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Forget heading straight to the coast when you arrive in Croatia, book a flight to Zagreb with Qatar Airways and you’ll discover a hidden gem of a city that’s perfect for a short city break or a longer holiday. Plenty of cultural experiences, a warm and friendly welcome and a laid-back atmosphere make this Eastern European location one that’s well worth a visit.
The first thing that strikes you on a trip to Zagreb is the quality of the city’s architecture. This is 18th and 19th Century opulence at its best, full of imposing stone structures resplendent with arches, columns and exquisite decorations. However, if you want to see where it all started, head to the Stone Gate, Zagreb’s medieval entrance to Gradec Town. A medieval counterpart to the Gate is Lotrščak Tower, which offers sweeping 360-degree views of both the upper and lower towns. To make your trip between the two towns of Zagreb, use the nearby funicular railway the shortest cable car in the world only 66 meters long, and has been transporting the citizens of Zagreb between the Upper and Lower Towns for the last century.
A trip to Zagreb introduces travellers to a city that’s full of green spaces. The city planners love their parks, and there are plenty to choose from. A series of parks, starting from Zrinjevac in the city centre where Qatar Airways has opened its new branded city office across from the areas beautiful fountains and architecture, to what is known as the Lenucci horseshoe. These then loop through the city, taking in the botanical gardens and finally up to Marulić and Tito Squares. There are also a wealth of museums to explore including the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Archaeological Museum and the Ethnographic Museum, which gives visitors a comprehensive overview of the history, culture and heritage of the Croatian people.
The main leisure activity in Zagreb is simply exploring the city’s many parks and open spaces (there are plenty of benches should you need to take a rest from all the walking!), so pack a comfortable pair of walking shoes for your trip to Zagreb. Jarun Lake in the south of the city is a main attraction for watersports such as and rowing. If you visit in January make sure you catch the Snow Queen Trophy ski slalom event. And if you get tired of all that walking then there are several companies in the city that organise cycling tours (all taken at a nice, gentle pace).
Travelling to Zagreb is a good way to introduce your tastebuds to the culinary delights of Eastern Europe. The city has plenty of excellent restaurants, including those that specialise in local dishes.
International cuisine is well represented, and you can also pick up plenty of on-the-go food from local cafés and street vendors. Pancakes are particularly popular.
If you travel to Zagreb you will find a wealth of boutiques, independent shops and retail gems that make this city less ‘generic’ than many others and therefore much more fun when it comes to some retail therapy. If you like natural beauty products then check out some of the independent shops in the centre of the city, and you’ll also find plenty of outlets selling fashion and art from the city’s up and coming young designers. There are some larger department stores for high-end labels, or if you like hunting down an unusual bargain then head for the Hrelić flea market, held every Sunday.
Despite its historic architecture, Zagreb is a very modern city with a laid-back attitude.
If you are invited for a cup of local coffee, be aware that it might take more than a couple of hours as Croatian’s have a tradition of sitting back and enjoying every moment! Like many European cities, smoking is now banned in nearly all public places in Zagreb.
Flights to Zagreb arrive at Zagreb International Airport, some 17km from the city centre.
Visa restrictions for entry into the country will depend on your country of origin, length of stay and whether your trip is for business or pleasure. So before you fly to Zagreb please check the visa and passport requirements.
Currency: Croatian Kuna (HRK)
Voltage: 230 V 50 Hz
Plugs: Type C / F
International dialing code: +385