It is a 6 hour train ride from Zagreb in Croatia to Belgrade in Serbia. We caught the 6am train from Zagreb which commenced in Zagreb.
I cannot tell you if the through train from Switzerland is any different but there was no food or drink on our train and we were not told when we bought our FIRST class ticket. It is a long time for no food nor drink and we did buy our ticket the day before...it was not last minute in a rush.
First class was just a bit more roomy...Oh there was a toilet. And luckily we did not have to hoist our heavy bags on overhead racks as we had a carriage to our selves.
We were saved from starvation as, just by chance, we had a food pack from the hotel (and we do not usually collect a food pack)
Unique Suggestions: Take food. There is a bakery type shop at the train station in Zagreb.
Fun Alternatives: Maybe fly...but we do not like small planes and we like trains.
If you plan to travel on to Serbia you will not find any where to exchange your money in Croatia. Not in your hotel...not in a bank nor at an exchange office. None at Gatwick airport in UK either.
So have a little with you if you plan to cross the border into Sebia. And in Serbia you really need to have some of the local currency.
Unique Suggestions: You can change money at the Railway in Serbia but watch out they might pass you Macedonian money which is of lesser value.
Fun Alternatives: Order Serbian money well in advance just to have a little.
I will put this tip into Serbia as well but it was in Croatia we had the difficulty.
If you simply get into a taxi (outside the railway station, bus station,etc) and state your destination, be prepared to pay through your nose.
Fun Alternatives: Check with Information at the railway station before you take a taxi anywhere, find out what the minimum fare is and how much you might expect to pay for the distance you are travelling. Better yet, don't take a taxi unless you absolutely HAVE to.
Once you arrive in Zagreb and you want/need to head into town, dont take the Taxi as the are renoun for overcharging "foreigners" (ie. anyone that doesnt come from Zagreb!) The "normal" charge for a Taxi from Airport to Zagreb Train Station (as a reference point) is around 160-180 Croatian Kuna: 21€ - 23€. This price is for the Taxi (1 person or 4!)
On numerous occasions I have witnessed people being charged over 200 Kuna per head! and 500 Kuna for a group of 3 people for a taxi fare to the City Centre! Beware!
The Airport Bus (run by Croatia Airlines) runs to the Central Bus Station and costs 35Kuna per head with extra charge for bags. The Central Bus Station is only a short Tram ride from the City Centre or a 15mins walk if you are up for it.
Unique Suggestions: If you do need to take a Taxi follow the following rules;
a) agree on the price for the trip BEFORE entering the taxi (see average prices below)
b) dont allow the Taxi driver to change the price once you have reached your destination, stick to the agreed price.
c) tipping is not necessary, however, nearly all Taxi Drivers expect it and most likely have factored in 10%-15% on the fare just for good measure.
d) befriend a fellow traveller whilst standing in the Passport Control and ask if they might arrange a taxi on your behalf. This is a little hit & miss but it might be me who you decide to befriend ;-)
e) ask one of the friendly guys at any of the rental counters to order a taxi on your behalf. This may also be a little hit & miss but you might be pleasantly surprised.
f) Pre-Book a taxi over the internet. There are a couple of websites where you can get details (and prices) of independant taxi drivers. I recommend this as a choice as these businesses are professional and courteous relying heavily on word-of-mouth for their livelihoods (www.taxi-zlatko.hr/Cjenik.htm , www.autotaxi-darijo.hr)
Fun Alternatives: Use the Bus.
Croatia Airlines runs a service that leaves every 30mins from the Airport to the Central Bus Station.
It costs approx. 35Kuna per head (bags are extra)
From the Central Bus Station there are regular Trams to the City Centre and a Tram ticket will cost you about 6-8 Kuna.
Average price from Zagreb Airport to;
International / Westin / Sheraton Four Points Panorama / Laguna / Regent Esplanade / Sheraton City / Antunovic Hotel / Dom Sportova - between 160 - 180 Kuna
Hotel Dubrovnik - between 180 - 220 Kuna
If you want to get to Belgrade in Serbia don't get get confused.
