It’s always quite easy to recognise a tourist. Sometimes it’s the city map they’re holding that gives them away, sometimes it’s their puzzled look. But there are other more specific things that give tourists away, things that can be avoided with local advice and recommendations. Our lovely local editor Iva reveals which 5 things to avoid doing in Zagreb if you don’t want to look like a tourist.
1. Hear an explosion in the city centre at noon and almost have a heart attack
If you happen to wander around the city centre at noon, you may be unpleasantly surprised. I mean, who would expect a cannon blast?! A cannon blast that triggers no response from anyone apart from uninformed tourists! This is actually what happens daily at noon – a cannon is fired from the Lotrščak Tower located in the old part of town. According to a local legend, the shot from the cannon helped to prevent the Turkish invasion of the city many years ago.
2. Take numerous pictures of vegetables at Dolac Market
It’s local custom in Zagreb to buy fruit, vegetables and other fresh produce from a market. Besides shopping for groceries, Zagreb markets are great places for socialising and people watching. The outdoor Dolac Market is probably the most famous one in the city – it’s a really great and colourful place that both locals and tourists love to visit. As for the countless photos of veggies, well, that’s something only tourists do.
Photo credit: Bern Harrison
3. Go on a funicular ride
Funicular (cable railway) was the very first means of public transportation in Zagreb. It’s considered the safest option for getting around as there have never been any accidents with human victims. Even though locals absolutely adore the funicular, they tend to take the stairway to the upper part of town rather than paying for a ride of less than a minute. Basically an operating museum exhibit, the funicular is very popular amongst tourists who don’t mind paying less than €1 for a joyride.
Photo credit: Victoria Lea B
4. Buy a necktie
Croatia is the birthplace of Nikola Tesla and Zagreb is the home of Slavoljub Penkala – the inventor of the mechanical pen. But funnily enough Zagreb became famous for being the homeland of the necktie. A Frenchman is believed to have started wearing one after seeing something similar on Croatian soldiers back in the 17th century. It has since become something of a national souvenir.
5. Notice the scaffolding around the cathedral spire
Zagreb Cathedral is probably the most touristy spot in the city and that’s why you won’t find it mentioned in the Like A Local guide. Also, there’s no need to recommend it as the building really can’t be missed – it can be seen from all over the city. There is something curious about it though – the towers have been undergoing reconstruction for so long that locals no longer notice the scaffolding. Tourists on the other hand always draw attention to the scaffolding surrounding the towers and ask why it’s there. The cathedral is being restored for a perfectly good reason – originally it was constructed from poor quality materials so now each stone has to be manually replaced to make it more durable.
Photo credit: Annieminna