Bicycle touring Croatia: Zagreb to Varaždin

alternatively titled: from the Sava to the Drava?

From my hotel with Jeff in Dubrovnik to a campsite near Zagreb took 14 hours — 11 hours of that were on the bus. Croatia isn’t such a small country. I went from the Balkans to Central Europe. The biggest change, however, was leaving Jeff behind in Dubrovnik. I met Ferda the next evening at the Zagreb airport. Here she is at Biciklopopravljaona in Zagreb.

Biciklopopravljaona (like Boulder's Community Cycles) by bryandkeith on flickr

Zagreb is on the large Hungarian plain which includes most (all?) of Hungary, Serbia’s Vojvodina, Romania’s Transylvania (“another country“, I said, leaving the Carpathians into Transylvania), northern Croatia, and extends into Slovenia as well. Culturally these areas are influenced by the Austro-Hungarians rather than the Ottomans. It’s obvious in the architecture.

Trg bana Josipa Jelačića by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220510_104100 by bryandkeith on flickr
Umjetnički paviljon by bryandkeith on flickr

Zagreb looks more like Berlin, Prague, or Vienna than Sarajevo, Skopje, or even Belgrade. There’s a different feeling as well which is a bit harder to describe. We’ve gone from warm smiling welcomes to business like efficiency.

Crkva svetog Marka Evangelija by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220510_122313 by bryandkeith on flickr

The 2020 earthquake damaged many of Zagreb’s historic buildings. A lot is still being repaired and restored, and some buildings were closed to visitors when we were there, like the cathedral:

Katedrala Uznesenja Blažene Djevice Marije i sv. Stjepana i Ladislava by bryandkeith on flickr

and the famous arcades at the Mirogoj Cemetery:

IMG_20220513_132655 by bryandkeith on flickr

The cemetery was perhaps the most interesting site we visited in Zagreb.

IMG_20220513_132120 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220513_140814 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220513_135112 by bryandkeith on flickr

The Sava River is the Danube’s largest tributary flowing from Bohinj to Ljubljana to Zagreb to Belgrade.

The Sava River by bryandkeith on flickr

Ferda and I are heading up to Ljubljana and Bohinj, but from Zagreb we first headed north to visit Varaždin.

IMG_20220514_143831 by bryandkeith on flickr

Marija Bistrica was a cute surprise.

IMG_20220514_163238_41_fused by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220514_164146 by bryandkeith on flickr

Ferda’s getting used to bicycle touring again after almost a year off the bike.

IMG_20220515_095447 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220515_073824 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220515_100622 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220515_145131 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220515_152321 by bryandkeith on flickr

Our expectations were probably too high for Varaždin. It had a nice old town but felt dead. We stopped in the busiest square for a beer. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people eating ice cream. We had to try one as well.

IMG_20220515_160834 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220515_162137 by bryandkeith on flickr

Outside of town I am so happy we ran into Goran. He directed us to this super campsite on the Drava where we were able to swim.

IMG_20220516_063351 by bryandkeith on flickr

What a great place to spend our last night in Croatia.

This entry was posted in Bicycle touring, Croatia and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Bicycle touring Croatia: Zagreb to Varaždin

  1. Mike Painter says:

    More to see! Looks great, and definitely different architecture.

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