Say Belgrade Serbia.
Some Ticket sellers don't think that you want to go to Serbia and sell a ticket to Biograd in Croatia.
Unique Suggestions: Go back to the counter and try to get your money back.
Fun Alternatives: Say Belgrade - Serbia. There are no confusiosn possible!
Taxis are most probably the most expensive transportation method in Croatia, probably in Europe as well. The prices are hugely exaggarated, and add to that that the taxi drivers are going to try to rip you off if they see you're foreign. You better just avoid it...
Unique Suggestions: If you really really have to use a taxi, just use it to get to the nearest train, bus or tram line. Better put in more time than go by taxis, the experience is going to cost you bitterly.
Fun Alternatives: The alternative is always other means of public transportation :) It's cheaper for sure, not as quick, but definately a better choice...
This little guy allowed me to take the picture while he was performing his "music", but I had to pay 10 kuna (1,20 euros).
Some other Gipsy guys are not so cute and polite. If they are selling merchandise, do not buy it because it worth nothing.
Unique Suggestions: The best way to stay out of trouble is to ignore them completely.
THIS IS NOT A TOURIST TRAP!!!
A small and old souvenir shop in Radiceva street offers very cute miniature buldings from Zagreb made of ceramics.
Unique Suggestions: During the high season, mostly in front and around the Cathedral, some people offers "souveniers" of low quality and design. I suggest you to buy souveniers in the skops.
They're located at the bottom of Schlosserove Stube, leading up to that outdoor sports facility ground, you know. Well, they pretend to sell vanilla-flavoured ice cream to your children, but don't be fooled. That flavour's hiding a hideous, secretly developed sleeping drug that will knock out both you and your children for several hours. When you wake up, you'll find your children have gone missing. Those evil little dwarves intend to EAT THEM together with MASHED POTATOES in their SECRET CAVE with the neon lit entrance 30 metres left of the Stube.
Unique Suggestions: If you were stupid enough to bring your children to Schlosserove Stube for whatever reason, be sure to outwit those 3 little cuties. Bring out your best talking gear and sneak past their deceptive mumbo jumbo with your truly academic argumentation. They'll serve up one riddle each together with the vanilla ice cream, to see if your children have inherited your intelligence. You see, they eat BRAINS. The more intelligent, the tastier the brain. Those sick puppies.
Fun Alternatives: If you think you're smart enough, try taking them on. If not, mash them with your baseball bat. If they're still alive -remember, dwarves are'nt easy to hit - run for your LIVES.
A tourist trap but for the best of all possible reasons – it’s unmissable. Best way to approach it – up the hill on the funicular from Tomiceva off Ilica, then up the spiral stairs and out on top for the glorious panoramic 360-degree view of the city. Take many photos. Hold your hat on a windy day; cling on if you are at all afraid of heights. The man in the ticket booth was truly the friendliest in all Zagreb – go and see him and brighten his day even if you don’t fancy the view from the top – he loves visitors.
There is no need to give money to the beggars on the streets, unless you see that they are really disabled. There are sooo much (mostly)Gipsy woman and kids wondering around with babies in their arms (beware! sometimes it's just a doll that looks like a baby!), begging for money. Kids have this tendency of being quite rude when you refuse to give them something. Once i had money on the table, prepared to pay the drinks, and one kid came and left like a wind and took it. I was totally shocked. Don't leave your cellphones, wallets or money on the table if you're sitting outside!
It's not like it happens every second, but it MAY happen, so- better safe then sorry.
Also, i read this article maybe a year ago, about this little begger who told the journalist that he sometimes earns in one day what some people earn in a 2 weeks or even a month!!!
I've told you....
Bulldog Pub at Bogovicena 6 is an overpriced place where people pay to gawk and be gawked at. They do have a good beer selection but the Tomislav is far more expensive and not as good as in its namesake Pivnica. Here's Goran and Mirjana after a few.
There a a few places around town to get online, but surfer beware! Don't waste all your time in here catching up with your VT friends!