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Flights to Croatia

New flights to Croatia for 2015!

Happy New Year to all! The start of a new year – and a bout of the winter blues – normally always means the start of summer holiday planning. So what better time to look more closely at new flights to Croatia for 2015?

One of the most updated sections of the Visit Croatia site is our Flights to Croatia from the UK and Ireland page, which we regularly add to all the time as new routes and schedules get announced. We’ve had the page detailing 2015 flights up since around mid-summer 2014 (as flights always seem to get announced super-early!), but let’s finally put together all the information to see what’s new for 2015.

Flights to Croatia

New flights to Croatia for 2015

Although there are now many, many flights to Croatia in summer, there’s plenty of new routes that have been announced for 2015! Even London, which already has flights to every (major) airport in Croatia, gets a few new routes.

For starters, British Airways have introduced a new London Heathrow – Split route. They will be flying twice a week from 3rd May to 20th September.

Easyjet are to introduce no fewer than four new routes to Split for 2015 – from London Luton, Manchester, Newcastle and Belfast airports. These routes will all start in June, operating through until late September/early October. They also have another new route for 2015 – London Gatwick to Pula.

Jet2.com have introduced two new routes – East Midlands to Pula and Edinburgh to Split, with each being operated on Sundays. As with all their flights to Croatia, these will fly from mid-May to the end of September.

Thomsonfly  have introduced new routes to Dubrovnik from Bristol, Newcastle and Glasgow, plus a new route from Manchester to Split. All the Dubrovnik routes will fly on Thursdays, and will operate from 7th May to 22nd October. Manchester to Split will fly on Fridays from 1st May to 16th October.

The airline are also expected to start a service from Bristol to Pula, although we are currently awaiting further details of this.

Cancelled routes for 2015

Unfortunately, there are a few routes that have been scrapped for this year. Easyjet no longer fly to Zagreb, although luckily this airport is still served daily from London by both British Airways and Croatia Airlines.

Monarch no longer fly from Birmingham to Split, or from Manchester to Dubrovnik.

Flybe no longer operate their route from Birmingham to Dubrovnik, and now no longer have any flights to Croatia.

Changes in flight schedules

Easyjet‘s flights from London Gatwick to Split start at the same time of year (end of April), although daily services start a little later, in mid-May. However, their daily services to Dubrovnik from the same airport start earlier this year, also in mid-May.

They’ve upped flights to Bristol so there will be at least two flights a week throughout the season – although there’s three flights a week, as last year, during peak season (mid-June to mid-September).

Outside of August, Ryanair will fly to Pula twice a week (they flew three times in June and September 2014) and their five flights a week to Zadar will only operate in August.

Thomsonfly have upped the frequency of all existing flights to Dubrovnik (from London Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester) to twice a week.

Jet2.com have also upped the frequency of flights from Manchester to Pula to twice a week.

As you can see, there’s plenty of ways of getting to Croatia from the UK and Ireland this year. Do take a look at our Flights to Croatia from the UK and Ireland section for full details of all flights to the country, including by destination and departure airport.

We hope you enjoy your flight to Croatia in 2015!

Rovinj

Croatia tourism statistics for January to July 2013 are in!

Statistics for the number of visitors travelling to Croatia in the first seven months of 2013 were released today – and despite some doom and gloom and uncertainty for this year’s summer season, they do indeed still show an increase on last year’s figures.

Rovinj

In total 6.6 million tourists – which includes both foreign and domestic – holidayed in Croatia from January to July 2013, which is an increase of 3% on the same period last year. These visitors stayed for a total of 36.5 million nights, which is an increase of 2.5%. Of these numbers, almost six million were foreign visitors to the country (up 4%), who stayed for 33 million nights (up 3.3%).

