Croatia was supposed to be my last stop on this Europe trip, but I unexpectedly ended up extending the trip and also went to Brussels before flying home. We took a Flixbus from Ljubljana which took three hours and cost €14. These busses are a wide range of quality, some were completely trashed and others were very nice. Regardless Flixbus is a very cheap way to travel when you’re in Europe. Crossing the border we had to get off to check out of Customs in Slovenia and then drive 100 meters to get off the bus and check in to Croatian Customs.
At the time of this post HRK 1 = USD 0.16
Day 1 – Arrival Explore 07.13.2018
Once we arrived in the city, we had two Airbnbs to check into, one for my mum and one for my brother and me. Since my mum met up with us last minute this was the best option instead of someone sleeping on the floor haha. Both were in the Zagreb city center. You can check out my Airbnb, here. If you’re new to Airbnb and want $50 off your first stay use my referral code.
After checking in we took the tram around the city, you can buy your tickets when you board the tram. I accidentally road the tram without buying tickets because I didn’t realize you had to pay the conductor when you got on or have a monthly pass. I got off the Tram at Park Zrinjevac, this park is surrounded by country embassies, the US embassy is not located in this area. With not too much time, left I walked around the city center and found a nice restaurant to eat at Batak Grill.
Day 2 – Plitvice Lakes 07.14.2018
This national park has its post, here. When we got back from Plitvice lakes we met up with my mum who spent the whole day shopping in Zagreb. We met up for our last night in Croatia before flying out to Amsterdam in the morning. As we were walking around downtown we talked to a few locals that encouraged us to stay an extra day for the world cup final to witness it in the city center. My boss was more than flexible on this and we ended up staying a few extra days and even made a stop in Brussels before heading home.
We went out to eat at Bulldog Zagreb, which had great food, outdoor seating, and even sold Cuban Cigars. Enjoying my mum’s last night, we had a lot to plan to extend the trip.
Day 3 – Trip Extended; World Cup Final 07.15.2018
After committing to spending some extra time in Zagreb I had to deal with the chaos. My mum had a flight in the morning back to Amsterdam, so we wanted to spend time with her. We had to check-out of the Airbnb at 11 and I found one hotel open which was far out of the city center, which we needed to get to and then back to the city before the World Cup Final started.
Luckily the owners of Grill & Beer Guesthouse Stari Jansen are the nicest people in the world and they let us check-in early to drop our luggage off. Seriously, these people are super nice and if you’re in the area, I recommend spending one night here. Heading back into the city to guarantee a spot in the city square to watch the match I stopped at Oranz Bistro & Wine Bar to try the favorite dessert of the locals, Torta Pavlova, which cost HRK 20. This was delicious, I still have no idea what it is haha.
Time to watch the match, Croatia gave up an own goal in the first 20 minutes but scored later to tie 1 to 1. The place had smoke bombs and whistles and horns going off, it may have been the loudest fan experience in my life. During the game, the TV showed the home city celebrating where we were at. Croatia ended up losing but the city was so proud of second place, we stayed out to party late into the night. As an American I will probably never get to experience this again, I’m so glad I extended my stay and took advantage of this once in a lifetime moment.
Day 4 – A trip to Zadar 07.16.2018
This is a separate post that I’ve added here. We woke up in the morning and went back to the city center. The Croatian Men’s National Team was expected to arrive and celebrate their second-place accomplishment. We got down to the city center early only to find out that the Parade was delayed, and they weren’t expected to arrive until later in the night. So with not much to do so, we decided to book a trip to Zadar to go boating and island hopping for a day instead of waiting for the parade.
Day 5 – Day in Zadar 07.17.2018
Not much to report here unless you read my Zadar post from above. We got back to Zagreb around 23:00 and had a flight to Brussels in the morning. Croatia was an amazing country and I was so happy to experience the world cup final with the Croatians. I wish I had spent more time in Croatia, maybe not Zagreb but exploring other national parks and down to Dubrovnik.