Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Around the World: Zagreb, Croatia

The one thing that I always intend to do after a trip is to write traveler-submitted reviews on the places that we've stayed and things that we've done, to pay forward all of the knowledge that my husband and I gain through online research and other people's reviews.  We've found that for some of the less visited places, there is not much information available outside of guide books, so we really value reading what other travelers have to say.  So far, our reviews have been in intention-form only; with the start of this blog, I decided to metaphorically put pen to paper and write about our most recent international trip, which was to Croatia.  We visited three cities within Croatia (Zagreb, Dubrovnik, and Hvar), and over the next few weeks, we'll share some of our insights on each one.  So, here we go...

City: Zagreb, Croatia
Transportation: Delta Airlines (from US), Croatia Airlines (within Croatia)
Accommodations: The Westin Zagreb
Time of year: September

Zagreb is the capital of Croatia and has about 800,000 residents.  We mainly went to Zagreb was because we could fly there internationally from the US, and because it's a hub for the national airline, Croatia Airlines.  We decided to fly to our first destination, Dubrovnik, from Zagreb and had about a day on the way there to tour Zagreb.

In reading our guide book, there weren't major must-see attractions listed for Zagreb; instead, the city had a more relaxed vibe. We decided to tour the city on foot, and found a bunch of fun surprises as we made our way around town.

Favorite memories, in order of the above:

  • taking in the views from an old lighthouse in the middle of the city
  • pretending to be Zagreb residents by stopping by multiple coffee shops along this road, sipping cappuccinos, and watching people walk by
  • realizing that the local diet seemed heavily dependent on bread and cheese (a dream come true!) and picking our favorite bread is not sold at the coffee shops, so most people buy bread and treats at one of several bread shops and walk around nibbling out of pastry bags
  • stumbling upon a huge open air farmer's market, which also had an extensive floral section
  • turning into an "artist's walk" and spotting chandeliers among the trees
  • walking back to the hotel and finding a concert in the park complete with live music, a beer truck, and friendly locals getting down to old time rock and roll music
We enjoyed this quaint city, and left feeling like we had seen most of what it had to offer by the end of the day.  While I wouldn't spend more than a couple days there, I would recommend it if you're looking to recharge before or after a long flight, or just want to stop and enjoy a slower pace of life.

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