The month of July alone also saw increases in visitor numbers. 1.1% more tourists visited the Croatian coast and Zagreb (the two main tourist centres in the country!) than in July 2012, 3 million visitors in total. These visitors stayed for a total of 21.3 million nights, which is also an increase of 1.1% on the same month last year. Of these numbers, 2.8m were foreign visitors (an increase of 1.7%) who stayed a total of 19.3 million nights (up 2.5%).

The majority of the Adriatic counties all posted increases in visitor numbers and nights stayed for the month of July, although there were also some falls. Istria, in particular, received 3.2% fewer visitors who stayed for 2.2% less nights. Zadar county was the only one in Dalmatia to record a fall in visitor numbers and nights stayed – of 1.6% and 3.5% respectively – whilst the other Dalmatian counties recorded relatively healthy increases. Split-Dalmatia county saw 6% more tourists who stayed for 5% more nights, whilst Dubrovnik-Neretva county – home, of course, to the wonderful and ever popular Dubrovnik – received 4.4% more visitors and 3.6% more nights. (For the purpose of completeness, we can mention that Sibenik-Knin county got 3.8% more visitors who stayed for 4.7% more nights.)

It was away from the coast, in Zagreb, that the largest increases in visitor numbers and nights stayed was recorded. 14.6% more visitors came to Zagreb in July 2013 than in the same month last year, staying for 18.6% more nights.

Source: Jutarnji

Rijeka

Travel question: From Zagreb Airport to Rijeka

Good day, we are planning a trip to Croatia & we need to travel from Zagreb to Rijeka to take our cruise. We do not know how to reserve our bus or train & if we need to go to downtown Zagreb or if we could take the bus or the train from the airport. Thanks.

Clock Tower in Rijeka

You are, in fact, in luck. In almost all cases, you’d have to travel to downtown Zagreb to make your way by bus or train to other places in Croatia.

However, it just so happens that there’s a direct bus from Zagreb Airport to Rijeka. This bus departs Zagreb Airport every day at 3.30pm – you can find out a few more details on the Pleso Prijevoz website. You cannot reserve tickets for this bus in advance, and you merely buy them from the driver.

If this bus time isn’t suitable for you, then you would have to travel to downtown Zagreb in order to reach Rijeka. There are transfer buses by the same company (timetable here) and this takes you to the main bus station in Zagreb. Again, buy your tickets for this bus from the driver.

It is better (roughly same price, but definitely faster!) to travel by bus from Zagreb to Rijeka. You can look up timetables on the Zagreb Bus Terminal website. – it won’t yet let you look up times for October, but just look up a date that’s the same day of the week that you wish to travel on. (And then perhaps look it up again nearer the time of your travel.) Almost all – if not all – of these buses operate year-round; journey time is about 2.5-3 hours, depending on which bus you take.

It’s not really possible to buy tickets in advance for bus journeys in Croatia, other than in person by the bus station or sometimes by phone. However, *some* bus companies are starting to offer online booking – Autotrans , one of the main companies in Croatia and who are based in Rijeka – have just started this. They operate a number of the Zagreb – Rijeka services. However, you won’t yet be able to buy tickets for October – again, check back closer to the time of your travels.

In all honesty, especially as you’re travelling out of season, it will be fine for you to simply turn up at Zagreb Bus Terminal and buy tickets for your bus journey to Rijeka there and then!

Zagreb Cathedral

Reader’s email: Experiences on visiting Croatia in December!

A few months ago, we were very happy to receive a lovely follow-up email from a traveller to Croatia (who we assisted in their travel plans via email), which told of their happy experiences whilst enjoying a summer holiday in the country.

Very recently, we were happy to receive another such email from a traveller (that we also assisted, pre-trip, via email) from Latin America who visited a number of towns and cities in Croatia. His comments are well worth reading as he provides a number of very useful tips on the places he visited, whilst it’s also interesting to note his experiences as he visited Croatia in December – and as Croatia is often considered a summer-only destination, it’s great to see an enjoyable visit during this particular month.

