Travel Thursdays: Say hello to Zagreb!

by Karisa

For those who haven’t been following these travel posts, I visited Croatia as part of a 9 1/2 week mini sabbatical I took back in 2018. It’s taking me quite some time to get through all the info there is to share (because life!), but hopefully you’ll bear with me… Before Croatia I explored Portugal. You can check out my Portugal posts here: Lisbon, Tavira, Faro, Albufeira, Lagos, Coimbra & Porto.

So Croatia had been very high on my must-see list for years. I mean crystal-clear waters, sunny weather, beautiful beaches, the birth place of Dalmations (the dog of course) and the home of King’s Landing (for all the GoT fans out there)… what’s not to love? Turns out the answer to that question is the price of a tiny 100ml glass of wine… that’s what’s not to love. But more about that later… apart from that unfortunate detail, I really loved Croatia. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen to date.

Now the capital, Zagreb, probably doesn’t rank too highly on most travellers’ itineraries. Mostly people use it to fly in & out of Croatia, but I decided to hang around a little and see what this city had to offer…

How cute was my little studio apartment? The owner couldn’t speak a word of English, so that made things a bit challenging upon check-in. I also had to pay in cash upon arrival (mission). But other than that, the location was amazing & as you can see it had tons of charm. You can find it on over here.

I found Zagreb to be this really cool blend of old & new. One one street you’d be passing beautiful old buildings like this one:

And then on the next you’re surprised by modern public art pieces like the one below alongside a slick public tram system:

I was quite happy just roaming around and taking it all in. I had no real plan and no sights I really had to see… So I was very much just winging it. I did, however, find a little pamphlet in my apartment with some suggested walking routes. I picked the one that looked most interesting, put on my most comfortable walking shoes & got going.

Here are some of the things I saw along the way:

The Cathedral of Zagreb…
This is Tkalčićeva Street – A super trendy street lined with boutiques, gift shops & cool little restaurants and bars…
Like this awesome little eatery called “Otto & Frank”.
Bizarre to think that a river once used to flow through here, but at the end of the 19th century the river was filled in and converted into streets.
This is not a significant street or anything, just loved the colours…
The very pretty St. Mark’s Church – probably the only Zagreb landmark that I had seen in photos before arriving in Croatia…
Yet another pretty street…
The view from Strossmayer Promenade which surrounds the old town & provides beautiful views all along the way.
There’s lots of public sculptures all over town, but this was my favourite one by far. It’s of poet Antun Gustav Matos (1873 – 1914) enjoying the view. Was tempted to pull up a seat next to him, but also didn’t want to disturb him either… 😉
This is Dolac Market – a farmer’s market where you can buy fresh fruit & veggies, flowers as well as an array home-made foodstuffs.
And last, but certainly not least: The Zagreb Funicular…
Not for the fainthearted… Also, FUN FACT: It’s the shortest cable car in the world with a rail of only 66m long.

I didn’t do a lot of dining out in Zagreb, BUT I did stumble upon this awesome little restaurant hidden away in a back alley which served up quite possibly the best meal I had in the whole of Croatia (although I obviously didn’t realise that at the time, thanks to this only being my first stop), but looking back their home made pasta with Istrian Truffles still makes me smile from ear to ear…

This is Apetit – a lovely restaurant with a very elegant feel… but most importantly, they serve up some great food. Definitely worth a visit.

To see lots more photos & videos of Zagreb, check out my Instagram accountctmylove.  I created story highlights for each city that I visited during my trip which you’ll find on my profile.  Scroll through these and select the one called “Zagreb”.

Next stop: Rovinj – a Croatian fishing port that’s so pretty, it’ll take your breath away.


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