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Zagreb 80s Museum Feat

Zagreb 80s Museum – Visit Croatia Review

If you’re anything like Visit Croatia, you have both a strong connection to the city of Zagreb…and are absolutely in love with the decade that is the 1980s. In which case, what could be a better museum for you to visit practically anywhere in the world than the Zagreb 80s Museum!

(No? Just me then?)

Well, even if neither of the above apply to you, read on…for this is certainly one of the most fun museums to visit in Zagreb!

Zagreb 80s Museum Sign

Visiting the Zagreb 80s Museum

If truth be told, this was definitely on my list of things to see in Croatia’s capital…but I actually stumbled across it during a walk in the Upper Town one November afternoon, having finally escaped the confines of the warm indoors after a lengthy and heavy rainstorm. Admiring the statue of St George as I have done a number of times before, I turned around…to be greeted by a bright and cheery sign with everything (well, not exactly everything) that is dear to me.

Climbing up the steps to what is basically a first floor apartment, you enter the museum’s small lobby area in what would ordinarily be a hallway. But this is a hallway with a difference, for it features half a yellow Fico car (a Zastava 750) practically emerging out of one wall. And you can climb inside for photos!

Zagreb 80s Museum Fico Car
The Fico car in the lobby…climb inside!
80s Ski Gear
80s ski gear

There are several distinct rooms – apart from the hallway/museum lobby, there’s an open plan living room/kitchen with sofas, entertainment and lifestyle items (telephone, record player, TV) and even one of those giant wardrobe/sideboard items that seemed to be very popular in…well…everyone’s home in Yugoslavia in the 1980s. Beyond that there’s another hallway-slash-office-slash-tribute-to-Zagi (remember him??!); a bedroom and then a kind of games room with the ubiquitous 80s games consoles.

Zagreb 80s Museum Reception
Does this look like a living room that you remember??
80s Wardrobe
Open it up to discover the fun inside…including 80s clothes to dress up in!
80s Telephone
Yup, the standard ‘telephone corner’ with the standard 80s telephone
80s Dining Room

But what’s there to do?

The premise of this museum is that it is fully interactive and offers you an immersive experience of what living in Yugoslavia in the 1980s was like. That means nothing is off limits – you can touch everything in the museum, sit in the chairs, open up the drawers, play around with things like the games consoles. You can even dress up in 80s gear as one of the wardrobes is filled with 80s clothes!

There’s plenty of fun to be had touching and feeling the exhibits, opening up cupboards to see what’s inside. Try sitting in the living room and pretending this is your apartment, albeit one 35 years ago.

One area that brought me the most amusement was the small corner dedicated to Zagi, the blue squirrel that was the mascot of the 1987 Univerzijada (the University Olympics) which were held in Zagreb. If you were slightly obsessed by him back in that decade, well, this will be a real treat for you.

Yugoslavian money
Yugoslavian Dinars
Yugoslavian food items
Food packaging from 1980s Yugoslavia
Zagi
A corner dedicated to my beloved Zagi

Zagreb 80s Museum – Verdict

We (of course!) absolutely loved this museum and really enjoyed our visit – so it’s no surprise that we’d really recommend this place.

However, we would say that the Zagreb 80s Museum is probably for those that are either really in to the 1980s (or don’t mind it for a few hours!) and/or have some kind of nostalgia about Yugoslavia or another Eastern European country during that decade. (Whether you lived through that time, had family there or visited in some way.)

But it is actually even good for kids! Given that it’s a fully interactive museum, they’ll also have fun looking at the ‘funny’ exhibits and there’s plenty of kid-friendly things that will catch their interest. (Even if this sets the scene of a time ages before they were born.) And they’ll just love sitting in the yellow car and pretending to drive.

The Zagreb 80s Museum is also located just a short distance from many other sights in the Upper Town, so can easily be combined with a tour of this part of the city – it’s a nice way to change up the scene from walking around looking at many of the outdoor sights.

There are also some rather fun (and some…ahem…quite naughty) trinkets to take home from the little shop. I went home with a Tesla (a Yugoslavian brand) lightbulb!

Zagreb 80s Museum - 80s games consoles
The games console corner

More info

Tickets for the museum cost 40 Kunas for adults, 30 Kunas for concessions (students and 65+) and 25 Kunas for kids aged 3 to 13.

Full details on Zagreb 80s Museum can be found on the official website.

Zagreb for Kids - Zagreb Zoo Sign

Zagreb Zoo – Visit Croatia Review

Zagreb Zoo is located in the very pleasant and tranquil Maksimir Park, in the east of the city of Zagreb. The Park and Zoo are just a short tram ride away from the main part of the city, and so very easy to reach no matter where you’re staying.

