Are you looking for a destination for your next holidays ? You don’t need to think anymore, I’ve found it for you : Croatia, the Adriatic pearl is waiting for you !
My father worked in Croatia for 3 years so I had several occasions to go there and to discover this wonderful country. He loved living there, he even learned Croatian and talks really well ! Croatians were amazed and couldn’t understand why a man coming from “the most beautiful city in the world” would live in Croatia ?! Trust me, you’ll soon understand why…
Let me show you a few places to visit in Croatia. Of course, I won’t show you every place worth seeing, I don’t pretend myself to be a tourist guide and I unfortunately didn’t have the chance to visit the whole country. :)
The pearl of culture, Zagreb :
Let’s begin with the capital, which is also the city that I know the best because it’s where my father was living : Zagreb. The city can be cut in 3 : the high town (the most ancient area), the lower city (Viennese style area) and the new town (the most urbanized area which is the one I like the least).
Even though Zagreb is Croatia’s capital, this is not a city where you have to dedicate a lot of time, 1 or 2 days is enough because there is not that much to do even if it’s culturally very rich.
What to do ?
Between its historical facades perched high above town, the narrow streets and its countless stairs, Zagreb is a very charming city. Go for a walk in the streets (like the very colorful one named Tkalciceva with flowery terraces, go in the middle of regional farmer’s cheese, fruits and vegetables stalls in the Dolac market or go see St Mark’s church in the upper town (you might also have the chance to witness the guards relief). You can access the upper town by the stairs or by the old funicular. Tkalciceva and Radićeva streetsDolac marketSt Mark churchJosip Jelacic square (the main square)Kaptol square
You can also visit the city in an unusual way :
- by visiting The Museum of Broken Relationships : this is a museum dedicated to broken relationships as its name suggests, where recollections and testimonies of love stories from all around the world are exposed.
- by walking on the Strossmayer promenade : charming shaded promenade on top of Zagreb. Romantic atmosphere during spring and fall with a beautiful view on the whole city. The atmosphere is festive during summer because there is a festival (“Strossmartre”, the name refers to Montmartre) from May to September with open air concerts, art workshops, stray dog demonstrations and other crazy events. A place out of the ordinary you must see !
- let yourself be tempted by a guided tour of Zagreb by night. Be ready for a tour full of surprises (here is a clue : street theatre, but I won’t say more to keep the mystery)
Zagreb is a human-size city where all the main sights can be reached easily on foot but the tram is very practical and ideal to visit the city.
Where to eat ?
Didov San (= Grandfather’s dream) is a typical restaurant in the upper town of Zagreb. You can taste Croatian specialities from the interior Dalmatia region. As an entree, I advise you to ask for an assortment of appetizers and as a main course grilled pork or chicken (they don’t serve any fish). Address : Mletačka 11
For a nice cocktail in the evening or for breakfast on the terrace in the morning, go to Hemingway Bar which is just in front of the popular national theater. Address : Marsal Tito Square 1.
Where to sleep ?
I’m sorry I won’t be of any help, my father was living there so I never needed to look for a hotel…
If you have extra time and a car, don’t hesitate to go away from the city and to venture in Zagreb’s countryside which is wonderful. !
You could then have the opportunity to have lunch in the middle of vines in an idyllic bucolic atmosphere at the Gresna Gorica restaurant in the city of Desinic.
The village is quite small, there isn’t much to do but it’s worth a visit ! In the middle of the village you can visit a farm where a nice old couple of farmers lives. While the husband explains with passion his 100-year-old tools, his shows she manufactures laces and other traditional objects. I have to warn you that they don’t speak a word of English, so good luck ! :) Anyway this is also what makes the experience so unique.
Voilà this is it for the 1st Croatian episode dedicated to Zagreb and its countryside : an appealing region full of life which offers unexpected treasures. It took me so much time to do this article between finding the addresses and sights to see, classifying and selecting the pictures… I’m far from being satisfied with the result because I didn’t always take the pictures of things worth showing and some pictures have been taken quickly with a bad quality camera. Plus, to transcribe the atmosphere of a city was a very difficult job but talking about Croatia was very important to me because I love this country. I hope that you’ll enjoy this series of posts and that it will make you want to visit Croatia yourself or, why not, go back. To be continued, national parks, Croatian islands and seaside cities…