Last summer’s travels with my son was a part social experiment, part field research on how sustainability is viewed through the eyes of a nine-year-old child. Each country we visited, namely Cyprus, Greece, Croatia, and Scotland had their own flavor of what sustainability and green travel meant. For Croatia, sustainability generally translated to a more personal construct of preserving all things local rather than living what we, in the United States, have come to know as a green lifestyle filled with hybrid car or bus use and renewable energy resources. In many respects, Zagreb epitomizes the all things local concept very well. Unlike the coastline of Croatia, which has had sun, sand, and sea tourism infrastructure in place for many years, Zagreb offers simply elegant green spaces, outdoor markets, and quirky museums that aim to spotlight local architects, artists, and farmers.
King Tomislav Square (Tomislav trg) is a beautiful all-season park that features sculptures, indigenous flowers and evening musical performances by local bands.
Dolac Market is filled each day with seasonal fruits, vegetables, cheeses, flowers, fish and souvenirs such as hand carved wood products.
Museums such as the Museum of Contemporary Art (with its slide out exit and thought-provoking mix of sculptures and paintings depicting the struggles of humanity) and The Museum of Broken Relationships (with its poignant and funny mix of stories and mementos of heartbreak) are standouts among European museums.
Adding to that, the city has fantastic pedestrian thoroughfares and an expansive tram system. It just goes to show that there is no one proper way to do green and sustainable travel. As long as you are more conscious about how your travels (and travel dollars) are benefiting communities socially, economically and environmentally, you’ll already be helping to keep all things local.