Zagreb Travel Blog: Things to do in Zagreb

Zagreb Travel Blog Things to do in Zagreb | Croatia Travel Blog

Zagreb Travel Blog: Things to do in Zagreb

Despite being the Capital city of the country, Zagreb in Croatia, is often overlooked as a destination in its own right. Yet this city has remained at the forefront of history and culture of Croatia since Medieval times. There is always something happening in Zagreb. Visitors to the city should certainly find enough to keep them busy, ranging from elegant restaurants to fascinating museums.

We’ve been to Zagreb several times, including for the Advent in Zagreb festivities last Christmas. We agreed on this list of things to do in Zagreb, but it is by no means the only things you can do. Zagreb is the buzzing capital city of Croatia, yet unlike other capital cities it’s not over crowded or polluted.

In Zagreb, you just can’t get lost. There are signs on every corner, leading the way to all of the biggest Zagreb attractions. Zagreb is like all great European cities, in that is has museums, galleries, and churches to visit. Before making the trip make sure have all the essential travel necessities to make your trip that much more comfortable.the essential travel necessities to make your trip that much more comfortable.

You’ll be sure to find something to do in Zagreb. Croatia’s Capital is flat and compact which makes walking about (especially with a pram) super easy. We’re still adjusting to traveling with a toddler, with our baby donkey we were not game enough to head into any of the fancy museums or galleries as he likes to run left when we are walking right. So instead we took on a few different sites. Our suggestions on what to do in Zagreb are:

Our Suggestions For Things to do in Zagreb

What to see in Zagreb, depends on your taste – that said, we have complied a list that has something for everyone.

Zagreb Funicular

Start here, it’s within an easy walk of all the tram and bus stops. As with most funiculars, it’s nothing special to look at, having been in operation since 1893, it makes for a quick and easy trip to the top. It costs just 4 Kuna (approx 0.80 cents) and takes you to the Upper Town, where lies the historic district.

Even if you skip the funicular ride and walk up, which will take you past some shops and coffee bars where if you decide to stop in you’re in for a treat, with a top-notch view overlooking the lower city. This vantage point is one of the best views of Zagreb. Once there you can see many museums, galleries and the like, but we suggest whatever you do, do not miss out on two of the best highlights of Zagreb. 1. the Museum of Broken Relationships and 2. Saint Marks Church.

Things to do in Zagreb: Zagreb Funicular - Chasing the Donkey

Things to do in Zagreb: Zagreb Funicular – Photo Credit Zagreb TZ

Tkalčićeva Street

Don’t ask me to pronounce it. Out of all of the things to do in Zagreb, this one I just can’t wrap my tongue around. Just head there and enjoy a meal or coffee from the MANY places to eat and drink. Be sure to wander along Tkalčićeva street after dark. All of the shops are lit up, and the street has a very romantic feel about it.

Museum of Broken Relationships

Yes, a Museum that is dedicated to those trinkets people keep that remind them of broken relationships. Allow about an hour to see this award winning, small yet fascinating museum.

Things to do in Zagreb: museum of broken relationships - #Croatia Chasing the Donkey

What to do in Zagreb: Head to a Unique Museum

The contents of the museum are just intriguing as the name suggests. Set in the historic district of Zagreb’s Upper Town, the Museum of Broken Relationships is a place you must stop when in Zagreb. Rather than being some bitter and twisted take on relationships, each piece has a little story of a real person who donated the item and what it meant to them. As you walk from item to item, you feel connected to the person, and their feelings of loss and loneliness or relief as the descriptions have been written by the person of whom the item belonged and not a museum curator.

The baby donkey insisted on being out of the pram, and because it was not some thousand-year-old vase or painting, I was comfortable with him wandering about the museum. Once you have seen the exhibition, you can enjoy a coffee in the cafe and wander about the gift shop. Overall a great place to see, and one of the many things to do in Zagreb that’s family-friendly.

Medvednica

If you want to enjoy the beautiful sites, of nature, then take a day trip – and spend the day hiking up a mountain. Head up trail #12 for the best views. Or, you have 69 other trails to choose from, as well as eight cycling routes.

Head to Sljeme, at the peak of Medvednica Mountain it is great for an active vacation in Zagreb which is just 30kms away.

Pimp My Pump

Zagreb is becoming the hotspot of incredible street art. There are in fact several street art museums in different neighborhoods. The most famous street art initiative around is Pimp My Pump. Old water pumps can be found throughout the city, but they used to be invisible. However, they can’t go unnoticed once they get their makeover done by the Pimp My Pump crew. Read more thanks to local Iva here.

Pimp My Pump Zagreb - Travel Croatia like a local

Fun things for kids on your Croatia holidays – Pimp My Pump Zagreb

Active Life and Nature of Zagreb

If you like hiking Zagreb is perfect. Zagreb was built on the slope of a mountain, so you can start walking straight from the city. Swimming? There are two lakes. Skiing? Water or alpine? Zagreb has it all. If you’re an outdoor activities type, you’ve come to the right place. Parks, lakes, forests and even a mountain, they’re all just around the corner. Read more thanks to local Iva here.

St. Mark’s Church

We’ve had the pleasure of visiting countless churches across Europe, so I’ll be honest and say that this church lacks the big WOW factors on the inside that more famous churches do. However, it does have one distinguishing feature; what a roof!

