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 jumping 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.
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. They have over 30,000 guests each year and offer an incredible experience of the city.
Not only focusing on history and culture, 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
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 on 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.
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
The Broken Relationship Museum is open every day from 10am-9pm. A ticket to the museum costs 40 kuna (€5.30).
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 the 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
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.
The market is open every day from 7am until 3pm, apart from Sundays where it closes at 1pm. However, some stalls start packing up at 1pm on most days, so it’s better to go before this.
#15 Visit 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, as 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.
The cemetery is adorned with monumental arches, tree-lined paths and intricate architectural detailings. 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
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
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
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 117km.
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.
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 severs as an underground shortcut and walkway. You can walk from one end to the other in about 5 minutes.
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