Your mother might have told you that you need an apple a day to keep the doctor away. We heartily agree, but there are a few other things you can do to look after your health in the winter.
Now that the cold weather is here, it's a good idea to make sure your intake of vitamins is enough to keep colds at bay. The good news is that the diet that naturally evolves in various parts of the world generally provides the nutrients we need at a given time of year. Among the most popular kinds of foods in Croatia in winter are sarma (made with soured cabbage) and grah (bean stew). Soured cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamin C, and beans are full of protein and are a great source of B vitamins.
Green vegetables are always useful in keeping up your levels of all kinds of vital nutrients, but it's a good idea to eat an array of fruit and vegetables of various colours to get a full spectrum of vitamins. You can get your daily dose by cooking up rich soups and lightly steaming vegetables. Try grating spicy celeriac or horseradish and adding it to salads, soups or mashed potatoes.
However tempting the prospect of staying at home in front of the television is when the weather is grim, you'll find your energy levels stay up and you'll succumb to colds less if you get regular exercise, so this is a good time to join that sports club or fitness class. A combination of aerobic and weight-bearing exercise helps keep up your bone density and prevents the onset of health problems related to excess weight.
As a treat after all that effort, why not relax in a sauna? Studies suggest that taking a sauna, followed by immersion or showering in cold water can ward off colds, reduce stress, ease joint pain and help the body rid itself of toxins. If you have any pre-existing health problems, it's always best to check with your doctor first.
In Croatia there is quite a strong emphasis on preventive medicine. Many people opt for regular health checks such as blood tests for cholesterol, iron and blood sugar levels, blood pressure tests and gynaecological examinations.
Because of the relatively low price and rather high quality of Croatian healthcare, health tourism is quite popular here, especially for dentistry and cosmetic surgery. As with any medical treatment, it is always recommended to check the doctors' qualifications and experience first.
- Fitness & Gym
- Tourist Information Medvednica
- Tourist Information Samoborsko gorje
- Zagreb Outdoors
- Weekend Adventure
- Spa & Beauty
- Beat The Summer Heat
- Book Daily Trip
- Let the sun shine!
- Summer Cinemas
Fitness & Gym
- Aerofitness by Fila
- Body Art
- Magic Well
- OrlandoFit Fitness & Spa BC
- Sporting Gym
- Swim Trim
BikingWhy not swap that four-wheeler for a two-wheeler? In what is slowly becoming somewhat of a common trend, more and more locals have thought wisely and have begun to choose the ecological route to town. The hustle and bustle of cars in the heart of the city as well as having to battle for a car park, isn't the way to travel. Local government have been proactive in asphalting many of the roads and in doing so, cyclists have been given some extra TLC (tender loving care).
Nowadays, roads are marked for cyclists with either red paint or are separated from the main road by yellow and white lines. The markings are very visible and clear to both bike riders and car drivers alike. Some of the local traffic lights have even been reserved for cyclists.
For those seeking a recreational ride then Maksimir, Bundek and Jarun are the ideal locations. True cycling enthusiasts who wish to be challenged should know that the city surroundings are filled with alternative bicycle routes that range in various levels of degree as well as different types of surface. For all other information and maps, visit the Zagreb Tourist Association and www.pedala.hr, www.mojbicikl.hr.
HikingIn this area, the main food found on the dining tables of all homes during winter is sauerkraut, kiseli kupus, also called the doctor of the poor as it thrives well, there is plenty of it, and for this very reason it is inexpensive and available to everyone. Sauerkraut holds a large amount of nutrients which is why it is an extremely healthy and nutritious food. The most popular dish made of sauerkraut is sarma or stuffed minced meat wrapped in cabbage leaves; then there is sekili goulash, which is a fine combination of pork and chopped sauerkraut.
Sauerkraut is usually served with either grilled sausages or buncek ham - dried pork forearm, or with blood sausages and hash-browns. Beans are a winter gem as they are also plentiful and ever so popular when served with sauerkraut in a stew; they can be combined with barley in a ‘broth’. And last but not least, turkey with dumplings is a slam bam seasonal special.
