Untold Stories

An Autumn Hike to Sljeme

October is here. With its misty evenings and changing colors of tree crowns, it’s fair to say that autumn has arrived. So far, it’s been a gentle warm fall, but it’s here. We can not escape it so let us immerse in it.

There is a unique relation between Zagreb and fall. Streets are filled with roasted chestnuts scent, typical seasonal street food that brings back childhood memories. The chilly evenings in the Upper Town bring special melancholia our way. The green parks try out their reddish gowns for the last ball of the year before they strip into the stillness of winter. The Zagreb mountain is invited to the ball, too. Better hurry and check her out while she is getting all dressed up for the party.

The colorful gown of our mountain in autumn

Many locals will cease at least one of the autumn days to go up to the woods and enjoy the sun rays and the crisp air above the city. If you happen to visit Zagreb at this time, join us and go for a hike to Mount Medvednica. We popularly call the entire mountain Sljeme, even though officially, Sljeme is just the name of its peak.

In the distance, you can spot the TV tower at Sljeme, the mountain peak. It’s going to be a looong hike.

The mountain is not very tall, but it’s spread out, and there are dozens of mountain trails to choose from. Most of them pass by charming mountain lodges that will have a filling lunch or the sweetest strudel ready for you when you reach them. If you’re like me and like to have a goal wherever you go, a tasty local dish in one of the mountain lodges can be a great reward for your effort.

Whichever path you choose, you will find some lovely nature sights, viewpoints, and dozens of picturesque details along your way. Sljeme might not be the first thing that will be recommended as a must-see place for your trip to Zagreb. Let’s be honest: you will lose a whole day in the woods. There is a good chance you can do that back home. Plus, you will be exhausted from the walk and the fresh air by the end of the day. It will be impossible to stay up and out late and enjoy the nightlife of the city you were eager to explore.

However, a hike to Sljeme is one of the most local things to do. A day in the woods will deliver a bunch of small rewards. I’ve been hiking to Sljeme dozens of times. I still cherish unforgettable memories from each and every one of those trips.

A butterfly mistook the fallen leaves for his friends

Just a little warning: the days are getting shorter, and it gets dark faster in the woods than in the city. Plan your day carefully. Go early in the morning and plan enough time to get back to town before sunset. The most skillful planning will include catching the last sun rays while you’re very close to home but still in the woods of Mount Medvednica. Those are the most rewarding moments. As your sunny autumn day comes to an end, you will be persuaded there is nothing more enchanting than the tiny joys of life that greet you on those mountain trails.

The mountain waves goodbye to a sunny autumn day in the most magical way

Photos by: Iva Silla

Author: Iva Silla