We interviewed Zagreb Spotter Milana Martinovic to hear more about her love for her city and what’s she’s up to in her day to day life. Read below for more insight into one of Zagreb‘s city fans!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Born and raised in Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, I learned early on that there’s this tendency in me to wander off. And indeed, once I discovered travel, there was no stopping me, I usually joke that I suffer from the illness called the “lack of kilometers in the blood:.
After having lived and studied in Prague for 5 years I returned back to Zagreb and made it my base from where I take longer and shorter trips (working for the booming travel start-up Airbnb helps a great deal) but it is always nice to come back home.
How do you like being a Spotter?
I truly enjoy being a Spotter. When walking around every day it makes me look at my city with a different perspective, as I am constantly on the search for new interesting venues to write about. Not to mention that Spotted by Locals has introduced me to three wonderful individuals (the other Zagreb Spotters) full of interesting stories of which one grew into a beautiful love story (for which we both hold Spotted by Locals crucially responsible :-)).
Why Zagreb? What is must when visiting and what isn’t?
Zagreb. I would not say that a must when visiting Zagreb is to try and become immersed in the local way of life. Zagreb is not a city of spectacular sights (although there are many very cute and interesting ones). It is bursting with subtleties of everyday life which can easily be discovered by simply sitting on a bench on one of the squares downtown and watching people pass by. It is a city where a lot of its life happens out in the streets and that is something that I have to say I enjoy the most. So when you come to Zagreb, don’t go running from sight to sight, pace your steps and let your intuition guide you.
Which prejudices about Zagreb are true and which aren’t?
A couple of years back Zagreb was voted the most boring capital in Europe :-). I always tell that story because I find it a very amusing one. While on one hand Zagreb is not in-your-face exciting, as I said before it has a lot of subtleties to it which need some digging in order to be discovered. (And I hope that we are helping with our spots :-) .) A prejudice that is true and that I’ve often heard from people from other Balkan countries is that Zagreb is safe, cute and easy going. If you want madness and crazy partying, go to Belgrade (which I love b.t.w.). If you want to chill but with the prospect of the night turning crazy, come to Zagreb.
What do you know about Zagreb that no tourist will know?
How to navigate the many bike-unfriendly streets of Zagreb by bike. Although it’s a beautiful, mostly flat, city, we are still working on getting the biking infrastructure set up properly. Though there have been improvements in the past couple of years, there is still a long way to go.
What is the most popular neighborhood to live in in Zagreb at the moment?
As Zagreb is quite small and easily accessible by public transport, I wouldn’t say there’s a specific neighborhood that is currently hip. People tend to gravitate to more-less the same areas specific to what they want to do. Because you can get everywhere in a half hour tram ride, it doesn’t really matter where you sleep. Although I am biased about my northeastern part of the city, with easy access to both the centre, the mountain Medvednica and the park Maksimir ;-).
Can you describe a perfect day in your city?
Zagreb for me is all about walking (biking) and talking. As I said earlier, a lot of Zagreb’s life happens out on the streets, so there’s never a way to know who you might meet when you leave your house. If it’s a sunny day, it will be nearly impossible to find a free spot to have your coffee in the sun downtown. We loooove having our coffees out on the many terraces and that is also one of the specialties of Zagreb – everything happens over “going for a coffee” – meeting friends, dating, making a business deal, studying for exams, organizing an art/social event…you name it. So even if you don’t drink coffee, if someone in Zagreb invites you for one, don’t turn them down. After all, it doesn’t really matter what you drink.
Is there something else you want to share?
I am soooo happy that we’ve had a Spotters meet up in Amsterdam! Thank you Bart and Sanne for this event and for everything else Spotted by Locals-connected. It is truly a beautiful part of my life!
For more of Milana’s articles, follow this link. If you’re interested in more Spotter interviews, check them out here.