Croatians are known to be patriotic, and the roof of St. Mark’s is a testament to that fact. With the White Castle (Zagreb’s Coat of Arms) and the National Red, White and Blue tiles emblazoned on the roof for all to see, it’s the reason I’ve included this as one of the must-see things to do in Zagreb.

Things to do in Zagreb: St Marks Church Zagreb - Chasing the Donkey

What to do in Zagreb: Check out St Marks Church Zagreb

The ‘Nin Salt’ Museum Store

Opened within the last year in the centre of Zagreb, this is one of the yummiest Croatia tourist attractions – this museum shows an interesting story of how salt is made today and how it used to be done in the past. The salt factory in Nin is said to date back to Roman times, yet here in Zagreb you can check out the how too’s of years gone by with photos and displays. Don’t leave without buying a gift, we suggest the bath salts, but you could opt for the table salt.

Zagreb Museums

Did you say you like museums? Good, Zagreb has plenty of them. I won’t list them all as there are just so many, but here are a few recommendations to get you started:

  • Do be sure to take kids to the Tehnički muzej. The Technical Museum was established in 1954, exhibiting numerous historic aircraft, cars, machinery, and equipment.
  • The Museum of Illusions, which opened the summer of 2015, is another great place for kids and adults alike. Watch water flow uphill, climb onto the ceiling, see your friends shrink right in front of you…it’s a museum entirely dedicated to optical illusions, puzzles, brain busters and more.
  • For a more adult appropriate museum trip, the new Torture Museum offers guests an up close experience with instruments of torture that have been used throughout human civilization, including the chance to touch a guillotine and be locked in a replica of a dungeon.
  • Zagreb City Museum, modernized in the last few years, has loads of great historical, cultural, archeological and artistic exhibitions that give visitors a great overview of the city of Zagreb’s past to present.

Walk Like a Local (with a google map + tips)

To fall in love with Zagreb, you should walk through Zagreb. Aimless walking will take you off the beaten path. You’ll end up in local cafes and eateries; you’ll uncover non-obvious sites and go beyond Zagreb’s tourist highlights. In a short while, Zagreb will become much more than what is usually staged for a passing visitor. Read more about walking Zagreb thanks to local Andrea.

Things to do in Zagreb: Walk | Travel Croatia Blog

Things to do in Zagreb: Walk

Dolac Markets is Full of Fruit, Vegetables, and Other Tasty Treats

I wanted to make this the number one item, but that would have just been so predictable of me. Right? Never the less, Zagreb has a fabulous Market called the ‘Dolac Markets,’ which is over 80 years old. You’ll find the markets located beside Trg Bana Jelačić Square.

The markets are easy to spot, just keep your eyes peeled for ‘Kumica’ at the top of the stairs at the entrance into Dolac. Once you see this peasant lady with her basket on her head, the open space will be filled with rows and rows of red umbrellas. Then you’ll know you’ve arrived.

Things to do in Zagreb: Kumica Dolac Markets Zagreb - Chasing the Donkey

Things to do in Zagreb: See Kumica

The Dolac Market consists of an enormous traditional style outdoor area of fruit, vegetables, beans and some cheeses & then underneath you’ll be amazed at the covered space where you can buy meat, bread, cheeses and so much more. A big highlight for us in Zagreb was the rows and rows of little piggy’s hanging up in the butchers windows.

Almost every town in Croatia has their form of outdoor farmers-style market, we visit our own in Zadar often. Ohh how I wish we had one like this, it’s spectacular. Had we not been staying at the swanky Hotel Esplanade Zagreb Hotel, and instead rented an apartment where we could cook, we would have gone “bananas” and purchased so much great produce and cooked some great meals. My advice is if you love food, book accommodation where you can prepare meals.

Things to do in Zagreb: Highlights of #Zagreb - Dolac Market - Chasing the Donkey

What to do in Zagreb: Enjoy the sights of the Zagreb Dolac markets

The market scene in Zagreb is terrific, so much variety and if you are traveling on a dollar or euro,  things are very affordable (sorry to all of those with the Kuna, things are not as cheap). Markets are a great way to eat like a local!

Things to do in Zagreb: Zagreb Dolac Markets - Chasing the Donkey

Things to do in Zagreb: Zagreb Dolac Market

Mirogoj Cemetery

Don’t be alarmed it is nowhere near as creepy as it sounds – it is a really very relaxing and sacred place. It’s more like a park, and on a nice day you’ll find students sitting about studying.

Shopping in Zagreb

Zagreb Shopping is not what you would expect for a capital city of Europe. Although the shopping options get better and better each year I visit Zagreb, Zagreb does have some excellent stores – be sure to head into the tie shop Croata –  Croatia’s tie-selling leader with shops all over the country.

Zagreb Tours

There are dozens of options to take a tour of this city – or in the surround areas. Here are just a few ideas with Viator – if you book in advance you can lock in a great rate. 

Go on a Spooky Adventure

Go and meet Iva, who is a Zagreb local and the host of Secret Zagreb Walks. By far the best storytelling (scary) walking tours in Zagreb, which are inspired by the mysterious side of Zagreb. Find out more about her tours on her website 

Cathedral of Zagreb

This Roman Catholic Cathedral is the tallest building in Croatia, and you can see the Cathedral spires from many locations in the city. The Zagreb Cathedral has a sculpture inside, created by Croatia’s famous Ivan Meštrović. I spotted it straight away, his style is so unique and is not like any other thing I have ever seen in a Catholic church. When we visited, there was a large-scale restoration project underway. To the left of the building, there are examples of the pre and post restoration works, and the difference is beyond amazing.

