Welcome to Zagreb – a cultural shock
I’m a Zagreb insider and a Zagreb outsider. I’m a Croat who lived for years in Britain and a Brit who has returned to Zagreb. I need just as many resources to have a great time in Zagreb like any traveller. The difference is – I am here now and I am exploring them: both for yours and my own sake.
Zagreb is a fascinating city. It’s just big enough to offer the highlights of a typical European capital, and just intimate enough to infuse a homey feeling. The problem is when the two identities get mixed up. And in Zagreb they usually do. Tourist attractions don’t get properly listed because ‘why would they when we all know what to do in Zagreb’.
It’s really comforting to live in a city where ‘everybody knows everybody’ and where the main marketing approach is word of mouth – that is, what you hear from your friends at a Saturday morning coffee. But what happens when you don’t know anyone in Zagreb and you don’t even know which coffee shop is in vogue at the moment to pick up that word of mouth advice?
Enter my Travel Honestly principles.
Welcome to Zagreb – really?
I have many foreign friends who always ask me where to stay and what to do in Zagreb. If they’re on their own, they usually end up slightly disappointed by what’s offered in major sightseeing guides.
Coffee culture – that major Zagreb identifier – is the first stumbling block. Because in Zagreb, coffee drinking is not at all about available coffee brands or cool coffee shop interiors. If you read about Zagreb coffee culture as a must-have experience, you can trawl around the city, visit different Zagreb cafes only to end up with your book, sipping an average cappuccino.
You’ll be missing the whole point of ‘let’s go for coffee’ talk. Coffee drinking in Zagreb is about loafing around with friends – not reading a book or planning your next project. It’s the essence of doing nothing, having an empty time. Even when you’re meeting a business partner, having coffee is about creating empty time that leads to bonding.
Prepare for Zagreb
How do you prepare to visit a new city? Find a nice place to stay and stock up on tourist guides? That’s a great plan if you’re going somewhere with a long history of attracting tourists. Zagreb is not that place.
It has so much to offer but so little is packaged as an offer. It’s a perfect home and a challenging three-day city escape. By all means, you’re welcome to Zagreb for three days, but before you do, prepare properly: stock on insiders and their advice – not on tourist guides!
How can Zagreb Honestly help you?
It’s a rough-and-ready guide with insider information on how to be a local in Zagreb. As I rediscover my own city after coming back from London, I too get fascinated as well as daunted by the Croatian ways. I’m half at home here and half with you out there, looking to have the best time in Zagreb.
So dig into my blog to get ideas and inspiration!