Cross Mladost Bridge southbound on a Sunday morning and the first thing you see will be an ant-like procession of human forms moving purposefully along the River Sava embankment. It’s the weekly pilgrimage to Hrelić, a vast outdoor market that spreads itself across a gravelly lot, some 2km east of the bridge. Here a grid-plan mini-city of stalls sells everything from cheap jeans and T-shirts to footwear, no-longer-fashionable toys, second-hand sunglasses, and spare parts for machines you never knew existed. Some sellers only deal in specialised items (one offers fishing rods, another accordions); others simply set their junk out on the gravel in a disorderly pile. If you enjoy rummaging for used clothes, or dream of finding that offbeat fashion accessory that you never even knew you wanted until you saw it gleaming up at you from a dusty car-park floor, then Hrelić is most definitely for you. For a rather more genteel take on the same experience, the Sunday antiques and bric-a-brac market on Britanski trg provides the chance to browse the kind of junk that has been elevated to collectable status – old postcards, vintage magazines, second-hand books, and the kind of kitchenware your parents threw out years ago and now wish they hadn’t. Prints, militaria, old coins, folk costumes, retro furniture and genuine antiques also turn up, making Britanski trg a crucial stop-off for the determined curiosity hunter. It’s also an important Sunday social ritual, with the square’s café te
More than just a trading place: Zagreb's Dolac market
Overlooking the main square, and in the shadow of the Cathedral is Zagreb’s most precious resource: the Dolac. This is more than just a place of trade. In this fractured capital of Upper and Lower towns, the Dolac is a constant, a hub of classless social interaction, a weathervane of the local economy and Zagreb’s connection with the surrounding villages, even with distant Dalmatia. Traders voices are either distinctly urban (Kaj), provincial, or come from the deepest south. Around the square are little bars and eateries offering gableci, cheap late-morning lunches. Daily from 7am, the Dolac is abuzz until the early afternoon. After considering several locations, the city fathers had a main market built between Kaptol and Tkalčićeva, Zagreb’s most atmospheric thoroughfare. Opened in 1930, it comprised a raised open square lined with stalls of fruit, vegetables and eggs. At street level was an indoor market for meat and dairy traders, then in 1933, a fish market – based on the one in Trieste – was set up alongside. This layout remains in place today, with the addition of a mezzanine in the indoor section and the bright reconstruction of the Ribarnica (the fish market). Florists now occupy the top level, where the Dolac meets Opatinova. Entering from the street, you walk through the main hall of bakers and butchers. Pekara Dinara from Sesvete is so renowned there are queues outside its two downtown outlets. Of the butchers, Pečun-Pečun is a quality purveyor of sausages f
Zagreb shopping guide
In Zagreb, shopping has undergone a makeover. From being a staid and rather quaint shopping backwater, the Croatian capital can now justifiably claim to be a hub of contemporary design. But for all these recent developments, Zagreb has not lost its traditional charm. The Dolac market behind the main square is still everyone's first port of call for fresh fruit and vegetables, and second-hand record stores abound. Read on to find out where to go shopping in Zagreb.
Where to shop in Dubrovnik
The Dubrovnik shopping arena is, thankfully, starting to be less dominated by the overpriced tourist shops that once dominated the city, and a few key stores are holding out against these tacky souvenir shops that line the main street of Stradun. Time Out discovers the best places to go shopping in Dubrovnik, from designer boutiques to open-air markets.
Split shopping guide
Though no mecca for contemporary fashion, Croatia's second city is gradually embracing the design revolution that has already swept the capital. Split shopping encompasses anything from funky local design to revered Croatian and international designer brands. Around town, you'll also find independent outlets for locally produced preserves, and for fresh local produce, Split market opens from early doors alongside Diocletian's Palace. Our team of local experts show you where to go shopping in Split.
Recommended shops in Zagreb
Designer Ana Tevsić started her own "Love, Ana" label, a line of quirky interior furnishings and accessories, in defiance of the current market crisis. This is her own sleek shop/studio; she sells a variety of her own designs, including her most famous "Chew On This" wall-hanger, and also stocks products from other promising designers, along with a variety of multilingual magazines. An interesting place to pick up something both useful and original.
Bold, edgy, unisex designs in a post-industrial boutique belonging to Dioralop, the fashion duo made up of Maja Merlić and Andreja Bistričić. Regular participants in the London and Paris fashion weeks, they are noted for using blurry polaroid (‘dioralop’, geddit?) photographs as the basis for their striking prints.
Hidden away in an off-street courtyard, this is a most unusual and unexpected combination of second hand bookshop and hand-made cosmetics boutique. Let's begin with the cosmetics - there's a range of organic products, including hand and face creams and body lotions, made from olive oil and Adriatic herbs by Šibenik-based firm Sapunoteka. The soap can be bought in big slices priced by weight, or in nicely packaged 100-gram bricks (25kn). There's a big choice – particularly recommended are Three Colours White (3 boje bijelo; with aniseed), Not Everything is as Grey as You Think (Nije sve tako sivo; fennel and lemon), or the excitingly grainy Little Witch (Mala Vještica; poppy seed, clay and lavender). On sale in the other half of the shop are over 4,000 book titles - almost half in English - and T-shirts with subversive slogans, badges, and a variety of rabble-rousing books.
Arguably Croatia's leading luxury boutique, Maria was launched in Dubrovnik in 2007 and opened up in Zagreb in December 2010. On sale are the latest collections by top international names across the whole spectrum of pret-à-porter collections, including Gucci, Stella McCartney and Balenciaga. It's not just a question of fancy frocks: ultra-glamorous (and ultra-expensive) shoes, bags and belts are there to be tried on too.
Recommended shops in Dubrovnik
Strategically located near Stradun street, the Maria Store is one of the few places in Croatia where you can find a battery of major international names such as Givenchy, Lanvin, Valentino, Saint Lauren and Stella McCartney, all laid out in a light, relaxing space designed by Italian architect Marco Bonelli. Prices to match the quality and atmosphere on offer. Staff are approachable, though, whatever you're looking for.
The daily market, on a raised square a set of stairs up from Jelačić, has been the city's major trading place since 1926. Farmers from surrounding villages come to sell their home-made foodstuffs and some of the freshest fruit and vegetables you'll ever taste. In the covered market downstairs are butchers, fishmongers and old ladies selling the local speciality sir i vrhnje (cheese and cream). Flowers and lace are also widely available. Alongside, the renovated fish market, ribarnica, sells fresh produce every day but Monday.