I feel very lucky with my job, as it allows me to travel around the world. It has been a long time since my last post as I was away to Croatia for two weeks.
Croatia is an Eastern European country with a long coastline on the Adriatic Sea. Encompassing more than a thousand islands, it’s also crossed by the Dinaric Alps. Its inland capital, Zagreb, is distinguished by its medieval Gornji Grad (Upper Town) and diverse museums. The major coastal city Dubrovnik has massive 16th-century walls encircling an Old Town with Gothic and Renaissance buildings. I was lucky and I stayed in downtown of Zagreb, so close to see almost anything within walking distance (or running).
I was very surprised that the temps were so below 0 degrees, as I always had that idea that Croatia is always warm. Nevermind I was wrong. Even tho a business trip I have a lot of time over the weekend to check and feel a bit like a tourist. I tried to explore Zagreb as a dog-friendly city.
To my surprise, Zagreb has a lot of shops for dogs (pets). Just around the corner from where I stayed there was a shop called Hov-Hov Zagreb in English: Woof-Woof Zagreb. It is a pets bakery doing homemade treats and cakes. Just lovely place to bring your dog in. On the other hand, I was very shocked when I was doing shopping in H&M when the dog passed me with his owner. I didn’t expect dog inside, but it seems in a shopping center that is just normal casual thing to have your dog. Great idea.
In the morning I liked to go for a short run so parks were my choice. I didn’t see many dogs but when I saw it looks like a lot of rescues and different crossbreeds out there. Around every corner, there were tiny grassy place to actually walk your dogs with a lot of bins! I haven’t seen many “pick up poo after your dog” signs, but also I didn’t manage to step into any poo, so it must mean they clean after their dogs.
A lot of restaurants were allowing dogs too. Almost every single one that I have been to had a sign that it is dog-friendly. I haven’t seen any dogs with their owners but a lot of places were really empty. Croatia faced first time in 15 years such an awful winter with a lot of snow and very cold temperature. Also, a note that signs on the doors for dog-friendly were similar to ours here in the UK. The staff is very nice in Croatian restaurants and there is always meal of the day too. The menu is always full of traditional meals and it really reminded me about being home or holidays with my family when I was a child.
I always thought Zagreb is bigger than it actually feels. I was able to run outside it and I am not a long distances runner. There were defo two places I would recommend to visit: Medvedgrad Castle and Jarun lake (although that Lake was a bit disappointed in snow).
The castle is a medieval fortified town located on the south slopes of Medvednica mountain, approximately halfway from the Croatian capital Zagreb to the mountain top Sljeme. I didn’t expect such a heavy winter with so many snow around. Ohh, how much I missed it. I met so many walkers with dogs around there.
I only explored a route to the castle, but it looks like in the summer there would be a lot of trails to canicross with dogs. Such a peaceful place.
Another longer run, I did via city to the Jarun Lake, which looked amazing on photos in the Internet (see below). Jarun is a neighborhood in the southwestern part of Zagreb, Croatia. It was named after Lake Jarun, formed by the Sava River, now located on the southern edge of the neighborhood.
I was super excited about running there. Unfortunately, in a snow it looks totally like a wee pond (see photo below). Maybe I should have ran to the other side of it?!
Anyways near the lake, there are few restaurants and very nice trails to run. Once again I met few dog walkers around as there was a tiny forest nearby too.
Zagreb is the place to go for sure. I would say 2-3days would be enough and then just move to the coast with a lot of beaches and charming villages. Everyone is so friendly and helpful. Surprisingly a lot of people speak good English although I have learned that I speak fluent Croatian. If you plan to go with dog, great enjoy this dog-friendly place!