The Valentines Day hype is upon us. Admit it, no matter how much you believe love should be practiced all year round, you still feel a tiny bit obliged to do something special on this day.
Me too. And I always struggle with ideas. I want something special but I don’t want it to be special in a blaring commercial kind of way. More like ‘special because it happens spontaneously’. Is this possible?
Let’s draw a parallel to the secret of great make-up. It’s invisible. It makes people look natural. And I deliberately say people because natural looking men on TV wear make-up too, just to drive my point home.
So naturalness equals effort. Not what you wanted to hear, I suppose. But let’s assume for a moment that I’m right and go a bit further. Do you think that spontaneous romance requires effort too? It sounds like an outright contradiction. Because what makes being in love so delicious is the very lack of control you have over the process.
Maybe. And maybe not.
Think of great athletes and their fluent performance. How much planning and hard training do you think go into the final impression we get: the one of naturalness and effortlessness? A lot, I tell you.
So here’s the deal with feeling in love. On the one hand you can’t control it, and you shouldn’t. On the other, there’s a lot of planning and effort you can invest into creating favourable conditions.
Romantic Zagreb – St. Valentines or any other day
Zagreb is a beautiful city for a romantic break. I wrote about its unassuming yet attractive walkable character. Though there are plenty of commercial love-boosting events on Valentines Day, I’m going to show you how to nurture your love in a spontaneous unassuming way. The effort will be invisible and it’ll all look natural!
There is nothing sweeter than strolling hand in hand with your loved one, stopping now and then to exchange kisses. Well, I’m sending you on just such romantic walk in the Zagreb Upper Town.
You can follow the route this weekend or any other day of the year when you want to nurture spontaneous romance. But here’s what you need to know about the walk:
Romantic Zagreb walk
- The purpose of the walk is the journey.
- We’re not covering the Upper Town’s sights as destinations: we’re taking alternative routes and enjoying walking itself. Those who already know the Upper Town may experience it differently just by following obscure alleyways and staircases that connect well known streets.
- The walk uncovers 5 extraordinary places – the kissing spots – which are perfect for lingering around and exchanging romantic gestures
Romantic Zagreb Walk: a perfect plan for falling in love
Start the walk at Britanac Square. Have coffee and/or pancakes at the famous Kava Tava café and pay attention to their paper mats: they give you a lovely hand-drawn map of Zagreb kissing spots. I’ll take you to some and show you some that are not included.
#1 kissing spot: Rokov perivoj – a delightful serene common overlooking the Square. This place is a hidden Zagreb gem, often solitary, and ideal for you to stop and kiss.
Staircases until the next kissing spot:
#1: Aleksandrove stube
#2: Kapucinske stube
#2 kissing spot: Grič – a green meadow with intriguing houses on its edges. It’s often quiet, tucked away from the main Upper Town routes.
#3 kissing spot: Štross – a charming promenade lined with old trees on one side and offering a city vista on the other. The benches may be busy because this is a traditional kissing spot for the Zagreb youth.
Meander through main Upper Town streets and take in the atmosphere. If you do the walk at dusk, you can catch a street lamp lighter in his daily ritual. Not many cities nurture this old-school approach of paying a visit to each lamp to turn it on.
#4 kissing spot: entrance to Tuškanac forest – my absolute favourite place to hide and kiss. This romantic, slightly eerie place will transport you to a different time.
Passageways and staircases until you reach Tkalčićeva street:
#3: Dvoranski prečac
#4: Felbingerove stube
#5: Stube biskupa duha
#5: kissing spot: Opatovina park – a lovely airy park with lots of benches to rest. Here you are likely to meet other strollers, or see kids playing, which only adds to its charm.
You are now in Tkalčićeva street, famous for its numerous cafés. No harm in stopping for a drink if you take a fancy to one of colourful terraces you walk past.
Passageways and staircases:
#6: Kožarska ulica
#7: Male stube
#8: Kamenita vrata (famous Stone Gate)
The route is now snaking back to the Upper Town so you can see more of the lovely passageways and staircases. And the longest ones are:
#9: Zakmardijeve stube
#10 Stube kralja Ladislava
is the last staircase, leading to the Dolac market. If you took the walk at dusk, the market will be closed. You’ll find yourself on an empty plateau surrounded by vegetable stalls. This strange cityscape has its allure and it might inspire you to kiss right there – putting your flag on a newly established kissing spot.
Romantic Zagreb – Choco and coffee festival
It is said that lovers need witnesses. So after your spontaneous and intimate walk, you’ll probably want to blend in with a crowd. Nothing wrong with that. Actually, Zagreb Coffee and Chocofest, now in its fifth year, is a luxurious treat for the lovers of bittersweet held 11–14 February at Josip Jelačić Square.
Get ready for the best Croatian and international brands of the two black golds. You’ll taste the latest in coffee gastronomy, experience the magic of chocolate artistry and see mean cocoa experts at work
Romantic Zagreb for singles
Now why would you be spared love if you’re single? After all, nobody said you need to be in love with a person. How about falling in love with a film?
This year the famous Zagreb Dox Festival throws up a great ‘Fall in Love with Documentaries’ warm-up program (12–14 February). Get your buddies together, snuggle up at the Kaptol Cineplexx cinema and delight in some arty love. They say love and art go hand in hand.
So, let me know how your Valentines Day goes. Was it worth putting in the effort for a natural-feel romance?
Oh, and here’s my ultimate list of other super cool things to do in Zagreb!