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Croatia's capital is one of Europe's best kept secrets. As you walk through the medieval Stone Gate (Kamenita Vrata) entering Zagreb, you'll be whisked back in time through cobblestone streets and Gothic architecture. You'll realize, however, that despite the Old World appearance you are very much in a modern city at the cutting edge of art and fashion. Stroll along the Ilica and marvel at the latest Croatian fashions, enjoy a cup of coffee at one of the many cafes or simply admire the street performers. Culture abounds at the many art museums and as you work your way from one to the next, you'll be amazed at how accessible the city is. It's also a hub to the rest of the country, so stay a while in the city or make it your first stop on your journey through Croatia's natural beauty.
You’ll have options aplenty if you decide to visit this gorgeous mountain on the outskirts of Zagreb. Race your friends to the top on foot, take a seriously uphill car ride to the peak (no worrying about oncoming traffic crowding you out—the road is one-way, whew!), or take the scenic cable car up. Once at the top, take your pick of visiting the medieval Medvedgrad fort or renting a pair of skis in season to ski all the way back down to town. Either way, views from the top are breathtaking—definitely worth a visit!
Trg kralja Tomislava 22
Tel. +385 1 48-41-070
Located in the middle of downtown Zagreb, and surrounded by several parks (known as the “Green Horseshoe”), the Art Pavilion is a stunning achievement in architecture. Stand outside and marvel at the beautiful yellow façade before entering into the oldest exhibition space in the Slavic south.
St. Mark’s Square
The historical center of Zagreb, St. Mark’s Square has a wealth of visual attractions. The intricate tile work on the roof of St. Mark’s Church will immediately catch your eye; the pattern is the official coat of arms for the city of Zagreb (though old, the original is safely tucked away in the museum). To the west of the square lies two beautiful mansions, and to the east is the seat of Croatia’s parliament.
The Croatian Museum of Naive Art
Sv. Ćirila i Metoda 3, Gornji grad
Probably one of the best museums displaying outsider art—called “naïve art” in Croatia—this institution is full of wonderful paintings, drawings, and sculpture by Croatian artists. Outsider art is a genre that designates art created by those who lack formal training, but who on their own have created an aesthetic style all their own.
Walking Tour from town center
Stop in to the tourist center at Jelacic Square and ask about their one walking tours--it's a great way to see the city with someone who knows the history of Zagreb.
Nikola Tesla, 14, 10000
A slice of Italy in Croatia's capital, Cantinetta has been offering up fresh and local ingredients since 1996. The friendly staff serves up grilled seafood in an elegant setting.
Kaptol 5, Kaptol
Suitable for luxury travelers and backpackers alike, Kaptolska Klet serves up delicious regional food across from Zagreb’s cathedral. Get dinner for two on the beautiful outdoor terrace while eating their famous roasted lamb or pork, or grab a beer in their huge indoor dining hall.
Enjoy the taste of the Mediterranean in this elegant restaurant by chef and owner Mario Čerhak. You can choose to have a four sequence menu, a six sequence menu or a la carte dining depending on your mood, and don’t forget to order a bottle of wine from their extensive collection.
This Tito era homage to meat restaurant differs in its presentation and technique. The dining room is vaulted brick with an adjoining ivy clad courtyard. Steaks and kebabs and meticulousely grilled to perfection.
Vlaska 55, 10000
This authentic, fashionable Italian restaurant practices slow food—that is, all of the ingredients are grown and purchased locally and the food is always made to order. Complete the risotto with a great bottle of wine from their collection.
Tel. +358. 1.48.19.000
Lunch restaurant which overlooks the Dolac, Zagreb's main fresh market (Sunday to Frinday and til 3PM is when the fresh market is open)
Zinfandel’s Restaurant has different vibes for different meals, but each one is perfect for the luxury traveler. The graceful dining room hosts a terrific breakfast buffet in the morning, followed by chic cosmopolitan lunch in the afternoon. But for dinner, Zinfandel’s kicks it up a notch and it’s all elegance all the time. With traditional local dishes fused with Mediterranean cuisine and international ingredients, the eclectic menu is sure to please you as you admire the stunning view of the Fountain Park. Plus, the wine list is as eclectic as the cuisine.
Dubrovkin Put 2
As the name implies, Dubrovnik Put specializes in food from the Dalmation Coast, which is to say, seafood, seafood and more seafood. With fresh deliveries of fish every morning, Dubrovnik Put serves up crustaceans like no other. The great wait staff complements this trendy spot where, in the summer, you can also sit outside on the garden terrace.
