Croatia, Sept. 2017
I landed in Zagreb, Croatia, around 4pm on Friday, the 8th of September, and immediately jumped in an Uber to my friend Nora's apartment in the city. After settling in for a bit and changing, we went straight to the center and had a drink in a busy street (not without trying my first burek, a traditional pastry filled with meat, cheese or vegetables). We then headed for dinner at Boban, a restaurant downtown, where the decor was very nice and the food, delicious.
For my first full day in Zagreb, Nora and I headed downtown for breakfast at Johann Franck. The setting is very nice - we were able to eat on the terrasse, right next to Ban-Jelačić-Platz, the main square of Zagreb, where a vegan festival was also happening during the weekend. The food was also very good, although service was a bit slow due to the number of customers. We then made our way to the old town by taking a funicular. The streets of the old town are very pretty and the view from there is amazing.
In the afternoon, we went for some cake at Vis à vis, a cute little café right beneath the funicular, where they make delicious gluten-free, lactose-free snacks and goodies. We then went home to rest for a bit and get ready for the evening. Later, we headed toward the bar of Hotel Esplanade, where we enjoyed some champagne and cocktails on the terrasse. The bar, like the hotel, is quite luxurious, and the service and drinks were both great.
On the Sunday, we had planned to rent a car and drive down to Rovinj, a cute town by the sea, and to stay there overnight; however, the weather was not looking good, which made the trip seem pointless. We decided to change our plans and take a day trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park, about two hours away from Zagreb. We went there early enough so the weather would still be enjoyable. The park offers multiple paths to take by foot, bus and/or boat. We chose path B, a three- to four-hour tour, mostly by foot and ending with a boat ride. The scenery was incredible, we were surrounded by lakes of surprising colors and cliffs covered in trees and nature. Despite the cloudy sky, the views were spectacular and the colors were vibrant. The path also had a few stops where we could sit down and grab some food and drinks. It started to rain right as we were leaving, around 4pm, to drive back to Zagreb.
Back in the city, Nora and I decided to go for dinner and drinks in the same area where we had been the first night. After walking around and trying to choose between all the different restaurants, we sat down on the terrace of Otto & Frank, an original little place with an interesting menu, including breakfast for dinner. The food was good and the service was very friendly.
My trip was coming to an end and the weather had only gotten worse since the previous day, so on day 4, we decided to head to the mall for a bit of shopping. We then returned the rental car, went home to pack, had a last burek and I went off to catch my flight!
Zagreb was definitely a great experience, a very cool city, and our trip to Plitvice Lakes was unforgettable. I can only hope to go back to Croatia one day and experience more of it!
My budget for this trip was somewhat limited, and overall, what cost me the most money was the flight (Brussels Airlines with a layover in Brussels on the way in, and Austrian Airlines with a layover in Vienna on the way back). On my first day, I pulled out the equivalent of 150CHF (155$ or 130€), and it was enough to pay for three meals a day and some small things I bought here and there. In addition to that, I spent a bit of money on clothes on my last day (the clothes there are cheaper than they would be here for the same brands), and we also took quite a few Ubers (also a lot cheaper than in Switzerland).
To rent the car, we turned to a Sixt agency which was located in Hotel Panorama, in the center of Zagreb. It was really great not to have to go all the way to the airport, and the staff was very helpful and efficient. We got a Skoda Octavia, which we were very happy with, and payed 132CHF (136$ or 115€) for two days. This is an option I highly recommend as it is fast, easy, and not too pricy.
If you want to see more photos from my trip, you can check out my Instagam and don't hesitate to contact me through the contact form or by e-mail for any additional questions!