Here is our guide to Zagreb. A massive list of things to do in Zagreb – a city not to be missed stop on your way to or from the Dalmatian Coast.
Despite being Croatia’s capital city, Zagreb is often overlooked as a destination in its own right. Yet this city has remained at the forefront of history and culture in Croatia since medieval times.
There is always something happening in Zagreb. Visitors will undoubtedly find enough places to visit in Zagreb to keep them busy, ranging from elegant restaurants to fascinating museums.
We head to Zagreb several times a year, including for the Advent in Zagreb festivities that take place each Christmas. Ever since moving to Croatia, we’ve noticed how the city gets more fun each year. Over the years, we’ve discovered so many cool places in Zagreb!
This list of what to do in Zagreb is by no means an exhaustive overview, as there is just too much to type up. Zagreb is unlike other European capital cities in that 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 famous European cities, in that it has museums, galleries and churches, and other landmarks to visit.
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Our Suggestions For What To Do In Zagreb
What to see in Zagreb depends entirely on your own taste, interests, and preferences. That said, though, there are plenty of things to see in Zagreb, regardless of what you’re after. To give you an idea, we have compiled a list of the greatest Zagreb tourist attractions, which has something for everyone.
Additionally, if you have time, consider going on a fun day trip from Zagreb – there are plenty.
First things first, though, head to the Tourist Information Centre (Trg Bana J. Jelačića 11) and buy a 24 or 72 hour Zagreb Card. This bad-boy gives you significant savings to many things on this list – including public transport. This is always one of the first Zagreb travel tips we share with first-time visitors!
So now, let’s check out what to see and do in Zagreb, Croatia’s vibrant, beautiful and historic capital.
1. 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, but it has been in operation since 1893 and makes for a quick and easy trip to the top.
It costs just 0.5 euro and takes you to the Upper Town, the location of the historic district and one of the main places of interest in Zagreb for tourists.
Even if you skip the funicular ride and walk up, which will take you past some shops and coffee bars, you’re in for a treat if you decide to stop by one of those. With a top-notch view overlooking the lower city, this vantage point is one of the best views in Zagreb. Once there, you can see many museums, galleries and the like.
No matter how you get to the top, just be sure not to miss out on three of the best highlights of Zagreb, which are located in upper town: the Museum of Broken Relationships, Saint Mark’s Church, and the daily (noon) canon shot from Lotrščak Tower (more on them below)
2. Catch A Ballet At The Croatian National Theatre
What to do in Zagreb for culture, you ask? We recommend anyone looking for a cultural experience to visit the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb. Admire the absurd architecture, design, and interior of this striking building. The ballet and opera performances are two high-quality productions worth seeing.
Next to the entrance to the theater is the famous Mestrovic work of art, Well of Life.
3. 360° Zagreb Eye Observation Deck
Located on Ban Jelačić Square in Zagreb on the 16th floor of a Zagreb High-Rise on Ilica 1a, the 360° – Zagreb Eye Observation Deck offers a spectacular view of Ban Jelačić Square, Manduševac fountain, Kaptol, Gradec, Upper and Lower Town, and the most important cultural and historic structures in Zagreb, including its squares, streets, and parks.
4. Take A Free Walking Tour Of The Upper Town
Love walking and looking for free things to do in Zagreb? As well as a street art tour (see below for details), you can also take a free walking tour that covers the city’s history and some cultural tidbits. Downtown is excellent and where most tourists hang out, but Upper Town may have even more to offer visitors and is, at least, equally beautiful.
You will learn a lot about Zagreb, so it would be a good thing to do the tour on one of the first mornings/afternoons in the city so that you are well-acquainted for the rest of your trip.
Although these tours are free, the guides make a living based on the tips you give them after the tour is done (based on what you think the journey was worth). It would be great to kindly leave them some money to keep the tours under operation.
5. 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 numerous places to eat and drink.
Be sure to wander along Tkalčićeva Street after dark. All the shops are lit up at night, and the street has a very romantic feel about it.
6. Museum Of Broken Relationships
The contents of the museum are just as intriguing as the name suggests. Set in Zagreb’s historic Upper Town, the Museum of Broken Relationships is a place you must visit 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 article to item, you feel connected to the person and their feelings of loss and loneliness or relief. The descriptions were written by the person to whom the piece belonged, as opposed to a museum curator.
Yes, a museum that is dedicated to those trinkets people kept that reminds them of broken relationships. Allow about an hour to see this award-winning, small yet fascinating museum.
Once you have seen the exhibition, you can enjoy a coffee in the cafe and browse the gift shop. Overall an exceptional place to see and one of the many sights to see in Zagreb that are family-friendly.
