Zagreb is a city of attitude, historic in places and modern in others. Zagreb is pretty compact, so you can see most of it in one-two days, it also makes a good base if you want to take day trips further afield. The Croatian capital is relatively close to my home town in Bosnia so when I fly there I like to stay a few days too. Since the city also seems to be a popular Interrail stop I though I would share a few tips on what (not) to do.
In Zagreb you’ll find one of the most unusual museums: the Museum of Broken Relationships – known for being host to a collection of objects that remind people of their broken relationships – a painful memento warehouse so to speak.
Coffee is a serious thing in Croatia (well, across the whole of the Balkans actually) and it is more than a drink…it’s a ritual that lives on and where people actually come together in a cute coffee shop and chat for hours over a brew. It’s pretty much everything Starbucks is trying to sell, but without the overpriced cookies, fake sincere name-writing-on-cups, and queue for the toilet.
Maksimir Park is THE place for a relaxing day and if you want to escape the (actually not so) busy city life. It’s the oldest public park in Zagreb and is home to long pathways which wind through it, and is home to squirrels and other small animals who will pose for a photo if you offer them some food (don’t try this on any homeless people though).
Ulicni Ormar (Street Closet) is one of my favourite second hand stores EVER. It’s cheap and actually holds vintage finds actually worth finding. It’s like going though your grandma’s closet and the prices can sometimes be ridiculously low. My best kept secret and it’s all yours now … for free.
If you are looking for restaurant that serves local food then head over to the old Town, near St. Mark’s Church. Here is a tavern called Didov San (Grandpa’s Dream) that serves delicious traditional dishes from the Dalmatian area (no they don’t serve dog!). It’s bit expensive (for Zagreb prices that is), but the portions are very generous. And try the wines, Croatia does a mean Merlot.
A daytrip to Plitvice Lakes should actually be on top of your list. National Park Plitvice is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to. The bustrip to Plitvice will take around 2 hours – make sure your camera is fully charged because you won’t be putting it down!
Don’t go on a tour that is more than €10 or 75 kuna. It’s probably a rip off and you are being overcharged because you are a ‘Westerner’.
Zagreb is exceptionally safe and as tourist the worst thing that can happen to you if you are not careful enough is being shaken down by a taxi driver … like pretty much everywhere else.
Don’t forget to enjoy the cuisine as a common rule, eat where residents eat.
If you like nature, be sure to visit Mount Medvednica for a hike and nature appreciation, as well as the instagram-worthy-views; it’s reachable by tram (number 14 and 15).
Buy a tie? You will notice a lot of Croatia ads around the city/country for these. Zagreb became famous for being the homeland of the necktie. The story that goes that a French hipster essentially copied it after seeing some Croatian soldiers wearing them back in the 17th century. There, now you have a awesome story to tell your travel buddy or any other travellers you meet in Croatia.
There is no sea in Zagreb, but Jarun Lake is a great alternative if you don’t feel like taking the bus to the coast. Just hop on tram number 17 or number 5 and it will bring you all the way to Jarun.
Have you been to Zagreb?