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  • Overview

    The capital of Croatia, Zagreb is the country's economic centre and gateway to Western Europe. The picturesque city is situated on the slopes of Medvednica Mountain, along the banks of the Sava River in the north of Croatia.

    The core of Zagreb consists of Gornji Grad (Upper Town) and Donji Grad (Lower Town). Gradec and Kaptol form the most distinct areas of the well-preserved medieval city, while the residential area covers the southern slopes of the Medvednica Mountains.

    Besides being a commercial hub, Zagreb is a popular tourist hotspot and an established international conference destination. Not only does it have a history dating back nearly a thousand years, but it also enjoys the efficient infrastructure expected from a modern European capital. But tourist attractions in Zagreb are largely from the past, ranging from the Palaeolithic Veternica Cave through to the vestiges of Roman culture and a fascinating medieval old town.

    Alongside the city's abundant monuments, museums and galleries, visitors will also find that Zagreb has its fair share of high-end shops, top-quality restaurants, and modern sport and recreation facilities.

    An extensive transport infrastructure allows travellers to get around with ease. The city is also well situated as a springboard for exploring the picturesque medieval towns of northern Croatia, such as Samobor, Vrbovec and Karlovac. There are plenty of great hiking opportunities on nearby Medvednica Mountain, which casts its 3,280-foot (1,000m) shadow over Zagreb.

    Andautonia Archaeological Park

    Close to Zagreb are the ruins of an excavated ancient Roman town named Andautonia. It was a prominent administrative, economic, cultural and religious centre between the 1st and 4th centuries. At the Andautonia Archaeological Park, visitors can view a 26,910-square-foot (2,500 sq m) area of the Roman settlement, including parts of the main street, city baths and colonnades. There is a museum at the site exhibiting artefacts from the Greek and Roman periods, while tourists can also visit the nearby village of Scitarjevo to get a glimpse into rural life and see some traditional wooden housing.

    Address: Archaeological Museum: 19 Nikola Subic Zrinski Square
    Website: www.amz.hr
    Andautonia Andautonia Fraxinus
    Croatian History Museum

    The building that houses Croatia's history is itself a part of that history. Situated in the historical town centre, is the beautiful Baroque palace, Vojkovic-Orsic-Rauch, built at the end of the 18th century and formerly the private residence of three successive baronial families. In the late 1930s, the palace became the residence of Zagreb's mayors, before being designated as a repository for the historical relics of the city. It currently houses more than 140,000 antiquities in various collections, from stone monuments, military uniforms and fine art, to religious artefacts, venerated icons and noble heraldry. The exhibitions in this museum are temporary, meaning it's possible to visit the museum many times and always see new things.

    Address: Matoševa 9
    Website: www.hismus.hr/en
    Croatian History Museum Croatian History Museum Andrew Nash
    Croatian National Theatre

    The building housing the Croatian National Theatre (or HNK Zagreb) is as much a national treasure as the world-class theatre, opera, music and ballet productions that take place on its stage. Construction began on the theatre building in 1894, with Croatian artist Vlaho Bukovac painting the ceremonial curtain while Viennese artist Alexander Goltz decorated the ceiling of the auditorium. At the entrance to the theatre, visitors can see the large ornate fountain called 'The Well of Life', designed by Croatian artist Ivan Meštrovic in 1905. The Croatian National Theatre has hosted famous artists and performers from all over the world, and culture enthusiasts shouldn't miss a show.

    Address: Trg Marsala Tita 15
    Website: www.hnk.hr/en
    Croatian National Theatre Croatian National Theatre Diego Delso
    Town Squares

    Praska Street, in the lower part of old Zagreb, leads on to a sequence of attractive park squares, each flaunting their own attractions and worth a walking tour. Zrinski Square features a music pavilion dating from 1895 and fountains, with the Archaeological Museum at No.17.

    This square also features a row of busts of distinguished Croatians and the palace of the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences, which houses the Strossmayer Gallery. On Strossmayer Square is a monument to Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer, founder of the academy, as well as several other historic buildings.

    Tomislav Square features the Art Pavilion, fronted by a monument to Croatian Renaissance painter Andrija Medulic, while King Tomislav rises on horseback. Starcevic Square is home to the City Library and Hotel Esplanade, and gives access to the Botanical Gardens and Frane Bulic Monument.

    In Marulic Square, the University Library stands as a magnificent example of Art Nouveau architecture. Mimara Museum is on Roosevelt Square, and the Baroque Revival Croatian National Theatre stands on Republic Square.

    Jelacicplac Square Jelacicplac Square Miljenko Hegedic

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    The climate varies quite substantially between the Croatian coastal regions and the interior. The climate of Zagreb is continental, with four separate seasons. Summers (June to August) are hot and dry, and winters (November to February) are cold.

    The average temperature in winter is 34°F (1°C) and the average temperature in summer is 70°F (21°C), although it can get much hotter. In fact, the interior can feel much hotter than the coast due to the lack of cool sea breezes. The end of May, particularly, gets very warm, with temperatures rising to 86ºF (30°C) and up. Snowfall is common in the winter months, from December to March, and rain and fog are common in autumn (September to November).

    The most popular time to visit Zagreb is in the peak summer months, when tourists are flocking to Croatia for the sun and sea on the coast. Possibly the best time to visit the city, however, is in spring (March to April) when the weather is slightly less hot and the city is less crowded and usually less expensive.

