- sponsored page -
Destination Urban / Swanky-travel
A small specialist tour company based in Zagreb
, which, as the name implies, has an emphasis on urban exploration
(aka 'urbex' for short). They do “normal” city tours as well, but their urbex tours are what makes them relevant to dark tourism. They have some off-the-peg regular tours, but are also prepared to tailor tours to clients' specific requirements as far as possible.
I used them for three different tours on my Croatia
trip in March/April 2018:
a) a specially tailored combination tour of the Željava underground airbase
and the abandoned former Tito summer residence of Villa Izvor
. This was urbex to the max – real adventurous sites … and with quite dark associations to boot. Other than through the specially requested combination, the tour was tailored in so far that it started/finished from/at Plitvice rather than Zagreb. The regular tours to Željava at the time usually combined this with a three-hour visit to the decidedly non-dark Plitvice National Park (which I did independently instead). But now they also have a regular tour with the combination I had customized + the Karlovac Homeland War Memorial thrown in as well (see below
b) a regular walking tour of Zagreb
, but with a certain emphasis on unusual things like the underground tunnels, strange sculptures, weird graffiti and such like + a specially arranged visit to the Memorial Centre
was included, which obviously does not regularly feature on normal city walks.
c) another specially tailored combination tour by minibus/van, this time from/to Zagreb
and to places on the outskirts of or in the vicinity of the city, namely the abandoned Villa Rebar
and Brestovec hospital
(both urbex destinations in the hills north of the city) as well as Kerestinec Castle
All these tours were exceptional and our guide, Iva, second to none in her enthusiasm about all these places. She runs Destination Urban (and is associated with some of Croatia
's foremost urbexers) out of the “Swanky Mint” Hostel in the Old Town (not just a hostel, by the way, they also have private rooms and self-catering apartments). So it may be aimed primarily at a younger clientèle, but everybody is welcome.
I considered myself lucky to get Iva herself as my guide for all three tours (she said she doesn't always find the time to do the guiding herself amidst her various admin obligations), but I've also seen superb reviews about the other guides she employs.
So I cannot recommend them too highly! If in Zagreb
you want something out of the ordinary mainstream, including plenty that firmly falls under the umbrella term 'dark tourism', then look no further than Destination Urban / Swanky-travel!
If you do book a tour with them
, make sure you mention that you found them through dark-tourism.com
UPDATE (July 2018): the company has changed name (to bring it line with the hostel's name) and have a new website
too, called Swanky-travel
(external link, opens in a new window) with further tour packages – now also including one regularly combining Željava
and Villa Izvor
(as in the tour I had tailored specially for me in March 2018), and another one combining Željava
with Petrova Gora
and both also include a stop at the Karlovac Homeland War Museum
, which in both packages is a fantastic trio of destinations in one tour!
Update (2019): Moreover, they now also cover Eastern Croatia
(another external link), including Vukovar
(and more) in one two-day package (whereas I still had to do this independently by hire car). Another great addition!
They also still offer custom tours, so will be responsive to special requests.