Things to do in Zagreb: Cathedral of #Zagreb - Chasing the Donkey

What to do in Zagreb: Admire Cathedral of Zagreb restoration works

Final Thoughts on What to do in Zagreb…

I very much want to go back to Zagreb, I loved the vibe and being back in a city after being in my small village for almost a year. I am already looking at planning a trip back to go to the Zoo and some of the many sites we missed. Perhaps in the Spring when things are starting to turn green.

Best Restaurants in Zagreb

Oxbo Bar & Grill

At OXBO bar and grill, you can enjoy a vast selection of wines, both domestic and international. Enjoy food or drinks here all day, as it’s both a bar and a restaurant. You are guaranteed the best steak in Zagreb at OXBO, plus you’ll get to try traditional Croatian dishes with a twist. We’ve raved on about how wonderful this restaurant is many times.

You won’t find anything like OXBO in Zagreb; it’s the first restaurant of its type, and although there are many great places to eat in Zagreb, you simply have to give the best steak place in town a try. Even if you don’t like steak – their menu has something for everyone.

I was surprised to learn that OXBO bar and grill import the beef from a producer in the USA, who allow the cows to graze in huge pastures and are fed organic yellow corn. Which makes for real quality beef, which in turn becomes great steak. OXBO is on the list of Zagreb restaurants to return to.  Read our full review here.

Zinfandels

Located in the Esplanade Hotel, this is unquestionably Zagreb’s finest and most expensive place to eat.  Dishes have a modern twist on traditional dishes. Check the website

La Štruk

This small restaurant on Skalinska street specializes in one thing, and one thing only – Štrukli. This traditional Croatian dish is one you have to try while in the city, and this spot serves up a hot plate of it for an inexpensive price. Check the website

Rubelj Grill

Rubelj Grill is the place locals go for a quick, inexpensive bite. Many branches are located around town and grilled meats are the house specialty. Local dish to try here? The ćevapi. These grilled meat and onion sausages are quite good!

Stari Fijaker

Stari Fijaker offers high-quality local cuisine. Their claim to fame is serving up authentic traditional culinary delicacies from the Zagreb-Zagorje region. One such local dish we suggest you try is štrukli. The Very thin pastry is covered with a mixture of tangy cottage cheese, eggs & sour cream and is tantalising for your taste buds. Plus if that is not enough you can choose from a selection of bread at Stari Fijaker, all of which are home-made. Check the website

Restaurant Cuvee

Restaurant Cuvee is a small restaurant just ten mins from the town centre, with modern decor. Positioned in one of Zagreb’s most good-looking streets, it’s one of Zagreb attractions all on its own – Tkalčičeva Street. This pedestrian zone has many great bars and restaurants like Cuvee. For us the key to Restaurant Cuvee’s success are their staff, the waiters are extremely friendly and attentive. Their speciality is a beef tartare – made in front of your eyes! Check the website

Konoba Didov San

The Gornji Grad location of this restaurant is an excellent place to enjoy a mixture of Bosnian-Herzegovinian and Mediterranean cuisine at prices that aren’t too expensive. Some traditional dishes offered include uštipak (fried dough), house-made prosciutto, and brudet stew (this one has frog in it!). Check the website

Pod Gričkim Topom

With a rustic charm, this restaurant located in Gronji grad gives guests great views of the city rooftops. Described as “unpretentious cusine” enjoy some delicious, Dalmatian home-cooking. A healthy dose of seafood, a great selection of wine and prices that won’t break the bank draw locals and visitors alike to this restaurant. Check the website

La Bodega Cheese and Wine Bar

The tapas, wine and service, is amazing as well as the decor and atmosphere. They even have chargers for all types of mobiles if, you’re low on battery. Check the website

The Bulldog Pub

Super yummy cocktails. Enough said. Check the website

Pekara Dinara

This bakery and cafe is highly recommended for a quick, affordable bite. With twelve locations around the city, seek out one of these establishments to enjoy fresh bread, pastries, cakes and more. Check the website 

Amelie

If delicious cakes and sweets are what you’re after, you absolutely must make a stop at Amelie. This 2015 Certificate of Excellence TripAdvisor winner is loved by locals and will have your sweet tooth dancing in no time with the delectable desserts served! Check the website

See more of the best restaurants in Zagreb here,

Pag Island Paski Sir tasting cheese plate -Chasing the Donkey

Nibble, nibble on some Pag Island cheese

Events in Zagreb

Zagreb Festivals

Fantastic Zagreb Film Festival. This is a fiction, science-fiction, horror, thriller, suspense, fantasy, animation festival and was the first open-air film festival in Zagreb. More details.

Špancirfest Festival. One of the best annual street festivals to check out on your Croatia holidays is Spancirfest festival. It is organized every year in the region of Varaždin (okay, so it’s just outside of Zagreb) less than an hour from Zagreb. There are concerts, entertainment zones, shopping kiosks and eateries. It also showcases street performers, musicians, and all kinds of artists that line the streets to perform. More details.

Zagreb Film Festival. The latest and most exciting debutant films of more than one hundred films from all over the world. The festival takes place in several locations, including Europa, Tuškanac and MSU Cinemas. For a week, Croatia’s central puppet theater turns into an attractive movie theater, offering the best documentary films from all around the world. The main program offers feature-length and short fiction films and documentaries. More details.

