I have finally moved on with my project of ticking off the capitals of Europe. This time I went to the capital of Croatia, Zagreb. I really enjoyed my stay in the city, so here is a post with tips, tricks and recommendations:
Zagreb is designed for a long weekend stay. Everything is very close to the city center if you navigate from Trg Bana Josipa Jelacica, the main square of Zagreb (more below), placed between the upper (Gornji Grad) and lower city (Donji Grad). The city is placed on the side of Mount Medvednica, making it a bit steep getting from the lower town to the upper town.
The currency in Croatia is called kunar, in short kn.
Upper Town (Gornji Grad):
Gornji Grad is the oldest part of town with churches, steep alleys, museums parts of the city wall and gas lighting.
Saint Mark’s Church: A romanesque church with roof tiles formes the coats of arms of the city of Zagrebs, the kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia. A visit inside is only possible during mass, but through the class doors just inside, you can see some of the interior.
On the square Trg svetog Marka is the parliament, Sabor. On the weekends at noon you can see the changing of the guards here.
Lotrscak Tower: is a medieval tower which was a part of the city’s fortifications. Every day at noon a conan is fired from the tower, a tradition from 1877. The tower is open from 9 am- 9 pm.
Museum of Broken Relationships: is a little museum/gallery situated between the church and tower. It showcases thing left behind from broken relationships along with a story about that relationship. Pop by when you are in the area as it does not take up much of your time.
The Stone Gate: The only remaining town gate. It was destroyed in a fire in 1731 and rebuild in 1760. The only thing to survive the fire was the painting of The Virgin Mary, the patron saint of Zagreb. On the facade is a broze sculpture of Dora, from August Senoa Novel The Goldsmith’s Gold.
The Zagreb City Museum: Is housed in an old covent, so bring a cardigan as it’s a littly chilly from the thick walls. It’s interesting, but only partly in English.
The Cathedral of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: A landmark of the city.The Cathedral is situated on Kaptol, easy accessed from Trg Bana Josipa Jelacica. Outside is a column made in Vienna of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Dolac Market: The food market. You also find a model of the city in bronze here.
Tkalclceva ulica: The street used to be a stream with watermills, but it was paved in 1898 and now houses restaurants, cafés and shops.
Funicular (Uspinjaca): A 66-metre-long ride that connects Gornji Grad with Donji Grad. It is the shortest railway in the world and only takes 55 seconds. A ride is 8 kn. Next to the funicular is stairs for those who wish to walk.
Lower Town (Donji Grad):
This is the new part of town with shops, restaurants and bars. This part also offers parks, museums and cultural happenings.
Trg Bana Josipa Jelacica: The central square between Kaptol, Gornji Grad and Donji Grad. The Square is named after the national hero Jalacic sitting on the horse in the center of the square. From here Ilica starts, the main shopping street.
Archaeological Museum (Arheoloski muzej): The museum has a nice collection from Egypt with the Zagreb Mummy as the most famous piece. The rest of the museum is also worth a visit, especially the Dove from Vucedol. In the Museum Shop you can get your own free 3D-copy. Check out #DoveTales on social media.
Mimara Museum (Muzej Mimara): The collection is the private art collection of Ante Mimara. It’s woth a visit if you enjoy religious art.
The Botanical Gardens: Nice and calm place to enjoy the sun. Free.
Outside the city center:
Mirogoj: A very big church yard just outside the center. Take tram no. 8 or 14 to Gupceva zvijezda (from here there is a small walk up hill). You can buy tickets to the tram in the tobacco shops at the stops. A single tickets is 10 kn. Open 6 am – 8 pm.
Most places you get some bread before your food arrives. The bread is delicious and served with local olive oil. It varies if the bread is complimentary, at a fixed price or if you pay per piece. Either way it’s good and cheap. The croatian cuisine is good but heavy.
Croatia produces truffles, so a lot of dishes has truffles in them – delicious!!
Most places you do not need to tip.
kulen, kulenova: spicy sausages
štrukli: pasta with cheese in cheese sauce
Places to eat:
Vinodol, Teslina 10: Good local food. The locals come here.
Stari Fijaker 900, Mesnicka 6: Croatian kitchen, great food, slow service.
Ivica i Marica,Tkalčićeva 70: Two house side by side. One serves local food, the other serves cakes and ice cream. Themed around Hansel and Gretel. Everything tastes excellent.
Kaptolska Klet, Kaptol 5: Nice interior, but the food’s quality did not match the price tag.
Esplanade Hotel, Mihanoviceva 1: The restaurant Zinfandel’s is famous for it’s štrukli. The decor is tasteful, the service is of the highest quality, the food is expensive, but worth every penny. Please try the olive oil cake! On the other hand is the cocktails at the bar not expensive at all, but tastes equally as great as the food. Everything is Art Deco, as the hotel was build to house the passagers from the Orient Express.
Palainovka, Ilirski trg 1: The oldest café in town from1846. They only serve drinks. Nothing special.
Didov San, Mletacka ulica 11: Dalmatian cuisine and the locals eat here.
Pivnica Medvedgrad is four breweries where you can taste their house brew. Cheap beer and they also serve small dishes. Ilica 49, Tkalčićeva 36, Samoborska 217 og Božidara Adžije 16.
Taban bar & hostel, Tkalčićeva 82: Cozy bar at the end of the pedestrian street. Cheap but good cocktails. Free Wifi. Great service.
A taxi to and from the airport cost 110-300 kn, and they are just outside arrivals. However, there’s no need for a taxi as the Coratia Airlines Bus has a timetable matching all planes at just 30 kn for a single ticket to the Central Bus Station. You pay the driver. At the Central Bus Station, ask for Croatia Airlines Terminal.
It’s easy to walk to almost everything in Zagreb, but you can also use trams or bus. A day ticket is 40 kn, a single ticket 10 kn. Buy tickets in the tobacco shops at the stops.
– Get the Be There Zagreb app for your phone. If you complete a tour you get a gift or a discount for a museum. We did the Hidden Spots tour and got a discount at the Museum of Broken Relationships.
– Bring you dog to Zagreb! Dogs are allowed a lot of places and in the parks they run without leash.
– ”Café bar” is not uncommon in Zagreb. Ypu can get drinks and snacks, but no food.
Popular souvenirs are truffles and olive oil produced in Croatia. The pen was invented in Croatia, so there is a variety you can bring home. The tie kravata (which mean a croatian person in croatian) was also invented here and comes in all colours.
A more unexpected souvenir is a bag from Koza, Demetrova 11, a cozy shop with handmade unique bags made of quality leather and beautifully designed. The shop is owned by a family all working here. They are so lovely, and you need to stop by if you love bags and/or beautiful design.