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Swanky Mint Hostel
This is one of the funkiest hostels I’ve ever stayed in! A former 19th century textile-dye factory still has an industrial vibe I enjoyed so very much! The whole decor is wisely thought, all the details chosen precisely and altogether they create a perfect quirky atmosphere and make a place so unique and well, alternative. Right at the check in every guest gets a welcome shot of rakija – a local homemade drink – served in the hostel bar. It’s a great way to start the stay in Swanky Mint Hostel and get to know fellow travellers. What makes this integration even better is probably the cheapest Croatian beer in town – Karlovacko for 10 kunas!
I stayed in 11 beds dorm. At first I was kind of afraid of it as I’ve never slept in such a big room but as it turned out I had nothing to worry about. The dorm was designed carefully so everyone had some privacy – the room was full both nights I stayed there yet there was no noise at late hours and I got some really good sleep! Every bed was equipped with the locker, bed lamp, power socket and a bedside shelf – such a simple and useful things that sadly many hostels forget about. If someone doesn’t feel like staying in the dorm Swanky Mist Hostel offers also private rooms. Everything is in the industrial loft style and for a really affordable price! Definitely my top accommodation top choice for Zagreb!
Alternative Zagreb guide: antique flea market
If you happen to be in Zagreb on Sunday be sure to check antique flea market on Britansky trg, only few steps away from Swanky Mint Hostel. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything it’s a great place to just browse around. I’m sure you will find some true gems and most unusual stuff. Just about everything is there – from old furniture and clothes to crystals and unopened letters (!). It’s a great place to start your adventure in Zagreb as it can be a great introduction to city’s vibe and its rich past! Also, the Britansky trg itself and the Ilica street leading to it are pretty stunning!
I wish every city would have a place like Booksa! If I lived in Zagreb I’d definitely be a frequent guest there! Booksa is not your usual cafe, it’s also a bookclub and a small cultural center. The place is designed to people who love books – the atmosphere is somehow intellectual, the sofas are comfortable and the selection of books and magazines is pretty impressive. During my visit I could see at least two groups of people discussing about their latest readings as well as numerous solo readers – almost every person in the cafe had a book in the hand. There are places where I feel kind of uncomfortable when sitting with a book on my own but in Booksa I didn’t have this problem, I felt like I belong there!
I happened to be in the capital of Croatia on the first day of Zagreb Film Festival – when I found out about that I wanted to see the opening movie really badly but all the tickets were already sold out! The screening took place in Kino Europa and even if I wasn’t able to see a movie I could at least admire their exceptionally colourful neon sign! (I love neons, all thanks to the Neon Museum in Warsaw!) I wish I could at least sneak in to see the interior as it looks just stunning! There’s also a nice retro cafe and a shop I could spend way too much time and money in!
Museum of Broken Relationships
Unfortunately I didn’t manage to visit the museum even if I was passing it by twice – first there was a long line of four tours and then it was closed (even if the internet said it’ll be open till 10 pm). I really regret as it seems like one of the most interesting and super quirky museums ever! So if you’re in Zagreb don’t miss your chance, go to the museum and tell me afterwards how it was! You can also read more about it on my friend Amanda’s blog!
This is such a spectacular hidden spot of the city! A short passage connecting Ilica street and Cvjetni Trg is a home to some fancy shops but that’s not the reason to visit it. The place got its name from the octagonal stained glass dome that tops the passage. It’s such a beautiful piece, with a small flower details around. I’m sure everyone, not only architecture lovers, will appreciate it!
Zagreb Solar System
Did you know that Zagreb has its own Solar System? In 1971 the local artist Ivan Kozaric created a sculpture of Sun that can be found on Bogoviceva street. It became an inspiration to many and eventually in 2004 a designer Davor Preis made an installation – Nine Views – with models of nine planets. They are located all over Zagreb, the size of planets and distance between them are in the same scale as Sun. Only four of them – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars – are located in the city center yet I still manage to miss them all! Hopefully you will have more luck! You can find locations of all the planets here.
Zagreb street art
Unfortunately the street art in the center of Zagreb is almost nonexistent. However there are few places that are a paradise for every street art lover! One of them is the wall along Kneza Branimira street, next to the train station. It’s maybe half a kilometer long but there’re some exceptional murals there (and others are still good!). It took me maybe half an hour to walk this short distance as I was checking carefully each piece. It was pure heaven for me! This place is part of the Street Art Museum that has some other locations around the city. Take a look at the whole post I dedicated to Zagreb street art!
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Alternative Zagreb guide: Medika
The first legalized squat in Zagreb, located in the former medical factory, is the center of the alternative culture. The place where best parties in the city take place, along with some good art exhibitions, movies screening, workshops or flea markets. Everyone who wish to share their art or organize a meaningful event is welcome to do it at Medika. Unfortunately when I was around on Sunday afternoon it was closed but at least I could admire some good street art on the wall around (my favourite mural in Zagreb was there!).
Do you also look for alternative spots in places you visit? Which one in Zagreb would you like to see the most? Is Croatia on your bucket list?
- As I said above I stayed in Swanky Mint Hostel and I can definitely recommend it! You can book it here. If hostels are not your thing take a look at other accommodation options in Zagreb.
- I’ve used Spotted by Locals Zagreb to find most of these places recommended by locals in Zagreb. They publish (100% offline) apps & blogs with up-to-date tips by city loving locals in 57 cities. Here’s a map with all the places I wrote about
- The center of Zagreb is pretty compact so you will be fine with walking around
Are you planning a trip to the Balkans? Do you like that region as much as I do? I’ve created a Facebook group where you can look for advise or inspiration and share your travel stories and pictures from the Balkans and beyond. Join now!
If you think of visiting Croatia or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it:
- Zagreb, Croatia – the hidden gem of Europe
- Zagreb street art in pictures
- Few hours in Dubrovnik
- and more!
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