You can find even more festivals in Zagreb here.

zagreb film festival - festivals in zagreb

Accommodation in Zagreb

Travelers making their way to Zagreb will need a place to rest, so here is a list of some of the best places in to stay while in Zagreb. There are lots of Zagreb hotels for all budget, including many last minute accommodation choices – just don’t leave it too late if you want the best rates. The hotels in Zagreb are not in the main square, but are an easy walk to it.

The Best Hotels in Zagreb

We like to stay in hotels while, in big cities on short breaks, our two top picks are the DoubleTree Hilton or the Hotel Esplanade. Both are 5-star and are within walking, or short tram rides from all of these things to do in Zagreb. No matter what you plan to do in Zagreb these choices will all be a good location.

Esplanade Hotel

As you arrive at the Esplanade Zagreb Hotel, you’ll be greeted by a wonderfully cheerful doorman, who will swing open the metal-studded door and lead you to your seat in the full open reception area. With the check-in formalities over you can then take in all that the Esplanade Zagreb has to offer, like a very elegant marble staircase up to the hotel rooms. This pure luxury accommodation. No two ways about it, save your pennies and stay at the Esplanade if you’re planning a trip to the Capital City of Croatia. Even if you are traveling with kids, like us.

Hotel Esplanade Zagreb

5-Star Luxury Accommodation in Zagreb

CHECK THE HOTEL DEALS YOUR DATES

Luxury Accommodation HOtel Esplanade #Croatia - Chasing the Donkey

Hilton Doubletree

These hotel luxury rooms are impressive – and brand spanking shiny and new. The hotel opened its doors in 2012, and so the Hilton DoubleTree Zagreb is very modern and stylish. There is something about a newer hotel that is just so appealing. This 5-star hotel has a HUGE bathroom, with a separate bathtub & giant walk-in rain shower. Hello, long hot showers, with a fluffy white robe to wear afterwards. Head to floors number nine and ten. It’s there you’ll find a 12-metre swimming pool, steam room, sauna and a place to work out, all while looking out over the city landscape, and all complimentary.

DoubleTree Hilton Hotel

5-Star Accommodation in Zagreb

CHECK THE HOTEL DEALS FOR YOUR DATES

Hilton DoubleTree Zagreb - Chasing the Donkey

Hilton DoubleTree Zagreb

Hotel 9

This particular establishment is located directly across from the bus station, and it is also a short train ride from the city center, making it a convenient place for travelers to stay. The comfortable suites found here have both air conditioning and complimentary Wi-Fi. Amenities that are provided for guests include bathrobes, slippers, and various toiletry supplies. There is also a car park for guests to use free of charge. The staff members at this hotel are friendly, and the breakfasts that are provided daily are said to be incredibly delicious. Allergy sufferers will also be happy to learn that hypoallergenic suites can be arranged upon request.

See the latest review and prices here

Zagreb Travel Blog Things to do in Zagreb 1

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Best Western Premier Hotel Astoria

The professional and friendly service found here helps keep visitors coming back to this posh four-star hotel. A wide variety of modern amenities is provided for guests such as French toiletries, heated flooring, and cable television. The suites are kept spotlessly clean as well. Complimentary private parking and Wi-Fi are available for those staying here. The onsite bar and a restaurant will keep travelers from going hungry. The breakfast buffet is considered quite tasty and has a massive selection of comestibles, but guests should come early because the offerings tend to get eaten rather quickly.  The Best Western is close to the bus and train stations as well as the city center.

See the latest review and prices here

Hotel Jagerhorn

Built in 1827, this centrally located boutique hotel was refurbished in 2013. It is situated on a quiet street so that guests can get plenty of sleep. Lovely town views can be glimpsed from the cozy, comfortable suites and also from the rooftop terrace. Free Wi-Fi and on-site parking are available as well. An exceptionally tasty breakfast is included in the hotel room charges. The repast is served in the picturesque garden when the weather is nice outside. There are both hot and cold foods available at this meal, as well as a variety of individually prepared coffee drinks. Meanwhile, the hotel’s staff members are quite well informed about local points of interest. These helpful employees go out of their way to assist travelers and often commemorate guests’ special occasions with additional touches.

See the latest review and prices here

Hotel Vila Tina

Found in the Maksimir Park area of Zagreb, this 3-star hotel is but a short distance from the local zoo. The center of town is about 20 minutes by bus. As with most other hotels in the city, free parking and Wi-Fi are provided for guests. The incredibly clean suites all have air-conditioning units as well as in-room safes. This hotel booking offers room service, a 24-hour reception desk, and packed lunches in order to meet the needs of their patrons. Those who arrive hungry will be happy to learn that the onsite eatery serves up delicious, high-quality food that caters to both local and international tastes. Shuttles to the airport are also available for travelers that need them.

See the latest review and prices here

Hotel AS

This four-star establishment is somewhat out of the main city center but getting into town requires only a quick taxi or bus ride. Though this hotel has antique furnishings in the rooms, the modern comforts have not been overlooked. Televisions, air conditioning, in room safes, and spacious bathrooms can be found in all of the suites. There is also free Wi-Fi and desks in every room, which makes the hotel ideal for business travelers. Mediterranean cuisine is served up in the onsite restaurant and guests often choose to have breakfast on the terrace, which overlooks the nearby park areas. There are free parking and laundry facilities available for guests to use as well.