Zagreb Cathedral, Croatia

Zagreb’s Cathedral

So, here’s what our happy traveller had to say:

I’m back from my trip to Croatia and it was great in every sense including the weather. We were able to visit Zagreb and stayed at the Dream Hotel  near the airport on our first and last nights. The hotel is quite new and the furniture is custom made for the limited area of the rooms. The service was more than expected with buffet breakfast (I expected toast and coffee!) including fruit, juices and with eggs made to one’s request. The personnel was very helpful and even prepared breakfast at 5 a.m. before driving us to the airport for free as advertised!
We later visited Vukovar where some of my wife’s relatives live. A new museum of a prehistoric culture is being built. It will be inaugurated in 2013, so there’s an additional tourist attraction besides the war-related things. We visited it and it’s located next to the Danube River with an unobtrusive design on the hill.
From Zagreb we flew to Dubrovnik. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful cities I’ve seen, and I have seen quite a few in Europe and America (the continent). We stayed at the Excelsior because of the location on the beach and within walking distance to the Old Town. I followed your advice and drove the airport bus to Pile Gate and then took a taxi saving some kunas. This was offset by the taxi #91 back to the airport gave us some extra turns as what was supposed to cost 30-35K ended up being 45K with little traffic… The hotel is a 5* and the buffet breakfast has an extensive variety as expected. We paid for a room with seaview which was worth it. As you indicated, we didn’t need a tour guide and just wondered around with a map. Since this is the low season, it was great not to have too many tourists around. The food we had at a Konoba to the right of St. Blaise Church was excellent even if the waitress was not too happy doing her job. Walking on the walls was one of the highlights as it gives a different perspective of the town. Even though we stayed only 1 day, we were able to wonder around all of the Old Town and took many pictures. 🙂
From Dubrovnik we flew to Split (via Zagreb). We stayed at the Palace Judita per your recommendation and were fascinated with the hotel and it’s service. It was worth the looong walk with luggage from the bus station. After Dubrovnik, Split doesn’t seem as impressive or beautiful, but was worth visiting. It would be better to visit Split first. Too many graffiti on the walls give a bad impression. It’s rather difficult to determine where the Palace starts and ends and the shops outside the walls are not a nice sight although they do offer bargains. A map was more than enough and no tour is needed even on a 1 day rush visit. At the hotel, Marija, the manager, recommended Konoba Varos, and we were delighted with the good service and seafood which was fresh, tasty and well accompanied with a local wine. This is a restaurant we will remember for a long time!
Back in Zagreb, we visited the old part of the city. It’s too bad that new buildings are built along old ones because the city has very nice neo classical and gothic architecture in some places. The area near the cathedral is well kept and the cathedral is worth visiting even considering we had seen some impressive ones in Spain, particularly Toledo’s.
Lastly, the Croatian language lessons on your web page were most helpful. Although my pronunciation was not too accurate, the words helped to communicate (although many people speak English). I enjoyed trying to use the different words and phrases and most people were helpful. [Note: See Croatian for Travellers]
Thanks so much for your help in making this trip such a nice one and without ugly surprises! We’d like to return to Croatia although it’s expensive to fly from Guatemala.

Thanks very much, dear traveller, for taking the time to email us after your trip and for your kind comments as well! We’re very happy to hear you enjoyed visiting Croatia, and thanks for providing us (and other travellers) with some great tips!

If you’d like any assistance in planning a visit to Croatia (this is a free service – and we don’t try and push any kind of company or service on you!), please do email us at webmaster@visit-croatia.co.uk. We’d be more than happy to help – and would love to hear your experiences of visiting Croatia!
Dubrovnik Photos - Old Town Harbour at Sunset

Croatia’s tourist statistics for the first half of 2012

Yesterday saw the unveiling of tourism statistics that show visitor numbers to Croatia – both foreign and domestic – for the first six months of the year. These figures reveal overall visitor numbers, as well as showing statistics for the individual counties in Croatia, and the numbers of tourists arriving from different countries.

