Cover photo credit: Alexander Klink
It was eight in the evening when I was strolling around the center of Zagreb with a Croatian guy my couch surfing host had set me up with. After seeing a group of Chinese people passing by, Ivan, my date, said “Zagreb is getting too many tourists lately. It was not like this five years ago. I like it.”
And rightly so – before, most people opted to visit cities like Paris, Rome or Berlin. Lately, however, more and more people are venturing into the more “unknown” side of Europe. And why is this? Because Zagreb is bustling, filled with culture, history, street musicians, scrumptious food and, let’s face it, some of the best wine in Europe (if not the whole world). Croatians are perhaps the most hospitable people I have encountered and always willing to lend a hand to someone in need.
The city is small and can easily be explored in a few days. Most of the things to see and do are in the center.
But how to experience this city in the local way? While now you can find hostels, tourist information centers, free wifi in the main square and anything else you might need during your stay, there is no better way to feel a city than to follow a local’s advice. After all, they live here and know the ins and outs of their home. For that reason, I ventured into the city and asked Zagrebians for their best recommendations. This is what I got:
• Museum of Broken Relationships
Address: Ćirilometodska 2
• Museum of Contemporary Art
Address: Avenija Dubrovnik 17
• Museum of Illusions
Ilica Street 45
Entry: 40 kn
Address: Ilica 72
• Strossmartre, where you can stroll around or hang around with locals and enjoy live music during the evening
• King Tomislav, perfect for a picnic and to enjoy the neoclassical architecture of the buildings around it.
• Zrinjevac, a gorgeous oasis in the center with lush greens, flowers, promenades and sometimes food festivals get hosted here.
• Tkalčićeva street, located next to the main square, where you will find more than fifty bars to choose from. Check out Cvjetni trg square, where you will also find nice bars.
• Alcatraz – Small but crowded. Ideal for those who like beer.
Address: Preradoviceva st.
• Mojo bar – traditional croatian wines and rakias
Adress: Ulica Fra Grge Martica 5
• U Dvoristu Express Bar
Address: Ul. Jurja Žerjavića 7
• 42 Coffee co
Address: Vlaška ul. 42
• Elis Cafe
Address: Ilica 63
• Kino Europa, located in Cvjetni trg, a popular square, is an old cinema with a huge terrace where great café is served.
Address: Varšavska ul. 3
Where to eat?
• Le Štruk and it’s in Skalinska st. for traditional croatian food. Try the “strukli”
Address: Skalinska ul. 5
• Dolac food market, located behind the main catehdral. While here, you must try “ćevapi”.
• Pod zidom, near Dolac Market, where they prepare lunch made from fresh groceries purchased in the market.
Address: Pod Zidom 5
• Primitovo Bar, which offers meals and sandwiches madre from local vegetables and fresh meat.
Address: Gundulićeva ul. 13
• Mundoaka, where you will find both traditional croatian food as well as international cuisine
Address: Petrinjska street
Located right next to the main cathedral
Address: Vlaška 6
• Chocolat 041, next to the national theatre.
Address: Masarykova ul. 25
Address: Ilica 18
• Museum Katran
Address: Radnička cesta 27
• Tesla, next to Kino Europa
Address: Varšavska street
• Vinyl, with live music on the basement
Address: Bogovićeva street, 3
• History Club
Address: Ivana Tkalčića 68
• Medvednica Mountain – where you can enjoy wonderful views of Zagreb, hike, bike and during the winter, ski and snowboard.