See the latest review and prices here

Apartments in Zagreb

If you are traveling to Zagreb with kids in tow – or you just like more space, how about renting an apartment? Find vacation rentals through places like Booking.com or you can take a more personal route and use an Airbnb host. Hosts are helpful and will give you local info, like – where to eat. Use this link to get a €18 credit when you join Airbnb. Other cheap Zadar apartments for rent can also be found when you arrive – there are just that many!

  • Apartment Roza Zagreb. Owned by my friend, I can tell you this place is spotlessly clean and well located to the city center which is just an easy walk of 2kms away. Check availability here.
  • ZigZag Apartments. Many of our friends have stayed here; they are modern, fresh and spacious. These apartments are just 100 metres from the main square and have a very reasonable price tag. Check rates for your dates.

You can find more apartments in Zagreb here.

Apartment Zoza Zagreb Accommodation | Croatia Travel Blog

Cheap Accommodation in Zagreb: Apartment Roza

Hostels in Zagreb

Do you need cheap accommodation in Zagreb? Then you are in luck, there are several budget accommodations on offer, including:

If you looking for something a little quirky, you could try the Train hostel located at the central railway station.

Hostel Bureau Zagreb Accommodation | Croatia Travel Blog

Photo credit: Hostel Bureau Zagreb

Map of What to do in Zagreb


View Things to do in Zagreb Map in a larger map

Zagreb to Dubrovnik

After you have explored Zagreb, we guess you’ll be heading to the Dalmatian Coast – are we right? Most people ask about getting from Zagreb to Dubrovnik.

  • Fly. During peak season there are several Croatian Airlines flights from Zagreb to Dubrovnik, the flight it just 45 mins. Straight up and back down in no time!. You can make your way to the Zagreb Central Bus Station where there are frequent airport transfers.
  • Car. Driving from Zagreb to Dubrovnik takes around 6 hours without traffic or pit stops – so we suggest that you make a midway stop. Perhaps Plitvice Lakes or a stop in another Dalmatian city like Zadar?
  • Bus. From Zagreb to Dubrovnik there are daily buses all throughout the year. Sometimes the bus schedule will mean travelling at inconvenient times. If that is the case, take a bus to Split, and then a second bus to Dubrovnik.
  • Train. Trains to the Adriatic Coast are virtually non-existent so I would not suggest this as a mode of transport.

Rent a Car Zagreb Search

Travel Croatia to Zagreb Croatia

Hint, Tips & Tricks

  • Taxi. Phone +385 11777
  • Help. 112
  • Street Performers. You’ll see these all over – throw in a 5 kuna coin (just 60 euro cents) and enjoy the show. 
  • Guide. Pick up the Zagreb for you Guide  – it has all of the latest info for what’s new and hip that week you’re in Zagreb.

You can also check out the Zagreb Tourist Board website or Twitter pages. Plus take a peek at what Landlopers had to say on Zagreb for more inspiration.

Have you been to Zagreb? What were your top things to do in Zagreb?

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Ask us. Contact us below for a bespoke holiday.

We want you to know: This post contains affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you if you book accommodation, I receive a small commission that is what helps keep this blog free – thanks.

 

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  1. Matt says

    Hi SJ,

    cool hostel! Do you know the Swanky Mint Hostel in Zagreb as well? Big fan, you should say hi to them as well. It is also good for Families, I’d say:)
    Can’t wait to be back in Croatia, we have been last year, traveling the full coast and then headed over to Zagreb.
    You definitely live in a beautiful country!

    All the best,
    Matt

    • says

      Ohhh cool, okay. I had seen it, but never knew anyone who stayed there- I always like to poll my family and friends if I have not been someplace myself before suggesting it. I’ll add it to the list. As you are the ‘hostel geek’ I’ll trust you. Wink. Happy travels buddy.

  2. Alex B says

    A really wonderful post about my home town. :) If you like museums, come and visit the Zagreb City Museum, it has a lovely permanent collection and an archaeological site in the basement. The Technical Museum is always a good idea to visit with kids, it offers a planetarium, a mine shaft tour, the Tesla inventions and much more. And last but not least, the Zagreb Zoo. :) Not very big, but has many well kept animals in enclosures characteristic to their natural habitat, situated in the forest and among lakes of the romantic Maksimir park.

    • says

      I do love museums so thanks for these tips, especially one so good for the kids. We have since been to the Zoo and Maksimir Park, I should update this list. Thanks for stopping by Alex.

  3. Hrvoje says

    Certainly you have to add Sljeme on the list. As the peak of Medvednica mountain it is great for active vacation in Zagreb. For a few winter days during Advent in Zagreb you can go sightskiing and after that for ski or snowborad just few kms away from city center or 30 mins by car.

  4. says

    Nice one SJ!! If everything works out, Zagreb will be on my itinerary to my next trip to Croatia… which I hope to happen this year!
    Thank you very much for the recommendations! 😉
    Have an amazing week.

      • says

        Yes!! My husband went there once and he told me he wants to go back to spend more time, he found the city very cool. So next time, Zagreb will be included on out itinerary!
        Ps: I found out that the reply to my comments were going to my junk folder, that is why I didnt reply before. Now I changed that, so I am getting your messages on the right folder 😉 have a great week!

