ZAGREB

Let’s za-grab a drink.

The imprint Zagreb left in my mind was a sublime opening chapter to our journey in a country which appeared to have healed from harrowing battle wounds. Scars still burn though, only if you’re empathetic enough to see beyond the most welcoming smiles.

WATCH VIDEO (SOUND ON): Your Ultimate Guide Of Top 15 Must-Do’s In Zagreb

The Zagreb Cathedral is the tallest building in Croatia.

Croatia runs on Central European Summer Time (CEST). It’s six hours ahead of New York — non-daylight savings time — and one hour ahead of London.

If you are a U.S. passport holder, you do not need a visa and can stay in Croatia for up to 90 days. European Union (EU) regulations require that U.S. passport holders have no less than three months validity when they depart the country.

All foreign citizens must register with the local police within 24 hours of arrival and inform them of any changes in their address. If you are staying in a hotel or renting through an accommodation company, the hotelier or housing company will register you automatically. 

If you are not a U.S. passport holder, you will need to apply for a Tourist visa under Croatian governance, otherwise your entry will be denied. And though Croatia is a part of the EU, its yet to become a member of the Schengen Agreement, so you will need a passport to travel to other European countries.

Airport Bus

The best option to travel to and from Zagreb airport is the inexpensive Croatia Airlines bus, which takes you to the main bus station in the island’s center. Buses leave every 30 minutes outside the airport terminal. Tickets, costing around 30 Kunas (USD $4.57), can be bought from the bus driver. Depending on the time, the drive typically lasts 35-40 minutes.

Once you arrive at the bus station, you can flag down a taxi to take you to your accommodation or use a tram to complete your journey. Tram lines 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8 run by the bus station. You can also take a taxi from the airport to the city centre for about 200 Kunas (USD $30.50). Taxis wait outside the terminal building.

Metro

Trams are undeniably the best way to get around Zagreb. There are 15 routes in Zagreb, and many stop either at the main square or at the main train station. 

Most visitors question how to obtain tickets for trams, as they aren’t sold on-board. Instead, walk to the first newspaper kiosk and ask for a tram ticket, which are sold as singles and in packs of ten. Once you board a tram, you must remember to validate your card in the machines.

Airport Bus

The best option to travel to and from Zagreb airport is the inexpensive Croatia Airlines bus, which takes you to the main bus station in the island’s center. Buses leave every 30 minutes outside the airport terminal. Tickets, costing around 30 Kunas (USD $4.57), can be bought from the bus driver. Depending on the time, the drive typically lasts 35-40 minutes.

Once you arrive at the bus station, you can flag down a taxi to take you to your accommodation or use a tram to complete your journey. Tram lines 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8 run by the bus station. You can also take a taxi from the airport to the city centre for about 200 Kunas (USD $30.50). Taxis wait outside the terminal building.

Metro

Trams are undeniably the best way to get around Zagreb. There are 15 routes in Zagreb, and many stop either at the main square or at the main train station. 

Most visitors question how to obtain tickets for trams, as they aren’t sold on-board. Instead, walk to the first newspaper kiosk and ask for a tram ticket, which are sold as singles and in packs of ten. Once you board a tram, you must remember to validate your card in the machines.

Generally, the Croatian city is safe for female travelers. Violent crime in Zagreb is rare, and overall crime levels are quite low, making it extremely safe to travel throughout its borders. Still, it’s better to be cautious than risk being a victim of a tourist-aimed attacks. 

Here are a few safety tips:

  • Never leave your drink at night clubs.
  • Stay vigilant when walking the streets at night.
  • Leave your valuables in a room safe in your hotel.
  • Carry a form of identification with you at all times.

Zagreb has a standard mediterranean climate. July is the hottest month in Zagreb, with an average temperature of 70 Fahrenheit (21 Celsius) and the coldest is January at 32 Fahrenheit (0 Celsius). During the island’s rainy season, the wettest month is November, as rainfall levels out at 117.9mm. 

Croatian is the official language in Croatia, it belongs in the South Slavic family. Although it may sound very similar to Serbian or Bosnian, but it’s important not to lump them all into one. The accents may not be similar and they may use different vocabularies but due to the past between these countries, you should recognize that Croatians speak Croatian.

English is also widely spoken in Croatia, making it easy for travelers to communicate with locals.

Here are some keywords to know during your trip:

Hello: Zdravo

Thank you: Hvala

I’m sorry: Žao mi je

Good: Dobro

Cheers: Živjeli

In Zagreb, the city’s natives are quite hospitable and will make every effort to be exceptional hosts. They will attempt to overcome common language barriers and show their warmth through their generosity. If offered food or coffee, it is best to accept the offer. In some cases, refusing others’ hospitality could be interpreted as disrespect.

Croatians tend to be extremely punctual and expect others to be on time. However, punctuality has more importance in a professional setting rather than in social ones. Friends will forgive tardiness as long as it isn’t a recurring issue or ruining their plans.

From a social standpoint, people tend to dress neatly and modestly. Wearing overly casual clothes in public may be considered inappropriate. In most Croatian cities, there’s a strong coffee culture. Most people socialize over coffee at local cafes and restaurants. Also, Croatians will often greet strangers in passing around the workplace or in public as a sign of respect.

The Croatian Kuna is the currency of Croatia. The most popular Croatia Kuna exchange rate is the HRK to EUR rate. The currency code for Kunas is HRK, and the currency symbol is kn.

Tipping

Tipping roughly 10% is pretty standard in Zagreb, even if there’s a fee tacked on to your bill. If the service exceeded your expectations, placing a 15% gratuity is ideal Croatian etiquette.

During your trip, if you make a purchase of more than 740 kunas then you’re eligible for VAT tax return at the airport. All you have to do is:

  • Ask for PDV-P form.
  • Fill it out on the spot, then have it stamped by the person you made the purchase from.
  • At the airport, show the receipt to the Croatian Customs who will verify the form.
  • Your refund will be returned to you in kunas within six months.

Or you can simply buy items that are labeled “Croatia Tax-Free Shopping” in shops.

Electrical supply is 230 volts and 50 hertz AC. Croatia uses the standard European (round-pronged) plugs. Your converter should look like this:

The tap water in Croatia is perfectly safe and drinkable. Though, public water fountains in Zagreb aren’t recommended for consumption. 

Wi-Fi

Your local cafes and hotels will usually have free and fast internet Wifi. Here are a list of cafes and restaurants that offer free Wifi.

SIM CARD

The main cell carriers in Split are T-Hrvatski Telekom (T-HT), Vipnet and Tele2. T-HT is the leading service provider, with almost half of its users in Croatia. Both T-HT and Vipnet offer affordable, short-term and date-heavy tourist packages. You can purchase these packages at the carrier’s official stores, as well as in several convenience stores, souvenir shops and electronic stores around Split.

Uber is used, in addition to taxi apps like:

LGBTQ rights in Zagreb have expanded vastly in recent years. The gay scene has opened up various venues and events for LGBTQ members. The city hosts Zagreb Pride, which happens every year during the second week of June. But even with the city’s latest efforts, LGBTQ members may still face some social challenges. Though not permitted, showing extreme public displays of affection (PDA) are better to be limited. 

Zagreb, and most of Croatia, has a problem with its recycling methods. Many tourists have issues figuring out how the trash and recycling bins are organized, particularly with sorting items like plastic, glass and paper. In the EU, it’s expected that around 60% of the country’s waste be recycled, with Croatia sitting at 19%.

SHOP ETHICALLY:

packing list

THE ESSENTIALS:

The upper town of Zagreb has over 200 lampposts, since they're not electric, each is individually lit every evening and extinguished every morning.

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