In the last years, Zagreb has been growing as a tourist destination. Visitors, together with the locals, have started discovering the colourful, good-looking and friendly face of the city, with its coffee-culture, food festivals, fresh welcoming vibe.
And then, October comes. All of the sudden, the Zagreb I remember from my childhood is back. This city lets its ancient soul come back to surface in October. This is the only month of the year when I’m completely sure that my city is still here.
Usually, it feels good to be surrounded by well-maintained buildings and shiny facades. But in October, they seem so false. They seem like hiding a lady’s wonderful gray hair, that makes her look so wise and sophisticated. I like to go to the streets that still show some decay. They’re Zagreb’s smile wrinkles and, in October, I really don’t want them to fade away.
This is the time of the year when, in some streets or corners of the city, a strange sensation comes all over me. If I’m on a tour, I turn to my guests and say: “Can you feel this melancholic vibe? This is Zagreb.” If you get that feeling, stop for a moment and let it take you a step closer to true Zagreb.
There are two Secret Zagreb tours that I enjoy more than others in October, tour that can bring you closer to this sensation:
Mysterious Zagreb, because evenings in Zagreb are so atmposheric in autumn. It gets dark and chill unexpectedly early, a strange mist is in the air, the smell of wet leaves all around, branches start ditching their veils and showing their awkward shapes. Nights are very quiet and you can hear the worms making their way through fallen leaves.
Into the Forest tour, because it takes you far away from the crowds and lets you feel the melancholia that has always been the main ingredient of this city. It might be true that people make cities, but in order to get in tune with Zagreb, you have to move away, enter its forests, and loose yourself to its whispers of old.