This running tour is ideal for runners who would like to combine the urban part of the city center with hidden oasis just around the corner. On this tour runners experience Zagreb’s main railway station that was on the route of the famous Orient Express, as well as the gardens that were laid in the 19th century to protect the city from the noise coming from the increasing number of trains, including the Botanical Garden where our running tour can become a walking tour for a few minutes if runners would like to get a more detailed look.
As the running tour continues through the urban part of the route, we will pass numerous public and residential buildings dating back to the early 19th century, including a few museums, the Croatian National Theater – a masterpiece built by the Hungarian government back in 1895 and also the Music Academy building.
On this route we pass through the former Trg Maršala Tita or Marshal Tito square – one of the most controversial locations in Zagreb, known for frequent quarrels over the square’s name. Another square on this run is Britanski trg – known for its flower shops and a weekend market for those interested in antiques and works of art.
Moving to the north of Ilica Street, runners will enter the green oasis at Rokovo or Rokov perivoj with St. Rok chapel built in the 17th century, and soon after the Forest park Tuškanac – an area of parks, trails, villas and viewpoints that represents a synthesis of the natural, cultural and historical beauty of Zagreb and is ideal for all lovers of cultural and historical values, as well as for those who like to enjoy natural beauty.
As the running tour continues, runners enter the Upper Town, known as Gornji Grad, the oldest part of the town and also the location of a few incredible sights such as the Government building Banski dvori attacked by the Yugoslav Air Force during the Homeland war in the early 1990’s. The Croatian Parliament is located here on the opposite side of the square, while the beautiful church of St. Mark, built in the 14th century and recognizable by the colourful roof, stands in the middle of the square and between the two most important political buildings. By exploring beautiful old Upper Town, this running tour leads you through Štrossmayerovo šetalište – the city’s most romantic promenade, above the shortest line of public transportation – Uspinjača or cable car, and then through Kamenita vrata or Stone Gate – one of the best preserved monuments of old Zagreb.
Also, if you want to get rid of your past love life, you can do so while passing by the unique Museum of Broken Relationships. As the running tour continues, runners reach Tkalčićeva Street – a popular gathering place, called Tkalca by locals, and one of the most visited streets in the town today. The next up is Ribnjak Park and the tour thereafter head up to Zagreb Cathedral – one of the most famous city sights, completed by Austrian architect Herman Bolle, who “built half of the city” – Mirogoj Cemetery, just to mention one.
Running back towards the main square, runners experience Dolac market – a charming place with fresh fruits and vegetables, and the City’s main square – Ban Josip Jelačić Square that is dominated by a sculpture of a man on a horse holding a saber. Ban Jelačić was very significant in Croatian history of the nineteenth century, quite controversial to the point that his sculpture had to be removed from the square on the order of the Communist Party in Yugoslavia, but you will hear more details on the tour.
Nearby the main square, our running tour continues by the old building of Zagreb Stock Exchange, today home of Croatian National Bank, that was built in 1927 by Viktor Kovačić, an architect known as a father of modern architecture in Croatia, and continues towards House of Visual Arts – a controversial building that changed its function during World War II when it was turned into mosque. As the running tour comes to an end, runners will run through some of the most beautiful parks in the city that are part of the so-called Green Horseshoe, a sequence of seven squares created in the second half of the nineteenth century, during the most significant urban planning in the history of Croatian architecture.
Every year during December the parks host Advent or Zagreb Christmas Market, voted the “Best Christmas Market” in Europe by European Best Destinations’ online poll. One of the favourite Zagreb parks is Zrinjevac Park, known as one of the most romantic places in Zagreb with a music pavilion in its centre, which regularly hosts promenade of concerts and various events such as Summer on Zrinjevac or Cest is the d’Best festivals.
Finally, on this route there are many popular restaurants and bars, as well as a few gastronomic hidden gems, i.e. highly recommended places to eat and drink, so you will have plenty of recommendations on how and where to reload with energy.
Tommy Vinh Bui –
This was an equally leisurely and lung-busting carouse around the city. We bounced around to numerous bonnie sights and spectacles and I learned boatloads about the history of Zagreb and Croatia as a whole. Keenly insightful and an invigorating romp for the brain and soles.
A wholehearted recommend.
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Ashley Bowman –
The running tour with Ivo could not have been better. We had a really nice run through the city at a comfortable chatting pace and talked about everything from the history of various buildings in the city to politics to restaurants to careers. The route itself was scenic and nicely varied, and going for a run at 7am before the city was awake gave me a great opportunity to take photos and see some landmarks without crowds of people or tourists. Ivo was also great about making sure I was okay with the pace and checking whether I wanted to do a harder training run or a light chatty run (I chose the latter). He also gave me recommendations on restaurants he likes and good gyms, and introduced me to his crossfit gym so that I could train there. Really couldn’t have asked for a better experience and a more fun and interesting host.
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What an experience! I am very glad that I had the opportunity to run with Ivo in Zagreb. He explained many details of the Croatian history and culture. We passed by historical places, parks and nice views! He also gave me many suggestions of restaurants and the most important, he suggested where I could buy running shoes since the airline lost my luggage. Thank you Ivo for your prompt reply to my messages! Definitely if I go back to somewhere in Croatia, I will do it again… I strong recommend it to everyone!
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Deborah Westphal –
Perfect! Loved running through the city and seeing the highlights. This is the a great run to get needed miles and see off the beaten path highlights of Zagreb! Highly recommend!
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Deborah, we are glad you enjoyed running with us. So did we 🙂
The experience was very fun. Ivo knows very well his town and mostly its history. Since I didn’t stay for a so long time in Zagreb, it was the best way to have an overview of the city. Ivo was flexible to arrange the meeting point. He treats me like a friend. He lent me sport clothes and shoes because my luggage was lost by the air company. And at the end Ivo offered me a tea and very good advices to eat in Croatia.
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Marie, I am glad you enjoyed our run. Finally no one questioned my equipment 🙂