Lodging In Croatia
April 12, 2006 8:58 AM   Subscribe

Booked my vacation to Croatia. Have some questions on lodging in Zagreb and Dubrovnik.

I booked a two week trip in May to Croatia, starting out in Zagreb. Two days in Zagreb then I fly to Dubrovnik. Basically I've been told that you can rent rooms in people's apartments pretty easily at the airport or bus stations, so this is mostly what I plan to do. Based on that, here are some questions:

1) Given that I'm relatively young (30s), pretty urban-adventurous, interested in the more artistic, edgier, hip scenes in a city, what parts of Zagreb should I look to stay in. Same with Dubrovnik.

2) Would it be smarter just to book a hotel in Zagreb in advance? Would it be smarter overall to book hotels for the whole trip rather than relying on dealing with the whole 'pensioner apartment' scene whenever I arrive?

3) Any other tips for enjoying myself in this country?
posted by spicynuts to Travel & Transportation around Croatia (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'd book a hotel if I were you. They are incredibly cheap if you book in advance: I stayed at a reasonably fancy one (recommended) for less than the price of a B&B in the UK.

As for location of hotel/etc., I'd stick to the centre - it's where you'll be spending all your time, I imagine, and the outskirts, even just a couple of streets out, can be a bit shady at night.

Things to do in Zagreb: the Tesla Demonstration Cabinet at the Technical Museum is a total blast if you're a bit geeky (recreation of Nikolai Tesla's experiments, Farraday cages, etc.). The Museum of Naïve Art is great too.

Flea markets - serious bargains, whether you're after records (I had to buy an extra suitcase to bring back vinyl), communist-era tat, etc. Haggle. Lots. At the other end of the spectrum, there's lots of fancy shops - Vivienne Westwood even has a boutique there. (In terms of shopping, be aware that the whole of Zagreb is pretty much shut from Saturday lunchtime to Monday morning.)

You'll want to head to a tourist office on your first day and get a travel card - works on trams, funicular, etc and will save you lots of money. Also, just jumping on a tram and getting off when you see something interesting is probably the best way to explore.

Eating out, bars, pubs, clubs etc - it's probably best to ask around: the bartender at our hotel was super-helpful, as were record shop owners (pretty much every young person speaks decent English, older people often speak German, so it's easy to get directions etc. without struggling with Serbo-Croat). Mochvara is the only interesting nightclub as far as I could make out (music in Croatia seems to be either death metal or terrible eurotechno), but there are tons of great bars and pubs - just wander the old town. Oh, and there's an amazing fish restaurant on Ulica Tesle in the old town - name escapes me, sorry, though the memory of the squid ink risotto does not (nor does the fact that every second person in there was a visibly armed bodyguard!).

Click for a couple of handy links I bookmarked before going.

(Sorry, don't know anything about Dubrovnik - not been since I was six or seven!)
posted by jack_mo at 10:18 AM on April 12, 2006

I just booked my trip to Croatia in May too! I don't have any real advice, having never been there, but it's worth checking out tripadvisor's forum on Croatia. Lots of good advice there. It's a pretty active forum. And National Geographic Traveler just said that tripadvisor is one of the best resources for travel tips.
posted by Amizu at 10:21 AM on April 12, 2006

Response by poster: Jack_Mo..looks like The Bambi Molesters are playing at the Mochvara joint this week. I have no idea who they are, but if that's the kind of bands I can look forward to I'm putting Mochvara on the top of my list.
posted by spicynuts at 12:01 PM on April 12, 2006

I spent a couple days in Dubrovnik last summer as part of a longer Italy/Croatia/Slovenia trip, and I have to say that Dubrovnik is without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. The Old Town (within the city walls) is the main attraction, but from what I remember there is only 1 hotel within the walls and it is crazy expensive. Ditto the places that are within walking distance. My friends and I ended up staying at a place on the peninsula on the other side of town (can't remember the name, sorry), which was a fairly quick bus ride away from the old town and cheap.

As far as things to do, there was a museum we went to of war photos that was really powerful. Also, you have to walk the city walls (I think it's actually required by Croatian law). There is also an island just off the harbor called Lokrum (not sure if that's the right spelling), which is mostly deserted, supposedly cursed, and a great place to get out of the city for a while.

I unfortunately didn't get to spend more than about an hour in Zagreb, which was at 6:30 in the morning while changing trains to get to Slovenia, but we also spent a few days in Split which was another really cool city. My friend's cousin met us there and showed us around, and from what he told us the islands off the coast of Croatia are where the locals try to spend a lot of their time. There are ferries that run between Dubrovnik and Split that stop at most of the major islands along the way.

Sorry I don't have more details, but if you'd like to email me I can track them down. I've also got plenty of good photos of Dubrovnik I'd be happy to share. Croatia is a wonderful country, I'm really jealous you get to spend two whole weeks there!
posted by sbrollins at 12:32 PM on April 12, 2006

Response by poster: Sbrollins...thanks for the answer. I've been doing alot of reading on the forum recommended by amizu above and I think I'm getting things well in hand so don't worry about getting me details. I think I'm going to try to work a trip into Split as well as lots of day trips to islands into the trip. Two weeks..god bless my job for it's vacation benefits.
posted by spicynuts at 12:42 PM on April 12, 2006

Was at the airport in Zagreb a couple of times last year. I did not speak the local language, but I can tell you that if there were opportunities to "rent rooms in people's apartments.." they were not obvious, so I would not advise just showing up and expecting to find one. Have a plan for the first couple of nights, and then if you can find something... great, at least you will not be stuck at the airport (which is quite small and spartan).
posted by TheFeatheredMullet at 6:24 PM on April 12, 2006

« Older I have the power...now what do I want?   |   Smooth moves Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.