So when in Zagreb, do as the Zagrebians do and your appetite will become a lot more wholesome. Winter is simply not the same without these hotly prepared tender foods that keep us resistant to the outside cold and prepared in traditional ways to be enjoyed by all!
We can’t remember ever having a single bad meal in a mountain lodge. The smell of sauerkraut, sausages, cottage cheese with cream, strudel, mulled wine...and the list sumptuously goes on!
Mountain lodges are places where you can still eat ‘old school style cuisines’ just as our ancestors used to in old Zagreb pubs - and still do in many homes today. Without a doubt, you will often see families of all generations, friends and people who still have that one thing in common – a love of hiking and good food that awaits them at the end of the road ...
So, if you’re a fan of the great outdoors and you enjoy a good walk in the hills, the closest hiking spot is of course Mount Medvednica, which is crisscrossed by about 70 hiking trails of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty.
The most popular destinations, as we mentioned before, are hiking lodges. Over the weekends, these are buzzing with walkers eager for the tasty and warming food at astonishingly reasonable prices. Apart from about ten hiking lodges on Medvednica, other popular hiking trails end at interesting spots such as the Veternica Cave, the Zrinski Mine, and the fortifications at Medvedgrad, Susedgrad and Zelingrad (of these, Medvedgrad has been renovated while the other two are ruins).
“Horvatovih 500 stuba” is another spot worth visiting. Translated as “Horvat’s 500 steps”, these really are 500 steps hewn into the rock by the hand of one Vladimir Horvat (1891-1962), a journalist, publicist, photographer and nature lover who wished to make this part of the mountain accessible for everyone to enjoy. At the bottom of the steps is a valley with a stream where the public-spirited Mr Horvat built benches and a shelter that you can still use today.
Then there’s Kraljičin zdenac, a pleasant spot where you can buy a drink and rest by a natural spring (the “Queen’s Well” mentioned in local legends). There’s the Gorsko zrcalo (“Mountain Mirror”) cliff, used as a climbing wall, and Šumarske jaslice (“The Forester’s Nativity”), where you can see life-size figures from the Nativity carved in wood.
Then of course there’s also Sljeme, the highest peak on Medvednica, with its TV tower (it has a café with a terrace offering a fantastic view over the city), plus there’s hotel Tomislavov Dom with its spa and a handful of rustic restaurants nearby.
You can buy a map showing mainly the easier routes together with landmarks for 20kn at the Medvednica Nature Park headquarters and at weekends at the Bliznec info point 100m before the headquarters. Also, if you’re a Croatian speaker be sure to visit the blog www.medvednica.info, where you’ll find loads of information, maps, photos and ideas for places to visit.
Another mecca for hikers just 30km from Zagreb is Samoborsko gorje, part of the serrated Žumberak upland region close to the border with Slovenia. Like Medvednica, this is a protected nature park and is full of points of interest. There are eight hiking lodges, a number of villages (some of which are abandoned), and there are locals who offer home cooking and refreshments too.
The most likely areas for hiking here are Plešivica, Okić, Oštrc (probably easier to climb than pronounce) and Japetić. The field below the Japetić peak (879m) is a favourite take-off point for paragliders and competitions are regularly held there.
The cliff-faces of Okić (halfway between Samobor and Jastrebarsko) have numerous climbing routes, including one named Dragojlina staza after Dragojla Jarnević (1813-1875), a poet and teacher famous for writing on women’s rights. Not only was she the first woman to climb Okić, she used the toughest approach, with no climbing equipment and barefoot!
You can approach these peaks from any number of directions depending on the length and difficulty level you prefer. Maps are for sale in the tourist information office in Samobor and in the Nature Park centre in Slani Dol.