7. Other Zagreb Museums
8. 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 absolute best sights in Zagreb.
9. Ban Jelačić Square
Zagreb’s central square, Ban Jelačić Square, is the beating heart of the city and the center of the city’s pedestrian zone. One of the busiest and best places to visit in Zagreb, both for locals and visitors, it lies conveniently near the old districts of Gradec and Kaptol and the Dolac Markets.
Dating from the 1600s, this historic square is lined with gorgeous architecture and is the setting of many annual events, most notably the atmospheric Christmas markets in December.
10. Grič Tunnel
An unexpected attraction in the heart of Zagreb, the Grič Tunnel, is a pedestrian tunnel underneath the historic Grič (also known as Gornji Grad) neighborhood.
Constructed in 1943 as a bomb shelter and underground promenade, it consists of two passageways, leading respectively to Stjepan Radić Street in the east and Mesnička Street in the west, and a central hall as well as six exits. You can walk through this underrated and perhaps unknown feature of the city.
You also do not have to walk the entire length; you can take several exits to get to various parts of the city.
11. Dolac Markets: 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? Nevertheless, Zagreb has a fabulous 80-year-old market called the “Dolac Markets.” You’ll find the markets located beside Trg Bana Jelačić Square.
The markets are easy to spot. Keep your eyes peeled for “Kumica” atop 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.
The Dolac Market consists of an enormous traditional-style outdoor area of vendors selling fruit, vegetables, beans, and some cheeses. Furthermore, 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 is always the rows and rows of little piggy’s hanging up in the butchers’ windows. Our kids love it.
Almost every town in Croatia has its form of an outdoor farmers-style market; we visit our own in Zadar often. Oh, how I wish we had one like this. It’s spectacular.
My advice is if you love food, book accommodation in Zagreb where you can prepare meals.
Simply put, if you’re looking for things to buy in Zagreb, whether it’s delicious food or a fun souvenir, you can find them here. As far as Zagreb’s top attractions go, this is easily one of my favorites.
12. Lotrščak Tower
If your dream job is to fire a cannon every day at noon, Zagreb is where you need to be. The only problem is… that job is already taken. And the person who does it seems to really enjoy it. There is a cannon blast at Lotrščak Tower every day, precisely at noon, so be startled when you hear a loud bang.
You can also climb the tower for incredible panoramic views over the city.
13. Take A Free Street Art Tour
The street art scene in Zagreb is thriving and deserving of all the recent attention it is getting. It has one of the most beautiful cityscapes.
There are creatively decorated water pumps all over the city that you may run into during your visit. However, our favorite part is the plethora of murals covering the walls all over city buildings in both the city’s upper and downtown areas.
Zagreb opens up a whole world of art and alternative lifestyles, and it is no wonder young people all around the Balkans have flocked to this city to see what is going on.
The best way to see all of these numerous installations of street art and make sure you don’t miss such a huge part of Zagreb culture is to join one of the free street art tours offered around the city. The tours leave from all different parts of the city, and, to be honest, we couldn’t tell you which area of the city is the most beautiful, but we really enjoyed the downtown tour.
So, if you are trying to figure out what to see in Zagreb that’s unique and interesting, without costing anything at all, this is it! There isn’t a better thing you can do if you are looking to be inspired in Zagreb. The stories that go along with the street art pieces are more profound than you can imagine.
14. Pimp My Pump
Of of the most famous street art initiatives around is Pimp My Pump. If you do not want to take the tour we mentioned above, you can be on the lookout for the old water pumps that can be found throughout the city. However, they used to be invisible; however, they now do not go unnoticed once made over by the Pimp, My Pump crew.
You may also wonder what to do around Zagreb for physical activity and/or nature. If you want to enjoy some natural scenery, 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.
Medvednica Mountain is a superb destination for an active vacation in Zagreb, just 30 kilometers away. This is a fantastic place for hiking in spring, while in winter, it’s a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding.
16. Take A Romantic Stroll In Zrinjevac
Zrinjevac is an exceptional idea for a walking date night in Zagreb. It is a very romantic atmosphere, ideal for quiet walks, picnics, and even dancing under the moonlight with various concerts and live music that takes place around the park in summer or during advent when the whole park is a-buzz!
No matter when you visit, Zrinjevac always has something to see. It’s undoubtedly one of the best places to go in Zagreb at night, easily.
17. Dental Tourism In Zagreb
Croatia is one of the best dental tourism locations, and Zagreb is home to one of the very best dental clinics in Europe. If you’ve ever considered dental implants, Croatia is a great place to get it done!
Now, this may not be the first thought you have for your holiday, but check out my incredible dental implant experience and get ideas on how to spend your downtime here.
