Some cities you just feel ‘at home’ in straight away. You just feel comfortable, relaxed, and not on edge at all. Just chilled out and ready to explore. Others can take a short time to get used to – all depends on the individual, of course. For me Barcelona, Hamburg, Lisbon, and now Zagreb are the cities I’ve felt most comfortable in so far, all for different reasons that I can’t quite put my finger on. I find it sometimes depends what time of day you arrive there; arriving at night and seeing a city in darkness first can be a little disconcerting, whereas arriving mid afternoon gives ample time for getting your bearings. Another of the most important factors – especially when travelling solo – is feeling 100% comfortable with your accommodation. There’s nobody to laugh a crappy situation off with if you don’t!
I’ve already written 2000+ words on everything I got up to during my time in Zagreb a couple of weeks ago (go read, cheeky plug), but what I haven’t yet shared with you is the fab apartment I stayed in. In Zagreb I stayed with a family-run apartment company called (wait for it)… InZagreb Apartments (does what it says on the tin!) and couldn’t have felt more comfortable during my stay. Just from their tagline ‘hotels are for sleeping, apartments are for living’ I suspected it’d feel this way. And I wasn’t wrong.
Apartment GOLD was super light and bright (just how I like it), clean, comfy, and kitted out with just about everything I could possibly need. Seriously, I’d struggle to think of a single thing that was missing.
Whilst I love staying in hotels and have been lucky enough to experience some flipping amazing ones, there’s something more relaxed about staying in an apartment that’s designed for actually living in. I stayed for 5 nights, but these apartments are available for long term stay if you so wish. When the apartments are ran as a small family business rather than as part of a huge chain, even better. Something just feels far more personal about the whole experience, you know? Knowing that they’ve been individually designed and looked after, with helpful touches added over time, just makes the apartment seem more homely than any hotel room. Not to mention the reassurance of having somebody to help you out if you need it, or pick you up from the airport (thanks Ksandro!).
Another factor that massively contributes to feeling comfortable in an unfamiliar city is staying in a central location, and this one literally couldn’t be more convenient. Apartment Gold was right by Ban Jelačić Square (the main square) which seemed to be where everything was going on. Including a random yoga sesh on a Thursday afternoon. Not sure what that was about but it looked cool. Anyway, I’m not one to shy away from walking so laziness isn’t my reason for wanting to stay centrally, but was is important to me is being somewhere I won’t feel vulnerable walking back to at night. Not that I’d go off exploring at night on my lonesome (and I didn’t), but nipping out for food or walking back a couple of streets after meeting someone is a necessity. Central Zagreb was more than busy enough and had lots going on, so I didn’t feel vulnerable at all. Unlike some cities, like Rome, which didn’t feel quite so safe. You’d think staying right in the heart of the city would make for noisy nights and no sleep, but being on the 6th floor meant I could barely hear anything. Bearing in mind my alarm was set for 4:30am one day and 6am the others, this was definitely a bonus!
Oh and one final point – I can’t say how helpful it is to have quick, reliable WiFi when you’re alone in an unfamiliar place. I’ve had problems with WiFi in hotels and apartments quite a few times, and it just helps you to feel so much more relaxed when you know contacting people and researching places isn’t an issue. Still cosied up on the sofa and buried myself in a new book for a while one afternoon though. 🙂
lily kate x
My stay with InZagreb Apartments was complimentary, however all opinions are my own.