Three kilometres east of the centre, Maksimir Park is Zagreb’s largest and lushest open space. Named after Archbishop Maximilian Vrhovac, who in 1774 established a small public garden in the southwestern corner of today’s park, Maksimir owes much to his successors Aleksandar Alagović and Juraj Haulik, who imported the idea of the landscaped country park from England. It’s perfect for aimless strolling, with the straight-as-an-arrow, tree-lined avenues at its southwestern end giving way to more densely forested areas in its northern reaches. As well as five lakes, the park is dotted with follies, including a mock Swiss chalet (Švicarska kuća) and a spruced-up belvedere (vidikovac), housing a café which gets mobbed on fine Sunday afternoons. One of Zagreb’s best-equipped children’s play parks can be found here, about five minutes’ walk from the main entrance, just off the main avenue to the left.

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