zagreb: croatia’s capital
i have been dying to go to croatia for years. it’s slowly been finding
its way onto the radar of travelers to the point where it’s majorly
popular now, and each new thing i’d see or hear of it has
just made me more anxious to visit. one of our best friends
ted lived in croatia for 2 years on his mission, so we felt even more
connected after hearing his many stories and tips for croatia.
as we arrived on the train from budapest to zagreb, i couldn’t
contain my excitment –– we were finally here in this new country!
(i get very giddy when arriving to a brand new place. ask chase.)
as you probably know, croatia has a LOT to offer as a country.
you’ll rarely hear zagreb touted as the #1 sight when compared to istria,
dubrovnik, split, plitvice lakes national park, the coastal area, & islands.
we visited each of these and the diversity of the country is amazing, but
we were so glad to have started off in zagreb. it is such a nice and livable city
that gave us a dose of unique culture and history before we explored the country.
we highly recommend including zagreb in your croatian travels. some highlights:
first things first : we love a good view! we made our way to the zagreb 360° eye
which offers a panoramic view of the city – both old and new parts. it gave
us a much better sense of where we were and what we wanted to see.
we just went up for the view, but they have a little lounge and cafe with
games up there on the top floor which makes it a fun place to hang out.
the old town is filled to the brim with charm, like most european
old towns are. we did a bike tour here the following day where we
learned a lot more, but our first day we were content just wandering.
visit zagreb and you’ll very quickly notice the love of flowers / flower
markets here. they take their flowers seriously, and the main flower
mart is huge…with smaller markets sprinkled throughout other squares.
i’ll take them all, please! ^^
the croatian flag is one of my favorites. it is so unique just like the country itself ^^
this mosaic rooftop of st. mark’s church is the most signature sight of the city,
and even more stunning in person set against the blue sky. i love the coat
of arms! be sure to wind your way up to the top of old town to view
this and then walk over to the viewpoint over the city as well.
every croatian will tell you that there is no “traditional croation dish” in
this country due to the influence of so many other nations over time.
however, i did notice quite a few of these roasted corn stands all over
croatia, so i think we can at least mention that as one common food here.
the zagreb cathedral is beautiful and so clean. we learned that it stays white
and doesn’t get black like other cathedrals because there is hardly any
pollution in this smaller city, so soot doesn’t have to be cleaned off of it.
while it’s a pretty cathedral, there is one downside: it isn’t finished!
we learned that it has been under construction since the 90’s
and was halted during their war years… so it still looks like this ^^
more flower markets + ivy growing on buildings ^^
and lavender for sale everywhere! ^^
our blue bike tour taught us a lot about the city and all
of these buildings, so i’ll be sharing that next..for now,
let’s just enjoy these pretty buildings before the history lesson.
we actually both had some work to do in the days we were here,
so we opted to stay at hotel aristos in the newer part of town
toward the airport so we’d have reliable wifi. we’d recommend
tourists to stay in old town, but if you’re here for business or
a layover and want to be near the airport, it was first-rate!
for dinner, we were tipped off to eat at capuciner grill right
in the courtyard of the zagreb cathedral. we made it in really
late at night for dinner, but we were so glad we did!
(even just for these unique bruschetta appetizers alone ^^)
croatia may not have one signature type of cuisine, but it combines
different flavors and does many things well. capuciner offered a huge
menu of dishes with a unique croatian twist. i had a salmon dish with
artichokes + asparagus on top that i want to recreate at home. the steaks
were amazing (chase ate his before i could snap a picture), and we
were very satisfied by this late-night meal. don’t miss capuciner!
**also, don’t confuse it with the sister pizzeria restuarant across the street*
another common dessert we had a lot of in croatia = streusel.
i will never complain about some warm cherry streusel with ice cream!
this croatian version was really thin and tangy.
this sign says it well – we are fans of this capital city of zagreb!
it was an ideal intro to the entire country tour we had coming.