    • says

      I’d suggest the bus. There is a bus which picks you up outside the terminal and drops you in town. If you have a little budget you can also get a taxi, the price is around 200 kuna I believe (best to ask before you get in) and there are plenty to be found.

  5. says

    This is some proper funicular. The one I took in Yalta (in Crimea) was like, a free-hanging bucket. Thank goodness I had a drink first!

  6. says

    I’ve been lucky enough to live in Zagreb twice in the past 4 years, and it’s a fantastic place to live. Besides the places you mentioned, a few of my favorite places include:

    1. The National Theatre–it’s beautiful inside, it hosts a wide variety of performances very reasonably priced, and the musical performances I’ve been to included subtitles on English

    2. špica–on Saturday mornings, everyone in Zagreb meets up with friends at cafes at or near Cvjetni trg. If you can find a free table, it’s a wonderful time to sip coffee and people-watch. really, Zagreb has an amazing cafe scene any time of week.

    3. Zagreb Eye–for a few kuna you can take an elevator to the top of a tall building on the main square and get fantastic views of the city. You can walk around most of the outside of the building. Great nighttime views.

    4. I love just wandering the quiet cobbled streets of the upper town. It’s easy to imagine yourself transported back in time.

    5. Lotrščak Tower, at the top of the funicular–you can stand nearby and listen to the canon shoot at noon. Or you can pay a few kuna and climb to the top for great views.

  7. David Strutt says

    While in Zagreb, don’t forget to find all the planets. They are distributed around the city, done to scale, in terms of size and distance from the sun. It’s easy to find the sun, a large golden sphere near Ban Jelacic Square. On the building where we stayed (in the MAIN SQUARE APARTMENT) the planet Venus was located.

    Also, visit Verazdin, preferably not on a Public Holiday.

  8. neo washidden says

    Would add the Stone Gate to your list, their story is mentioned even in historic novels of August Senoa, whose statue is in Draskoviceva street. The gates which kind of connect Radiceva street (the one next to Tkalciceva) or the lower city with the upper city, they look as a mini shrine. The story behind it is amazing, you will find it on the internet. Virgin Mary is the patron saint or protector of the city. The locals and many visiting have come there to pray, cry, hope to get help from the patron. So throughout the years, they have given marble tiles which cover the walls there, and each tile has a special thanks engraved, as the people’s prayers have been answered, along with the signature of the one who is thanking. There are stories of surviving the war, loved one’s returning home safely, healings and much, much more. It is often overlooked, yet best to enjoy the atmosphere in silence. The energy there is amazing. There is a story behind literally each and every corner of both the upper and the lower city. One thing to note, all the parts of the center have hidden streets and passages there, which are amazing to walk through and you can find a peacefull oase of nature in the middle of it all. Near the St. Marcs church is the Croatian house of parliament and many similar, so you are most likely to see a politician or an official while there (unless visiting in Summer). Jelacic square has the well which supposedly to holds the story of how Zagreb got it’s name (Mandusevac), there are 4 candles there each Advent and people throw coins for luck. The clock is a legendary meeting place for all locals, they just say ”meet you near the clock”. Jelacic statue used to be pointed to Hungary, but the direction was changed when the 2 countries made peace (ater the fall of Austro-Hungary). Festivals of all kinds and stands of all kinds are a normal occurance on Jelacic square and the center part, many performances held there. Gradska kavana is considered one of the places to really have coffee the ”old Zagrebian” way. The legendary trams are a symbol of Zagreb, always blue and have a long history behind them. Upper town has the fort of Gric with an old cannon situated inside, the cannon goes off each day at noon precisely. While Dolac market is the most famous, Jarun, Tresnjevka, Kvatric and Britanac square offer the same with much more reasonable prices. Britanac is also an interesting part of the city. Hrelic is considered to be one of the most interesting flea markets around. Maksimir is a park with a lake (ducks and swans), children’s parks, amazing restaurants, there is a zoo, many jogg there, many treehuggers also. Cibona tower is considered to be a symbolic building, situated next to the hall of Drazen Petrovic and there is a statue of him there. For basketball lovers, caffee’s as the MVP or heja heja Cibosi which are in Cibona are a great catch. There is Ribnjak park near the cathedral, famous for the rock club often visited. Zagreb is very child friendly and there are children’s parks all over. There is a special park for kids in Prisavlje where many of todays young adult Zagrebians have spent their childhoods and take their children to play there. It’s near the embankment of the river Sava, where many run, walk or take their dogs for a walk. You will also find many art instalations there. The legendary ”underground” yet friendly club Sidro is there too. Lake Jarun and Bundek (park&lake) are also big for families with kids. Lake Jarun has an outdoor sporting facility of a kind. In spring, Botanicki vrt is where you can enjoy nature and just relax. It’s located near Glavni Kolodvor (the main train station) and a part of the Green Horseshoe, the nickname for all the connecting parks in Zagreb. Zrinjevac is a popular spot for romantic walks, walks with kids, picnics or reading in peace, dancing as live bands have concerts there often.. There is also a bar/club/coffee shop/restaurant for everyone, and no matter what it looks like, something is always open and there is always something happening. Sljeme (the peak of mountain Medvednica) is amazing for a walk around the woods, hiking experience or sporting events which are regularely held there. You can also get there by bus. The view is amazing, and you have to try the beans in one of the restaurants. While hiking, you will see the stream (creek?) which flows down through Vrapce, Mikulici and Crnomerec, going down even to Srednjaci neighbourhood. While at Medvednica you can visit the queens well, Veternica cave, old silver mines and many other historic locations which have stories behind them carried through generations, but unfortunately rarely given as tourist information. Medvednica got it’s name after bears which used to reside there, there aren’t any left though, so it’s safe to hike. The star (Gupceva zvijezda) also has an interesting story. The upper town neighbourhoods offer plenty in regards to how the city used to look, old gazeebo’s and antique benches, there are many small churches, buildings, stories which go unnoticed regularely. Mlinovi and Sestine (amazing church and parks), Mirogoj cemetary (beautiful and calm)… Would also advise to visit Tresnjevka and Knezija, the unknown neighbourhoods in the lower city with lovely and quiet parks ideal for a walk or if you want your kids to play in a calmer atmosphere (many parks). Park hrvatskog proljeca (the park of Croatian spring, I guess) is beautiful in spring time, blossoming cherry trees everywhere, there is literaly a house in the middle of the park and is usualy tourist free calm paradise. If you go to Vukovarska street, you will pass most of the city college’s there and see the National biblioteque, newly built fountains, and the Lisinski opera house which always has a program there. Suggesting you to see the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb and to go to a ballet or opera show there, it is quality. The interior is also a must see, as well as the architecture. And there is the famous Mestrovic piece called the Well of life near the entrance. You can go for a kind of a scavenger hunt for the planets, an art instalation replicating the solar system. The Sun is in Bogoviceva, near Cvjetni trg and you can find instructions on how to find the rest. Cvjetni trg (Flower square) got it’s name after the flower stands which reside all year long, and is the place to be on a Saturday morning when all come out to have coffee and catch up. It is also a home to street performers, and it is not unusal to see people dancing to the music or singing along. Kino Europa (cinema Europa) has a great and up to date offer of non-commercial, art movies, Cannes and Sarajevo film festival winners, etc. Museums, art galleries and theaters are everywhere. The technical museum (very child friendly), Mimara museum (a popular place for skateboarders too), Klovicevi dvori, the Museum of contemporary art (Avenue Dubrovnik)…Theater Exit, childrens theater’s (Mala scena and Tresnja), Planet art…..One thing to remember, in the majority of the cases those are real pieces of art there, not just symbolic pieces. So when you walk past a lion statue, it’s really old and original. Most of historic sites are still in function and the buildings are used, lived in. So don’t let that fool you while visiting. In the centre you also have Dubravkin put which has some of the best hidden caffe’s around, you go through a small passage in Ilica. The unique souvenir are the hearts. The White Castle coat of arms holds the story of Zagreb being the friendly city for refugees wanting to build a life, it is called a friendly city with it’s doors always open. The main city infrastructure (which was renovated after the big quake in the 19th century) was built resembling a constellation…The best places to visit depend on what your interests are, it is a city which is never fully discovered by the locals either and has much much more to offer than just the center. It has a certain feel to it, intuitive, more a way of life than just a location, a mix of many cultures with a twist. Be sure to try strukli sa sirom, Zagrebian steak, visit Vincek, the traditional pastry shop. I could really write an essay on Zagreb, I love it so much.

