Whether you just pass through Zagreb or you have a full stay, visit Zagreb’s open markets for a taste of home made products. This is especially for people who are coming from the large cities and love natural and healthy food. On Croatian local markets you can find sausages from small, local butchers, fresh cottage cheese, virgin olive oil or local wild apples. Offer depends on the season, but there is always something interesting to pick from.
Beside food markets there is one flea market and one antique market. Those 2 are opened only on certain days, but they are interested to visit if you are in that kind of things. There you can find vinills, old books, memorabilia and other things of that type.
Timing and general suggestions
Croatian markets are usually open in the first part of the day. Best time to visit them is between 8AM and 1PM. Then most of the sellers will be there and ready for you. After 1PM sellers will be either out of stock or gone, with only some of them left. Bargaining is acceptable to some extend, they will lower their prices but it’s not like in some countries where you can cut the price in half or more. Also prepare cash. Some sellers have POS machines, but majority do not. Prices on markets range from cheaper than in large stores to higher, depending on what you want and expect. For instance homemade virgin olive oil will cost around 10-13 euros, while in stores you could find industrial virgin olive oil starting for 5 euros. But the difference in quality is immeasurable. Of course like any market you must be cautious and prepared. There are “homemade” products from large stores repacked to look like homemade. It is wise to check what grows when and does it grow in Croatia’s climate. I can assure you that there are no Croatian bananas or winter tomatoes.
If you don’t know what to look for here is a small list of interesting ( at least for me) things that you could find almost all year long.
Porcini mushrooms- you can find fresh or dried ones.
Olive oil- most of it is really homemade and you can always ask for a sample.
Pumpkin oil- if you don’t know what it is you should definitely try it.
Sausages- there are number of small butchery shops at every market, explore a bit, ask to smell their product and follow your nose. My personal recommendation is “Slavonska” and “Kulen”.
Spices and herbal teas- you can find large varieties of dried local herbs for very cheap price, like oregano and basil.
Ajvar- a local variety of relish or chutney. It’s made in hot or normal variant.
Honey- and other bee products like propolis.
Prosciutto- either dalmatian or istrian, if you find it try both.
There are many food markets in Zagreb, but here I will mention only 3. Oldest one, located in strict center of Zagreb is “Dolac”. Its not big but it’s the most famous one and there you will find more stuff that are tourist related. Biggest one is located in a city district called “Trešnjavka” ( pron. Treshnavka). You can get there by foot ( it’s near tram routes) or car. Last one I will mention is market located in district called “Utrina”. Its not big, but it’s on the way to the airport and it has almost everything that other bigger markets have. So if you are catching a plane ask your taxi driver to stop there.
Zagreb has one large flea market called Hrelich. Beside random stuff it is also a used car market and car parts market. Working days are Saturday,Sunday or Wednesday, but it’s best if you can catch Sunday. You will see everything for sell there, from used, chewed up tennis balls to rare collectables, good bicycles, old books, clothes, wigs, guns, you name it. Of course on these type of market you must be extra carefull, what you buy and what you do. You could buy some stolen goods or be duped by some swindler. If you are looking for antiques, Market on “Britanski trg” is a place for you. It’s a very small market, located in the center of Zagreb near “Ban Jelačić” (pron. Ban Jelachich) square. It works only on some days and it’s divided in 3 themes, one for each day:
Thursday from 7AM to 6PM market for porcelain, glass production and jewelry.
Friday from 7AM to 6PM old books market
Saturday and Sunday from 7AM to 2PM antiques market.
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