Zagreb is the capital city and a whimsical wonderland of Croatia that I have been visiting for 23 years! So, what makes it worth a visit?
Cobblestone streets dance with trams, quirky museums, and coffee shops that brew magic in every cup.
Artistic graffiti high-fives architecture, while secret passages lead to tasty adventures in this Croatian capital. It’s where fairytale meets modern chic, and laughter echoes in every corner.
This is my guide on explaining why YES! Zagreb is worth visiting and the best things to see and do.
If you are a traveler seeking new itinerary ideas, Zagreb might offer you the whole package, from gorgeous attractions to vibrant nightlife.
The city is located in the heart of Croatia, providing a fantastic experience in Eastern Europe. With numerous museums, stunning architecture, and hospitable locals, Zagreb offers many things to do for everyone on their trip to Croatia.
Nevertheless, every tourist wishing to visit Zagreb, Croatia, wonders if Zagreb is worth visiting. If you also ask, “Is Zagreb worth visiting?” or “Is Croatia worth visiting?” this article is just for you!
Skip Ahead To My Advice Here!
A Brief Overview Of Zagreb, Croatia
Zagreb is the beautiful capital of Croatia. This beautiful city is one of the oldest settlements in the area, with a history dating to Roman times.
The rich historical past of Zagreb is demonstrated by medieval landmarks peppered around the city center, such as the Zagreb Cathedral, Gornji Grad (Upper Town), and Donji Grad (Lower Town).
Zagrebians protect and proudly exhibit the monuments of their cultural past through many art galleries and museums around the city center. Thanks to the abundance of such cultural exhibitions, the city provides cultural tourists, history enthusiasts, and art lovers with a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Besides its cultural offerings, Zagreb is a perfect destination for those wanting to have a taste of delicious Balkan cuisine and the Eastern European nightlife scene. A well-developed European city, Zagreb is filled with rich entertainment options, promising you a pleasant time.
Therefore, we can say Zagreb is a great place to get to know Croatia while having a genuine Balkan experience with delicious dishes and lively nightlife.
Is Zagreb Worth Visiting? 10 Reasons Why Zagreb Is Worth A Visit
Are you tired of the crowds and want a peaceful holiday? Zagreb is the ideal destination for you. In this magical Croatian city, you can have the opportunity to immerse in Croatian culture and witness its rich history. Do you wonder why you visit Zagreb?
Below, you can find the reasons to take a trip to this extraordinary city.
1. Zagerb Is Less Crowded & Walkable
Zagreb is heaven for anyone who wants a more personal experience. Since most tourists prefer to visit the coastal parts of Croatia, Zagreb is rarely crowded. And this makes the experience much more magical and intimate.
While strolling through the historic streets of Zagreb, you feel the whole city belongs to you. In Zagreb, you can experience the local culture and life without being disturbed by other holiday-goers.
2. Zagreb Is One Of The Most Affordable Places To Visit
Compared to other European capitals, such as Paris, Berlin, or Rome, Zagreb is a relatively affordable place.
The city’s myriad of accommodations and dining options are way cheaper than tourist areas. This makes Zagreb an ideal destination for any budget.
3. Zagreb Is Worth Visiting For Its Many Museums
Museums play a significant role in Zagreb tourism since the city is known for its abundance of museums, art galleries, and festivals.
One of the must-visit museums in the city is the Mimara Museum, home to over 3,700 pieces, including works by famous artists such as Rembrandt, Van Dyck, and Monet.
Here is a list of some of the most popular museums in Zagreb:
- Zagreb 80s Museum: a museum where you can witness the daily life of a Yugoslavian family in the 1980s
- Nikola Tesla Technical Museum: a technology museum that displays scientific and technical appliances used in the country’s history
- Croatian History Museum: one of Croatia’s oldest museums. It has 17 collections, with over 300,000 objects, which are displayed in temporary exhibitions
- Museum of Broken Relationships: a museum that exhibits personal objects from former lovers with brief synopses
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4. Best Place To Witness Croatian Culture
Croatia has always been the meeting point for different cultures. Slavic Croatian, Austrian-German, Hungarian, and Italian settlers of these lands blended together and created the modern Croatian culture.
It is not difficult to see both Mediterranean and Central European influences on Croatia. Zagreb, located in the middle of the country, demonstrates the country’s unique culture better than any place.
5. Zagreb Is Heaven For Foodies Who Love The Cafe Life
Whether you want traditional dishes, international diners, or fast-food restaurants, Zagreb offers you all! The capital city of Croatia is a genuine heaven for foodies, with its affordable prices and numerous venues.
Restaurants in Zagreb provide their customers with delicious dishes made of fresh local ingredients. From delectable seafood to tasty pastries, Zagreb offers something for everyone.
One of the best places for foodies is the Dolac Market. These local markets have everything your foodie heart desires. From fresh fruits, fresh produce, cheeses, and breads. It is easy to find as it is right in the heart of Zagreb’s old town.
