ZigZagging Our Way Through Europe
With the cost of travel increasing, it’s becoming more and more costly to plan trips abroad. Especially when facing unexpected interruptions to flight schedules and changing entry regulations. That’s why we decided to spend a month based in Zagreb, Croatia. Not only can we leisurely experience all the City has to offer, but we can easily book plane and train tickets throughout Central Europe.
While Split and Hvar, Croatia have become popular destinations with their beaches and promenades lining the Adriatic Sea, the inland city of Zagreb is often overlooked.
We decided the best way to enjoy Zagreb is to ‘live like a local’, which means spending the day becoming acquainted with the city we will be calling home for the next month. While Croatia is a member of the European Union, it has not yet converted to the Euro, electing instead to remain on the Croatia Kuna (Kn). As of this writing, 1 Kn is equal to 0.13€ /0.14USD, making Croatia a very affordable destination.
What better way to start our first day than with an early morning cup of coffee at a neighborhood caffe bistro. Plavi Klub Caffe Bar at the corner of utica Greg Tuskana and utica Frana Vrbanca is just that place. The fact that it is directly below our apartment is a plus as well!
At only10 Kn (€1.33), I quickly discovered why a Starbucks is nowhere to be found.
Like many large cities, Zagreb is not necessarily a walking city. Fortunately, an efficient tram system is available that is surprisingly easy to navigate. Single trip and day passes can be purchased at any kiosk or from the tram driver. We chose the day pass for 30Kn (€3.98) that gives us unlimited tram access anywhere in the city. Clean, modern and air conditioned, they make a comfortable way to get around. Tip: Download the Moovit app, a free real-time public transit application perfect for finding mass transit timetables and routes worldwide.
Zagreb is a mix of ecclesiastical and brutalist architecture coming together to make it a delight to explore.
Yet, behind the seemingly neglected classic facades lie lush gardens providing a sense of tranquility in the middle of a busy city.
Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, ranks among the oldest cities in Central Europe dating back to 1094. It is also the most populated city in Croatia. While English is not the first language, we found it widely spoken in varying degrees. I have yet to encounter anyone in Zagrib whose English is as bad as my Croatian, but as poor as my Croatian may be, everyone we have encountered is friendly and helpful!
Next on our list of things to do – groceries. While the romance of a cup of expresso followed by a fresh baguette from a local boulangerie floats in my head, reality sits in. After all, we’re used to large supermarkets.
Luckily, Zagreb provides both. We found a local bakery at the opposite corner of our street with wonderful freshly baked breads and pastries as well as handmade sandwiches.
While the Spar Supermarket, located just 300m from our apartment, is a fully stocked supermarket comparable to any in the United States. With over 150 stores, it is one of the top three retailers in Croatia.
The rush to fill our basket to the brim is quickly squashed (pun intended) when we remember the compact size of European refrigerators. If we’re going to ‘live like a local’, then we need to learn how to ‘shop like a local’ … only stock the necessities and buy what you need daily while it’s fresh. A habit I hope to keep when we return home.
We come to the end of our first day of our two month experience and we’re craving … pizza! We won’t make our move to Bologna, Italy for another thirty days but tonight pizza is on our minds. Fortunately, Zagreb delivers again with Franko’s Pizza and Bar. Located at 71a Branimirova ul, Franko’s was voted Best Pizzaria in Croatia for 2021 and 2022. With pizzas starting at 56Kn (7.44€) it is a reminder why Zagreb is such an affordable destination.
So ends our first day in Zagreb. Tomorrow, the journey continues as we start exploring this historic city and invite you to join us.
Have you been to Zagreb? Tell us about it!
Follow Us As We Continue To ZigZag Our Way Through Europe –