After a rather long train ride, I finally arrived into Croatia’s northern capital city Zagreb. It was interesting to note that the Croatian train system is not very well developed in comparison to the rest of Europe. It was slower and surprisingly cheaper than taking a bus. I am not really sure how that works, but somehow the train does take a whole two hours longer to go from Split to Zagreb making the bus the more efficient option for the first time ever. There is also no train line between Split and Dubrovnik but I sense that may change with Dubrovnik’s growing popularity. For now however, buses are the best way to get around the country.
On arrival, I instantly fell in love with Zagreb. Sure it was inland and far away from the beachy coast. But the city itself has a great vibe and clean atmosphere to it. I think that the fact that there was a couple of cute festivals happening during my visit only added to the experience. My first evening I spent just walking around drinking in the sights.
One of the Zagreb churches. Loved the roof detailing
Another church but with a twist, a street runs through it
The view out over the city. What an amazing sky
The Art Pavilion
There was a wee festival of desserts happening in the park next to the art pavilion. Of course I had to sample something ;)
There were trams! And cute blue fire hydrants
The drinking part of my night where I discovered lemon beer! So delicious
The next day I spent as a day trip outside Zagreb in a nearby national park called Plitvice Lakes. This park was one of my main reasons for visiting Zagreb as Plitvice Lakes is one of the oldest and largest national parks in South-west Europe and contains multiple waterfalls connecting the sixteen lakes within the park. What’s not to like? I am going to show you my amazing day at the park with an overload of photos.
Despite the on/off rain, it was an incredible day being surrounded by so much natural beauty. I did feel a little waterfall-ed-out by the end after seeing a billion of them, but something about hiking and wandering about in nature makes me happy. The park reminded me a lot of New Zealand just minus the ferns on the trails. Definitely worth a visit. It is the number one tourist attraction in Croatia for a reason and visitable year-round. And pretty cheap entry at only €15 a person. I used a local shuttle company to get to the park for about €20 which was just a dude and his van that my hostel hooked me up with. It was cheaper to pay this guy than taking a bus which I thought was a sweet bonus.
For my last day in Zagreb, I continued wandering around and browsing museums and sights which had been closed on my arrival day. It was another great day. Possibly because I visited the dessert festival in the park again.
In the main square was a fundraising festival for the recent floods. I thought it was awesome that the disability community was getting involved in the effort. This was a wheelchair basketball tournament
Dessert sample #2
I got pretty excited when I realised there were TURTLES in the botanical gardens. I think I counted at least 5 in this pond alone
The modern art museum. Of which I was very thrilled to see that you could exit by slide from the top floor! How cool is that?! Not to mention the art inside was fantastic
One of my all-time favourite museums now – The Museum of Broken Relationships. The exhibits are items that symbolise breakups between couples along with a story of how the separation happened. A little morbid and depressing but fascinating
My time in Zagreb came to an end far too quickly. I felt like there was so much more to see and do. I saw only a fraction of the tourist attractions in my three nights there. If only I had more time. And if only I’d realised quite how much I would love Croatia. One week in this country definitely did not feel like enough.
Where I stayed: Hobo Bear Hostel
Price: €12 a night in an 8 bed dorm
Overall: Fantastic hostel. It currently holds the title for the best small hostel in Croatia. The staff were lovely and the décor was awesome with a cozy bear theme. It was set up to encourage a good vibe with things like if you sang a certain song to the receptionist during happy hour, you would get a free beer. My only nit-pick is that it wasn’t busy enough for my liking during my visit, but that was just to do with the time of year.