6. Zagreb Is An Ideal Base For Day Trips Like Plitvice Lakes & Pula
Zagreb is the perfect base for those looking for exciting day trips. Here are some of the adventures you can go on during your time in Zagreb:
- Plitvice Lakes National Park: Among Europe’s most stunning natural wonders, Plitvice Lakes National Park is a must-see for a Zagreb trip
- Lake Bled: A picturesque lake with various activities, Bled is another popular attraction near Zagreb. Don’t forget to ride a traditional boat around Bled Island and ring the wishing bell in the Church of the Assumption
- Rovinj: Rovinj is a picturesque fishing port near Croatia’s Adriatic coast. The town offers you stunning harbor views and fresh seafood and is an ideal place to add to your Croatia itinerary
- Pula: Pula is a perfect destination for history enthusiasts. The city is located on the Istrian peninsula and features a well-preserved Roman Arena, as well as other ancient landmarks
- Ljubljana, Slovenia: Ljubliana, which literally means “the city of love,” is the charming capital of Slovenia that provides you with many activities to do. The city features charming cafés, fascinating museums, and charming architecture
- The Plešivica wine region: The Plešivica region near Zagreb is famous for its local wines. The region provides you with the opportunity to explore the Croatian countryside as well as traditional winemaking
7. Zagreb Is A Gateway To The Balkans
If you are planning a Balkan tour, Zagreb is the ideal starting point. You can reach Zagreb from Ljubliana, Slovenia, by a several-hour drive. Also, the city is located near the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
8. Zagreb Is Not Like The Coastal Part Of The Country
Zagreb is not so similar to the coastal part of Croatia. While Croatia’s coasts demonstrate a more Mediterranean culture, in Zagreb, you will find a stunning blend of Mediterranean and Central European mentality.
While the Adriatic coast has a more seafood-based cuisine, you will have richer options in Zagreb. Also, if you plan to continue your trip visiting other Balkan countries, Zagreb might be a great place to familiarise yourself with the Eastern European atmosphere.
9. Zagreb Has More Than You Think to Offer
If you ask, “What is Zagreb like?” we would answer: “A hidden gem full of even more hidden gems.” With its hidden art galleries, authentic bookshops, fantastic music and film festivals, night bars, and WWII-era bomb shelters, Zagreb has many hidden gems you can discover.
Croatia’s capital went through a lot in its history and developed its own distinctive culture. Every corner of the city has a fascinating story to tell. And this makes visiting Zagreb, Croatia, a true adventure.
10. Zagreb Christmas Markets – A Spot You Will Want To Experience
Christmas in Zagreb should be at the top of your list this year because Zagreb has won the Best Christmas Market Destination award in Europe three times now!
Zagreb is a magical place during the Christmas Advent. The city comes to life with the lovely sounds of jingle bells and Christmas classics played all over the city. It indeed turns into a winter wonderland.
Some of the not-to0miss-advent sights are:
- Ice Park At King Tomislav Square
- Winter Park
- Advent In Zrinjevac Park
- Hilton Winter Garden
- Christmas Tale On Ban Josip Jelačić Square
- Zagreb Artisan Advent
- Advent On European Square
- Strossmayer Promenade (West)
- Advent Caffe De Matos
- Fuliranje – Fooling Around At Strossmayer Square
- Fooling Around At Oleander Terrace, Esplanade Zagreb Hotel
- Stara Vlaška
- Advent In The Pedestrian Tunnel
- Grič Park
- Marić Passage Advent
- Advent In The Sisters Baković Passage
- Live Nativity Scene
- Moon Garden In Bele IV Park
- Baš Naš Advent At Gradec Plateau
- Advent In The Oktogon
- Advent In Lantern Light
Must-See Places & Things To Do In Zagreb
The second tallest building in Croatia, Zagreb Cathedral, is one of the few examples of Gothic architecture southeast of the Alps. Built in the 13th century, the structure was renovated through the following centuries.
The cathedral has been damaged twice by earthquakes – the first one was in 1880, and the most recent was in 2020. But you can still visit it and see it in all its glory.
Lotrščak Tower is a fortified tower in the Gornji Grad area. The tower was built in the 13th century to guard the southern gate of the Gradec town wall. As part of an old tradition started on 1 January 1877, every day, at noon, a cannon is fired from the town.
The tower is the perfect spot for gorgeous views over the city. If you climb the tower before sunset, you can enjoy the stunning views of the golden light over fascinating Zagreb.
Museum Of Broken Relationships
Lovers often give each other small objects, tiny gifts, to show their feelings. When a relationship ends, these artifacts serve as reminders of the good old days. The Museum of Broken Relationships is willing to accept these objects to display them.
One of Zagreb’s most popular and iconic museums, the Museum of Broken Relationships, displays objects from previous relationships that people donated.
Each object has a synopsis that explains why they donated it and how it affected them. It is definitely a must-visit museum that offers an awe-inspiring experience.
Zagreb boasts the world’s shortest and the most secure funicular. The 66-meter-long funicular connects the Gornji Grad and Donji Grad parts. It takes 64 seconds to reach the top.
St Mark’s Church
A parish church in the old town, St. Mark’s Church, is one of the oldest monumental buildings in Zagreb. The church dates back to the 13th century and features Gothic and Romanesque features.
The tiles on the church’s roof are laid to form the coat of arms of Zagreb (white castle on red background) and the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia. If you visit it in April and October, you can watch the changing of the guard ceremony on the weekend at noon.
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Wrap-Up On Why Including Zagreb On Your Itinereray Is A Good Idea
Zagreb, the largest city and the capital of Croatia, is a destination worth visiting for many compelling reasons. Ban Jelačić Square stands at its heart, a vibrant hub of activity and history.
The city’s rich cultural tapestry is woven through landmarks like the Croatian National Theatre and the historic Tkalčićeva Street, known for its bustling café culture. For those seeking tranquility amidst the urban landscape, the Botanical Garden offers a serene escape.
Zagreb’s perfect blend of beautiful buildings, historic charm, and green spaces makes it an ideal destination for those exploring the best of Croatia’s urban and natural landscapes. Whether you’re a history buff, culture enthusiast, or simply looking for a unique travel experience, Zagreb’s mix of modern dynamism and traditional heritage ensures it’s a place not to be missed.