My incredible, amazing and romantic boyfriend Cam surprised me with a trip to Croatia, Zagreb for my birthday this year and here is what we got up to on our city break to a place that stole my heart. Croatia you were beautiful…
Etched into the side of a hill Agava is Zagreb’s answer to fine dinning. With its white table clothes and low candle light setting a romantic scene, this is a place for lovers who delight in fantastic food but like some local tasters thrown in. The predominantly Mediterranean menu isn’t shy in presenting some Croatian classics and Agava’s flawless service and attentive staff means there is always someone on hand to talk you through the exciting menu. Take it from me and let them guide you when choosing your wines and you shall not be disappointed.
To start we opted for a traditional Croatian dish, Zagorski štrukli – this local dish consists of baked dough rolled and stuffed with fresh cheese and topped with a creamy gratin. For mains we chose the duck breast with orange and honey coupled with a rich ratatouille and the rump steak with black truffles and potato confit. Zagreb take portion sizes very seriously, and by this I mean seriously large, but here at Agava you will be satisfied and still have room for dessert. To finish I couldn’t resist the Torta od čokolade i badema – or the chocolate and almond tart to you and me.
As the meal came to an end we sat indulging and polishing off the remaining red wine, the perfect recommendation by our waiter and watched the sun set slowly in the sky, the warm Croatian breeze hanging in the evening air. Agava is a place to enjoy and a place to share; a must for those who like a little finesse when they eat out but not a lot of fuss. The food is excellent, the staff are warm and friendly, and agava is truly beautiful.
The piece de resistance and our reason for visiting Croatia – Plitvice Lakes. The oldest national park in southeast Europe and the largest park in Croatia, Plitvice is utterly breathtaking.
Founded in 1949 the park is situated in the mountainous karst area of central Croatia, at the border to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The north-south road connection, which passes through the national park area, connects the Croatian inland with the Adriatic coastal region. The protected area extends over 296.85 square kilometre featuring 16 lakes arranged in perfect cascades. Renowned for their distinctive colours, ranging from azure to green, grey or blue, the colours change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight.
We spent the entire day walking and exploring the gigantic waterfalls and woodland area and at every corner you are met with a stunning view. Plitvice is a place everyone should see if only once. The vast beauty of the park is unparalleled to anything else I have every seen and I cannot wait to go back.
My top tips for the park are comfy shoes, a picnic, a good camera, take the boat ride to see the scenery from below and most of all don’t be afraid to get lost!
Dine with a view
My favourite place of the whole trip was the quaint tiny restaurant we found accidentally. Not to be a spoil sport but I just cannot bring myself to divulge the name of this place. It’s our little secret and a place we are still lusting after. The stand out dish here was the Black Ink Cuttlefish Risotto – it was exquisite. The view was next to none, situated high above the city making this the perfect place to watch the sunset. Full of locals this place is complete unspoilt. If you can find it, you will finally realised why I want this pace to be my best kept secret. It’s just too good to share.
Lounge Culture was one of my favourite things about Zagreb. Hopping from bar to bar sampling local beer and wine is a great way to deiced what you do and do not like and it is the perfect way to people watch and enjoy some quiet time out. R&R at its very best.
Up a tiny hill along a cobbled street we stumbled upon Nokturno. This little place was a our first meal of our trip and it did not disappoint. Try the local favourite; beef green peppers and gnocchi.
Wander the food market stalls that line the walkway, enjoy the richest chocolate gelato the world has to offer, sip on local wines and admire the tiny puppies who parade the promenade (Croatia are a nation of tiny dog lovers). Lay on the warm grass socking up the sun and watch the world pass by. Grab a slice of pizza and enjoy doing nothing – you deserve it.
By Sophie Maguire, Editor
All images Sophie’s own