Friday, July 6, 2012

Zagreb, Croatia

 zagreb's red-roofed skline

Executive summary by darmansjah

Ialist structures. The cobbled centre is made for walking around, with art galleries to explore and plenty of cafes for pit stops. In summer, residents hop on the tram and decamp to scenic Jarun lake to boat, swim or windsurf.

When to Go Zagreb, Zagreb best festivals, such as the Music Biennale, are between April and June when the city takes off its chilly winter coat. Otherwise, visit in September or October when the weather is still warm but the crowds have dispersed.

How to Go Zgreb. From both Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, fly into Zagreb with Lufthansa (, with a connecting stop in Frankfurt. A shuttle bus runs from the airport to the main bus station (US$8.50) or a taxi will cost US$40

 look out for the wild swans at jarun lake

Best For Markets. Traders from all over Croatia have been coming to Dolac Market since the 1930s. indoor stalls sell meat  and dairy products while the stalls at the northern end are packed with locally produced honey and handmade ornaments (Trg Bana J Jelacica; 6am-3pm Mon-Sat, 6am-1pm sun)
Best For Art. Housed in a building designed by local architect Igor Franic, the Museum of Contemporary Art put s on shows by Croatian and international artists. There is also a busy theatre and film schedule (00 38 51 605 2700;; Avenija dubrovnik 17;11am-7pm Tue-Sun, 11am-8pm Sat; Us$5.50)

go shopping for local produce handmade goods at dolac market

Best For Sculpture. Just north of the city is Mirogoj, one of Europe’s most beauatiful cemeteries, at the base of Mount Medvednica. The majestic arcade was designed in 1876 by Herman Bolle. The cementery is dottted with scluptures and artfully designed tombs (Mirogojska Road; 6am-8pm, Apr-Sep, 7.30am-6pm. Oct-Mar).

 mirogoj is one of europe's most beautiful cemetries

Best For History. The medieval Upper Town centres on kaptol Square, where most of the buildings date from the 17th century. The Stone Gate, the eastern gate to medieval Gradec Town, is now a shrine. According to legend, a fire in 1731 destroyed all of the gate except for the painting of the Virgin and Child.

kaptol square

stone gate

Best For Swimming. Jarun Lake, 4 ½  miles from the city centre, is great for swimming. At the lake, head left to Malo Jerezo, where there’s a beach and windsurfing. Take tram 5 or 17 to Jarun and follow signs to the jerezo (lake).

jarun lake

The beer hall of Stari Fijaker 900 was once the height of dinning out in Zagreb and its décor of banquettes and white linen has a staid sobriety. Try the homemade sausages and bean stews plus the great range of local beers (0038 51 483 3829,; Mesnidka 6, closed for dinner Sun in summer; mains from US$50). 

 Stari Fijaker 900

We love seafood specialists Tp Top and their staff, who sport old socialist uniforms and scowls that eventually turn to smiles. But we mostly love the food. Every day has its own menu; try Thursday’s octopus goulash (00 38 51 483 0349; gunduliceva 18; lunch and dinner Mon-Sat; mains from Us$10).

Kerempuh overlooks Dolac Market and is a great place to taste well=prepared Croation cuisine Chef Dino Galvagno desings the daily menu around what he finds at the market, such as fresh sea bass served with Swiss chard (00 38 51 481 9000;; kaptol 3; lunch and dinner Mon-Sun; mains from US$12). 
On warm days, eat on the covered patio at Vinodol, and in winter, in the vaulted dining hall. Dine on veal cooked under a peka (ains from USins from US baking lid) and sip quality Croatian wines (00 38 51 481 1427;; Tesina 10; lunch and dinner; mains from Us$13).

Mano is a high-end steak restaurant with exposed stone walls and steels pillars. The innovative menu includes dishes such as breaded deer with chesnuts (00 38 51 456 9432;; Medvedgradska 2; lunch and dinner Mon-Sat; mains from Us$18).

Getting around Zagreb is easy to get around on foot, but the tram system is cheap and efficient. Tickets are sold at newspaper kiosks (US$1.50 the fram is free to ride two stations in each direction of the main square. Call  060 800 800 to reserve a taxi.

Typical cost. Silk necktie from us%43 (the cravat orginated in Croatia. Mid-range meal Us$18-US$20. Mid-range hotel Us$90-Us$150. High end hotel from Us$150.

pretend you're royalty with a stay at the stately regent esplanade

Located steps from Britanski Trg and its Sunday antique market Hotel Ilica and its suites look as thogh they’ve been furnished from the very same market. Standard rooms are simple and adequate, and the suites are over-the-top kitsch with   gilddded mirrors and red colours schemes  (00 38 51 377 7522;; ilica 102, from US$70).  

Founded in 1827, Pansion Jagerhorn is Zagreb’s oldest hotel and has the feel of a charming hunting lodge. The rooms have simple, modern furnishings and many have  lovely vies over leafy Gradec.. The downstairs restaurant is known for tis traditional dishes of wild game. (00 38 51 483 3877,; ilica 14; from US$125).

Arcotel allegra is Zagreb’s first designer hotel. Rooms are contemporary in style with beds draped in throws printed with the faces of Kafka, Kahlo and Sigmund Freud. On the top floor is a fitness spa there’s also a Latin bar on site ( 00 38 51 469 6000;; Branimirova 29, from US$145).

Palace Hotel is house in a grand Viennese secessionist-style mansion built in 1891. The modernised rooms are bland but comfortable. Try to get a front room for fantastic views over the park and don’t miss the frescoes in the ground-floor café (00 38 51 489 9600;; Strossmayera trg 10; from Us$150).

 kings, artists and politicians ever since. The art ceco masterpiece is replete with immense staircases and walls of swiring marble (00 38 51 456 6666;; Mihanoviceva 1; from Us$180).

A CLEAN DEAL Autocamp Slapic at Duga Resa, eight miles southwest of Karlovac, is a lovely, grassy site run by helpful, English-speaking folk. The facilities are clean and it has wi-fi. We paid US$19 per night for a car, caravan for two people and electricity. It’s a five-minute walk to the train station. We bought our tickets on board for US$12 return to Zagreb for the hour-long trip. The high street is a 25-minute walk from the campsite (00 38 54 75 4700; .

Star Act. Loney Planet users rate Karlovac, 35 miles southwest on Zagreb Built in 1579 as a stronghold against the Turks, it is at the confluence of four rivers: the Kupa, Korana, Mreznica, and Dobra/ the historic centre, which is shaped in the fom of a six-point star, is failrly quiet but it’s lovely to walk around. For private accomodation, contact the tourist centre 900 38 54 760 0606;

A BIRDWATHER’S JOY. Lonely Planet forum users also rate Lonjsko Polje nature park, 32 miles southeast of Zagreb. Birdwatchers  should like this 195sq-mile stretch of swampland, rich in birdlife. The heritage village of Krapje has traditional wooden houses and fishing and hunting areas. Also in the area is Jasenovac, the site of a World War II concentration camp jasenovac Memorial Museum recalls the horrors of war 900 38 54 467 2080; pp-lonjsko –

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