Zagreb - the capital of Croatia, a city of one million hearts
Recently, a rising number of people all over the world is choosing Zagreb as the throughout the year. Even those looking to spend a week or two on the sunny coast of Croatian Adriatic or one of its thousands of islands are making a quick 2-3 days pitstop in the Croatian capital.
In fact, Zagreb has seen an increase in visits in the least likely part of the year – December.
And there’s a perfectly good reason for that.
Each year, from the beginning of December and into the January of the following year, the entire city transforms into a mixture of sounds, colours, and lights of Christmas. It’s the long tradition that finally received an official recognition in 2016 when “Advent in Zagreb” has been selected as the Best Christmas Market in Europe.
And it wasn’t a one-time glory either because, this year, in a fearsome competition between several European capitals, including Vienna, Zagreb won that same prestigious award again. Visitors from all over the world acknowledged the years of dedicated work to create a one of a kind experience during the most wonderful time of the year.
But Advent in Zagreb is not the only reason why Lonely Planet chose the Croatian capital as the top European destination.
Zagreb is the only capital where you won’t feel like a tourist
Pick any European capital. Heck, pick any capital in the world. What’s the difference between any of them? See one and you’ve seen them all. With one exception.
Unlike Paris, Rome, Vienna or Prague, Europe’s most famous capitals, that developed this system of herding the tourists and channelling them to just a few famous destinations, Zagreb is doing exactly the opposite.
You are being encouraged to explore the city as a whole
How? By getting familiar with not just every corner of Zagreb but also with its residents. With the locals who are known for their hospitality and openness. In other words, you won’t get disconnected from the city’s pulse and its unique soul like it’s the case with any of the major capitals in the world.
And that’s why people love Zagreb. They feel this instant connection. Because there is no that common invisible barrier between the city and the visitor. That’s what makes them feel at home.
Did you know, for instance, that there are people from all continents that know more about Zagreb than their own capitals? In fact, the growing number of Americans, Canadians and Western Europeans have moved to Zagreb in recent years. This trend has been increasing especially after Croatia became the EU member state.
Aside from the immediate connection that is common to every person who has ever visited Zagreb, the Croatian capital is also one of the safest cities of the World. It remains one of only a few where you can take your partner or a date out for a midnight stroll without being concerned about personal safety.
Have you tasted the food over there? Or talk with the people? Well, once you do, you’ll understand what draws people to Croatia and Zagreb in particular. Last year alone, dozens of skiing enthusiasts who came to watch the Snow Queen Trophy, came here to stay.
Just so you know, the race takes place in hills on the city’s outskirts during the first days of January each year. The event in the city’s centre is just a pre-show. However, people simply decided to settle here. After all, the price of properties is way below the European average.
Any other reason?
Have you ever heard about the Museum of Broken Hearts? Yeah, we thought so.
Well, after touring the globe, this ever-evolving exhibit finally settled in Zagreb with the auxiliary location in Hollywood. Cool, right? It’s the must-see for everyone that comes in Zagreb even for a day.
Or how about the breathtaking gothic two-tower cathedral; one of only a few in the world that is still in active use and definitely the only one southeast of the Alps?
By the way, that’s also the part of the city where you want to start your exploration. Keep that in mind because everything you’ll see and feel started from around there.
For example, if you start walking north-northwest from the cathedral (taking a taxi sounds less painful if you know what we mean), step by step and you’ll reach the medieval fortified town of Medvedgrad (cro., Medved=Bear; grad=fort, town, city).
They built it in 13th century AD as a necessary measure to protect the residents against the barbaric invaders, particularly Mongols.
The view on the city from the castle’s walls is simply breathtaking and for that reason alone, you should pay it a visit.
Once you get back to the city’s centre, the choice is yours and yours alone.
Maybe you want to dress up and listen to the opera. Or visit one of many international gastro-fairs that are taking place seven days a week in the city’s centre. Why not taste a burger from, say, Peru, right?
Although truth to be said, once you taste the traditional local delicacies you’ll never go back. And that’s the promise.
Zagreb gives you an unlikely cultural high that is an elaborate mixture of traditions that reach far into the past and the modern lifestyle, common for every urban centre. Only, in Zagreb, you won’t feel like a foreigner. And that’s exactly what separates Zagreb from other famous European destinations.
Book a flight to the state-of-the-art, only recently built Zagreb’s airport that is the architectural marvel on its own. Or get behind the wheel of your car and plug-in on any of the Europe’s major freeways. In case you didn’t know, the Croatian capital, Zagreb, is directly connected to the main European freeway network.
Choose your method and come to the city where everyone feels at home. We guarantee that you’ll keep coming back, over and over again until you finally settle somewhere on the city’s outskirts.
Your CTC Team, I.K.