Following on from my focus on Dubrovnik’s Old Town Walls, in the second of the spotlight on series, I’m going to take a look at a couple of far more modern sights. Both found high up on Mount Medvenica above the city, they are the excellent Zagreb Cable Car and the brand-new Sljeme 360 Viewpoint in the TV tower at the peak of this mountain.
About Zagreb Cable Car and Sljeme 360
Zagreb’s Cable Car was opened in February 2022 whilst the Sljeme 360 experience was opening very recently indeed – in October 2023.
Zagreb originally had a cable car that opened in 1963 to transport skiers up the mountain, with a travelling distance of around 4,000 metres. This old cable car stopped operating in 2007 after it was found to require extensive repair and a decision was (eventually) made to build a new version.
The new cable car covers a distance of 5,017 metres and has a height difference of 754 metres between the lower and upper stations.
The TV tower was built in 1973 and stands 169 metres tall.
The lower station of the Zagreb cable car is located in the Gracansko dolje region of northern Zagreb. It’s easy to get here by public transport, although you will most likely require a change somewhere along the way. You can make the whole journey by tram, or by tram and bus.
If travelling from the main square, take tram number 14 north to its end point of Mihaljevac. Once there, you’ll see the stop (it’s only about a minute walk away) for tram number 15 which heads to Gracansko dolje. This tram is rather unusual and an experience in itself – it only operates for four stops and at somewhat of an incline (compared to the other Zagreb trams at least) whilst it speeds along the track, seemingly mere centimetres away from the houses at points.
At Mihaljevac, it is possible to take bus number 233 for five stops to Gracansko dolje instead. Personally, I would recommend the tram option – it is far more fun!
It is also possible to reach Gracansko dolje by car, for there is a large parking garage below the base station building. Or you could also take an Uber or Bolt vehicle, but…take the tram, it’s so much fun!
Either way, once you reach the Gracansko dolje, you’ll see the gleaming, modern Zagreb cable car base station in front of you. Resist the urge to climb the climbing wall/bear hybrid here (you’ll know what I mean when you see it!) and head inside to purchase your tickets and begin your journey.
The Cable Car
The six-person cabins of the cable car are much like any other cable car you may have come across – including those up mountains at ski resorts! Funnily enough, Zagreb’s cable car has something in common with those – for it is possible to ski on Sljeme in the winter months, and the cabins are adorned with sports equipment (i.e. ski and snowboard) holders on the outside.
As the cabins continuously pass by being pulled by the ever-moving cable, you have a short window to enter. Not too long and not too short, but just enough time for the four of us to enter along with the buggy we also had with us. This adds a certain excitement to the proceedings.
Visiting in the mid-afternoon in late October saw hardly any other visitors on the cable car – certainly, there was no one boarding at the same time as us, and as we ascended (and later descended), few other cabins had people in.
Going up in the cable car offers stunning views over Zagreb and of the lush forest below, which is full of autumn colours at this time of year. The full journey takes around 20 minutes each way, which is plenty of time to take in the magic of your surroundings and snap plenty of photos in all directions. And to admire the cable car itself, of course.
Interestingly, once you board the cable car at the bottom you’ll be whizzed through another cable car station almost immediately. On our journey, we wondered about the purpose of this station; it turns out that this “corner” station is required to change the direction of the cable car’s travels by 28 degrees. Huh!
There’s also an intermediate station – Brestovac – at which people can disembark.
Once you reach the top of the cable car, you’re at Sljeme, the peak of Mount Medvednica. You’ll immediately the the Zagreb TV tower in front of you (home to the Zagreb 360 viewpoint which I’ll talk about in a second) as well as a little restaurant/cafe for refreshments.
Take a look all around you for the amazing views – Zagreb stretches out in front of you (and it really does stretch out; the city is perhaps far larger than people think), whilst you can see little towns and villages at the base of the mountain in the other direction.
A short walk away from where the cable car places you are a few more restaurants as well as the Hotel Tomislavov Dom which would be an excellent place to base yourself if you really want to explore the nearby Medvednica Nature Park or Medvedgrad Castle.
The Zagreb 360 viewpoint also has its own little cafe, so after your hard work ascending the cable car you have the additional tough job of choosing where to reset for a little while, enjoying a coffee or hot chocolate. (Or a cup of whipped cream in the case of my toddler.)
We opted for Vidikovac Sljeme which has a pretty wide menu (had I not already had lunch, I would definitely have opted for one of their hearty-looking soups!) and seating next to large windows for you to really take in the view.
Should you be travelling on the cable car in winter, you might have come up to Sljeme to go skiing! There are some ski/snowboard rental shops up here too…and, of course, here is where the ski runs start!
Zagreb 360 Viewpoint
The 169 metre-tall Zagreb TV tower (the Sljeme OIV tower, to give it its proper name) is now home to the Zagreb 360 Viewpoint experience, which is located roughly highway up the tower – at an altitude of 1,118 metres above sea level.
A fast and large lift whisks you up to the inside portion of the viewpoint where there is also a cafe. To my delight, the cafe’s tables all had boards and pieces of the game Čovječe, ne ljuti see (translates to Man, don’t get angry; essentially it is the game Ludo) which I remember playing endlessly as a child. We attempted a game before the toddler interrupted and started throwing pieces around.
Of course, the view from up here is spectacular – and all around, seeing as you’re in a tower! I highly recommend also visiting the Zagreb 360 viewpoint once you’re up Sljeme.
Funnily enough, as we were visiting barely a week after it had opened, we could see that some of the furnishings weren’t quite finished.
Opening Hours and Prices
Make sure the weather is good before setting off to enjoy these attractions!
Zagreb Cable Car
The cable car operates from 10am to 7pm (last departure from the lower station is at 6.30pm) every day, year-round. The cable car may not operate in the case of strong winds or bad weather, so do check the Zagreb Cable Car website before you set off to make sure it is operating.
It costs €16.59 return (€9.95 one way) for adults; €9.95 return (€6.64 one way) for people aged 15-24 and 65+; and €3.98 return (€2.65 one way) for kids aged 0 to 15 or for people with disabilities. (These are all 2023 prices.)
It has to be said that Zagreb Cable Car has been accused of being too expensive – in my opinion, the experience on this modern transport method and the views make it worth it.
Zagreb 360 Viewpoint
The viewpoint is open 10.30am to 6.30pm daily (from 9.30am on Saturdays).
This costs an additional €10 for adults; €7.50 for kids aged 12 to 18, students and those aged 65+; €5 for kids aged 5 to 12; kids under 5 go free. (2023 prices)