Combining a day out in this pretty park with a few hours in the Zoo is a great way to spend an afternoon in Zagreb, particularly if you have kids in tow! The Zoo is also astonishingly cheap compared to zoos in other European cities and is well run and maintained, with an interesting selection of animals.

Zagreb Zoo Sign

Covering an area of 17 acres, the zoo completed the first stage of a modernisation program in 2016. Zagreb Zoo is a member of the European and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums and a participant in the European Endangered Species Programme.

Getting to Zagreb Zoo

Trams 11 or 12 operate from the main square, Trg ban Jelacic, to the road just outside Maksimir Park. Trams 4 and 7 from elsewhere in the city and also stop near the park.

Entry

Tickets for the Zoo cost just 30 Kunas for adults, and 10 Kunas for children.

The Zoo is open 365 days of the year so, weather permitting, you can enjoy it any time of year! Do note that the Zoo has different opening hours at different times of the year – obviously, longer in spring/summer and shorter autumn/winter. For example, the zoo closes at 4pm November to January inclusive, whilst it stays open until 8pm May to August. The ticket office closes about a hour before the zoo does, so make sure you make it in time to buy a ticket.

Large scale map at Zagreb Zoo
A map of the grounds, soon after entry. We are visitor number 79 that day!

What to See and Do in Zagreb Zoo

You can explore and visit the animals in the Zoo taking a largely circular route past the many exhibits. Soon after you enter you’ll walk over a bridge to get to the main part of the zoo, passing by flamingos, storks and a funny collection of capybaras.

Zagreb Zoo - lynx
Can you spot the lynx? (in the middle of the picture, to the left)

On to the main part and there’s an insectarium and lemur island and an often snoozing but beautiful lynx. The Australian section – and its wallabies – follows before you make your way over to the European brown bear enclosure.

Zebras and tapirs follow, then pygmy hippos and some very interesting exhibits in the Twilight Zone (nocturnal animals) and Tropical House buildings, including assorted reptiles and crocodiles!

Zagreb Zoo - Zebras
Zebras in a nice open enclosure
Crocodiles in Zagreb Zoo
Crocodiles in the Tropical House

The Monkey Pavillion and its chimpanzees brings you to the zoo’s restaurant, right next to the playful sea lions. Swing by the wolves before heading into the petting zoo where you can indeed stroke some of the animals such as goats.

Next you’ll see bison and camels and a large enclosed aviary before coming to probably the premier exhibit – the gorgeous lions. Nearby is also a very cute and playful red panda that is definitely worth watching for a bit!

Zagreb Zoo - Lions
The lion enclosure
Lion and lioness in Zagreb Zoo

Playgrounds

As you wind your way around, you’ll also encounter a decent number of children’s play areas which – depending on the age of your child – may delight them more than the animals!

Talks and Animals Feedings

Some days of the weeks see talks and public animal feedings take place for a number of animals in the zoo. You can see the timetable of this here, or check when entering the zoo.

Historical sights in Zagreb Zoo

The Zoo first opened in 1925 so there are a number of older structures dotted about – including a small tower (which you can climb up) just after the main entrance.

Eating in Zagreb Zoo

There is a restaurant on site called “Kod morskog lava” (which means “By the sea lion”…for the restaurant is indeed next to the sea lion enclosure. The restaurant serves traditional continental Croatian fare – think soups, Schnitzel-type meats with accompanying veg side dishes and tasty desserts.

There is also a very reasonably priced kids menu; for about 30-40 Kunas there are different ‘packages’ which contain a main, a side (usually chips) and a drink. (The more expensive ones also include a dessert.)

There are also numerous snack carts dotted around Zagreb Zoo from which you can grab a snack (ice cream, no doubt, for the kids!) or a drink.

Kod morskog lava restaurant
The sea lion enclosure (they’re in there, somewhere!) next to Kod morskog lava restaurant

Shopping

There is a cute little gift shop located not too far from the entrance that has a nice range of animal-themed gifts – soft toys, books, jewellery and other assorted knick knacks. Any kids in your group will probably find it hard to resist the soft toys…

Our verdict

Zagreb Zoo is definitely a wonderful way to spend a few hours in this city, whether you’re an animal lover or if you’re visiting with kids. The Zoo isn’t particularly big, but that’s perhaps best as some larger zoos can be quite exhausting to visit or are a full day experience. There are are also very modern facilities and amenities (toilets!) that add to the whole experience.

All the exhibits in the zoo are very interesting, and most of the animals seem well kept indeed – it certainly looks like a considerable amount of money has been invested in the zoo, and the recent modernisation programme has really helped.