So, to tackle the overall statistics first, it was revealed that Croatia received 3,418,306 tourists between January and June this year, which is up 6% on the same period last year. Of this, the vast majority were foreign tourists – 2,922,632 (up 8%) – whilst 495,674 were Croatian(a drop of 4%).

Visitors stayed for 14,456,034 nights in the country (up 5%), which once again were mostly made by foreign tourists (12,898,639 nights – up 7%) rather than domestic (1,557,395 – another fall, this time of 6%).

Croatia's tourist statistics - Dubrovnik

Stunning Dubrovnik

All counties included in these statistics have seen visitor numbers go up – with the exception of Sibenik-Knin county, which has seen a drop by 1% in visitor numbers. Top honours go to Dubrovnik-Neretva county (unsurprisingly, home to Dubrovnik!) which saw 13% more visitors in the first six months of the year, as did Lika-Senj county (where the stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park is located, as well as Velebit National Park). The former county also saw 15% more overnight stays during the same period, whilst the latter achieved 10% more.

The top visited county was the ever-popular Istria, which saw 975,391 people visiting from January to June, an increase of 5% over the same months last year. Other counties to enjoy good visitor growth include Split-Dalmatia (8% growth; 503,713 visitors); Zadar county (7% growth; 295,707 visitors) and Zagreb (5% growth; 298,850). Indeed, Zagreb enjoyed an increase of 11% in the number of nights stayed by tourists, clearly showing that those visiting Croatia’s capital are staying for longer.

Taking a look at the different foreign nationalities visiting Croatia in the first half of this year, the largest increase was posted by visitors from Japan of which there were 38% more (staying for 37% nights) when comparing this time period to the same one last year. British visitors also posted a very healthy increase (25% more, staying for 26% more nights), as did Belgian visitors (26% more, staying for 16% more nights), Dutch visitors (22% more, staying for 24% more nights) and Swedish visitors (21% more, staying for 21% more nights).

Just for the month of June, Croatia received 1,618,472 visitors in total (1% more than June 2011), who stayed for 8,330,928 nights (which is being recorded as the “same” as last year!). Dubrovnik-Neretva county again posted the best increase of 11% more visitors (164,426 in total), who stayed for 13% more nights (756,345). Rather interestingly, Istria actually posted a drop in both visitors numbers (down by 5%) and overnight stays (also down by 5%) for June 2012 over June 2011.

Rather pleasingly (given where we are based!), it was British visitors that posted by far the biggest increase for June 2012 over the same month last year – 36% more Brits visited, staying for 34% more nights.

Source: Croatian National Tourist Board

Travel question: Train from Zagreb to Dubrovnik?

I want to know that if I come from Budapest to Zagreb by flight and want to catch a train to Dubrovnik the same day is it possible? My flight reaches at around 12 noon and there is a train at 2pm , how far is the airport from the station? Thanks. A.M.

I’m afraid that you’ve been wrongly informed – there are no trains from Zagreb to Dubrovnik as Dubrovnik has no train station. The closest to Dubrovnik that you could travel to is a town called Ploce, but this is still 2 hours north of Dubrovnik. If you did take a train here from Zagreb, you could change here for a bus to continue your journey; however, a train to here from Zagreb is still a long journey, 13 hours.

You could travel from Zagreb to Dubrovnik by bus. Firstly, take an airport bus (from outside the terminal building) to the main bus station in Zagreb. The journey time is approximately half an hour. Then, from here there are a number of buses per day to Dubrovnik (see timetables at www.akz.hr). Journey is long, however! (About 11-12 hours.)

If you need to reach Dubrovnik quickly, then flying is obviously the best method. There are several flights per day (in summer) with Croatia Airlines. Tickets aren’t always even that expensive, but it depends how far in advance you book.

New Split - Brac - Hvar - Korcula - Dubrovnik catamaran line

A bunch of nobodies visit Croatia

Croatia. A country for everyone – big spenders, the budget-conscious, adventure seekers, sun-worshippers, families, party-animals, culture-vultures…the list is endless. But it has now also been discovered that it’s a very suitable holiday destination for those whom the term “celebrity” is coined very, very loosely.