18. Cathedral Of Zagreb
One of the top sights in Zagreb, this impressive 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.
There is a large-scale restoration project underway, but you can still enjoy a visit. There are examples of the pre-and post-restoration works to the left of the building, and the difference is beyond amazing.
19. Take A Refreshing Dip In Lake Jarun
Zagreb has so much green park space. As a matter of fact, it is one of the greenest capitals in Europe.
Though, if you can’t find your complete nature fix in town, you must only travel to the outskirts of the city center where you will find a beautiful artificial lake called Lake Jarun. Surrounded by a beautiful park, many locals come to enjoy themselves, mainly on the weekends.
It is a popular spot for small summer festivals featuring local artists and tailored to a more authentic Croatian atmosphere rather than commercial events.
Lake Jarun is an ideal place for walking, running, cycling, or simply relaxing on the beach, and it is only a few minutes away by tram from the center of Zagreb – a perfect excursion for a quiet day in the park.
20. Mirogoj Cemetery
Don’t be alarmed at the name. The Mirogoj Cemetery is nowhere near as creepy as it sounds and is really a very relaxing and sacred place. It’s more like a park, and on a beautiful day, you’ll find students sitting about reading and studying.
21. Shopping In Zagreb
Zagreb shopping is not what you would expect for a capital city of Europe, although the shopping options and experience get better and better each year I visit Zagreb. A store you can’t leave Zagreb without seeing is the famous tie shop Kravata Zagreb.
22. See A Movie
When I say movies, I’m not speaking about that occasion when Jackie Chan destroyed the entire Dolac market in his famous Armour of God car chase scene. I’m not even speaking of all those awarded movies that have been filmed in Zagreb, including Sophie’s Choice, Fiddler on the Roof, and Orson Welles’s The Trial.
I’m actually suggesting you should go to the movies when in Zagreb. Allow yourself a little break during your travels and visit an old-school cinema, like Europa, because they don’t make them like this anymore. Cinema Europa offers an excellent selection of non-commercial films that have also been nominated as winners of the Cannes and Sarajevo festivals.
If you’re fortunate, there’ll be a film screening in the summer cinema Tuskanac during your stay in Zagreb. That is a really unique experience, a cinema well hidden in the very city center. And best of all, in Croatia, we still use subtitles, no dubbing – so you’ll understand what is happening.
23. Take A Tram Ride
Super cheap and so much fun for the kids. A simple tram ride can be both fun and a way to get from place to place for a few euro quickly.
24. Go On A Spooky Adventure
Go and meet Iva, who is a Zagreb local and the host of Secret Zagreb Walks. She does 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.
25. Take The Kids To Prisavlje Park
Prisavlje Park is a unique park where most of the young adults from Zagreb spent their youth. On the Sava River banks, this is a great place to take the children, also an ideal spot to get a workout in on your holiday. Many people exercise around the park in the morning and in the afternoon.
Along the extensive walking paths, you will sometimes find small art galleries or displays from local artists and the ever-present hipster club, Sidro.
26. Amazinga Adventure Park
This indoor adventure park in Zagreb is a must for families who need to get some energy out. The park offers trampolines, go-karting, laser tag, a rope course, a climbing wall, arcade games, bumper cars, a virtual reality park and even a soft play area for smaller kids. Grab snacks or lunch at the restaurant on site and make a day of it. There’s something to enjoy for all ages at Amazinga!
27. Find All Of Ivan Mestrovic’s Art Around Zagreb
Ivan Mestrovic is arguably Croatia’s most famous artist – and most people won’t debate that. We have already mentioned that you can find some of his work in front of the National Theater.
If you are a fan of his work (or even if you have never heard of him), and you want to follow his work around Zagreb, you can spend a day hunting down his displays all over the city.
In Atelier Mestrovic, you can get a map of the location of his works in and around Zagreb. This will help you in your search.
28. Hunt Down Unique And Fun Places To Drink In Zagreb
In recent years, Zagreb has changed. From an array of organic, gourmet burger bars to the graffiti-covered ‘art park’ to swanky and posh cafes, the city that was once voted Europe’s most boring capital has become a destination of its own.
Here are a few of Zagreb’s most exceptional bars and places for coffee.
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Best Restaurants In Zagreb
Frank & Otto
Head here to eat breakfast before starting your day – or for lunch (I recommend the tuna salad). This is a small but pleasant bar & bistro located right in the city center of 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 astonishing 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 tasty places to eat in Zagreb, you 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 imports the beef from a USA producer, who allows the cows to graze in huge pastures and are fed organic yellow corn. This makes for real quality beef, which in turn becomes magnificent steak. OXBO is on the list of Zagreb restaurants to revisit time and time again.