I did think the sea lions’ enclosure was a little on the small side, however, and unfortunately it looked like the chimpanzees had learnt to sit, arms outstretched, begging for food from passers-by – I did hope that the ‘no feeding’ signs could be enforced a bit better.

But, all in all, I’d definitely recommend visiting Zagreb Zoo!

More information

Full details on visiting the zoo can be found on the official website.

Zagreb by scooter - Bikini Scooters

A new way to discover Zagreb – by scooter!

Croatia’s lovely capital city Zagreb has lots going for it – plenty of sights (both old and modern), galleries, museums, shopping, bars and cafes, restaurants, events and much more. It’s an excellent choice for a weekend city break, or as a starting (or end) point for a longer holiday in Croatia. The city also has plenty of ways of exploring it, but now here comes something new – the opportunity to explore Zagreb by scooter!

Launched in May 2019, Bikini Scooters is an agency that offers both interactive guided tours of the capital on electric scooters and well as e-scooter rental. A noise-free and eco-friendly way of seeing Zagreb – that also covers a lot of ground with hardly any exertion…and is of course lots of fun!

Zagreb by scooter - Bikini Scooters
Visitors to Zagreb enjoying a Bikini Scooters tour

Since they started offering their tours, plenty of people have enjoyed seeing Zagreb by scooter with Bikini Scooters – families with children, exchange students, travellers, couples on holiday, professionals in town on business, seniors wanting a new kind of sightseeing experience and many more!

Guided Tours – Zagreb by Scooter

Bikini Scooters offer 90 minute guided tours of Zagreb by scooter, which are available in English or Spanish. Their tours cover most of Zagreb’s main sights, including Kaptol and the Cathedral, Ban Jelacic Square, the Green Horseshoe of Zagreb/Lenuci’s Horseshoe (the parks of downtown Zagreb), the Croatian National Theatre, and the Upper Town. All tours are conducted by a licensed guide.

Zagreb by scooter - Bikini Scooters
Visiting Zagreb’s Cathedral by scooter!

Three tours show off Zagreb’s sights – the Start Your Day Tour; the Afternoon Tour; or the Zagreb by Night Tour. The Zagreb by Night Tour is an excellent choice in summer when the cooler evenings offer some relief from the hot days. Not only this, but the Zagreb by Night Tour has the added bonus of a complimentary drink in Tkalciceva Street. Here your guide will also be able to point out the best nightspots, bars and restaurants!

Bikini Tours also offer private tours which can be customised to visitors’ tastes and interests.

Riding E-Scooters in Zagreb

For anyone nervous about riding an e-scooter, don’t be! The scooters are easy and fun to ride, don’t require any previous experience and can be mastered in just minutes.

Children aged 12 years and older can ride a scooter by themselves. Younger children can ride on a scooter with an adult.

All scooter riders are provided with helmets.

Scooters are permitted to be ridden on pavements and in pedestrian areas in Zagreb.

Zagreb by scooter - Bikini Scooters
A Zagreb by Night Tour in front of the Music Academy

About Bikini Scooters

Bikini Scooters was formed by a team of like-minded professionals from diverse backgrounds. They all like to show off Zagreb to visitors in an enthusiastic and exciting way!

The company are also planning lots more exciting tours of Zagreb, including covering the New Zagreb (Novi Zagreb) area, sports themed tours, and showing off green areas such as Maksimir Park, and around places such as Lake Bundek and Lake Jarun. Watch their website for news!

More info

You can find all details about the tours Bikini Scooters run on their website. Do also check them out on Facebook and Instagram as well!

Bikini Scooters
bikiniscooters.hr/tours/

Love Stories Museum in Dubrovnik

Love Stories Museum in Dubrovnik – the world’s first museum dedicated to love and romance

The wonderful city of Dubrovnik received a brand new museum earlier this month, and it’s the first museum in the world dedicated to the charming subjects of love and romance – the Love Stories Museum.

Love Stories Museum in Dubrovnik

Romance and Love in the Love Stories Museum

The Love Stories Museum collects and displays unique personal love stories and items of great sentimental value from around the world. You’ll see items such as a coffee mug from Sweden that got together an American woman and a man from France, and experience stories such as the emotional tale of a couple going through a divorce that decided to give their marriage one last try.

And you, the visitor, can also help expand the collection! You can donate your own personal love story which could end up part of the global love stories collection.

