Top 20 Things to Do in Zagreb

What to expect when visiting Zagreb

Zagreb is a capital city that is rich in history, museums and great places to eat.

The Upper and Lower Town of the city boast colourful and narrow streets that lead onto extravagant plazas and churches. Couple this with Croatia’s spectacular cafe culture and you’ll quickly feel a part of this city.

As well as offering lots of things to do within Zagreb, it’s a good jump-off point. From here, you can take day trips to Plitvice National Park, and even Slovenia.

Zagreb may feel a bit busier than some of the other cities in Croatia, but this busyness is created by locals rather than tourists. Here you can see what daily life is really like.

It’s also the only place to ride the shortest public railroad in the world – Zagreb’s funicular.

How long should you spend in Zagreb?

There are enough things to do in Zagreb to keep you busy for days.

However, Croatia has a lot to offer. Think of stunning beaches, islands and historic monuments spread throughout the country. It would be a shame to miss out on the other beautiful destinations while visiting Croatia.

That’s also one of the main reasons why a lot of visitors don’t spend too much time in the capital city. There is just too much to see in Croatia.

We recommend spending about 2-3 days in Zagreb, but it all depends on how long your holiday is.

Top 3 tours in and around Zagreb

#1 Join a Free Walking Tour 

Rows of buildings in Zagreb
Historical area in Zagreb’s Upper Town

A walking tour is one of the best ways to orient yourself in a new city.

As you’re taken around by a local guide, you learn about the history, culture and the most important thing – about the best places to eat.

If you’re looking for a free walking tour, we recommend the Free Spirit Walking Tour (the site can take a bit of time to load). They have over 30,000 guests each year and offer an incredible experience of the city.

Not only focusing on history and culture, but you also get to learn about the everyday life of Zagreb.

If you haven’t joined a free walking tour before, keep in mind that it’s expected to tip what you think the tour was worth. The hardworking and knowledgeable guides more than deserve it.

A slightly different walking tour

Tunnel in Zagreb
Underground war tunnels used in Homeland War

Croatia has had quite a turbulent recent history. With this Croatian Homeland War tour, you’ll get a good insight into what happened. Learning about the history of the places you visit makes them the most memorable.

Over 2.5 hours, you’ll be told about the fall of Communist Yugoslavia, and the Croatian fight for independence in the disastrous Homeland War.

During the tour, you’ll enter the underground war tunnels and basements used by locals as shelters during the air raids in Zagreb. Plus the Museum of the Bombing of Zagreb.

It’s an intense couple of hours learning about such a hard history, but you’ll finish the tour with a new form of respect for the city’s resilience.

Book here: Croatian Homeland War Tour for €30

#2 Ride Zagreb’s funicular

Funicular in Zagreb
Zagreb’s 64-second funicular

Taking a ride on Zagreb’s funicular ticks off a number of things from your bucket list that you didn’t even know were on there.

Nicknamed the Old Lady, the funicular is Zagreb’s oldest form of public transport, starting in 1890. It’s also the shortest public railroad in the world. It’s only 66 m long.

The funicular was built to connect Zagreb’s Upper and Lower Towns. It makes the walk much easier and saves your calf muscles from burning.

How to ride the funicular

The ride takes only 64 seconds, so it’s not going to take up a lot of your time.

A one-way ticket costs only 5 kuna (€0.70). If you already have a travel card for the trams and buses in Zagreb, you can use this for the funicular as well.

You can also couple the funicular ride with a walking tour of the city. This informative and immersive tour already includes a funicular ride at a price of €20.

Book and enjoy a 2-hour Walking Tour that also includes a ride on the funicular for €20.

#3 Take in the views from Zagreb 360°

360 view of Zagreb
View from Zagreb 360°

Standing 182 metres above sea level, Zagreb 360° is actually the city’s most visited tourist attraction.

Once you’re at the top, it’s clear to see why. Situated in Ban Jelačić square, it provides spectacular views over the city.

From the 16th floor of the building, you can see all of Upper and Lower Town, Kaptol, Gradec and much further.

It’s a nice place to grab a drink and admire the view.

Tickets cost 60 kuna (€8).

TIP: Our compact Zagreb Travel Guide shows you the best areas to stay, restaurants you don’t want to miss and many more tips for your visit to Zagreb!