    • Melissa Paul says

      Really wonderful post as usual SJ, and I particularly love this comment (indeed, a mini essay!). We currently live in Kvarner on Otok KRK, and this weekend we will visit the city of Zagreb for the first time. I’m keeping all of these wonderful suggestions on hand for our first of many visits to Zagreb. Hvala!

  9. Dani B says

    The problem with a lot of people who visit Zagreb is that they use it as a stop over and don’t invest time in researching the city. It is a great small city of approx. 1 mill people thus no its not Paris which has 14 million or three times the population of Croatia, but what it has is very beautiful. I have been to Croatia 5 times in last ten years and love the diversity of the country. From Austro Hungarian Zagreb, to Medieval Dubrovnik and the many other Venetian cities and towns on the coast all mixed in with Balkan/ Turkish/ Italian influence.
    Zagreb old town or upper town is very nice and it is not so much about the landmarks as it is the atmosphere, beautiful buildings, beautiful people and a great outdoor lifestyle. People out every night of the week. Tkalciceva Street is a 800m café strip which has to be one of the nicest café strips I have been to in Europe. Very quirky and warm feeling and very safe unlike the strip in Barcelona- there are no hecklers here. You could sit here all night. Then you have lower town which is Austro Hungarian built and has many beautiful parks/ buildings and museums and shopping streets etc .
    But the one thing that many people don’t do here because of the lack of research and using the city as transit point is visit great places beyond the city core. The old cemetery is amazing and one of the best in Europe. Then the gothic quarter of Samobor is on the outskirts – very picturesque little town. The Maksimir Park which has a zoo is also greats as is Sljeme mountains which host skiing events and also has a cable car through the lush forest home to bears and wolves ets.
    Just outside the city is also great countryside with great castles like Trakostan Castle or veliki Tabor. You can also do day trips to visit birthplace of two individuals noted in the 100 most influential people of the last century. Tesla(the inventor of electricity) or Tito (the Yugoslav leader) prominent for his roles in WWII. Also within an hour and half of the city are beautiful Slunj and Plitvice lakes(UNESCO), and the town which has been voted the prettiest in Croatia in Varazdin (yes ahead of DUBROVNIK) which has one of the greatest remaining Gothic remains in Europe. Oh and for the young ones there is the Yarun lake- great sporting surrounds during the day and at night abuzz with nightlife. In all a great city of 1 million.

