Even though it is the capital of Croatia Zagreb is often overlooked as a destination. However, it is starting to increase in popularity. Zagreb is home to a variety of restaurants, cafes, architecture, bakeries, and museums. There is always something happening in the largest city in Croatia. It is an easily walkable city and has a rich culture and history. Zagreb is a great place to fly into, stay for a couple days, and then can easily access your next destination.
What we saw (did):
St. Marks: One of Zagreb’s most recognized buildings. The colorful tiled roof nobly display’s the emblem of Zagreb on the right and Croatian medieval coat on the left.
Croatian History Museum: One thing I was unaware of was the magnitude of the Croatian War of Independence. This museum while small and difficult to locate was an incredible learning experience. Croatia wanted independence and fought to defend their lands for five taxing years with minimal resources. To better understand and appreciate Croatia, it is important to learn about the past.
Explore the city: Most of our time in Zagreb was spent walking around finding little treasures and occasionally popping into a café for a coffee. I also highly recommend taking a stroll through one of Zagreb’s famous and beautifully curated parks. Walk for more than a few minutes and you will see Licitar hearts (intricately decorated red and white hearts). These hearts date back to the 16th century and were the preferred way of showing someone that you loved them (instead of roses). They make great souvenirs and I plan on using mine as a Christmas ornament.
Zagreb Cathedral: This gothic style cathedral isthe tallest building in Croatia, and you can easily see its spires poking into the Zagreb sky from most of the places around the city.
Market: There are so many markets in Zagreb the fresh produce was delicious and inexpensive. If you’re anything like me and love flowers make sure to check out flower square(Cvjetni Trg). This local hotspot is filled with colorful flower stalls and charming cafes. Also make sure to try some pumpkin seed products, lavender, and figs. These were the best figs I’ve ever had!
What we ate:
Bistroteka: This was by far my favorite meal in Zagreb. Yes, I’m sucker for trendy décor but the food also speaks for itself. Like other local restaurants the menu changes daily. We found this out the hard way when I saw avocado toast on the menu for breakfast we went back the next morningand it was no longer a menu item. If it’s available be sure to try the zucchini fritter salad!
Lari and Penati: This restaurant is perfect if you want a taste of local Croatian cuisine. The menu changes daily to incorporate the freshest ingredients (likely purchased from the local market). This restaurant is small, charming, unorthodox, lively and creative- both in interior and in cuisine. It’s a modern little restaurant offering simple yet delicious gourmet choices each day.
Amelie: If you have a sweet tooth and need something sweet after dinner you absolutely must make a stop at Amelie. I highly suggest trying the house cake “Torta Amélie.” It is layered with custard, almonds, and berries. My mouth is watering while typing this!
LT (layover tips):
- Make sure to try cevapi (local grilled sausages with amazing bread)
- Many people smoke inside of café’s so I took my coffee’s to-go
- There are bakeries on every corner so pop in and try a few local favorites
- Croatia is obsessed with Christmas and that’s because Zagreb is home to the largest Christmas market in the world.
- Zagreb is covered in graffiti so be sure to explore the city to find some cool street art
- 24 – 48 seems to be the perfect amount of time to explore Zagreb