Hiking maps and guides are also for sale in the Croatian Mountaineering Association in Zagreb. You can hike alone or in groups with locals, or you can hire a guide. Simply select your mountain or hill in Croatia, call the Association of Mountain Guides and a qualified mountain guide will lead you wherever your heart desires. If you’d like to join up with local hikers, you can contact one of the hiking associations. These are volunteer organisations and you may not have the luck to reach an English-speaker, so enlist the help of a Croatian-speaking friend if necessary. On the hikes themselves though there are bound to be people who will be glad to speak English with you. Some of the associations in Zagreb are Zagreb Matica (www.zagreb-matica.hr), Grafičar (www.pdgraficar.hr) and Željezničar (www.hpdzeljeznicar.hr).
Tourist Information Medvednica
- Croatian Mountaineering Association
- Croatian Mountain Guides Association
- Glavica Hiking Lodge
- Grafičar Hiking Lodge
- Medvednica Nature Park
- Puntijarka Hiking Lodge
- Risnjak Hiking Lodge
- Runolist Hiking Lodge
Tourist Information Samoborsko gorje
- Maks Plotnikov Hiking Lodge, Okić
- Samobor Tourist Board
- Željezničar Hiking Lodge, Oštrc
- Žitnica Hiking Lodge, Japetić
SkateboardingWhat do you do when you’re mad about surfing but are stuck on the city streets with not a wave in sight? Nail some wheels to your surfboard and – hey presto! You can sculpt your silky skills in style. This is pretty much how the skateboard was born back in 1950s California.
Skating took off in a big way in the 1980s, popularised by the laid-back, rebellious demeanour of its aficionados. It has, of course, since spread all over the globe, spawning an entire counter-culture of art, fashion and music. Heroes such as professional skater Tony Hawk have crossed over to virtual reality with computer games making the sport cool even to the most committed couch potatoes.
Even back in the 80s when the Iron Curtain did its best to shut off eastern Europe from western cultural influences, the more relaxed regime in Yugoslavia enabled kids to get hold of boards, music and paraphernalia, and the first skate parks were born here. Centres of urban cool such as Zagreb and Split saw armies of scruffily dressed kids perfecting their skills on any available patch of concrete.
Skateboarding has often been regarded by polite society as an irritant, as much due to the sport’s affinity with the punk aesthetic as to cheeky skaters whizzing round bemused shoppers on busy precincts. But there’s no denying the audacity of their aerobatic tricks and it can be a spectacular sport to watch.
So where can you check out who's got the best flips in town? Skaters usually gather in open skate-parks at Jarun and Špansko. The only enclosed park is the Warehouse Skatepark where you pay an entry fee. Besides skate-parks, popular hang-outs for skaters are the old mosque (Trg žrtava fašizma), the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Mimara Museum although the latter isn't as hip as it once was but you'll still find a few dedicated 4 wheelers. The newest attraction in skate circles is the pool for skating which is situated in the Student's Centre backyard. This was made by Zagreb skaters, in concrete and purely for skating.
Did you know?
Norway banned skateboards between 1978 and 1989, due to the risk of injuries. Skaters built forest skate parks to avoid the plod.
In its 1999 “Urban Warrior” programme, the US Marine Corps tested skateboards as a means of transport inside buildings to detect tripwires and snipers.
Bundek - Water, picnics, sometimes fireworks
Novi Zagreb’s nature haven where picnics, barbecues, fishing, walking, cycling, and roller-blading are a blast. Bundek consists of a Big Lake for swimming and sunbathing, whereas the small Lake is for enjoying the many plants and animal species that reside there. The three playgrounds are super duper to keep the toddlers to older kids active. The two cafes offer freshly beverages throughout the day and maintain open terraces that overlook the lake.
Jarun - The original public swimming pool
Zagreb’s answer to Palm Beach! Some years ago, a survey to discover what people feel when they hear the name of a given Zagreb district showed that the name ‘Jarun’ awakened feelings of pleasure in most respondents. We strapped on our blades and hotpants, tucked our fluffy dogs under our arms and went to find out why.
A man made paradise?
Don’t expect glacial beauty. It’s a man made lake. But it is fed by underground springs, so it’s pretty clean – at least until the suntan oil slicks form in July.There are two lakes - big and small, and six islands. The shore of Lake Jarun is regulated by 2500 meters of sandy beach and the entire area is filled with recreational and sports centers connected to kilometres of hiking and biking trails.
