Last, But Not Least…
When And Where Is The Match Itself?
Celtic will face Dinamo Zagreb in their last group game of the 2014-15 Europa League on Thursday 11th December at 6pm GMT (8pm in Croatia). The match will take place at the Stadion Maksimir in the north-east of Zagreb. Information regarding the stadium itself and how to make your way there can be found below.
Zagreb International Airport – also known as “Pleso Airport” – is the only such international airport within over one hundred and fifty kilometres of the city of Zagreb, suggesting that most, if not all, of the travelling Celtic support will land there this winter.
Again, like Bucharest, this airport shares its traffic between commercial and military aircraft (the Croatian Air Force are based there), so don’t be too concerned if you look out the window and catch sight of a fighter jet.
Moving on, Zagreb Airport has one terminal currently in use and a second undergoing construction, but the building process of terminal two will not be complete by the time Celtic visit Croatia.
The airport is located approximately fifteen kilometres south-west of Zagreb’s city centre, the rough equivalent of a thirty minute car journey.
The only public transport currently linking the airport and the city centre is the “Pleso Prijevoz” shuttle bus service, which runs regularly and costs approximately £3 for a one way journey. These buses may take a little longer than thirty minutes, but not much more unless you happen to get caught in the rush hour traffic. They depart from a bus stop opposite the airport terminal and drop off at the city’s main bus station.
Taxis are also available outside the terminal, but these cost considerably more than the aforementioned bus service and, as is discussed in more detail within the “Getting To The Ground” section of this page, there have been examples in the past when dishonest taxi drivers have charged tourists exorbitant amounts for their fares, so be sure to agree a price prior to departure and only use licenced cabs should you wish to do so.
Getting To The Ground
On the face of it, the Stadion Maksimir is actually fairly accessible compared to some of its compatriots around the world, thanks in large part to its relative proximity to the city centre and array of viable transport links.
Situated approximately four kilometres away from both Zagreb’s city centre and around the same distance from the city’s main train station (“Zagreb Glavni kolodvor”), the 38,000 seater stadium is located in the north-eastern part of Zagreb in the neighbourhood from which it draws its name, Maksimir.
Now, as I have alluded to, there are a variety of options available to supporters with regards travel to the stadium, which I shall now outline:
Please Note – a map detailing the following information can be found at the bottom of this section. Larger versions of this map and all others will be available on Twitter or by email upon request.
1. Trams – Much of Zagreb’s short distance transportation needs are accommodated by the many trams you will see making their way up and down the city’s streets and avenues both day and night. Now, as the stadium lies on one of Zagreb’s main avenues, “Maksimirska cesta”, which also conveniently connects to the city’s main square, “Ban Jelacic Square” (also know as “Trg bana Josipa Jelacica”), some of these trams should provide you with a simple trip to and from the stadium on match day.
Tram number 11 and tram number 12 (headed for “Dubec” and “Dubrava” respectively) both pass through the main square before making their way up the “Maksimirska cesta” avenue straight past the ground. Although the sight of the stadium – as well as the home supporters disembarking – should be visible to you when the time comes to get off the tram, the names of the stops which you should look to get off at from these services are “Bukovacka” or “Hondlova”.
Tram number one and tram number seventeen (both headed to “Borongai”) also run from the city centre to an area south of the stadium, although a walk would then be required to reach the ground should you choose to use this service. If you do so, look for a stop called “Zvonimirova” and get off there, then either follow the crowd north or ask somebody to point you in the right direction.
Equally, should any of you be making your way to the stadium from the city’s main train station (the aforementioned “Zagreb Glavni kolodnor”) instead of the main square, tram number four and tram number nine both provide access to the area around the stadium, with the first going to similar locales as trams eleven/twelve and the latter going to a similar area to one/seventeen.
These services generally leave every fifteen minutes or less throughout the day, so they may well be an ideal choice for you all. As with all metropolitan areas, things slow down during rush hour, but tram journeys to Maksimir generally take somewhere in the region of fifteen to twenty minutes outside of these busy hours.
Day trams run from the early morning until midnight, with the frequencies described above. Night trams run from midnight through until the early morning, but only every half an hour or so.
Three day passes for the tram networks can usually be bought for a little over £10, and single day passes (both of which allow unlimited travel during the desired time periods) cost between £4-5.
Please note, like many public transport networks, the system in Zagreb operates in zones (i.e. the more zones which you pass through on a journey, the more it will cost). However, all travel within the city of Zagreb itself lies inside the first zone, so unless you plan on heading a good distance out of the city, this shouldn’t be an issue to concern yourself with.
2. Road - Taxis are also an option open to you should you wish to make your way to the stadium without using public transport, but this option does come with a word of warning, just as it does on the information page regarding Romania this year.
Officially speaking, a trip from the main square to the Stadion Maksimir with Zagreb’s largest and longest serving taxi company, “Radio Taxi Zagreb”, should cost you somewhere in the region of five pounds (or perhaps even less). However, there have been many examples of drivers – not necessarily those from the previously referenced company I should add – intentionally and unfairly hiking up their prices when they have tourists in the cab, so it’s best to agree a rough price with your driver prior to setting off, and only use officially licenced taxis to avoid any problems in this regard.
