Located in the north-western part of Croatia and being a part of the Balkans, Zagreb has a rich essence of culture, arts, music, architecture, food, language, and traditions with a history tracing back to the Roman times. It's no surprise that the number of tourists has sharply risen in recent years. Also being the capital of Croatia, it is surrounded by rivers and landscapes, making it one of the most beautiful places to visit. Zagreb is also called as "The Little Vienna" for its 13th century Gothic and Neo-Gothic architecture inspired from the Roman Catholic structures.
Sights like King Tomislav Square, Ilica street or Broken relationship museum are favorites for many travel bloggers. Let's look at a few of these places from an Indian perspective
The Upper Town
With narrow cobblestone streets, artistic buildings and historical surroundings, the Upper Town is at the top of our must visit sites. If you want to feel and see the old part of the city, this is a good place to start your journey. From street to street you can glace through the best places in Upper Town including St. Mark’s church whose beauty can be seen from a distance, thanks to its distinctive roof configuration.
Maksimir Park and Zagreb Zoo
Get away from the city noise and take a brisk stroll in the oldest public park in Zagreb. What can be better after a long day than to have a lovely walk in the park full of meadows, streams, creeks, lakes and other natural surroundings, where you can fully embrace your inner nature lover. While you’re in the park, do not forget to visit the Zagreb Zoo that is also located here. It’s perfect for a peaceful break from the city.
Zagreb eye observation deck is a visual paradise for lofty view seekers. It has 360-degree visuals that give a panoramic view of the city. From old historic structures to modern skyscrapers, Zagreb is a picturesque city and this is the place for the charm of the city to unravel in front of your eyes.
If you want to experience local life, this central open-air market is the place to visit. It’s a great spot not only to buy locally grown produce but also to feel like a local. Located right behind the main square and visited by hundreds of people every day this market is an inseparable part of the city. Farmers from all around the Zagreb area come here to offer their best products such as fruits, vegetables, and meat. Everything is fresh and looks very delicious!
The one spot you should not miss is this great landmark which is formally known as the Cathedral of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This masterpiece is one of the most iconic monuments in Zagreb. The jaw-dropping beauty survived one earthquake and many reconstructions that transformed it into a neo-gothic monument. The inside of it is just as astonishing as the outside. Probably the most iconic part of this Cathedral is the twin towers- that can be seen from a distance.
Take a walk on the main shopping street in Zagreb. Ilica Street runs from Ban Josip Jelačić square to Vrapče district making it one of the longest streets in Zagreb. This lengthy shopping location is a top tourist attraction for a reason. From countless local boutiques to well-known clothing shops for fashion lovers, You can find everything you need in one place here. To enjoy a cup of coffee or a classy meal you can check out dozens of restaurants, cafés, bakeries, and bars around.
Accommodation and Stay:
Think of Zagreb’s highlights in terms of local and seasonal. Just as we love to know where our food comes from and the history of it, the best of Zagreb will come to you more from the people you keep meeting across the street and less from travel guides.
Zagreb hotels are expensive, so avoid large resorts and boutique hotels. Instead choose an apartment or a dormitory-style arrangement which sums up to around 600-900 rupees a night compared to hotels that might cost you a crazy 7,000-10,000 a night. Depending on the purpose of your travel, you can choose different options. If you're a young solo traveler, you can try hostels or Couchsurfing options.
If you plan to go with family or as a couple, then there are tons of options on AirBnB. Go all out and choose whatever suits your requirements. In fact, there is a huge AirBnb stay culture building up in Zagreb due to the inflow of a lot of tourists.
Gastronomy - by which we mean FOOD!
Croatia has a very strong gastronomic identity, meaning that every delicacy on nation’s table has a story to tell. Konoba is a word which describes a traditional restaurant, usually attached to Dalmatian culinary culture. Found virtually across the entire Adriatic coast, konobas will offer you regional specialties prepared in the old ways of Croatian cooking mastery. These diners will often be uniquely decorated- for example, they might have fishing nets spread over the ceiling, or have old musical instruments at display for viewer’s pleasure. Rustic and romantic, konobas are the best place to enjoy Croatian kitchen.
Your best bet for dinner is a casual convivial place like a bar or cafe or restaurants around the city. But if you don't mind experimenting, look out for places like Konoba.
Croatia, in general, has a huge coffee culture. Meeting up over a cup of coffee isn't just a matter of meeting friends for 1-2 hours and chit-chatting, it's a dedicated time for the self. Even business meetings or important discussions are usually done at coffee shops. Croatians love their coffee and take it seriously. There are dozens of coffee shops and bakeries around every corner. If you don't know what to eat for lunch or dinner, you can just walk into a bakery or coffee shops and you'll find myriad options for cheap, take away food.
Best thing for us Indians is the Croatian currency, Kuna is reasonably comparable to Indian rupee (1 Croatian Kuna is 10 Rupees). A cup of coffee will cost around 90-100 Rupees and even if you walk into a fancy coffee shop, you are likely to spend around 120-150 bucks; This is so much cheaper than a Paris or a Zurich.
From Pizzas and Bagels which cost around 70-80 bucks, to Croissants and cakes, you will not spend any more than a 100 rupees on each. When it comes to food and beverages, Zagreb's Main Square has many beautiful options open for you to choose from whatever you like.
Like any other European city, Zagreb had good public transport. It's very easy to get around this city by bus, tram or a cycle. It is much more sociable than driving around in a car, not to mention cheaper.
Croatians in general, have a very chilled out attitude towards life. Although you won't find a Croatian walking up to you and striking a conversation, they are extremely humble and helpful people.
Now coming to safety, Zagreb is a very friendly place. Walking around the streets during weekends, especially at night, you'll always find people around due to the glitzy nightlife. Although you should take precautionary measures and avoid venturing into the cold and discrete alleys late in the night. Summers invite a lot of tourists to Zagreb making it a place constantly hustling with people. Winters are generally very cold, so there are lesser people.
Croatia is a great place for active travelers. You can take up diving, cycling, hiking, trekking, kayaking and other activities. Rather than going it alone though, join up with a small group tour. You'll get fresh air, plenty of company and may even learn a new skill. Nearly all Croatian destinations offer an array of day trips from fish picnics to island tours.
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