Seb and I have never been big fans of capital cities and therefore have always tried to avoid them as much as possible on all our previous trips. Our overall impression used to be that they were too crowded and expensive and that the second biggest city of a country was usually much nicer than the capital (why do you think we love Antwerp so much…)
However, we have to adjust our view on things since we arrived in the Balkan countries. Seb had already visited all of the Balkan countries on a previous trip but for me it would be the first time here, so we decided to go to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. From the moment we started driving through the city looking for a place to park, until the moment we left, we both felt a special vibe. The city itself is old, but very beautifully maintained and it offers a soothing, hip and trendy atmosphere. In the end I think it even counts as the most relaxed city we have seen so far. Not only the capital was to our liking in Slovenia, but also the country itself is very modern and trendy and the people are very friendly.
After our great experience in Slovenia, we were eager to see if the next capital would also be able to prove us wrong, so we decided to visit Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, as well. Since we are in the midst of high summer we decided to skip the coastline because it would be way too busy, so city sightseeing was next on the agenda. Although Zagreb feels bigger and more modern, it also had a hip and trendy vibe.
So overall it seems that our take on capital cities was very wrong, and therefore we were willing to do a re-take on this subject. For those of you who normally stop in Austria or Italy for your vacation, just drive a little bit further east and let the capitals of Slovenia and Croatia blow your mind!