Zagreb, Croatia

Posted on May 24, 2010

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The lady that came to meet me at Zagreb airport told me that she had done some research on me and loved my blog. She hoped that by the end of the stay I would like Zagreb as much as Ljubljana. Fascinating, I didn’t realise this blog even had my name on it, but also worrying, I didn’t really like Zagreb that much on my first visit.

I had an unfortunate start to Zagreb when I first came little over a year ago. I booked in a hurry for business and misread the hotel as being on the main road in Zagreb when in fact it was a main road to Zagreb. Staying on the commercial outskirts of a place doesn’t give you the best view of the city. This time I booked more wisely. I stayed at Hotel Dubrovnik which is the most central hotel – it’s a four star, old fashioned but fine and not too expensive. And it really does have a great location.

Zagreb doesn’t have quite the same impact as some of it’s neighbouring capitals, and it loses out on tourism to the undeniably beautiful coast (which I still need to explore) but it certainly  does has it’s charm. Again I was there on business but it also meant that I got an inside view. The open market is nice to see with plenty of fresh produce, plus all over the city you can see flower and fruit stands, especially facing the main station. The cathedral is spectacular and there is a pretty old town. A day or so is enough to wander around.

I went to two great restaurants that I highly recommend:

Apetit (Jurjevska 65a, 10000 Zagreb, 01 4677335) is in the older part of the town, set in gardens so you feel you are escaping the city and it has a bright and modern interior which is spacious yet cosy. The food was excellent – from home made soups, to the nest asparagus, mushroom and cheese salads I have ever had, plus wonderful fish mains (we didn’t try the meat). Starters are around 10 euros and mains around 20 euros.

Baltazar (Nova ves4, 10 000 Zagreb, 01 46 66 999) is set on a courtyard just a short walk from the cathedral. The courtyard has a restaurant on either side – one specializing in meat and the other in fish (Dalmatian style). They gave us a mixed starter of oysters, octopus scallops, asparagus and Carpaccio. It was divine. For mains we dined on the fish side with one of our ten strong party choosing an enormous fish from their fish counter, to be cooked freshly for the table. It was simple but delicious.

Zagreb is worth spending some time in if you are passing through but if you are looking for a pretty town and a weekend of Eastern European experience, it may be worth checking out some of the neighbouring countries first. So Marija, thank you so much I had a wonderful time and now really like Zagreb!

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Posted in: Balkans