Visiting Varaždin was never on our itinerary, in fact, I'd never even heard of it until the day before we went. We stopped at the tourist information office inside of the bus station after we arrived in Zagreb and asked for advice on easy day trips from the city, and we were given a great little softcover book full of ideas. My initial thought had been Trakošćan Castle, but after finding out that it was indeed pretty tricky to reach via public transit (I'd heard similar things online, which is why I wanted to check in person), we looked into other options like Plitvice Lakes National Park but nixed that after seeing how limited and pricey transport options were.
We visited Zagreb for two days at the end of our Christmas and New Year's trip around central Europe. Our trip began in Munich, continued on to Salzburg, Ljubljana, and then to Zagreb, and from there we spent another few days in Munich before heading back to Madrid. Zagreb is the capital of Croatia, and it was our first time in both the city and the country, so although we didn't get lots of time in either, we were excited!
If there's one thing I'm not, it's an early adopter. It's not that I think I am, but I'm not, I know I'm not on the edge of all things new, cool, and hip.
When Danny and I first started using Airbnb, I felt like we were among the first of our friends and family to give it a shot, and however true that may be, we certainly weren't among its first users - after all, Airbnb got its start in 2008, but we didn't book our first stay until the summer of 2014.
We stayed in (and spent most of our time in) four different cities while we made a circle around central Europe over Christmas and New Year's, beginning and ending in Munich, Germany. From each of those cities, we took at least one day trip - from Munich we went to Neuschwanstein, from Salzburg we went to Hallstatt, from Ljubljana we went to Lake Bled, and so on.
Hallstatt was one of the places that I'd seen photos of online but never really thought we'd ever make it to. It's not a big town by any stretch of the imagination (less than 1,000 people, I think), meaning it wouldn't be a destination for us in and of itself, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that it's a popular day trip from Salzburg. Thus, when we decided to spend time in Salzburg over Christmas, we built in some time for checking out this tourist mecca.
When I was researching things to see and do in Salzburg, I came across Untersberg mountain and the cable car that carries visitors to the top of it for most of the year. I was almost finished with our itinerary, and it was pretty museum, cathedral, and Christmas market-heavy, so I jumped at the chance to ascend a peak with snowy trails, views, and a restaurant at the top, especially since it was so close to Salzburg.
While we were in Salzburg, something that we absolutely "had to do" was a Sound of Music tour of some sort. Now, I have to say, this was also something I really tried to get out of. We read blogs about "Self-Guided Sound of Music Tours," both those by foot and by car, and we poured over reviews about guided tours offered as well. I was skeptical - despite the fact that I was given the Sound of Music one year for Christmas (by Danny, I might add), I'm really not its biggest fan.