Zagreb

When you find yourself dreaming of a Croatian vacation, Zagreb probably isn’t the top of your list. While it is the capital city, it is inland and removed from the beautiful beaches and islands Croatia has become known for. We found ourselves with a couple days in Zagreb during our long road trip through the Balkans. It is just a couple hours drive from Ljubljana, our first stop on our trip. Here are our favorite things to do in Zagreb!

Ride the Funicular to St. Mark’s Church

Zagrebabroadwife-13

Look at that roof!

When in Europe, there is no shortage of amazing churches. After a while, many of them can run together. But this church will stand out in your memory for its gorgeously tiled roof! The bright colors and interesting design make this church very unique-it has a look all its own. Unfortunately we were unable to tour the inside because there was an event being set up. But the outside alone is worth the trip uphill. You can walk if you want the exercise or for under $1, you can take the world’s shortest funicular ride up the hill. 

If you still want to see some more churches, check out the Cathedral of Zagreb which has a fascinating history and is still under repairs and restoration. 

Zagrebabroadwife-18

Zagreb Cathedral still under reparations.

Ivana Tkalcica

Zagrebabroadwife-7

Colorful buildings and people watching!

This street is full of charm and life. The colorful buildings and cobblestoned street are lined with bars, restaurants, and shops. This is a great place to pick up a souvenir or grab some ice cream on a hot day. We even found a little playground with the cathedral peeking out behind it. This little strip is the perfect place to sit and people watch, many of the cafes have their chairs all facing the street. You can find all different kinds of food-everything from burgers to Indian food!

Zagrebabroadwife-16

Playground with a view!

Technical Museum

Zagrebabroadwife-6

Vehicles galore at the Technical Museum!

If you’re into machines or have kids who are, the Nicola Tesla Technical Museum is the perfect place to spend the morning. Go check out their displays on trains, automobiles, boats, planes, and even rockets. Most of the descriptions were in Croatian, but it is fun to go have a look at everything regardless. There is also a planetarium and some tours are offered in english at certain times through the summer.

Parks 

Zagrebabroadwife-30

Spend some time relaxing by the fountain.

We walked through several parks in Zagreb like the park near the art museum (Fontana kraal Tomislav) and Park Zrinjevac. We were there in early summer and everything was green and in bloom. We spent time here just letting the kids run and play. We would find fruit vendors nearby and pickup a carton of cherries or strawberries to snack on. The kids would go through the whole container in one sitting! With scenery like this, it’s easy to sit down, relax, and take a break!

Zagrebabroadwife-26

For more travel inspiration on Croatia click HERE! Don’t forget to Pin this for later and follow me on Instagram!

Zagreb

 

Strolling through Split

More from our trip to Croatia in 2014…

After two full days in Dubrovnik, we packed up and drove a few hours north to the coastal city Split. Split is a major cruise port and jumping off point to head to famous Hvar island. We chose to rent an apartment north of Split near Trogir. If I was a young twenty-something looking for nightlife, I’d stay in Split. If you are traveling with children, I’d look for something just outside the city. One thing I loved about Croatia is it seemed like you could pick any town along the coast and find pristine water and a quaint old town. I didn’t feel like you had to stay right in the big cities to enjoy your time.

Before continuing on to our apartment, we stopped in Split for lunch and to have a look around the city. One of the first places we went was Podrum, an underground market. It lies beneath Diocletian’s Palace and is the perfect place to find souvenirs and crafts.

IMG_2373 (2)IMG_2376 (3)IMG_2379 (1)

Next stop was the Saint Dominus Bell Tower. Most of the family elected to climb up. But if you remember from my previous posts, I don’t do well with heights and winding staircases. So I opted to stay below with baby girl.

IMG_6808IMG_2442 (2)

IMG_6802

Can you find me and baby girl waiting at the bottom?

IMG_6793

Lots of cruise ships in the port.

IMG_2427IMG_6788

Wandering a bit more through town.

IMG_2452 (3)IMG_2464 (2)IMG_6810

Split was pretty, but I didn’t find it as charming as Dubrovnik. An afternoon seemed to be enough for us to wander the old city. Once we had our fill, it was a short drive to Trogir and up and around small, steep roads to find our apartment. It took a while, but luckily we didn’t stay lost for too long. We met the owners, asked for advice and settled in. We would be looking for more great snorkeling for the next day.

IMG_6831-2

When in Croatia, definitely pick up some sailor attire for the littles! Too cute!

Lokrum Island

Just off the shore of Dubrovnik, is Lokrum Island. It is very easy to get out there, you can just buy a boat ticket at the harbor the day you want to go. The boat ride was quick, probably 15 minutes or so (from my memory). If you’ve spent a day walking around Dubrovnik and are ready to get out to see something else, this is a great option.

IMG_2057 (2)

Here’s the harbor where you will find the ferry.

IMG_2063 (3)

Be sure to sit on the outer edges of the ferry so you can take pictures of all the beautiful views!

IMG_6701

IMG_6723

Room for babies in small strollers on the boat!

IMG_2148 (1)

This is the ferry we took, docked at Lokrum.

It is super important that you find out when the last ferry of the day is, and make sure you don’t miss it! There aren’t any hotels or places to stay on the island, so you’ll want to be sure you don’t get stuck. We almost missed the last ferry, it was vacation stress I could’ve done without. I wonder though, what would happen if you missed the last ferry? Is there a back up plan or are you just out of luck? I’d love to know, but wouldn’t want to be the one to figure it out the hard way!

