4 minutes reading time Croatia
Zagreb is Croatia‘s capital and the largest city in the county. And if you ask me, the most delightful one.
This is the place where Central Europe, the Mediterranean, and Southeast Europe meet–and you will feel it in every step you take. The city has something to offer to everyone; read on to find out.
The history of the city can be traced almost a thousand years ago. Back then, it was divided into two parts: Gradec and Kaptol. Those parts still can be found on Upper Town: Gradec being on the left hill with the Lotrščak Tower capturing the view, and Kaptol on the right hill with the Zagreb Cathedral as a focal point. The whole Upper Town looks like an open-air museum featuring many old houses and buildings, and Government and Parliament buildings as well. You will find “The Stomach of Zagreb” right between the hills, a Dolac farmers’ market covered with red umbrellas and full of delicious fruits and vegetables. There are more than two dozen farmers’ markets throughout the city, and most of them feature a water fountain where you can wash the produce you bought and enjoy it on the spot.
The Lower Town is newer; most of it was built during the 19th century with neatly arranged streets and a wonderful Lenuci’s Horseshoe. This is a U-shaped system of parks, ideal for taking long walks, especially during summer evenings. If you begin your walk at Ban Jelačić Square, Zagreb’s main square, and go towards the south, the first park you will come to is Zrinjevac. It is a beautiful park full of tall trees with fountains and a music pavilion right in the center. Do not be surprised if there is some concert going on in the pavilion.
Continue your walk further, and you will reach the main Railway Station on a beautiful King Tomislav Square. This square is the prettiest in March when magnolias bloom.
Continue your walk to the right to The Botanical Garden and end it on the Republic of Croatia Square with a magnificent theater building in the center.
The broader city center can be easily seen on foot which is great because you will avoid the traffic.
If you like history and art, there are so many museums, theatres, concerts, and events, it will be very challenging to decide what to see and visit. Indoor, outdoor, open-air, the choice is yours to make. For example, the first Museum of Broken Relationships in the world was fully opened in October 2010 on Upper Town. There you can buy a bad memory easer, a handy item definitely.
Are you into sports? Excellent, Zagreb has something for you as well. Jarun, a man-made lake, is a sporting oasis. You can take a swim, row, paddle, sail, and surf when the weather allows it. You can jog, bike, roller skate, and skateboard on a long trail around the lake throughout the year. The track also features a “Walk of Fame,” info panels with pictures and information of great Croatian athletes.
North of Zagreb lies a magnificent Medvednica mountain, a hikers’ paradise. Whether you are a professional or an amateur, there are trails for everyone. And the best part is that there is a mountain lodge at the end of a path, offering fantastic food. It is a win-win situation!
Speaking of food, the gastronomical scene in Zagreb is flourishing. There are so many different restaurants offering something for everyone: from raw and vegan food to those who prefer fine dining and are looking for a Michelin star restaurant.
Something for you shopaholics out there as well. Besides several shopping centers featuring global fashion brands in the city’s outskirts, in the broader center, you can find many little privately-owned shops. There you can buy everything from souvenirs (do not forget to buy a licitar heart!), local food specialties to hand-made garments. Also, did you know that a tie is originally is from Croatia?
To conclude, a visit to Zagreb should be added to your to-see list. You can come any time of the year, and you will be amazed, whether it is Christmas fair time or the middle of the summer. The climate in Zagreb is continental, meaning there are not many extreme weather episodes, and you can spend a lot of time outside.
So, whenever you come, you are most welcome. Do not forget to bring your most comfortable shoes because you will be walking a lot and enjoying every minute of it!
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