ZAGREB November 13, 2020 – Continuing our series on things to see and do Around Zagreb, in this video we took a tour in a Yugo car from Zagreb to Zagorje to see some of the sights and sample some Zagorje cuisine
The Yugo is a car that was made in the former Yugoslavia. Zagreb tour guide Antonija Buntak loves these classic old-timers. She now takes people on trips around her home city, Zagreb, and Croatia in a Yugo. We took her Yugocar Adventure tour from Zagreb to Zagorje.
Lying north of Croatia’s capital – just 45 minutes from Zagreb to Zagorje by car – in Zagorje you escape into a picturesque landscape of vineyards, traditional agriculture, gently rolling hills, pretty houses, and historic castles like Veliki Tabor. We visited the Old Village Museum of Kumrovec to see how the people of Zagorje used to live. And we tried traditional, homemade Zagorje food at Grešna Gorica. This restaurant specializes in the famous gastronomy of Zagorje and sits atop one of the region’s small hills. It is surrounded by nature and has a great view.
“Almost everyone here above the age of 32 drove a Yugo at some point in their lives,” says Antonija. “When I turned 18, it was my first car. My dad gave it to me.”
A professional tour guide for 15 years, Antonija decided two years ago to combine her enthusiasm for these classic cars and her career. She launched Yugocar Adventure and now gives people an informed tour experience from the perspective of these classic cars.
Antonija currently has two different tours of Zagreb available on her website, where she writes a great blog about the trips. She also makes hand-tailored tours upon request and recently took one group on a two-day trip around the waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes and the huge abandoned Željava Air Base near the Bosnian border.
You can take a Yugocar Adventure tour around the city of Zagreb, to Pltvice Lakes or to Kumrovec and Zagorje. Experienced tour guide Antonija also designs tailor-made trips in a Yugo upon request.© Yugocar Adventure
“After the Zagreb city tours, I think my second most popular tour is going from Zagreb to Zagorje, to Kumrovec, which is where Tito was born,” says Antonija. “It is not a Yugonostalgic trip. Kumrovec has been turned into an Ethno village, so you find out a lot about farmers lives in continental Croatia, you find out about crafts and traditions, which has nothing to do with communism. Basically, I’m always trying to cover Croatian culture and history. I’m just not focussing on the previous (communist) system. Although, I did get a few requests for a tour of socialist Zagreb, looking at places like the tower blocks in Novi Zagreb, so I’m thinking of writing a blog about that and offering it as another tour.”
People from many different countries have taken tours with Antonija in her Yugo car. She says she is frequently stopped at traffic lights by people with fond memories of the Yugo car, “I had the same one back in 1985!” is the type of comment she regularly gets. Indeed, on our trip from Zagreb to Zagorje a driving instructor in the next car at the traffic lights asked Antonija where he could buy a Yugo from – they’re apparently good cars in which to learn driving.
Production of the Yugo car commenced in 1980. Its interiors were made in Split, Croatia and its brakes were made in Varaždin, also Croatia. Originally titled the Jugo, it was renamed Yugo in a bid to sell the car outside Yugoslavia. An affordable family car, the Yugo has sometimes been derided as slow and unreliable, but people who look after their vehicles claim that with the proper maintenance, this is not true. On our trip from Zagreb to Zagorje, we certainly had no problems with our Yugo.
Yugo’s production ended on 11 November 2008 with 794,428 cars having been made, of which around 250,000 were exported to other countries.
On these links you can check out the other features in our Around Zagreb series:
Around Zagreb: Meet Zagreb Statues, Dressed for Tie Day
Around Zagreb Mirogoj Cemetery on All Saints
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