    • says

      Thanks so much, you’ve actually given me an idea for a new post. ‘day trips from Zagreb’. You are very true that people rush off far too quickly, but I wonder if that is why the town is so wonderful 😉

  10. Edible Travelers says

    The museum of broken relationships is an interesting idea. At first thought it sounds like a something a bunch of jilted lovers put together, but reading the description, it sounds as though there are more emotions on display than just pure anger. Cool idea :)

  11. Corinne Vail says

    Going to Zagreb soon, so some places to hit. I’ve heard of the Broken Hearts Museum before…gotta go.

  12. Jess @ Magic, Memories, Mayhem says

    I don’t know that our travels will ever take us here, but it was neat getting a glimpse! The museum is great! I could definitely see that on my list.
    Stopping in from SITS!

  13. says

    We spent Thanksgiving in Zagreb in 2012, and really appreciated the markets there. We were able to find all the ingredients we needed to make an American-style turkey dinner in our rental kitchen, even the cranberries! The Museum of Broken Relationships was really moving. Such emotion on display! I would add to your list a visit to the world class Contemporary Art Museum across the river. We enjoyed seeing more of the city by taking the tram there. Don’t miss the slide from the top floor to the ground floor!

  14. Dave says

    I’ve only spent a couple of days in Zagreb (came in the summer about 10 yrs ago, headed to the coast) – the pictures in your post will help me sell my wife on a trip to the Balkans.

  15. says

    I’ve never been to Croatia, but when I go (when, not if! 😉 ), I will definitely stop by Zagreb! And I would have to visit the Museum of Broken Relationships! Very original!!

  16. Jess says

    I’ve never actually been on a funicular – they’re not really big in the US ( I think a couple cities in California might have one) or Canada. Though I did see one in Montreal. It looks fun!

    I think I would get totally over invested in the Museum of Broken Relationships – every exhibit could be like a mini soap opera.

  17. Carolyn @ Holidays to Europe says

    Wow! Looks like Zagreb is another city I’ll have to my must-visit list. The Dolac market looks great.

  18. says

    What a beautiful city! Love the variety of things for everyone here. I can spend hours at that market. Interesting how the cathedral is the tallest structure. Thanks for this great tour of a city I’d love to see someday.

  19. Our Adventure in Croatia says

    sounds like an interesting city to visit. I have read about the Museum of Broken relationships in many blogs and everybody seem to like it, what an unusual concept

  20. Tiffany says

    I’m glad you loved Zagreb as much as I did, I was so surprised by the city since lots of people have told me it’s supposedly kind of boring. Too bad I missed that museum, definitely a reason to visit again in the future.

  21. Kelly Michelle says

    Okay you have now totally sold me on the fact that I need to visit Zagreb rather than just passing through the airport, it looks so pretty and I’m guessing most tourists never actually venture there if visiting Croatia; they just visit the Dalmatian coastline. xx

  22. says

    You had me (and most people) at Museum of Broken Relationships. Whenever I finally make it to Croatia, I’m adding a few items :) Also love the Kumica statue, although the lady does remind me of a few of my aunts (I am born of village folk). Great post, as usual! Good luck!

  23. Constance says

    Looks like an awesome place to explore! Love your pictures of Zagreb Dolac Market!! Interesting how they display the pigs! Overall, another excellent post!

  24. Ashley Hubbard says

    I love the museum of broken relationships…what an interesting and original idea. I also love markets too! I’ve only been to Dubrovnik and so i can’t wait to explore more and more of Croatia. Great post as usual :)

  25. abritsoutherner says

    There really does look like there is a lot to do in Zagreb. This is one of those cities in Eastern Europe that I would like to visit and experience the uniqueness for myself. The market in particular looks amazing.

    Great post and an excellent advertisement for Zagreb!

  26. Mytanfeet says

    Ooh I love markets! That’s a lot of pigs hanging there.. also what is that vegetable? that’s on the right side, middle picture. Never seen that before!

  27. Syd Schulz says

    Hahahahah what a weird museum. I would love to go. Also, the funicular photo is beautiful! I really had never considered going to Croatia before reading your blog (okay, I barely knew where it was), but now it’s definitely on my list.

  28. frankaboutcroatia says

    All highlights listed. Done them all. Love Zagreb green market. Did you try corn bread that the old ladies sell in the bottom part of the market. Like a cake! Funicular ride, although it is not maybe spectacular, it’s still romantic to take that ride. I love it!

  29. says

    Great list of the must see attractions in Zagreb! We were there last September and although we only had one day we managed to make it through most of your list. We were really impressed with Zagreb and did not expect so many gorgeous buildings and large parks. One of our favorite things was just wandering down pretty looking streets, it’s pretty hard to get lost in the compact centre. Also the Museum of Broken Relationships is really quirky but also a lot of fun (and sad at times too). Safe travels!

    • says

      Yeah, I can see how you can do it all in one day. Such a little compact city, I should have mentioned the architecture – so many things I wanted to say, but the post was getting long. Yes, it was sad it a way you are right – how odd was some of those items – RANDOM!

  30. says

    Having never been to Europe, reading your description of the capital city of Croatia makes me want to visit…at lease Croatia. The Museum of Broken Dreams – wow – didn’t see that one coming – all in all the town and time of year sound very interesting.