Love Stories Museum in Dubrovnik

Love Stories Museum in Dubrovnik

Love Stories Museum in Dubrovnik

The Love Stories Museum also focuses on local historical and mythical love stories from old Dubrovnik, so there’s a chance to learn more about the city in this respect. And there’s also a display dedicated to romantic plots from films and TV programmes that have been filmed in Dubrovnik in recent times – well known shows and cinematic features such as Game of Thrones, Robin Hood and Star Wars. The Museum also features a music section, introducing visitors to the people that have inspired some of the greatest love songs of all time.

Love Stories Museum in Dubrovnik

Leave your mark on the Love Wall!

Once you’ve rejoiced in all the romantic stories the museum has to offer, leave your mark on the Love Wall. Sign it, doodle a picture or pin a couple selfie to it – it’s up to you to help create ‘the most romantic wall in the world’!

Love Stories Museum in Dubrovnik

Location and Tickets

The Love Stories Museum is located right by Pile Gate, just outside the Old Town. You can see a map of its location here.

Tickets cost 50 Kunas for adults and 35 Kunas for children (aged 10 – 18). Children aged 9 and below go free.

Love Stories Museum
Od Tabakarije 2, Dubrovnik
lovestoriesmuseum.com

Zagreb 2009 - St Mark's Church

Zagreb Travelogue 2009

Having been in Novi Sad, Serbia for the previous four days for the 2009 Exit Festival, we’re now really on “day 5” of our full trip. But day 5 is actually the beginning of the second leg of our travels and our first day in Croatia – which brings much excitement! Here’s our Zagreb travelogue telling what we did.

From Novi Sad to Zagreb

Our story begins as we depart Novi Sad bus station promptly with the 9.30am Suboticatrans bus headed for Zagreb. It’s clear that our bus contains a number of fellow Exit Festival-ers, some of whom appear to be Croats heading home whilst others are travellers going on to Croatia for an extra bit of holiday – like ourselves.

We pay a mere 60 Dinars – about 60p – for each piece of luggage we have to store in the bus’s hold. The bus station in Novi Sad has a little gate through which only travellers can pass upon showing a ticket – and there’s nothing beyond here except buses, so make sure you get your bottles of water and snacks and so on before you pass through. Oh, and make sure you change your dinars! (Aside from keeping a bit to pay for luggage, of course.) There’s an exchange place right there in the bus station; this will probably be the last place you can change back Serbian Dinars that you will see…possibly ever! (They are not exchangeable in other local countries or your home country.)

Munching on our pre-bought breakfast (our usual Serbian “food surprise”: croissant with frankfurter inside), there’s not an awful lot to see as we head through Serbia towards the border. Once we get there, we pass through the border with ease this time, though have to disembark to go to a Croatian immigration office to show our passports.

It is only my friend who is travelling on a Malaysian passport that has a tiny bit of bother as they ask her to step aside for a moment whilst they a closer look at her passport. Slight panic sets in as everyone else on the bus reboards without problems, and she’s left behind in the office! Our eventual theory is that they haven’t seen too many Malaysian passports pass through this particular checkpoint, and they may also think she requires a visa (which she doesn’t – she triple-checked before she headed out to Eastern Europe). All the border patrol guards seem pretty relaxed and relatively friendly (as friendly as border guards can ever be – hey, at least they’re smiling); she isn’t asked to wait for long – barely a few minutes – and then rejoins us on the coach. Phew!

Just past the border, we stop off at a rather fancy looking INA petrol station (the motorways in Croatia seem impressively new as do, rather surprisingly, a lot of the petrol stations). Our stop there reveals usual rip off petrol station prices, but who can ever resist buying something at these places? “Slani stapici” (pretzel sticks) and “Flips kikiriki” (think peanut flavoured Cheetos) it is!

The long stretch of motorway towards Zagreb doesn’t reveal all that much in terms of countryside, though it is rather green and beautiful in its own way, with lots of fields of various crops on either side of the road. As we head into Zagreb just after 3pm (a city of which a large portion is made up of “suburbs” and “outskirts”, it’s a while after we enter the city that we actually reach the bus station itself), I can’t help thinking how pretty it all looks. It may be the bright sunshine beaming down, but Zagreb on that particularly day certainly looks like a bustling and cosmopolitan city.

We take a taxi (60 Kunas – approx. £7 – including baggage; I guess we’re not in Novi Sad anymore, Toto) to our accommodation. After a brief rest, long enough to indulge in the very English pursuit of cups of tea, we head out on a leisurely walk to the city centre – and you can’t get more central than Ban Jelacic Square (Trg bana Jelacica). It’s at this point I discover that English speakers have problems pronouncing “trg”; some even refuse to believe it’s an actual word. (“It has no vowels! It can’t be a word!”)