3. On Foot – Should, on the off chance, any of you wish to walk to the stadium, you can do this by heading east out of the main square and following the “Vlaska Ul” for a time before it joins the “Maksimir cesta” avenue. From there, continue to follow the avenue until you eventually find the stadium on your right hand side about four kilometres up the road.
The currency which is currently in use in Croatia is the Croatian Kuna. Each Kuna can be subdivided into one hundred Lipa, in a similar manner to pounds and pence.
Whilst the Kuna is expected to be replaced by the Euro at some point in the next couple of years, this change will not affect those supporters travelling to Zagreb this December.
At present, one Kuna is equal to £0.11. Roughly speaking therefore, £1 will buy you ten Kuna, so it will be relatively easy to work out how much things cost in the city without having to get the calculator on your phones out.
Please note, international currency rates are subject to fluctuation, so whilst the present exchange rate is referenced above, it may well have changed prior to your visit to Croatia.
What Will The Weather Be Like?
The average daily temperature in Zagreb in December is 1C, so be prepared to wrap up warm in Croatia’s capital city.
As with many continental settlements, the possible swing in temperature in any given month – which is largely dependent on your luck – is massive. The record high temperature measured in Zagreb in December was 22C, whilst the record low has been -20C (no difference there, then), but averages suggest it will likely be somewhere around freezing, with little daylight hours and a fair chance of rain or snow.
However, one small upside is that generally speaking, January and February tend to be colder months in Zagreb than December does, with temperatures sometimes dropping as low as -27C, so consider that a blessing.
Can I Take A Tour Of The Stadium?
As yet, I haven’t been able to work this out. Presumably tours may be available due to the size of the stadium and the club which occupies it, but I haven’t been able to find any relevant information online as yet. If anyone can enlighten me in this regard it would be very much appreciated.
Whilst ticket prices have yet to be confirmed for away supporters, home tickets for Zagreb’s home Europa League ties appear to be listed on their website at prices ranging from five to fifteen Croation Kuna (about £0.50 to £1.50). Presumably away fans will be charged more than this, but it appears any ticket cost will be very reasonable indeed.
Also, from the rough translation of Zagreb’s website provided by Google Chrome, it appears that away fans are usually housed in the stadium’s south stand, which is the one on the right (“Jug”) in the diagram below, and marked separately on the map below that. It is significantly smaller than the other three stands so should be easy enough to find (the south stand is the only single tier stand).
UEFA regulations dictate that home clubs must offer away supporters a minimum of 5% of their stadium for European matches. This means that as a minimum, Celtic should receive an allocation of approximately 1,900 tickets for this tie.
Presumably, a number of these tickets will be taken up by investors and those travelling on one of Celtic’s official charters (which are expected to be priced somewhere between £370-390 for this trip, ticket cost excluded).
Generally speaking, away European tickets are only available to Celtic season ticket holders, with an individual’s recent away European attendance record being used to allocate them with a grade. Grade A season ticket holders have attended the most matches of late and will stand the best chance of getting any desired ticket. As the grades fall from B through to E (E being the lowest), this chance will fall incrementally. If you are unsure which grade applies to you then I would advise you to contact Celtic’s ticket office.
However, above all else, it is the demand for tickets coupled with allocation size which will increase or decrease your individual chance of being allocated an away ticket.
High profile matches in easy to reach destinations (see Ajax last year, where our allocation was the minimum applicable) can prove very difficult to get a ticket for even for those with a high ticket grading; equally, less desirable matches in larger stadia (see Milan last year) were readily available to any season ticket holder who desired to attend the tie.
At this point, it is unclear how large the demand for away tickets will be in Zagreb.
Please note, all of the relevant information should be publicised by Celtic F.C. in the weeks running up to the tie itself. If and when there are any changes to the information referenced above I will do my best to alter it accordingly as soon as possible.
Eating And Drinking
Having had a quick look at Google, two Irish pubs popped up among the search results for Zagreb – “Sheridan’s” and “Dublin Pub”. However, having had a look at Google street view, I’ve been unable to spot either of these bars at their apparent locations. Now, this may simply be because the street view images were taken before the pubs opened, but not having been to Zagreb myself I can’t say for certain.
The first of the two pubs, “Sheridan’s”, appears to be open as reviews have been posted within the last year on its website. Details of its apparent address and relative position to the rest of the city can be found below.
Address: Savska 36, 10000
As for “Dublin Pub”, it doesn’t have a website and the reviews which some people have left on various travel websites for it have been sketchy at best. Reviews from 2009 confirm the pub was open then but there is no sign of it at the address given for street view – and the street view images were taken in the summer of 2011. Again, details of it can be found below but in all honesty I have no idea if its actually there or not anymore. I feel I should highlight that.
Address: Maksimirska 75
Other than that, it appears there are several bars to be found in the city centre in and around the main square, although none with a notable Irish connection. Still, I’m sure you’ll all find somewhere to enjoy yourselves.
That aside, I feel I should mention that the average price of a pint in Zagreb is somewhere between £1 and £1.50.