located towards the back of the bus station parking lot and is very visibly marked. The Samoborček bus is very clean inside and has surprisingly comfortable seats and the journey takes a little less than an hour, as it does make scheduled stops along the way. To make your way back to Zagreb, you would just check the schedule (they typically arrive every hour) and buy your ticket from the driver directly, or inside the Samobor bus terminal.
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Parish Church of Saint Anastazija
The first records of this yellow Parish Church date back to 1334, however the Parish itself was even dated as far back as 1242. As one of the earliest and rare Baroque styled churches in Croatia, the current architecture is from 1671 to 1675. The church is protected by the Ministry of Culture as an important monument of sacral heritage. Strolling around the grounds of the church will also provide you of one of the best views of the town square below.
King Tomislav Square
The main square of Samobor is the place to be for eating, drinking and people watching with your family and friends. The current square received its same in 1925 after being referred to as the Leopold Salvator Square in the honour of the Austrian archduke many years ago. During the 18th century, the square used to be filled with holes and weeds and into the 19th century, Samobor’s mayor cleaned it up and made it a more inviting place to be. All of the gorgeous buildings on the square were built in the late Baroque, Classicist or Bauhaus style and are listed heritage buildings. The current square as it sits today, was designed by architects Vanja Ilić, Ivana Ergić, Zorislav Petrić and Vesna Milutin, and is the absolute perfect place for sitting on the terraces with a coffee, kremšnita and open views to the hills surrounding Samobor.
Samobor Castle Ruins
If you have some time, take the easy and short 30 minute hike up to the Samobor castle ruins. The ruins of an old castle dating back to the 13th century are in the middle of the forest above the town and is easily accessible from the city centre. During my visit, the trail was extremely slippery and muddy from the rain that week, so I opted out of going up the hill and ruining my boots and potentially slipping and making a mess of myself. 😉
This old wooden bridge over the Gradna creek in Samobor is a site to see. This old bridge serves as a pedestrian walkway, as well as a one way bridge for small motor vehicles to pass over. The bridge connects the main street to the Park dvorca Wiesner Livadić where there is a statue of Croatian composer Ferdo Livadić, who changed his German last name Wiesner to Livadić when he moved to Samobor.
Visit A Local Bakery & Bar
What better way to feel like a local than to head into a local bakery, grabbing a large piece of meat filled burek and then stopping into a local smoke filled bar, bursting at the seams with older men chatting and grabbing a beer? Nothing…the answer is nothing. Grab a snack and a drink and sit outside if the smoke bothers you. Trust me, nobody will be offended. 😉
Walk Around & Enjoy The Atmosphere
There is nothing I love more than to wander aimlessly within old streets of small towns while looking at the colourful architecture, tiny shops and basking in the quietness that smaller towns like Samobor have to offer. Friendly locals saying Dobar dan as they pass you with a smile on their face and the sounds of shoe heels echoing in the cobblestone lane ways. It’s the little things like this, that make me love travelling so much.
Although there isn’t that much to do in Samobor, you definitely won’t be bored with the amount of restaurants to eat at and cute streets to explore. During the summer months, there are loads of festivals happening in and around the area as well. Samobor is a great place to visit to get out of the city life of Zagreb and it won’t break the bank either. Exploring lesser known towns is all part of the beauty of travelling. You truly get to see how everyday Croatian people live without the throngs of tourists battling you for a seat on the main square.
Have you guys ever heard of Samobor? Would it be a place you’d consider visiting while in Zagreb, or Croatia in general? Let me know in the comments below. xo