June 22, 2009


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... Pin It


spacedlaw said...

It looks very nice indeed.

Veronica said...

Great to see pictures of Zagreb as it is now. Have to agree about Croatian wine vs beer. When we were there a popular cocktail was red wine & Coca Cola, which tells you all you need to know about how discerning Croatians were about wine :)

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi loulou, it looks amazing, lovely little stalls too!!

Something FREE...now that is brilliant...;-)

Nadege said...

The pictures are very nice and I would think wonderful to share that experience with your travelling companions. I'll drink to friends!
Anne in Oxfordshire with long hair? Very nice.

Wanderlust Woman said...

You must be kidding...you didn't like Croatian wine? Clearly, no one pointed you toward the beautiful wines like Zlatan Plavac and others produced on teh island of Hvar. Grgich wines are world famous and. They produce some of the best in Eastern Europe...as do the Slovenes. You must have heard of Movia vineyards...they are world famous too and a must try! I lived in Croatia for over 5 years....it is a food and wine paradise.

martha said...

Wonderful photo essay. I look forward to your next installment.

wcs said...

Beautiful! Sounds like a wonderful time.

Loulou said...

It was!

It's amazing what they've done in such a short amount of time.
We never came across that cocktail...luckily!

The Free trams were great. And the markets were one of my favorite things!

I'll drink to friends too! They were so nice to take me along with them. We always have a great time on our trips.

Wanderlust Woman
I tried a couple of glasses, at 2 different places, and really didn't like one and thought the other was drinkable. I don't doubt that Croatia has some lovely wines due to its location on the Med. We just found that the beer, which I normally don't drink, was really good.
It was sad, but we didn't get to try any Croatian food. We asked around and everyone said that you have to leave the city to find restaurants who specialize in it. But in the city, there aren't any places to experience their cuisine. Gives me a reason to return and visit more places!

Thanks! It's coming soon!

Great friends and a great city. A perfect combination!

secretdalmatia said...

awesome post! You should work for their Travel Board :)))

Loulou said...

I absolutely loved Zagreb and wasn't expecting to. (don't ask me why!)
It was such a lovely city and so cosmopolitan. I recommend it to everyone!