Channel 4’s Celebrity Coach Trip (don’t lie, we know you watch it too!) features a bunch of “celebrities” making their way across Europe on a coach holiday, taking part in a series of tasks in each destination they visit whilst also generally messing around/getting on each others’ nerves/trying to remind people of their glory days and why they were famous in the first place.

In the most recent series, the gang were lucky enough to enjoy four days (well, four episodes worth of filming) in Croatia, taking in the capital city Zagreb, the Plitvice Lakes National Park environs, the lovely town of Zadar and bustling Split. From judo to a cookery lesson in Samobor, a survival course to glass blowing and klapa singing, the group had a busy time and Croatia served as a very pretty backdrop (bar some rainy conditions in Zadar) – with some very friendly and well presented teachers and guides – throughout the shows.

Split, Croatia
Hilarity ensued in Split (no, really)

You can watch the episodes via Channel 4 On Demand – here’s the site’s Coach Trip page (viewable in the UK and Ireland only) or on YouTube.

In answer to the question I can hear on the tip of your lips – no, I don’t know what Croatia did to deserve Nikki from Big Brother.

Zagreb Airport looks forward to 2011; could a direct route to New York be on the cards?

This morning’s Vjesnik has a report on the progress of Zagreb Airport during 2010, and its plans for the coming year. Airport director Tonci Peovic states that by the year end, 10,000 more passengers will have passed through the airport than 2009, which adds up to a total of 2.07 million passengers for the entire year. However, this increase was about 40,000 less than expected, mainly due to a number of airlines cancelling their flights during the ash cloud crisis in Europe in April this year.

Mr Peovic expects that passenger numbers will rise by 5% during 2011, and is proud of the fact that the airport has agreed routes with three new airlines – Spanair, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Easyjet, the latter of which has or will start three new routes. (Easyjet commenced flights to Paris Charles de Gaulle in November, and will start services to London Gatwick and Dortmund in February 2011.) National carrier Croatia Airlines has also added new routes from Zagreb, to Hanover and Athens, during 2010.

Perhaps the bit of news of most interest to our North American readers is that Mr Peovic says negotiations for establishing a direct route between Zagreb and New York (perhaps solely during the summer months) has nearly reached a conclusion. This would surely make reaching Croatian destinations far easier for those travelling from the U.S.!

Source: Vjesnik

Zagreb

Zagreb becoming more popular

Croatian TV reported a few days that Zagreb has been achieving a healthy increase in visitor numbers for this year. This July, there were 17% more tourists and a 29% increase in the number of nights stayed, compared to the same month in 2009. (Does this much larger number for the increase in overnight stays mean that more of Zagreb’s visitors are staying for longer? I think so.) Of the number of visitors, 88% were foreign – which accounted for 60,000 people.

Zagreb
The rooftops of Zagreb, with the cathedral in the distance

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the highest number of foreign visitors during July came from Spain, of which there was a 16% increase in July this year to last. Other nationalities that were in abundance in Zagreb during July were Germans, French, Americans, Polish, British, Japanese, Italians, Dutch and Russians – with the latter rising in number by quite a staggering 130% from the same period last year.

The increase in visitor numbers can be said to be in part attributed to a number of interesting events and exhibitions taking place in the capital last month, both traditional and modern – including a concert by Leonard Cohen. Good visitor numbers for the rest of the year are also hoped with more big concerts lined up (Guns ‘n’ Roses, Lady Gaga and Prince are all lined up to play the Zagreb Arena) as well as business conferences and similar.

Low-cost airlines’ new routes to Zagreb are also helping to bring in more travellers. Easyjet have announced two new routes to Zagreb – from Paris, starting November 2009 and from London Gatwick in February 2010 – which will surely make it even easier for people to visit Croatia’s capital.

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!