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Exploring the Balkans

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Zagreb and Istria, Sarajevo and Bosnia, and Montenegro
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Pržno, Montenegro
Driving down the coast of Montenegro, we skipped the ugly-looking resort towns of Budva and stopped in pretty little Przno. Konoba More, along the water right next to a little public beach, was a lovely place to eat octopus and clams, and gaze out...
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Njeguši, Montenegro
In the town of Njegusi, on the edge of Lovcen National Park, the local farmers have figured out that there's a market for their homemade smoked ham, honey, cheese, and brandy. As you drive through the town, stop at any one of the signposts—most...
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Uspinjača, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia
Get whisked away to the Upper Town in just 64 seconds on Zagreb’s emblematic blue funicular. Connecting the Lower and Upper Town areas since 1890, the cable railway is said to be the world’s shortest for public transport. Once you...
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Trg žrtava fašizma 7, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia
5/4, or the Fifth Quarter, or Peta četvrtina in Croatian, is the newest restaurant from Dino Galvagno, who also runs the celebrated Prasac. The food is beautiful, impeccably sourced (right down to the bread, baked in-house using yeast they...
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Gundulićeva ul. 18, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia
Gostionica Tip Top is an old bohemian hangout—Croatian poet Tin Ujevic used to hang out here. They serve inexpensive but delicious Dalmatian cuisine in downtown Zagreb, and are known for their set menus—in particular, octopus stew on Thursdays and...
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Ćirilometodska ul. 3, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia
Naive art—the work of untrained artists, also known as outsider art or primitive art—has a long and respected tradition in Croatia. The Croatian Museum of Naive Art is where these untrained yet perceptive artists are celebrated. The names will be...
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Ilica 63, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia
Zagreb is a coffee town, certainly. Cafes abound. But the espresso isn't always quite up to the standards of third-wave coffee snobs who require 3 to 5 perfectly pulled ristrettos per day while on holiday (ahem). The clean lines and white motif of...
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Bravadžiluk 11, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia and Herzegovina
The owner of the place we were staying told us that Bosnians respect their stuffed dough creations enough to give each kind (they have different fillings) unique names. The jab is at Croatians, who refer to all of these filled pies as burek. This...
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Kaptol, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Zlatna Ribica ("goldfish") Bar in Sarajevo, on Kaptol just north of Marsala Tita, has a Sarajevo-hipster-mixed-with-postwar-intellectual vibe, including the cluttered ephemera-filled decor, the thick cigarette smoke, and the handlebar-mustachioed...
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Ferhadija 29, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia and Herzegovina
We stopped for a snack at this sweet shop on the main drag. We got a piece of sticky-sweet kadaif and a hunk of halvah (it's sold by the kilo; we, being unable to speak Bosnian, simply motioned for a small slice). Kadaif is made from shredded...
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Fra Anđela Zvizdovića 8, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Salep is a warm drink made from the tubers of an orchid genus called Orchis (according to Wikipedia at least). It tastes a little like warm horchata—comforting and creamy. In fact, we thought it was rice-based at first. Morica Han is an old...
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Mali Ston, Croatia
As you drive north from Dubrovnik and up into the Peljesac Peninsula, it's impossible not to notice all the oyster farms dotting the water (also impossible not to notice, and stop at, all the winemakers who offer tastings). The towns of Ston and...
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Nova ves 4, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia
Just look at those scampi! They were delicious. Baltazar is a seafood restaurant with a sister place called Melchior, that's more of a meat restaurant. You can order from either menu, which causes a certain amount of confusion (and a lot of...
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51410, Opatija, Croatia
Konoba Tramerka serves some of Kvarner’s freshest seafood and locally sourced meats, all expertly prepared with a dash of soul. The restaurant is tucked away on a narrow cobblestone street just steps from the seafront in the tiny fishing...
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,Croacia, D421 14, 52224, Trget, Croatia
Trget is a relatively remote town in Istria, on the south-eastern coastline. Driving there, it seemed like the road was about to end right at the sea, but we rounded a corner and arrived at a pleasantly casual tavern. Fresh anchovies, a seafood...
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Čabarnica 42, Zrenj, 52428 Oprtalj, 52428, Žnjidarići, Croatia
If you want to check out a real-deal agritourism operation (a family-run working farm), Tončić is the top choice. Located in a hilly hamlet in Istria’s bucolic interior, the farm not only has panoramic views of Čićarija mountain and the...