Discovering Zagreb, Croatia’s vibrant and historic capital

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It stands out for the many historic buildings, churches, monuments and alleys to explore each corner. And in recent decades, it has gained a great vibe, with the growth in the number of restaurants, cafés with terraces and bars.

Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, has never been a major tourist destination, but the outlook has changed in recent years. In 2018 it received about 20 million visitors. The city is not large in size and 800,000 inhabitants live there, making it possible to visit its main attractions in two or three days.

It stands out for the many historic buildings, churches, monuments and alleys to explore each corner. And in recent decades, it has gained a great vibe, with the growth in the number of restaurants, cafés with terraces and bars. Zagreb also has a delicious gastronomy and if you are fond of sweets, you will love to try some of the specialties. Find out what you can not miss in this fabulous destination that is increasingly in fashion.

The colorful roofed church and two must-see museums

It is in the historic center that many of the main attractions are found. The ideal is to go on foot. You can start with the Church of São Marcos, which is located on a hill. Built in the 13th century, it stands out for its original, very colorful roof, with the medieval coat of arms of Croatia and the symbol of Zagreb. Nearby is a museum that has the curious name of Museum of Relationships Finished.

It displays many objects that were part of the history of romantic relationships that did not work, some of which ended dramatically. The estate comes from all over the world and there are objects that were relevant to the routine of couples and gifts offered on Valentine’s Day or other special dates. Right at the entrance of this museum, there are three books with stories that the French writer Marcel Proust read to his ex-wife when they traveled to Portugal, their favorite country. Another very interesting museum is the Archaeological Museum of Zagreb, divided into five themes: Prehistory, Antiquity, Ancient Egypt, Middle Ages and Coins and Meta

Then, walk towards the Lotrscak Tower. From the interior of this medieval building there is a stunning view over Zagreb, but to get there you will have to climb more than 300 steps. Every day, at noon, a cannon is fired which, since the 19th century, announces the time to city dwellers. The noise of the explosion is deafening if you are at the top of the tower.

Lotrscak Tower, the best view of Zagreb

 

Then, you can head to Kaptol Square, which stands out for the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Its construction ended in 1899 and its towers, elevated to great height, can be seen from almost all points of the city. Inside, there are traces of a medieval church that suffered great destruction following an earthquake in the 16th century.

Kamenita Vara, the famous Stone Gate

Then head towards the Kamenita Vrata (Stone Gate, in Portuguese), one of the great symbols of Zagreb and which has remained intact since the medieval era. It is what remains around the walls that protected the city from enemy attacks. This place has suffered several fires throughout history, but the image of the Virgin Mary has remained intact. For this reason, the Croats built a chapel, which became a temple of prayers and thanks.

The two most lively streets

Tkalcicéva is the most vibrant street in the capital of Croatia. It houses many restaurants and cafés with terraces and when the weather permits, it is always full of locals and tourists. If you like craft beer, go to Pivnica Mali Medo (Pub Urso Pequeno, in Portuguese). In addition to the bars and restaurants, are there stores selling souvenirs and a statue of Marija Juri? Zagorka, Croatian writer, feminist and journalist. Behind the statue, there is a very old sundial.

Trg Josipa Jelaci is another street with lots of entertainment at all hours, and also has many restaurants and bars with terraces. It is there that the Dolac Market is located, where fruits, vegetables, dairy products, flowers and handicrafts are sold. Within the market there are good restaurants to sample Croatian food, which we will talk about next.

Good and varied cuisine

In Zagreb you eat a lot of fish, all kinds of seafood and oysters. And many of the dishes use ham, which has a lot to do with the influence of Italian food. There are dozens of pizzerias around the city. Try the famous Croatian hamburgers and we cannot forget to mention the truffles, which are used in many of the dishes of Croatian food and even in ice cream and other desserts.

Most of the dishes are accompanied by potatoes, especially roasted. Croats also eat a lot of meat, but there is not much variety. Pork is by far the most common. The inhabitants of Zagreb are very sweet. In local cafes, you can enjoy Remsnita, a Croatian-style cheesecake, Krafna (jelly donuts) and Orehnjaca (breads rolled with nuts). And also with the fabulous Madjarica, a cake with several layers of chocolate.

Scroll through the gallery and see more pictures of Zagreb.

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