#4 Admire Zagreb Cathedral

Cathedral and Monument
Zagreb Cathedral in Kaptol

The free walking tour already includes a visit to the Zagreb Cathedral

Whether you are joining the tour or not, a visit to Zagreb Cathedral is a must. Once you get to Kaptol Square, it’s hard to miss the cathedral. It’s the tallest building in Croatia – 108 metres!

Zagreb Cathedral is an impressive building to admire from the outside, with architecture dating back to the 11th century.

Make sure to take a trip inside too. The high ceilings and intricate details are quite a sight.

#5 Explore a new country and go to Slovenia

Ljubljana Zagreb
River running through Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia

The capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana can be reached in under 2 hours.

Although Croatia already has a lot to offer, it’s a great opportunity to make a short side trip to a new country. Slovenia is definitely one that’s worth exploring.

Slovenia has stunning landscapes with its dynamic mountain ranges and idyllic lakes.

How to visit Slovenia

There are a number of ways to get to Slovenia. The easiest would be by car.

However, if you don’t have your own car, Ljubljana can also be reached by train and bus.

The train takes just over 2 hours and costs around €25, each way. Whilst the bus takes around 2.5 hours and costs approximately €8, each way, depending on how far in advance you book the ticket.

Join a guided tour to Slovenia

Lake Bled with a castle on top
Famous Lake Bled in Slovenia

Organising your own transport and visiting for just a day can seem a little stressful. If you feel like this, we’d recommend joining a guided tour. This way everything is sorted for you! No stress!

Different tours offer trips to different destinations. For example, you can join this 11-hour tour that takes you to both Ljubljana and the famous Lake Bled for €120.

Another option could be the Ljubljana, Postojna Cave & Predjama Castle Tour for €120.

Either one, you’re going to have an incredible time, and get to visit a number of places in a new country!

Book your tours to Slovenia here:

#6 Take a day trip to Plitvice National Park

Plitvice waterfalls and walkway
Spectacular waterfalls in Plitvice National Park

Zagreb isn’t the best city to visit Plitvice National Park from, but if you’re not planning on visiting somewhere closer like Zadar, then it’s still possible.

And Plitvice National Park is somewhere that shouldn’t be missed during your trip to Croatia.

Why should you visit Plitvice?

You can’t help but exclaim ‘wow’ when you get your first good view of Plitvice Lakes. The colour of the water almost looks fake, it’s so vibrant and turquoise!

Plitvice is made up of a chain of 16 terraced lakes that are all interconnected by magnificent waterfalls. You can’t help but be impressed by their immense power.

There are a number of walkways around Plitvice National Park, ranging from short to long. We’d recommend taking the longest route as the park is simply too beautiful to miss any part of it.

How to visit Plitvice National Park?

View from top of Plitvice walkway
Wooden walkway one of Plitvice’s 16 terraced lakes

For those that have a car, the drive takes around 2 hours. It’s only 30 minutes extra than from Zadar, so it’s not too bad.

An advantage of going from Zagreb is that there are 12 daily bus departures costing €5-11 each way. The bus journey takes slightly longer than by car – 2 hours 15 minutes.

Once you arrive, entrance to Plitvice National Park costs €40 during peak season (June-September).

Join a guided tour

Rastoke village with watermills
Village of Rastoke with 17th-century watermills

Sometimes you appreciate a place more after hearing about its history and story. If that’s something that you find to be true, then we’d recommend joining a guided tour of Plitvice.

Over 4 hours, your guide will show you the best spots in the park. On the way to the lakes, you’ll also discover the village Rastoke and admire its 17th-century watermills.

The guided tour costs €100 and includes transportation, a knowledgeable guide, a stop in Rastoke and entrance to the park.

Book here: Day Tour to Plitvice Lakes for €100

#7 Explore Lenuci’s Green Horseshoe

Lenucis green horshoe
Arial view of Lenuci’s Green Horseshoe in Zagreb

If you just feel like wandering around Zagreb, Lenuci’s Green Horseshoe gives you an easy route to follow.

Look at any city map and you’ll quickly see why the area is called the Green Horseshoe.

What is the Green Horseshoe?

Croatian state archives
Croatian State Archive building is part of Lenuci’s Green Horseshoe

Created by Milan Lenuci, the Green Horseshoe consists of seven squares and parks aligned in three straight lines, creating the U-shaped horseshoe.

Following the U shape, you’ll be taken through squares, parks, beside museums and hidden gems such as the Botanical Gardens or the Croatian State Archives.