Zagreb Travel Guide 2009 - Trg bana Jelacica
Trg bana Jelacica

We stop off for a beer at one of the square’s cafes – a holiday requisite of course, what else does one do on vacation but stop off at cafes every hour? After a nice cold Karlovacko, we decide to head immediately to dinner and pick nearby Kerempuh restaurant, which is just by Dolac market (which has long since closed for the day).

There, we get served by a friendly, young English-speaking waiter, who’s clearly served many a foreign tourist in his time. The boys in our group get steak with mushroom sauce; also on order was veal cutlet stuffed with cheese, and a special kind of Croatian dish (usually found in Istria): pljukanci (a type of pasta) in a truffle sauce. We sample the first of one of our many 1 litre bottles of house wine for week – at 60 Kunas (about £7) it isn’t half bad and goes down pretty easily!

Zagreb Travel Guide 2009 - Pljukanci
Pljukanci

Exhausted after our travels of the day, and happily full from dinner, we had back to our accommodation and settle in for the delights of Croatian television. An episode of 24 (who doesn’t love to watch a bit of torture, Jack Bauer-style) and Seven is an odd mix, but a TV night in with friends is always satisfying.

Zagreb Travelogue 2009 – Day 2

All of that topsy-turvy getting up late + staying out late + long bus journeys of the previous few days makes for some pretty tired travellers. Not forgetting that we’re on holiday…so, a nice lie in followed by some pastries and cups of tea is the order of play for day two in Croatia and Zagreb.

Our first task is to head off to the bus station to buy our tickets for the next day’s bus to Trogir, but it’s luckily an easy walk to the station from where we’re staying. We head upstairs in the station to buy our tickets; the helpful lady behind the desk explained our various bus options and waits while we make our decision – the 8.30am bus it is, which will get us to Trogir just after 2pm.

So, what to do next? Having got our hands on a free tourist guide to Zagreb called “Zagreb City Walks” (pick it up at the tourist office!) we decide to create our own special walk – the second half of the Lower Town walk, mixed in with most of the Upper Town walk. The central part of the city is very well suited for walking, and there’s plenty to see in such a small area so it’s the best way of sightseeing. And, of course, it provides the perfect opportunity to stop off at one of the many cafes everywhere for some refreshments.

Heading down Branimira street towards the train station (Glavni Kolodvor), it’s time to get our cameras ready for some snapping. It’s another beautiful day in Zagreb, very warm and a lovely blue sky overhead, which makes for some perfect photo taking conditions. As we head up beside the collection of three parks that make up Zrinjevac, we marvel at the architecture of the surrounding buildings, though sadly the Art Pavilion is buried deep under scaffolding.

We never seem to be more than a few hours – or steps – away from a delicious meal so we decide to stop off at Boban (owned by Croatian football star Zvonimir Boban) for lunch – funnily enough, following exact instructions given to us by the Lonely Planet Eastern Europe guide who recommend people stop there for lunch on “day 2 in Zagreb”.

The cosy basement restaurant – decorated rather traditionally – is well known for its pasta, and rightly so, featuring a number of unusual dishes I’ve not come across elsewhere. We opt for tagliatelle, gnocchi, lasagna and black gnocchi in salmon sauce, which turns out to be giant, almost parcel-like bits of pasta – most delicious!

Refreshed, we decide to start our walk of the Upper Town walk and head towards Zagreb cathedral. We meander around the sights in the area, including Dolac market, Kamenita vrata and Tkalciceva ulica which is lined with numerous cafes on either side, filled with locals enjoying themselves in the afternoon sun. Our helpful “Zagreb City Walks” guide points out that a brook once flowed where the street now lies – who knew?

We wander towards St Mark’s Square to see the Croatian Parliament – Sabor – and the beautiful tiled roof of St Mark’s Church, certainly one of Croatia’s most iconic images. We then head towards the funicular railway just below Lotrscak Tower, deciding against taking the train down, instead taking the adjoining steps which place us in the middle of Ilica.

Zagreb Travelogue 2009 - St Mark's Church
St Mark’s Church

An important part of the day next – stocking up on provisions for the next day’s bus trip! Heading back to our accommodation, we stop off at Konzum on route for various snacks, including items to make kulen (our new favourite type of salami) and cheese sandwiches.

Heading out rather late for dinner, we want to try Baltazar restaurant which is opposite the cathedral. Arriving there too late (just before 11pm) we find that service has, unsurprisingly, finished for the day. Instead we make the short walk to Skalinska street which has a number of small restaurants open late serving standard fare – pizza, pasta, that type of thing. A pizza washed down with some Karlovacko pivo (beer) really hits the spot!