The wooded slopes of Mount Medvednica, or "Bear Mountain" (also known as the Zagrebačka Gora, or "Zagreb uplands"), offer the easiest escape from the city, with the range's highest peak, Sljeme (1033m),

accessible by cable car and easily seen on a half-day trip.The mountain slopes are densely forested and the views from the top are not as impressive as you might expect, but the walking is good and there's a limited amount of skiing in winter, when you can rent gear from shacks near the summit. Driving, you can reach Sljeme by heading north out of central Zagreb along Ribnjak, and taking a well-signed right turn after about 3km. On public transport, take tram #14 from Trg bana Jelačića to the Mihaljevac terminus, followed by #15 to the Dolje terminus, from where it's a ten-minute walk via pedestrian tunnel and woodland path to the cable-car station (zicara; daily 8am-8pm; departures on the hour). From here it's a stately twenty-minute journey to the top, with expansive views of greater Zagreb opening up as you ascend. If the cable car isn't running due to maintenance work or bad weather, a small yellow sign reading zičara ne vozi is posted at the Mihaljevac tram terminus.

At the top, a flight of steps leads straight ahead past a couple of refreshment huts to the summit, capped by a TV transmission tower, completed in 1980. The tower's top floor originally housed a restaurant and viewing terrace, but the lifts broke down after three months and it's been closed to the public ever since. Views of the low hills of the Zagor e to the north occasionally reveal themselves through gaps in the surrounding trees, a rippling green landscape broken by red-roofed villages. A left turn out of the cable-car station brings you to the Tomislavov Dom hotel , home to a couple of cafes and a restaurant, below which you can pick up a trail to the medieval fortress of Medvedgrad.A right turn from the cable-car station leads after ten minutes to Činovniča livada, a sloping meadow popular with picnickers.The path carries on over the meadow towards the Chapel of Our Lady of Sljeme (Majke Božije Sljemenske; Thurs, Sat & Sun), built in 1932 to commemorate the one-thousandth anniversary of Croatia's conversion to Christianity. Ostensibly inspired by Croatian medieval architecture, it's actuaih- a highly idiosyncratic modern building, featuring elegantly sloping buttresses and an obliquely angled bell tower. Paths continue east along the ridge, merging after about twenty minutes at the Puntijarka mountain refuge, a popular refreshment stop whose cafeteria serves excellent grah (bean soup) and grilled meats. Another twenty minutes along the ridge brings you to the Janica hotel, where there's another small restaurant and several more trails leading off into the woods which cover Medvednica's eastern flanks. -Specializing in Cheap Flights F