Insightful and witty travel, lifestyle and music blogger Nika Bogdanic joins the Croatia Week team…
Nika, who was named one of the Top 10 women in Croatia in 2015 by Cosmopolitan magazine, is born and raised in Zagreb. Nika speaks 5 languages and is a travel buff. She is also the author of the popular blog Explore. Dream. Discover.
In her first article for Croatia Week she helps out those guys, and girls for that matter, who are stuck for ‘first’ date ideas in Zagreb with some great ideas…
5 Cool First Date Spots in Zagreb
I could have made a list of typical places where people in Zagreb go on dates – which is practically almost every cafe or bar in the city center. Since I think a first date should be a bit more original I wrote a list of spots I find cool for a first date:
1. A FUN DATE: THE MUSEUM OF ILLUSIONS
A couple of months ago Zagreb museum scene got richer with a new, totally cool and unique place – the Museum of Illusions. Whatever you see in this fun and interesting place is not what it appears to be. Everything is an illusion – even the date you’re on (oh wait, we go on illusional/imaginary dates every day, so that’s not something new). It’s open Monday to Sunday from 9 AM till 10 PM and the adult ticket price is 40 KN. The captions are both in Croatian and English so don’t worry if you’re not local.
The museum won’t take much of your time as it’s not huge, which makes it even more suitable for a date – instead of having a classical and boring dinner and a movie first date you can have a fun lunch and the Museum of Illusions first date. If the date happens to be bad, but both of you have a thing for museums I suggest stopping by the Museum of Broken Relationships and leaving your bad date there as a museum piece.
2. A VINTAGE DATE: A MOST UNUSUAL GARDEN
So this is a cafe, but not any kind. It’s the most unusual one. A most unusual garden is located at the end of Savska street in Zagreb. Pay attention though as the place is not easy to spot – it’s behind a building. The imagination put into this place is truly amazing. On the terrace of the cafe there is a tree with a romantic tree house. Wouldn’t you like yourself and your date sitting on a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g?
The interior of the place is nicely decorated as well – there are drawings on the walls, vintage lamps, old clocks. The atmosphere is totally bohemian, arty and vintage. It might give you the sensation of being in a 1920’s movie – and who wouldn’t want to fall in love being in a 1920’s movie?
Actually, the only thing more romantic than that would be if your date and you got dressed like in the 1920’s – if that happened to me I’d fall in love instantly just for the sake of making things a bit more theatrical.
If you’re in search of other vintage places check out Melin Jazz Bar in Tkalčićeva street – you might even catch a jazz band playing which is really charming just as the place itself, however, it might get crowded. Cafe Finjak in Vlaška street is a romantic vintage place with two separate rooms – the white one for non smokers and the dark one where you can smoke. Bacchus Jazz Bar located in a garden of a building at King Tomislav Square is also a warm, cozy and lovely vintage decorated place.
3. A YUMMY DATE: LA ŠTRUK
If you decide you wanna have a bite, have a typical Croatian bite – štrukli. Made from special dough and fresh cow cheese this is a dish served in most households across the northern part of Croatia. What’s special about La Štruk is the fact that it’s the first place in Zagreb to dedicate its cuisine exclusively to a traditional dish that might seem way to simple to be restaurant opening worth. Which is why they serve štrukli in various unexpected sweet and salty ways and charm the socks of both foreign and local guests. The restaurant is small, but the staff is very pleasant and the interior is charming. What makes it worth visiting on a first date occasion is a small yet totally romantic terrace hidden in the back yard. It only has a few tables so the atmosphere is quite intimate which is great since the restaurant is located in the busiest part of the city – in Skalinska street.
If you’re looking for an alternative try Činkica in Špansko (the western part of the city). It’s an absolutely fabulous pancake place with various, both sweet and salty types of pancakes. The portions are huge so you can romantically share one.
4. A CLASSY DATE: POD ZIDOM WINE BAR
Who doesn’t want to get dressed up and go to a nice classy place for a first date? Pod Zidom is a wine bar and bistro located between the Main Square and the Cathedral. It offers a wide selection of wines and dishes and on the weekends there’s live music that suits the place. The interior is very charming and romantic, the place isn’t too big and the atmosphere is just about right for a first date. Make sure to book a table in advance though as it’s in the city center and it gets booked quite fast.
If you’re looking for similar places check out Wine Bar Basement in Tomićeva street, Sherry’s Wines & Bites in Ilica street or Basta Gourmet Bar in Varšavska street.
5. A PARK DATE: MAKSIMIR PARK
One of the most romantic first dates I’ve ever participated in (actually the only romantic first date) was in a park. We got champagne and strawberries (I know, it’s such a cliche but it totally worked) and talked in the park for hours. Maksimir is one of my favorite places in Zagreb – it’s a huge park with lakes, a forest and a lot of greats spots worthy of this occasion. Zrinjevac and Tomislavac are super nice parks as well but they’re in the center and they’re smaller so they might get crowded.
At this time of the year, when it’s cold outside a park date might be hard to perform, however ice skating might be a good alternative – there’s a nice Ice park at Tomislavac, but if you want to avoid the crowd go to Šalata and romantically make fun of each other falling on ice.
P.S. Dear reader, if you ever wish to take me out on a date, please keep this in mind. Be original.
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