The north side of the lake is dead straight because of the regatta course. However, we recommend walking around a bit, and you’ll find that it gets really quite pleasant. The small lake in the east has a pebbly beach, swan sanctuary and is fringed by cafes, bars, eating places and clubs. The big lake behind the regatta course even gets pretty wild in places, and one of the islands is devoted to mother nature. And we were really surprised with exactly how much there is to do. Here’s what you can find where.
Jarun offers an abundant amount of recreational opportunities:
Running, Cycling, Roller Blading
There’s a 6km track ‘Janica 2002’ and 1 cycling and roller blading path with a length of 5.5 km right the way round where you can amble, blade or cycle at will, perfecting that tush. Placards bearing stories of ‘Croatian Sporting Greats’, some of whom have spectacular facial topiary, give you all the motivation you need.
Beaches are on the south side, the Univerzijada and Trešnjevka islands and the little lake, and are really quite clean, whatever those picky Dalmatians might say. On the south side of the lake there is a nudist beach, whilst on the Island of Trešnjevka there is a swimming area for people with disabilities, which is equipped with all the necessary infrastructure. All beaches have toilets, changing cubicles, bars, kiosks. The beaches at Jarun are tested annually and have always met the regulated criteria and carry the Blue Flag.
Sea? Pah! You can row, sail, kayak, canoe, windsurf and dive to your heart’s content at Jarun. You can join one of the clubs if you’re already up to speed; otherwise, try these helpful folks for some lessons.
Rowing: Srečko Šuk, Rowing Club Zagreb, (+385-1) 383 15 85 / (+385-) 098 30 21 73, www.vsz.hr
Sailing: Igor Božičević, Sailing Club Sveti Nikola, (+385-) 098 20 66 23
Windsurfing: Slobodan Bosnić, (+385-95) 529 16 24, www.kjd-zagreb.hr
Scuba diving: Call the Diving Club’s Instructor Lovorka Šimunec (+385-) 091 562 67 44, www.dps-zagreb.hr
Canoeing and kayaking: Canoe club Končar, (+385-1) 383 30 19
Fishing permits are permitted everywhere but if you wish to fish on the Regatta straight, a permit can be bought at Jarun Management in the Univerzijada building (Aleja Matije Ljubeka 3). Day permits cost 60kn. Night fishing is allowed on Fridays and Saturdays.
Dry land sports
As any self-respecting beach zone should, Jarun has sand volleyball courts by the big lake, where there’s also a handball court and football pitches. By both beaches you can also play mini golf, table tennis, skittles and bocce (boćanje). The south beach also has a floodlit skate park with eight ramps and night illumination.
There’s a jumping park with all kinds of bouncy things – that’ll tire the little monsters out (finally). Kids can enjoy the three available playgrounds (Big Lake, Small Lake, Island of Rowers), and on the Isle of Trešnjevka there is a playground for children with disabilities.
For more info call the Jarun info sports section on (+385-1) 642 13 55. And look at www.sportskiobjekti.hr.
With the vast range of recreational facilities at Jarun, the icing on the cake is a friendly barbecue or picnic with family and friends one can enjoy with friends. You’ll find small open wooden houses that are ideal for a picnic in the countryside as well as stone barbecues around the Big and Small Lake that will make Fed Flinstone proud. There are numerous artistic, environmental and educational activities such as Litopunktura Zagreb, Zagreb maze, Solar plexus Europe, Multisensory Park, the Wood Theme Park for a new life’.
After a day out of fun and excitement, visitors often wind down by going to one of the numerous restaurants at Jarun with culinary specialties, drinks, coffee or cool cocktails available in one of the bars with a terrace overlooking the lake.
Pick and choose with this café bar and beer house that can turn things up. G-5, Aleja Matije Ljubeka 7. Open: 09:00 – 02:00.