Located in the Esplanade Hotel, this is unquestionably Zagreb’s finest and most expensive place to eat. Dishes have a modern twist on traditional cuisine. Check the website
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 when you visit Zagreb, and this spot serves up a hot plate of it for a low price. Check the website
Both a restaurant and a wine bar, Dubravkin Put, is a casual, warm, and inviting restaurant focusing on Mediterranean cuisine.
Set in Tuškanac forest, which is only minutes from the city center, its terrace offers pleasing views of the surrounding natural scenery. Its contemporary interior makes it a great place for everything from family lunches to business dinners.
The wine bar, located at the entrance, is a beautiful spot for a relaxed bite to eat and a glass of delicious wine. Check the website
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 delicious!
Stari Fijaker offers high-quality local cuisine.
Their claim to fame is authentic traditional culinary delicacies from the Zagreb-Zagorje region. One such local dish we recommend is štrukli. This fragile pastry is covered with a mixture of tangy cottage cheese, eggs, and sour cream and is tantalizing for your taste buds.
Plus, if that is not enough, you can choose from a selection of loaves of bread at Stari Fijaker, all of which are homemade. Check the website
Restaurant Cuvee is a small restaurant just ten minutes from the town center, with modern decor. You’ll find it on one of Zagreb’s nicest looking streets, which one of Zagreb’s main 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 specialty is a beef tartare, made in front of your eyes!
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 include uštipak (fried dough), house-made prosciutto, and brudet stew (this one has a frog in it!). Check the website
Pod Gričkim Topom
With a rustic charm, this restaurant located in Gornji Grad gives guests sweeping views of the city rooftops. It’s been described as “unpretentious cuisine” so get ready for some delicious Dalmatian home-cooking.
A healthy dose of seafood, a top selection of wine, and prices that won’t break the bank draw locals and visitors alike to this restaurant.
La Bodega Cheese And Wine Bar
The tapas, wine, and service are all astounding, as well as the decor and atmosphere. They even have chargers for all types of mobiles in case you’re low on battery. Check the website
Previously voted as the best pizzeria in Zagreb, Vagabund is a place pizza lovers will certainly like. Its elaborate menu, warm atmosphere, and rock music attract various people, from locals to tourists, from musicians to professors, from doctors to bohemians. Check the website
Situated in the heart of Zagreb, Vinodol is a popular restaurant serving traditional continental and Mediterranean food. This classy establishment is a great spot for dining after a fun day exploring Zagreb. Its menu features conventional Croatian dishes prepared with a modern touch and fabulous daily menus with seasonal foods. Check the website
Voted the best restaurant in Zagreb in 2018, Bistro Apetit is a superb restaurant by chef Marin Rendic, recommended by none other than Michelin. Its bright and cozy interior provides an incredible setting to indulge in unique culinary-artistic dishes. Food is prepared with ingredients from Zagreb’s Dolac. Dishes are mainly innovative and modern but with roots in Croatian tradition.
Vis A Vis – Gluten Free
Owned by the food company of the Vincek family, Vis à Vis is a fantastic cake and pastry shop with a patio in central Zagreb. It’s arguably the best place in the city for healthy desserts since they follow the latest nutrition trends. For example, all of their cakes and pastries are gluten-free, while only agave syrup, stevia, and brown sugar are used as sweeteners.
Moreover, there are also a dozen flavors of organic (soft-serve) ice cream, raw-food and vegan cakes, and dairy-free desserts.
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Top Zagreb Festivals
Fantastic Zagreb Film Festival
This is fiction, science-fiction, horror, thriller, suspense, fantasy, animation festival, and the first open-air film festival in Zagreb.
One of the best annual street festivals to check out while vacationing in Croatia is the Špancirfest festival. It takes place every year in the region of Varaždin, 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.
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 provides feature-length and short fiction films and documentaries.
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 to stay in Zagreb. There are lots of Zagreb hotels for all budgets, including many last-minute accommodation choices.
Just make sure not to wait too long if you want the best rates. Note that the hotels in Zagreb are not in the main square but are an easy walk to it.
We like to stay in hotels when visiting big cities on short breaks, and our two top picks are the DoubleTree Hilton or the Hotel Esplanade. Both are 5-star hotels 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 hotels are all well-located options.
If you are traveling to Zagreb with kids in tow or 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 a guesthouse. Hosts are helpful and will give you local info, like where to eat, what to do in Zagreb, places to visit, and so on.
Zagreb To Dubrovnik
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So, tell us, what are the top things to see in Zagreb you’ll check out first?