There’s always something to see as you make your way around the horseshoe, and it’s a great way to explore part of the Lower Town.

#8 Discover the city on a bike tour 

If you don’t really fancy using your own two feet to explore Zagreb, you can join a bike tour instead.

As you ride around the city, you’ll be able to cover more ground and see more of the city.

This means that on this 2.5-hour bike tour, you get to visit the outskirts of Zagreb too, rather than just the tourist centre. Here you can enjoy a different perspective of the city. 

Don’t worry you’ll get to take breaks and learn about Zagreb as well.

Book and enjoy Zagreb on this 2.5-hour Bike Tour for €38

#9 Discover Zagreb’s culture through a food tour 

Strukli in Zagreb
Strukli is a traditional pastry from Zagreb

Croatia has an incredible food scene. Each region has its own style of cuisine, so you never get bored as you move around the country.

To discover Zagreb’s gastronomy scene, you could try a lot of restaurants yourself, but it’s not always easy to find the gems.

Why join a food tour?

Throughout this 3-hour food tour, you won’t only get to taste Croatia’s food, but also slices of its culture and daily life.

Your knowledgeable guide won’t just tell you about the food, you’ll also get to learn about the city and the daily life of locals within it.

You’ll try lots of different local dishes, fresh ingredients from the markets, puffed pastries, Zagreb’s famous dessert, Strukli, plus much more!

For €59, you’ll get to try the best of what Zagreb’s culinary scene has to offer on this 3-hour food tour.

#10 Explore the Museum of Broken Relationships

Entrance of Museum of Broken Relationships
Exterior of Museum of Broken Relationships

You might not expect it from a relatively unknown tourist destination, but Zagreb has the biggest number of museums per capita in the world.

A very interesting and unique museum to visit is the Museum of Broken Relationships.

It’s a physical and virtual space created for sharing heartbreak stories and symbolic possessions from that relationship. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

The museum is an ever-growing collection of items that are accompanied by an anonymous story. It was created to offer an opportunity for people to overcome the emotions they are feeling, but through creativity.

Whether you’ve been through a breakup recently or not, it’s an empowering and communal experience like no other!

How to visit

Items inside of Museum of Broken Relationships
Pieces telling stories of relationships

The Broken Relationship Museum is open every day from 10:00 to 21:00. A ticket to the museum costs 40 kuna (€5.30).

Book here: Broken Relationship Museum Ticket for €6.80

#11 Take a break in Maksimir Park

Pavilion in park Maksimir
Pavilion in Maksimir Park

Sometimes capital cities can feel like an urban jungle. It’s nice to escape this feeling and immerse yourself in nature.

Maksimir is the largest park in Zagreb, so once you put yourself at the heart of the park, you can no longer hear the city noise.

Simply go for a walk in the park, read a book or take on something slightly more adventurous. You can go cycling or hire a rowing boat on the Third Lake.

You can find the park only a few minutes walk from the downtown area.

#12 Watch a show at the National Theatre

Croatian National Theater
The National Theatre in Zagreb has over 220 performances every year

There are over 100 theatres in Croatia, but only 5 of them have the status of a national theatre.

The National Theatre in Zagreb is one of them.

If you’re looking for something slightly different to do during the evening, going to the theatre is definitely a good option.

The national theatre has everything from drama to opera to ballet. There are over 220 performances every year, so there’s a good chance you’ll be there when one is on.

Ticket prices range from 50-160 kuna (€6.60-21). You can also take a tour of the stunning interior for 25 kuna (€3.30).

#13 Explore Zagreb’s Botanical Garden

Zagreb Botanical garden
Bridge and pond in Zagreb’s Botanical Gardens

Looking for a great free thing to do whilst in Zagreb? Well, entrance to Zagreb’s Botanical Garden is free.

Home to over 10,000 different species of plants, it’s the perfect place to wander through for hours or find a bench and breathe in tranquillity.

The Botanical Gardens were founded in 1889 and since then, it’s continued to grow, becoming an important contributor to investigations into different species.

It’s the ideal way to spend an afternoon in Zagreb!

#14 Buy some goods at Dolac market

Aerial view of Dolac market
Lots of stalls in Dolac Market

Dolac market is an explosion of colour and smells. It’s Zagreb’s main open-air farmers market and where you’ll find a lot of locals buying their food.

At the market, you’ll be able to find pretty much everything – fish, butcheries, healthy food stands, fresh pasta, bakeries, cheesemongers, flowers, souvenirs and of course fruit and vegetables.

