A couple of weeks ago my bf and I went to Zagreb. We would have had a very wonderful time if it was not for the people who were at that time working at the tourist office at the main square.
They were not so helpful and friendly. In fact, they even gave a misleading information that costed us one precious day.
We understood there was a high place that one could go to using the cable-car/funicular (medvenica). We went to the tourist office to ask how we could get the cable-car station. They told us the cable-car was out of order.
So we asked if there was any other place we could go to for a nice view of Zagreb from above. They referred us to a hotel up on medvenica (the highest hotel on medvenica) and they also told us that we could take a bus to go to that hotel.
Around the same area, there was a fortress (medvedgrad) we wanted to visit and my bf asked how to get to the fortress from
the hotel and how far it was. We were informed by the guy that worked at the tourist office that we could walk up and/or down but it would be better to take the bus to the hotel and walk down to the fortress. He said it would take about 30 minutes to walk from the hotel to medvedgrad. When my bf asked if there would be road signs pointing us to the fortress he said there were a lot of signs that it would be impossible to get lost.
He also said that we would not get lost because there would be people doing the same (hiking) since it was a nice day. We were happy with this information and decided to give it a try. When we
left the tourist office he said "It would be an adventure" and laughed. There was also a girl working there at that time and I was sure she was also laughing too. We of course thought that they were being friendly and encouraging.
Boy, were we wrong.
And everything went wrong.
One, he and the girl who also worked there forgot to tell us that there was no view of zagreb to be seen from the hotel as the place was completely surrounded by trees. So when we realized that, we missed the bus going back. And the bus only ran every 2 hours. So we had to waste 2 hours up there with nothing to do or see. And it rained on & off.
Two, we decided to sit at the hotel's restaurant for a drink and my bf asked one of the staffs there about the fortress. He told us that there was no way one could walk there in 30 minutes. It would take more than 1 hour considering the road (it's a long and winding road). By then I got the feeling that the people at the tourist office either:
a. did not know what they're talking about, i.e. not competent in giving the correct information; or
b. deliberately misled us.
Three, there were not many people doing the hiking. We only saw a couple bikers.
Four, there were NO signs pointing to the castle on the way. We kept our eyes open on the way down so we could stop and get off the bus if we saw any signs pointing to the castle.
I don't want to be judgmental but I tended to feel like they deliberately misled us judging by:
1. how many misinformations they gave us:
- good view while in reality there was no view at all of zagreb
(while we clearly asked if there was a place with a good view
of zagreb from above)
- 30 minutes walk while in reality there was no way to walk to the fortress from the hotel in 30 minutes.
- many hikers so we wouldn't get lost while in reality there were no hikers, only a couple of individual bikers.
- many signs pointing to the castle so we wouldn't get lost while in reality there were no signs.
2. the tourist office guy's comment about it was going to be an adventure and his and his co-worker's laugh (i'm sure they were laughing at us and not being friendly or encouraging). So horrible and mean.
So... that day we wasted at least 5 hours thanks to the incorrect information given to us and the mean staff of the tourist office - 5 precious hours that we could have used to enjoy Zagreb. It took 1 hour to go up the hill and 1 hour to go down and there was only 1 bus running so that was why we had to wait 2 hours.
1 hour going up + 2 hours waiting + 1 hour going down + the time needed to get to the bus' starting point from zagreb.
Had we known it would take more than 1 hour to walk from that hotel to the castle, we would probably skip the hotel or skip the whole idea altogether.
This was not the first time we were not really satisfied with the tourist office. When my bf, on another occassion,
asked if there was a supermarket or minimarket nearby, he did not get any smile. Instead he was greeted with a sour expression.
Don't get me wrong. My bf and I have been to a lot of places and we have met people who treat us without a smile but never people who deliberately were being mean and misled us.
I'm not saying that everyone in Zagreb is unfriendly or misleading. We did meet some friendly people in Zagreb. For example, the girl at an information booth in the airport. She was all smiles and did not seem to mind when we asked questions - she also told me to take a souvenir from a basket on her table. The guy at the
technical museum, although he did not speak English so well, was also friendly.
A tourist office should always give correct information because that is what it is meant to do. And if the people who work there don't know the answer to a question, it is much better to tell the truth - that they do not know the answer. And by no means can they mislead tourists nor be mean by laughing at tourists who come for information.
If tourist office gives out incorrect information, where can tourists go for info? (That's a rhetorical question).
If tourist office gives out incorrect information, then who need a tourist office? I don't.
During the same trip we also went to Ljubljana and we met more people who were friendly and who were willing to help without being asked.
This is our personal experience and we do not mean to offend anyone by this posting. Instead this should be seen as a fact that there is still a room for improvement.