Although you can surely find Fifth Avenue fashion staples in thriving Zagreb, the real standouts are the Croation designers. Stroll along Radićeva or Ilica and stop in one of the many boutiques to find truly unique, cutting-edge ready-to-wear. Standouts are award-winning Boris Pavlin for his elegant pieces reminiscent of '40s glamour and Kobali, where hats are the star and are beautifully crafted. Listed below are just a few (really!) of the many amazing boutiques we think you should visit.
Pavlin was awarded the Croatian Fashion Oscar award for the best collection of the year for his spring/summer 2006 collection, and his fame has just increased since then. He is one of Croatia's top designers with a fresh perspective and a stunning attention to detail. Highlights from his career include an all-white collection, and clothes that appear to be made entirely out of flower petals; this season is all about retro-glam--think 1940s stunners. You're sure to find a beautiful piece of couture to bring home.
Make a stop at Kobali to pick up one of Nada Kobali's delightful creations. A fourth generation milliner whose hats have been featured in Zagreb fashion week, the Milan fashion fair, and the Croatian Science and Arts Academy Museum of Sculpture, Kobali is known for her aesthetically exquisite designs.
Designed by Zrinka Haddad, this modern Croatian pret-a-porter fashion brand makes feminine clothing that manages to be both elegant and comfortable. Affordable and yet still luxe, Haddad caters to the young, modern business woman with style.
Designer Ksenija Vrbanic likes to design for three different mindsets: the trendy, the classic, and the extravagant. Each is designed with fabrics, cuts, and colors specific to the particular look. Her 2008 collection plays in blacks and whites in painterly patterns and lines.
Stolnik's stock is reminiscent of a deconstructed Anthropologie. Clothes are often whimsical yet flattering--the perfect combination to deliver a unique sense of style that never forfeits good fit.
With a focus on clean lines and specialty detailing in embroidery, contouring, and hand-coloring, Sever's collections always impress. Though long a veteran of couture collections, Sever has become most popular for his handbags, colorful creations that are wonderful everyday bags.
Ilica 14 (Lovacki rog)
Named after the volcano in Sicily and photographer Dora Maar (Croatian artist famous more for her lusty affair with Picasso than for her own work), design house Etna Maar words to channel both in its "explosive creativity" and surrealistic vibes. The latest collection features black and white knit-wear with hand-painted bugs grafittied strategically--très avant-garde and très chic.
Did you know that the necktie was created in Croatia? Well these people do and they are damn proud of it. The boutique Croata in Dubrovnik sells ties, ties and more ties. Made from silk in various weaves by Croatian designers, stop in this shop to see what all the fuss is about.
Open as a restaurant in the early evening, serving a menu of Italian-Asian fusion, People's becomes a natty cocktail lounge at night. Plush couches abound in the orb-lighted lounge with a huge cocktail list and several VIP rooms. We suggest booking a private VIP lounge--partly for the glamour, but mostly for the amazing murals painted by artist Jordia Labanda--it all feels very Deco-glamorous.
Škola lounge bar
Bogovićeva 7 / 2. floor
Tel. + 322.214.171.124.197
If heaven had a bar, no doubt it would be something like Škola. Under the glass roof of the lounge, and surrounded by all-white everything, enjoy a cocktail or a meal amongst fellow hipsters. Cool decor and swanky attitudes fill this bar with the coolest crowds in Zagreb. And the VIP lounge is on the penthouse terrace; enjoy looking down on everyone else who didn't yet get the memo.
Nikole Tesle 7
The jazz hotspot in Zagreb, the B.P. has seen tons of world-class jazz-talents; B.B. King has even performed on this hallowed stage. The bright décor is tempered by some pretty cool black and white photographs, documenting B.P.’s many esteemed performers. Definitely stop by for some cool tunes—the club jams until 1 a.m.
[email protected] Club
Pavla Hatza 14
Internet café by day and gay and lesbian dance club by night, [email protected] Club is a veritable practice in excess. Whether you’re grooving on the dance floor, kickin’ back in the VIP lounge, or taking in the video art in the projection room, you will surely be entertained. Make sure you ask at the door about drink vouchers—bouncers will often give you a free drink ticket.
Nova Ves 17
Ditch the younger crowds and visit this sleek bar located at the Kaptol Center. With an older, more sophisticated crowd, Jackie Brown has a refined list of cognacs and whiskies that can be enjoyed to the sounds of smooth jazz.