Dolac market and Zagreb Cathedral
Dolac market is open every day

The market is open every day from 07:00 to 15:00, except on Sundays when it closes at 13:00. However, some stalls start packing up at 13:00 on most days, so it’s better to go early.

#15 Visit Mirogoj Cemetery

Outsdide of Mirogoj Cemetery
Many famous writers and poets are buried in Mirogoj Cemetery

Visiting a cemetery during your trip to Zagreb probably wasn’t on your list, but Mirogoj Cemetery is more than a place with just gravestones.

Firstly, because it’s set slightly outside of the city, not many visitors go there. The other thing that lures people in is simply how beautiful it is.

Hallway in Mirogoj Cemetery
Mirogoj Cemetery boasts detailed architecture

The cemetery is adorned with monumental arches, tree-lined paths and intricate architectural detailing. It was actually renovated by the same architect, Herman Bolle, who renovated the Cathedral of Zagreb.

Mirogoj is a peaceful place to wander around whilst looking out for famous poets, writers and composers.

#16 Listen to the cannon fire from Lotrščak Tower

Lotrscak tower and Gric cannon
Every day a cannon is fired from Lotrščak Tower

You don’t necessarily have to visit Lotrščak Tower to hear the cannon fire. You’ll be able to hear it from anywhere nearby.

Everyday at midday, a cannon fires to symbolise an important event in Zagreb’s history. Though there are lots of myths and stories about what this event was.

Some believe that a cannonball shot from the tower landed in a Turks’ encampment, right on the platter with a chicken that was being brought to the leader.

This scared the Turks’ off and left Zagreb safe and free from attack.

Visiting Lotrščak Tower

Nowadays, the converted prison is now a gallery and art shop. You can also climb to the top of the tower and get some great views of the city.

Entrance to Lotrščak Tower costs 20 kuna (€2.60).

#17 Hike the trails of Medvednica

Househut in the middle of forest
70 hiking trails in Medvednica

Situated 20 minutes North-west of the city centre is Medvednica, a labyrinth of 70 hiking trails.

It’s pretty incredible how the busy city completely dissolves into mountains, trees and thriving vegetation.

There is more than just nature too. Along the various routes, you’ll stumble upon churches, mines, caves, bunkers, pyramids, graves and stairways.

No matter your level of fitness, there are hiking trails for everyone. They differ in difficulty and length, so you can find the perfect one for you.

Medvednica is a wonderful escape from the city.

#18 Use Zagreb’s iconic blue trams

Modern Tram in transit
Blue tram in the centre of Zagreb

Zagreb’s tram system has been operating since 1891. However, back then they looked slightly different. The iconic blue trams were pulled by horses.

In 1920, Zagreb got its first electric trams. Nowadays, there are 15 tram lines covering over 117 km.

They’re an iconic part of the city that you should use at least once during your stay. They also just make it a lot easier to get around.

You can find out how to use the tram in Zagreb from our Ultimate Zagreb Guide.

#19 Enjoy Croatia’s cafe culture

Tkalciceva street
Cafes line Zagreb’s streets

Croatia loves cafes and coffee. It’s difficult to walk down a street without seeing a cafe with tables scattered outside.

Locals love to grab a coffee and a pastry whilst simply watching the world go by. If you want to immerse yourself in the local culture, you should do it too!

Finding a coffee spot is easy because there’s so many, but one of our favourites is Monocycle Speciality Coffee. They really know how to make a good coffee there!

#20 Walk back in time through Grič Tunnel

Visitors in Gric Tunnel
Art exhibition in Zagreb’s war tunnels

If you decide not to join the Croatian Homeland War Tour, then you can still visit Grič Tunnel by yourself.

The tunnel was built in 1943 during World War II to protect civilians from the bombing above. The labyrinth of tunnels were again used during the Croatian War of Independence as well.

Nowadays, the tunnel is sometimes used for exhibitions. However, when it’s not used for events, the tunnel serves as an underground shortcut and walkway. You can walk from one end to the other in about 5 minutes.

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About the author(s)

Professional Traveller

Kate is a writer, (ex)Management Consultant and avid traveller. She recently returned from a 2-year career break exploring the world and decided corporate life wasn’t for her. She’ll soon be testing life as a digital nomad. She’s visited over 40 countries and fell in love with Latin America in particular. Her travelling has inspired a passion for yoga, salsa, hiking and Spanish.


Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.