Zagreb is a city which might not look like it has much to offer on the outside, but dig in a little deeper and you will find a charming city that oozes warmth and history. The first time I arrived in Zagreb I continued on to the coast, not giving the city much of a second thought. On my way home back to Australia my flight left Zagreb, so I left the coast earlier and spent a night in Zagreb before my early morning flight. That one night showed me a city full of vitality and life. Young and old, strolling the streets in the warm summer night. A city with a fantastic coffee culture – comfy cafe chairs and tables spilling out onto the sidewalk, little town squares packed full of people sitting and enjoying a coffee and ice cream. My short time here was enjoyable, and I knew I would be back.
I’ve been back 3 times since. Haha. Obviously Zagreb, for me, is the main entry into Croatia when I go to visit my family on the coast, so there is no need for me to even stop in long, but I like to. This city is enjoyable to me. I love the history in the upper town. The beautiful cathedral, the church of St Marks, pieces of the old city wall that were built in the 1300’s that still stand. I also love the lower town, with its Austro-Hungarian influences…. Ornate buildings painted in pastel shades, wide tree lined promenades, and all those coffee shops that sell some of the best coffee you will ever have (and awesome cakes too!)
The last time I was in Zagreb I ended up spending 8 days here. Probably way too much for the average sightseeing tourist, but I now had friends in this city, and enjoyed their company. My friend M took me out most nights, to clubs and pubs. We also took a day trip by train into Slovenia. While M worked during the day I would sit around for hours in the parks, drinking coffee and writing in my journal. I felt very…. Bohemian. Lol. Zagreb is a good city for it. A cheaper city to loaf around in and be an artiste, as compared to the likes of a Paris or Vienna.
Anyone doing the increasingly popular “Eastern European” tour should try and stop in to Zagreb for at least 2 days. So many miss it, heading straight to Croatia’s main jewel – Dalmatia. I can understand why, as the Dalmatian region really is a sight to see and savour. But it you can fit a day or two in for Zagreb please do – you won’t be disappointed.