Beach bar Jarun
Guitar evenings, house, good selection of beer, beach chairs overlooking the lake. All you need are your sunglasses! G-5, Aleja Matije Ljubeka bb. Open: 08:00 – 24:00
Cocktails, view of the lake. Great to chill! G-5, Aleja Matije Ljubeka 23. Open: 08:00 – 24:00, Wed 08:00 – 02:00, Fri, Sun 08:00 – 04:00.
Located right near the entrance to Lake Jarun, two open terraces, well kept garden, food galore on offer super friendly staff. A little oasis just outside of town!
G-4, Aleja Matije Ljubeka 8, www.jarunskidvori.hr. Open 11:30 – 24:00, Sun 11:30 – 22:00. (40 - 170kn).
Eat me beach bar
Homemade pie with cheese, blueberries, cranberries, honey, mint, cocktails, freshly squeezed juices. G-4, Aleja Matije Ljubeka bb.
Open 09:00 – 24:00, Fri, Sat 09:00 – 02:00.
And when the moon comes out and turns into dark, Jarun is a great place for a night out and good company as it offers something for everyone.
A grill bar turn club at night! Meat is the treat and chicken drumsticks available all night long as cooked according to their secret recipe. G-4, Aleja Matije Ljubeka 25, www.ray.hr.
Spa & Beauty
- City Wellness Center
- Hotel Phoenix
- Hotel Tomislavov dom
- Naftalan Wellness Centre
- Rejuvenation Centre
- Slimming Club
- Spa Centar Ki
- Top Terme Topusko
Please note: The following services are therapeutic. They DO NOT have erotic content. We ask all readers to kindly respect this.
Beat The Summer HeatBeing a concrete city, the heat can definitely turn up a notch in Zagreb and let’s face it, we all need an escape from the hot temperatures every once in a while. So allow us to do the thinking and we’ll leave you with the decision making.
Book Daily Trip
Let the sun shine!We pooled our ideas to find good reasons to be in Zagreb during summer. Here they are:
1. You can park without driving around in circles for hours, and your journey takes half the normal time – yippee!
2. You know that everybody who’s on holiday is dealing with tourist traffic and fighting for space on the beaches and in the bars and restaurants. Those in the know go in September.
3. You have the pick of seats in the pavement cafes – the local café crawlers are on holiday.
4. The city is full of tourists and backpackers, has a rare cosmopolitan feel, and you have the chance to meet new people on an evening out.
5. You can enjoy promenade concerts on Saturdays and Sundays in the shade of the lovely Zrinjevac park, surrounded by trees, fountains and art nouveau architecture.
6. You can spend long, lazy evenings lingering over a drink or a meal in the balmy air.
7. You can laze away an afternoon with a book in Maksimir park, then munch grilled meats to your heart’s content in a barbecue restaurant.
8. You can swim in the open air pools at Šalata and Mladost
9. For a break from the heat of the city, why not head for Zagreb’s botanical garden, a veritable oasis of peace and green. What’s more, entry is free!
10. Or spend a day lazing in the sunshine and soaking in thermal water at a Zagorje spa, then treat yourself to a hearty meal in a cosy traditional Zagorje restaurant.
11. It’s a great time of year to go hiking or biking around Zagreb County.
12. There are loads of exhibitions on in the museums and galleries – a great way to escape the heat of the day.
13. Escape the crowds and enjoy fresh air, leafy shade, green meadows and great food on Mount Medvednica.
14. Take in a concert or a theatre performance at the Amadeo summer stage in the atmospheric courtyard of the Natural History Museum in the Upper Town.
15. Or enjoy costumed period theatre and comedy at the Zagreb Histrionic Summer festival, in the park at the top of Opatovina street.
16. Show off your skills rollerblading at Jarun Lake, followed by a dip, loads of sports, kids’ stuff, food and drink.
17. Devour delicious home-made ice cream from the cake shops and ice cream parlours.
18. Know that you’ll have cheaper prices when you go to the sea out of peak season.
19. If you'd like to try a real Thai massage, then visit the center for Thai massages, Thai Center Thalea (Dalmatinska 3/1), where you will be welcomed by verified massage therapists from Thailand. For more information visit: www.thaicentarthalea.com.