The Windows of Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb Croatia Architecture

My ‘window collecting’ mission in Zagreb, Croatia’s capital city, was as hurried as our day and a half there.

Arriving via Germany, Austria, and Slovenia earlier in the morning, we settled into our apartment, and took to the streets, while dodging raindrops and securing some goodies at one of the local supermarkets. Our whirlwind exploration took us to a café where we enjoyed Latte Macchiatos, then to St. Mark’s Church, probably one of the city’s most well-known landmarks thanks to its brilliant-colored tiled roof bearing the coat of arms of Zagreb.

Though I have been to Zagreb twice, I haven’t given the city the attention it deserves; both times, I was en route to Bosnia-Herzegovina. And as regular readers of this site could attest, when we have devoted extensive chunks of time to Croatia, we’ve spent most of it exploring the country’s twinkling Adriatic Coast. The winter temperatures in Dalmatia are simply more alluring than the country’s continental climate, and we yearned to escape Europe’s brutal helpings of ice and snow.

But the winding cobblestone lanes of Zagreb’s Old Town are etched in my memory. So too is its promise of eclectic museums as well as its varied architecture, much of which harks back to the days when Zagreb was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

And so it would be that we had a hasty rendezvous with Zagreb, before hopping on a bus bound for Sarajevo where we’d commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I , when Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated. I’d also do more ‘window hunting’ in Sarajevo.

From this Zagreb window series, I like the blend of diamond-in-the-rough façades. Some are shedding their stuccoed exteriors and in turn are exposing their brick innards. They contrast dramatically with the pristine lime-green and cranberry-colored examples. I also appreciate how a mother holding a fair-faced infant deliberately chose to include her little one in my picture’s frame, even though she decided to remain anonymous. :)

Where in the World?

Planning Pointers:

  • Though Zagreb is deserving of a longer stay, most of my trips there, I have been in transit. One December, Shawn and I stayed at Apartment Lucy City Center Rooms (affiliate link). The apartment was compact, but since it was centrally located, and had a pleasant kitchen and bathroom, it offered everything we needed for one night. The Uber ride from Zabreb’s train station to Apartment Lucy was a short one, too. During a summer stay, we spent two nights at the ApartMeant To Be (affiliate link). The host was friendly and helpful, and the apartment was spacious and within walking distance to Jelačić Square and the Dolac Market.
  • For more on the city’s sites, see the Croatian National Tourist Board’s website.

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

35 thoughts on “The Windows of Zagreb, Croatia

    1. Hi Karla, there were a plethora of ‘candidates’ to choose from in Zagreb, and I appreciated that while some buildings were impeccably groomed, others exuded a more gritty character. Thank you for reading!

  1. I love this collage! I recently spent 3 weeks in Italy and tried explaining to my friends how the ceilings in museums always captured my attention first. The architectural details of a city really enhance any travel experience. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Claire, you’re spot on in highlighting Italy’s beautiful ceilings – not only in museums, but also in loggias. (The Uffizi’s, and the cities of Bologna, and Modena come to mind.) Are there any favorites from your recent adventures?

      Thank you for commenting.

      1. I honestly think I spent half my time in the Vatican Museum looking up instead of at the artwork on the walls. And the ceiling in Florence’s Duomo was absolutely stunning.

    1. Laura, in some respects, photographing them is a way to recognize talented craftsmen of days bygone, isn’t it? Glad you enjoyed the latest in the windows series; thanks for your kind words!

  2. I love following small, unique architectural details in cities…Treviso is also a great one for windows. Nice post – I’ve also wanted to spend more time in Croatia and I also feel like I always end up in a rush!

    1. Peggy, ah Treviso is a special spot too. My husband had a class in that area several springs ago, and I had fun taking off work and tagging along. We did day-trips to Sacile, Treviso, Udine, Venice, and Padua. This was before I ‘collected’ windows on film, though. :)

      What part of Croatia have you visited? Shawn and I were fortunate to have wintered there two years in a row – once in Trogir, later in Split. After nearly 5 months there, it feels like home in many ways. I’m happy to share ideas if it looks like you’re headed back soon.

      Wish you a wonderful weekend ahead, and thanks for your comment.

      1. Hey Tricia! So sorry for my long delay. It has been a crazy period with the wedding, and then my computer broke! :-/ That’s great that you got to do day trips to all of those beautiful areas. It is such a nice region. I’ve only been to Zagreb unfortunately. I have some friends that live there. But I’ve actually wanted to do a summer trip to Croatia because I’ve heard it is beautiful!

      2. Peggy, no worries. I seemed to have missed news about the wedding, and who the happy couple is. :) Surprisingly, I haven’t spent much time in Croatia during the summer months, as we set up our temporary home there during the winter/early spring in 2013 & 2014. The weather was quite pleasant then, and the ability to have many of the towns to ourselves was priceless. Hope you’ll get the chance to make it again soon!

    1. Bespoke Traveler, you ask great questions! Having only been on two whirlwind jaunts through Zagreb (often in transit) I would say that there’s a blend of buildings from the city’s Austro-Hungarian and Yugoslavian chapters of history. In this collage, I focused on the frillier buildings from the former time period, but like other cities, Zagreb also had boxier Socialist structures and graffiti. From my first visit in 2007 until this one in 2014, I noticed the city has become much more primped and polished. It’ll be interesting to see how it’s evolved the next time we’re back.

      1. Sounds like the polish of tourism is taking over Zagreb. It will be interesting, as you say, to see whether any of the boxier Socialist structures survive the primping.

    1. Hi Darlene, since I’m merely the ‘window hunter’ all credit should go to the talented artisans who made these beauties. I wonder how long some of the windows took them to complete? Thank you, as always! :)

    1. Thank you, Kendra. My husband and I have been fortunate to have spent two winters in Croatia, however, we were mostly along the coast and not in inland spots such as Zagreb. From tasty homemade Mediterranean food, to good wine, history and kind hosts, our months in Trogir and Split were memorable.

      We heard there are a plethora of beautiful castles and villages to visit inland, and so hope to get back to Croatia soon. I wish the same for you as well!

  3. Wow. I am SO looking forward to when you go again, so I can see more of gorgeous pictures! Great post!!

  4. it sounds like a charming area, Tricia, but I can understand “winter destinations” and Zagreb wouldn’t be ideal. Love your window collection, especially the open window with the baby.

    1. Hi Lynne, as a Floridian accustomed to pleasant winters, I can see why you relate. :) You’re right about the baby being the star; it was fun that her mother kept her in the shot.

    1. Hi Jamie, thank you! How interesting that you lived in Zagreb in the ’90s. If I may ask, what type of work brought you there? I bet it was a fascinating period of time to call the region home.

  5. Great variety and diversity of window panes for you to choose from in Zagreb, although #4 would have to do it for me. Great shot of the child looking out, fantastic shot. I like your window-hunting passion as it is a good mix with my sister and her door-hunting skills :-)

    1. Randall, it sounds like your sister and I could succumb to shutterbug mischief if ever our paths crossed. :) Number 4 was also my favorite, as I appreciated the silent interaction I had with the little one’s mother, and of course the life that the child added to the set. Hope your week is going well!

  6. What a great collection of windows ! Love the way you have creatively captured them in lens. Thanks for sharing

    1. Hi Aby, how nice to hear that you enjoyed this peek at Zagreb’s architecture. From collages of windows, to Moldovan water wells, Spanish tapas, and Bulgarian roses, I’ve been having fun with this series. Thank you for reading!

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