    Franjo Tuđman Airport Zagreb
    Location: The airport is situated 10 miles (16km) southeast of Zagreb.
    Time: Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 from last Sunday in March to end October).
    Getting to the city: A convenient bus shuttle operates between the airport and the Central Bus Station in Zagreb, running from about 7am until 10.30pm and scheduled to meet arriving flights. The journey takes roughly 30-45 minutes.
    Car Rental: Car rental agencies at the airport include Hertz, Dollar Thrifty and Europcar, among others.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available outside the terminal.
    Facilities: The airport has a bank, post office, tourist information kiosk, 24-hour left luggage services, business lounge, conference facilities, and shops selling souvenirs and luxury products (including duty-free). There is also a restaurant and a few cafes.
    Parking Parking for visitors costs HRK 27 for one hour, up to a daily maximum of HRK 150.
    Pula Airport
    Location: The airport is located four miles (about 6km) northeast of the city of Pula.
    Time: Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 from last Saturday in March to end October).
    Getting to the city: A bus service connects the airport to the station in Pula.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies include Avis, Hertz, Budget, Sixt, and Alamo.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available outside the arrivals area.
    Facilities: Facilities include ATMs, bureaux de change, restaurants and cafés, internet access, a nursery, and duty-free shopping.
    Parking Short- and long-term public parking available.

    Walking is a good option for getting around the city as Zagreb is compact with all the main sights in close proximity to the major hotels. Those who need to travel further afield can make use of the highly efficient tram system, which has frequent services throughout the city connecting bus and train stations and the main square, Trg Bana Josipa Jelacica. Four tram routes also operate throughout the night with each ticket providing 90 minutes of travel.

    Public buses offer another viable transport alternative and are useful for airport runs. There are plenty of taxis in Zagreb too, particularly close to major hotels and the airport. Fares are negotiable and it's always best to agree on a price before setting off if the taxi is not metered. Many tourists opt to rent cars as it offers them greater freedom when it comes to exploring the outlying areas. The city is fairly easy to negotiate by car and Croatia's roads are well maintained.

    While a stroll along the aged cobbled streets is an experience in itself, most of Zagreb's attractions are found in the centre of its old town. One of the most prominent attractions in Zagreb is the Croatian History Museum, housed in an 18th-century Baroque palace called Vojkovic-Orsic-Rauch.

    There is a sequence of town squares at the end of Praska Street in the old town, with each boasting its own unique character and fascinating past. For those intrigued by ancient history, the nearby Roman town of Andautonia is well worth a visit. For a walk through centuries of Zagreb's proud but turbulent history, travellers should visit the Mirogoj Cemetery where many prominent Croatians of all faiths are buried.

    Another popular attraction is the quirky Museum of Broken Relationships, which displays mementos from failed relationships from all over the world. Each item is displayed with a story, some funny, some sad, some touching. It certainly is not a typical museum experience but people flock to see these ordinary objects and read the personal anecdotes that make them significant.

    For a break from the bustle of the city, adventurers can go hiking or biking on Medvednica Mountain. Its great looming silhouette promises beautiful scenery and well-maintained trails, affording impressive views of the city below from several high vantage points.

    Trakoscan Castle

    Trakoscan is a legendary 13th-century Gothic castle that was home to various influential families for centuries before finally falling into disrepair in the second half of the 18th century. It now survives as a museum of life in a medieval castle, with visitors exploring three floors, a dungeon and the surrounding parklands. Guests can wander freely through stone corridors, up and down winding staircases and into the various rooms adorned by original furniture and weaponry. It is also a great attraction for children as the castle, lake and forest transport the little ones to a fairytale world.

    Trakoscan Castle Trakoscan Castle Maxman
    Plitvice Lakes National Park

    The Plitvice Lakes have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the national park enclosing them is the oldest in Southeast Europe. Thousands flock every year to the unbelievable beauty of these 16 green and turquoise lakes, linked by waterfalls and surrounded by forest. Wooden walkways meander around and across the water, formed by mineral deposits that create terraces within the constantly changing limestone landscape. Visitors can cover the 11 miles (18km) of walkways on foot, but buses and ferries do service certain sections. The surrounding forests boast an extremely diverse variety of flora and fauna.

    Plitvice Lakes National Park Plitvice Lakes National Park Judith Duk
    Rijeka

    The commercial capital of the idyllic Adriatic Coast is the cultural city and holiday destination of Rijeka, with its international harbour lending it a cosmopolitan flair. Rijeka is not only the gateway to the beautiful coastal island resorts, but a tourist's delight in itself, with its charming historic buildings and street cafes. It hosts an annual carnival with lively music and dancing, providing a glimpse into ancient Slavic folklore and mythology. Revellers don masks to scare away evil forces and there are numerous events, concerts and parades. There's also the remarkable Trsat Castle, which is reached by some formidable stone steps but well worth the climb.

    Rijeka Rijeka Roberta F.
    Krk Island

    The largest island in the Croation Archipelago, Krk is a haven of sparkling beaches and lovely holiday towns. It enjoys a laid-back Mediterranean atmosphere, with Krk Town being the main tourist hub with its many restaurants, shops and bars found in the Old Town area. Nicknamed the 'Golden Island', getting to Krk from the mainland is made easy by an imposing 4,500 foot (1,4km) bridge.

    The best beaches are found in Baska, with more than 30 of them connected by a promenade, while other beach towns on Krk include Njivice and the sandy coastline of Klimno Bay. Vrbnik is home to vineyards that produce some of the best white wines in Croatia, while the folk festival in Dobrinj draws crowds from all over.

    Krk Island is popular for weekend excursions from the mainland. Visitors can easily spend a week exploring the winding streets and hidden corners of the island. A haven for watersports, bird watching and hiking, there is lots to see and do on Krk for just about anyone.

    Krk Krk Berthold Werner
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