IMG_6718IMG_2155 (1)

The island is very lush and quiet (except for the locals). It is perfect for wandering and having a little downtime. You could go and just walk around, or spend some time at one of the beaches. There is also a botanical garden and an old monastery you can walk through.

IMG_2212 (1)

Locals on Lokrum, colorful peacocks!

IMG_2221 (1)IMG_6751

IMG_2253 (1)

Peacocks everywhere, even willing to hang out with you at the beach!

We chose a beach and the big kids started snorkeling. They all decided to buy snorkel gear on the previous afternoon at another nearby beach. It turned out to be a lot of fun for them, I think they would’ve snorkeled all day everyday if they could’ve.IMG_2278 (2)IMG_2294 (2)IMG_2305 (1)

IMG_2283 (2)

One important thing to note about Croatia is that the beaches are rocky. Water shoes are important and it may not be as easy to just lay out a big towel for little ones. We would find the biggest flat rock we could, and camp there. The rocky beaches make for some very clear, blue, gorgeous waters though! Don’t let the rocks deter you, just be prepared!

We spent the bulk of our day at this rocky cove area. We left to for a bit to eat lunch at a restaurant near the old monastery on the island. The food was great, and the scenery was tranquil. As I said earlier, we got so lost in the tranquility that all of a sudden we realized we were about to miss the last ferry. We were all happy to spend the day on Lokrum. Dubrovnik is beautiful, but Lokrum provides a different kind of beauty. It’s a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of tourists in the old city.

Dubrovnik-Walking the Wall

I think I could’ve shared about 50 more photos from this day. Seriously gorgeous views to be had all around! Our first full day in Dubrovnik, we spent the morning walking the wall that surrounds the old city. Honestly I wasn’t even sure I really wanted to do it, but I can vouch that it is a “must-do” activity. It took us a couple hours to walk the whole thing. It wasn’t too strenuous, but there are quite a bit of stairs which is something to keep in mind if you’re traveling with little ones (you’ll see why later). I think there was one place to stop and grab a drink or snack, but that’s it. So you will want to bring plenty of water, especially if you visit during the summer! And just a quick photo credit to my brother in law! We all shared photos at the end of the trip so I’m not sure which pictures are his or ours. But I’m fairly certain he took a good number of these!

I’ll just let the photos do most of the talking…

IMG_1715IMG_1659IMG_1661 (1)IMG_1668IMG_1688IMG_1692

IMG_1699 (1)

Parenting on the go, time for a nap.

IMG_1705IMG_1713 (1)IMG_1719 (1)IMG_1722 (1)IMG_1727IMG_1733IMG_1783

About strollers on the wall. So, we were told there would be stairs. The guy at the ticket booth even offered to let us leave our stroller at the gate, but we thought we would bring it anyway. Mainly to give little girl a place to sleep, and to give me a break from wearing her ALL DAY. In hindsight, I might have just worn her. But at the time I was doing a lot of wearing her, carrying her etc. and this mama just wanted a break. So it can be done with a small umbrella stroller, but do not plan to bring your BOB up on the wall. Nope, not happeing.

IMG_1787IMG_1809IMG_1812 (1)IMG_1834IMG_1851IMG_1875IMG_1865IMG_1917 (1)

IMG_4021 (1)

At this point she had fallen asleep, and we were trying to keep her that way. Thank goodness for a strong, and helpful Daddy!

IMG_6547 (1)IMG_6606IMG_6614IMG_6619IMG_6644IMG_6645

Dubrovnik is one of those cities that can truly transport you. The walls are beautifully preserved and I haven’t seen another place quite like it. It really is a charming (albeit a bit touristy) place. If we get the chance to go again, I’d love to ride the cable car up to the top of the mountain behind the city and check out that view, because I’m sure it’s pretty spectacular!

Dubrovnik at Night

Our family had been touring Rome for four days and it was time to move on to the next destination: Croatia. I’d been wanting to visit Croatia since we arrived in Germany. It seemed like I kept hearing people talk about it and what a beautiful destination it was. I think our family was a little skeptical when I first brought up the idea to them. I think for their first trip to Europe they probably were thinking, “what is in Croatia?” But they are amazingly awesome and open-minded so they went with it. By the end of the trip, I don’t think there was any disappointment at our choice.

We hopped a short flight from Rome to Dubrovnik, rented cars and drove to our vacation apartment that we rented high above the old town. We had a beautiful view out to the ocean from there. By the time we were settled, we really only had time to walk into town for dinner. We walked about 10 minutes down small alleys and staircases to the walled old town.

If you are a Game of Thrones fan, you are now fully aware that Dubrovnik is a filming location for the show. You might recognize parts of it as King’s Landing. It is a gorgeous city. Made of all white travertine stone. The streets are gleaming, like someone polishes them every night. It does feel a bit touristy, but for good reason. It is a beautiful, charming, ancient city with a character all it’s own.

IMG_1588IMG_1594IMG_1596IMG_1599IMG_1604IMG_6511

We wandered until we settled on a place for dinner. A restaurant serving seafood and other grilled meats set against a gorgeous staircase. Our daughter was still a new walker, and the stairs were very tempting to her. We made a couple trips up and down. A year or so later while watching Game of Thrones, I recognized exactly where we had eaten.

IMG_1620

GoT fans, can you hear it? “Shame!”

IMG_1619

There she goes, up the stairs! And with a watchful audience.

IMG_1631

A peek at the seafood platter for two. It doubles for food and entertainment!

That was it for night one. More around the wall of Dubrovnik later! Have you been to Dubrovnik? What did you think?