For years I've insisted, often and emphatically, that New York City is the best city on the planet. Sure Chicago and London have their charms, Paris and LA are, well, Paris and LA. Sydney, Rio, Berlin, Mexico City, Tokyo - arguments could be made for these or any one of the dozens of great cities across the globe. For me, though, New York City has been the center of the universe.
Lately, however, my center has been shifting eastward a bit. Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, is slowly chipping away at New York's pedestal in my heart.
A recent article in TimeOut has put me in a nostalgic mood, thinking about all the things that make me miss Zagreb. The city is compact - almost everything worth seeing or doing is within walking distance or a short tram ride. The markets are bustling and full of local seasonal produce, meats, cheeses and more year-round. The restaurant scene is exploding with new cuisines and exciting chefs, and for an American an incredible dining experience can be had for a fraction of what you'd pay in a major US city. There is art, both traditional and weird (hello Museum of Broken Relationships). Zagreb's Christmas market has been named Best in Europe two years running, and it's hard to find a weekend without some sort of festival happening.
And there are the people. Actual Croatians enjoying everything the city has to offer. I've been to other major European cities where at times I feel that tourists outnumber the locals; not Zagreb. Zagreb is a city that is quickly becoming an international destination while at the same time somehow flying under the radar. It's avoided becoming a Disney-fied version of itself unlike, say, Florence or Dubrovnik or even Paris.
Harper and I are getting ready to head back to Croatia over Thanksgiving for some meetings, a wine show, and some research for Croatia Itineraries. As we prepare for that trip, I'll be rolling out a series of short articles here on the blog covering some of the things that we love most about Zagreb - the food, the sights, the culture, and of course, the people.
Stay tuned, and if you've ever visited Zagreb, let us know some of your favorite things to do, eat, and see!