Croatia has fast become one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe with tourists flocking to its stunning beaches and clear, blue waters.
Zagreb, in the north of the country, is known for its vibrant culture and Austro-Hungarian architecture, but what many don't realise is there is a host of stunning countryside around the city, just waiting to be explored.
Along with the Zagreb Tourist Board, we've put together a list of some of the best places to visit in the countryside around the capital.
See also: Where to find the best beaches in Croatia
Krapina and Trakoscan Castle
This Medieval castle was built in the 13th century and is widely considered to be the most beautiful in Croatia. It attracts around 40,000 visitors a year and looks like it comes straight from a fairytale. The castle is perched atop a small hill near the town of Krapina, which is considered the cultural centre of the Krapina-Zagorje area. You can visit the castle and the old town's museum on an organised excursion, costing around £40.
Samobor is home to a stunning city centre made up of Baroque buildings that date back to the 19th century. All of the buildings that populate the main square are protected, which is unsuprising given the beauty of the Medieval town. A traditional salami festival, 'Samoborska Salamijada', takes place annually, attracting many visitors to the area.
In the Moslavina region you can find Cazma, which is especially striking during the Christmas season. The 30-minute journey can be made on the 'Tin Express', which brings visitors every Saturday and Sunday in December. The town is lit up like a Christmas tree with dazzling, festive lanterns and there's opportunities to buy seasonal foods and gifts all around.
Plitvice National Park
Plitvice National Park, which is thought to have been created in the last 10,000 years, is home to 16 breathtaking blue-green lakes and a number of scenic walking trails. If you're keen to see more, why not hope on board one of the boat trips that cross the Kozjak Lake. Organised excursions to the park cost less than £50 per person.
Hire a car and head to Lonjsko Polje, just south of Zagreb, to visit the protected meadows, wetlands and lakes. There are more than 250 breeds of bird to be found here as well as 500 pairs of migrating white storks that make their home in the Lonjsko Polje Nature Park. Keep your eyes peeled and you may even spot one of the feathered friends nesting on the roofs of the traditional wooden houses.
Samobor Wine Road
It's not just the hills of the South of France that produce delicious wine grapes, the Croatian countryside comes up with the goods too. Winemakers around the Samobar Wine Road have passed their skills down through the generations to produce award-winning Chardonnays, Silvanac Zelenis and Portugizacs.
Kumrovec is the birth place of Yugoslavian revolutionary and statesman, Josip Broz Tito. Tito's home can still be found in the village and mementos of his life can be found in the Kumrovec Village Museum. This traditional village is home to a number of picturesque, thatched 19th century cottages.
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