As you set out to take a tour round Zagreb, determined to see its highlights, you’ll find that you’ll end up rather enjoying it. Sitting at one of its Viennesestyle cafés, strolling leisurely around its streets and promenading through its parks, it’s like you’re starting out on a love affair with this city and its people. And pretty soon you’ll know that this is love in its early stage, the kind that only grows stronger in time.

The cosmopolitan buzz of Zagreb will soon strike you. Everything is accessible on foot – from your hotel to the theatre, wandering around the old Upper Town or through the bustling streets of the more modern Lower Town, which has not lost an ounce of its charm despite the eternal march of time. Venture out and let the moment take hold. There is something special about the rustle of leaves as you stroll through the autumn colours of downtown Zrinjevac Park. There is magic in the reflections of the gas lanterns in the Upper Town, as the songs of the street performers evoke their own emotions with their distinctive sound. As night falls, everything becomes soft and subdued; the twinkle of candles in the cathedral and at the mystical Stone Gate; the cafés beckoning you in
the twilight with their warm hues. Zagreb is special. It is a long-running tale that allows you room to write your own chapters with  your own impressions, something for you to add to the story.

Lounge culture

Zagreb can be described as a city with the biggest lounge. The moment the sun appears in the sky in spring, restaurant, cafe and coffeehouse terraces open for custom. Streets become promenades, places to get a cup of coffee, relax or have a business meeting. A combination of Mediterranean cordiality andd northern business sense make any visitor feel welcome.

The traditional International Folklore Festival, the global festival of street performers Cest is d'Best, outdoor summer concerts on Zrinjevac, St. Martin's Day and many other open-air events increase the feeling of communality.

Lounging in cafes has been a long tradition in this city. The Zagreb Green Horseshoe and the main square of Ban Josip Jelačić have always been hubs of social life in Zagreb. Nowadays, this has spread across the whole city center, around the pedestranised zone and even further. People from all walks of life can find somenthing of interest here. Cafes around Ban Jelačić, or simply 'Square' as it isoften referred to, attract prominent figures.

Preradović, also know as Flower Squre, is loved by artist and young people,as well as an older crowd. Tkalčićeva, once the border between Gradec and Kaptol, used to be full of pubs and served as the red-light district, but nowadays it is a trendy destination for rendezvous and relaxation for whole family. The romantic among you can take the funicular on Ilica, the shortest one in the world used for public transportation-you'll reach the Upper Town in 55 seconds.

All of these locations form part of the phenomenom know as špica. Every saturday around noon people of all ages come to the centre because that is the time and place to see and be seen. The ritual is always the same: people slowly sip coffee, read the Saturdays papers, stop off at Dolac market to pick up fresh produce and then go home to prepare lunch. In every neighbourhood there is a favorurite meeting place where regulasr feel welocome and where everybody knows your name.

Flavours colours and smells

The gasrtonomic seleczion in Zagreb comprises a rich combination of many cuisines. History and geography have had a great impact on menus here. Althought the people of Zagreb gladly cook at home, there are many places in town where you can find specialities of inland Croatia as well as Mediterranean and international cuisine.

Štrukli is one of the authentic dishes anyone in Zagreb would recommend. There are several different ways of preparation so it can be cooked or baked, swet or salty. Turkey with mlinci pasta strips is one of the traditional meals of inland Croatia.

There is also Zagreb steak, a piece of fried veal filled with cheese and ham, somewhat similar to its renowned Vienna counterpart. For breakfest you should try fresh cream with cheese bought directly from the producer, the so-called kumica, from villages around Zagreb. Another feature of the city are its open-air food markets.

Almost every neighbourhood has one but the Dolac, near the Cathedral, is the best know. This is where producers sell fresh fruit and vegetabless, meat and fish daily. The Dolac is a unique place, the so-called 'The Belly of Zagreb', where lovers of good food come to find seasonal products from all parts of Croatia. There you will encounter a mass of a colours, smells and sounds.

During the day eateries by the market offer cheap, fast, home-made dishes. There are cake shops and bakeries on every corner. We recommended you visit one of the numerous restaurants that offer regional cuisine. You should certainly try Zagreb strudel with apples, chees or cherries, and there is also kremšnita, the most famous creamcake made in the nearby town of Samobor.

We should not leave without mentioning the praised wines made from grapes grown near Zagreb. Even thought beer is the most popular drink, wine has always been very important in Zagreb, and proof is in the celebration of St.Martin's Day. The holiday of this patron saint of wine falls on the 11th of November.

From Zagreb with love

An original souvenir from a visit to Zagreb is a tie, a must-have item of clothing in the business world and an authentic Croatian product. In the 17th century Croatian soldiers used to tie elegant scarves around their necks, a fashion later picked up by the French - the rest is history.

One of the most impotrant inventions of the 20th century, the fountain pen, was actually designed in Zagreb. Its inventor, engineer Eduard Slavoljub Penkala, patented the word's first mechanical pencil in 1906 and in 1907 he patented the first fountain pen. He produced them in Zagreb and exported them to 70 countries around the world. This pioneer of modern times has about 80 inventions to his name, even some in the field of aeronautics.

In 1910, only a couple of years after the Wright Brothers, Penkala designed Croatia's first aeroplane. The aromatic biscuit paprenjak, once made by the womwn of old Zagreb, is another original souvenir. It is an unusual combination of honey, walnuts and pepper and a reminder of the contrast we find in Zagreb. The licitar, a traditional, colourfully adorned biscuit made from honey dought, originates from central Croatia and the lowlands. As it is heart-shaped, it should be given as a symbol of love and affection for special occasions.

Red Šestine umbrellas, a part of traditional local attire, protect the traders at the Dolac market from sun and rain. They too form a prominent part of the city's identity. For those interested in antiques and works of art, there is a market every weekend at Britanski trg.

Zagreb is a city where you can browse in small traditional shops or at contemporary boutiques on the most famous street in the city, Ilica - or look for something in the main shopping malls. Zagreb is a city that always holds a special place in the hearts of those who visit it.

Quite simply, Zagreb has a soul. And you… You have Zagreb...


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