We stayed in Zagreb at the end of August 2020 for two weeks and here is how we score Zagreb. Please refer below "Destination Score Criteria Explained". For a detailed review of Zagreb, read this blog post.
1. Green Space - 5
There are ample parks in and surrounding Zagreb, and it's at the foot some beautiful forested mountains. Many streets are tree lined providing nice shade on a hot day, and there are plentiful small parks.
2. Air Quality - 4
Some pollution from cars, but nothing major or unexpected in a city.
3. Walkable - 5
Whilst Zagreb is a city spreading wide from east to west, the major areas to visit are easy to walk around. The upper and lower towns are easily connected with a number of walkways and stairs, and the footpaths are in good condition. Cars give way readily at pedestrian crossings, the trams less so - watch out for them.
4. Transport - 5
Zagreb trams are readily available and cover the majority of the city and are well used by the locals. The airport connects Zagreb domestically and internationally and is only 15kms from the city center. Trains and buses are available for inter-city links.
5. Internet - 2
Very poor internet connection for us, the downloads were ok at ~17Mbps, but the upload speeds were terrible ranging from 500 to 700Kbs (.5 to .7Mbps).
6. Cost of Living - 4
Espresso coffee is USD$1.27. Trams cost USD$0.63 - $1.6 depending on travel time (30 - 90 mins). Average AirBNB nightly price is USD$32.5.
7. Street Art and Street Performance - 2
There was a good amount of street performers at different times of the day, and what seems to be a burgeoning street art scene. What lets it down is the ugly graffiti everywhere.
8. Natural Beauty - 3
In the heart of the city there are some nice parks and forest walks, and while you have the lovely Medvednica Mountain range directly behind the city, you don't see it from the city itself.
9. Architecture - 4
Great mixed architecture display in the center of Zagreb with lovely old buildings full of charm. Not a lot of modern buildings or high-rises which helps maintain the lovely old world feeling. But there were a lot of really ugly and rundown residential buildings as soon as you move out of the city center.
10. Fresh Produce - 5
In Zagreb you don't have to go too far to find a farmer's market - there are several good sized ones around the town, most including a fish market, butchers, and cheese vendors.
11. People - 4
We were pleasantly surprised that the people seem much more polite, aware of others, and considerate in Zagreb compared to those in Split. So even though it was a bigger city with a lot more people, we felt very comfortable walking around.
12. Jolly Hobo's Pleasure Level - 3
We found Zagreb a very pleasant city with great access to nature, a vibrant cafe scene, and some great architecture and public spaces. It seems to be a very liveable city, but for us we struggled to find more things to do to occupy us.
The total score for a long stay in Zagreb is: 46 (out of total 60), therefore Zagreb gets our 2nd top rating of "Super Jolly"!
Destination Score Criteria Explained
We score each destination that we stayed, living like a local. The length of stay is normally longer than two weeks. We picked 12 categories that matter the most to us as follows, not in any particular order. In any given category, the lowest score is 0 and highest score is 5. We then add the scores together to come up with a total score and a level of "Jolly":
0-20: Really Bad
21-30: Not So Jolly
41-50: Super Jolly
51-60: Supremely Jolly
1. Green Space
How many small and large green spaces for exercises, picnic, reading etc. It also includes the amount of tree lined streets providing adequate shade.
2. Air Quality
In general what is the air quality like? Is smog visible? If so, how often?
How walkable is the place? Are there good quality walk ways / foot paths? How are the pedestrian crossings and traffic light lights? Do cars give way at pedestrian crossings?
Public transport / connections, ease of use, cost
Uber etc availability
Quality of internet. We do a Ookla speed test at each location. Download speed is important of course, but considering we load up photos & videos, upload speed is important too.
6. Cost of Living
Use the following benchmark items:
A cup of standard coffee in a cafe
Local transport cost
Average AirBNB nightly cost for a one bedroom apartment with Wifi, kitchen and washing machine and a rating of 4.85+
7. Street Art and Street Performance
How lively is it on the streets from an art and entertainment perspective?
Is there quality street art or is there just graffiti?
8. What is the natural environment like? Is it attractive? Does it have any particular appeal such as mountains, sea etc?
What is architecture like? Attractive place, new, old, ugly?
10. Fresh Produce
Availability, quality, price of fresh food and grocery shopping
Are local people friendly? Are they processional at service oriented venues such as supermarkets, shops, cafes and restaurants?
12. Jolly Hobo's Pleasure Level
Overall how much did we enjoy the time in this place.