Driving into the city from the airport, the cab driver pointed out the rows of imposing, bleak apartment buildings, telling us that this was the new part of Zagreb that was built up during the Communist years. Crossing over the Sava River, he explained that we were now in old Zagreb.
We looked at each other, a bit worried, because old Zagreb looked exactly like the row after row of depressing apartments blocks that we had just driven past in new Zagreb.
I think he spoke a bit too soon.
Zagreb's center, what I would call old Zagreb, is nothing like the newer area south of the river. It is charming, friendly and bustling.
Acres of beautiful, peaceful parks are scattered throughout the city, lively pedestrian streets offer mile after mile of cafés and shops, several outdoor and covered food markets open up every morning to tempt you with seasonal fruit, vegetables, homemade bread and cheeses, and there are gelaterias everywhere.
And the coffee! Very strong and smooth, just like in Italy. I couldn't get enough of it.
Homemade cheese at an outdoor market
Getting around on the modern Tram system is incredibly easy. And it's FREE
Tried a couple glasses of local wine and it wasn't to my liking, but the local beer was very tasty
My traveling companions
Our five days in Zagreb were maybe one day too many, but this is a fantastic city that shouldn't be overlooked. The café culture and gelato alone were enough to make me quite happy!
On our way to the airport to catch our flight to Bucharest, the cab driver was pleased to hear that we had enjoyed his city so much. He also wanted to know, as did everyone we had talked to, exactly why in the heck we would bother going to Bucharest?
His question proved prophetic...