Welcome to Zagreb

A pilgrimage to central Europe

Okay, so the holidays may be over and life is (sadly) back to normal. But that shouldn’t stop you from planning your next sun-splashed getaway. Having spent the past few weeks on the Balearics, the Lofoten Islands, the Cyclades, the Aeolians and then Sofia, and now we’re heading to Zagreb. Less touristy than other Croatian cities like Dubrovnik and Split, the capital is really laid-back and full of amazing things to do. Here’s what we’d recommend doing there.

Kick off in Zagreb’s old town. History buffs will find a fascinating array of cathedrals and other beautiful old buildings. The most striking is probably St. Mark’s Church, with its unusual colourful roof. Lesser known is the Stone Gate, a small chapel hidden in a recess where locals go to pray. Since you’re in the area, you should definitely make sure to check out the traditional Dolac market too. Smack bang in the city centre, here you’ll find a marvellous selection of stalls filled with only the best local produce.

Now it’s time to explore the Strossmartre area. Unlike in the similar-sounding Parisian neighbourhood, you won’t find that many tourists here. The streets really feel alive here, with a variety of street food and drinks stands beckoning you in. Better still, you can check out all manner of street concerts and performances practically all year around. There are few better ways to see the real face of modern Zagreb.

If you’re feeling peckish, we’d suggest hitting up Agava. Perched up a flight of stairs, this incredible restaurant is a rather casual affair, but serves up some truly delicious food. You can tuck into all sorts of traditional Croatian dishes – each given a modern (and international) twist. Shout-out, also, to the excellent house wine.

As for the city’s cultural sights, the Museum of Broken Relationships shouldn’t be missed. As the name suggests, this small museum tells the ordinary (and extraordinary) tales of relationships that have unfortunately ended – through a series of everyday objects. It may not be wise to visit if you’ve had your heart broken recently, but the stories told here really are worth hearing.

For a very different vibe, head to the Grič tunnel. This 350-metre-long tunnel is a World War II-era shelter which was reused during the Balkan War. Today it’s a thriving cultural hub. Throughout the year, its grey walls are brightened up with light shows created by local artists. Depending on when you go, you may also be able to check out an exhibition or concert. Even the more claustrophobic among you may enjoy it.

Round off your trip with a visit to Vinodol. Whether you bag a table in its grandiose main room or on the terrace, here you’ll discover a delightful fine-dining menu to suit all tastes. Blending Balkan and Mediterranean influences, the food includes things like pasta with black truffle and trout with almonds, or slow-cooked lamb. The dishes are as subtle as they are tasty, and can be paired with a fabulous local or Italian wine. What a way to end.

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