The Ultimate Zagreb Travel Guide

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Contents

Discover | Where to stay | Where to eat | How to get around

Should you spend time in Croatia’s capital, Zagreb?

For some reason, Zagreb is often overlooked in favour of more popular seaside destinations such as Split, Dubrovnik and Hvar.

Although you don’t need to spend a long time in Zagreb, it’s certainly worth some of your time. It’s 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.

The Mestovic Pavillion
Ariel view of Mestrovic Pavilion

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. Make sure to check out our list with the best things to do to get an idea of how long you want to spend in Zagreb.

Also read: Top 20 Things to Do in Zagreb

Where to stay in Zagreb

Zagreb is the capital city of Croatia and has many neighbourhoods that you can stay in.

If you’re looking to explore the main sites, there are 3 great areas that we recommend:

Location #1: Lower Town – the best place for first-timers

Lower Zagreb town
Lower Town has lots of places to shop

Lower Town may be the best place to stay if it’s your first time in Zagreb. The district offers an eclectic mix of modern and old. Lower Town is the commercial centre of Zagreb, and the place where you’ll find its shopping street.

There is lots of open space and plenty of parks to escape the city-feel if you need to. It’s still brimming with history and could be considered the cultural epicentre of Zagreb.

Accommodation in Lower Town

This is where you’ll find most of Zagreb’s hotels. Another reason why Lower Town is the best place to stay for first timers. You have plenty of choice when it comes to where to stay.

Private room prices start at around €30 per night.

Location #2: Upper Town – the historical hub of the city

Church of St. Mark
Church of St. Mark in Upper Town

Upper Town is where most tourists will spend their time. Also known as Old Town, it’s the historic centre of Zagreb. This is where the narrow cobblestone streets and historic sites can be found.

It’s also where you’ll find the best nightlife in Zagreb. At night those iconic cobblestone streets come to life as the abundance of bars start to fill up.

Accommodation in Upper Town

Because it’s the historical centre of Zagreb, there are less residential apartments and hotels here. This can make finding a place to stay in Upper Town harder or a bit more expensive.

Private rooms start at around €35 per night.

Location #3: Kaptol – the religious centre of Zagreb

Kaptol in Zagreb
Zagreb Cathedral in Kaptol

Kaptol is a subsection of the Upper Town, found slightly to the north. This neighbourhood is the religious centre of Zagreb and where you’ll find the famous Zagreb Cathedral.

In this area, you’ll come across plenty of museums, art galleries and cafes. The best thing is that you’re only a few minutes from the main attractions, but at a lower price than in the Upper Town.

Accommodation in Kaptol

Kaptol is slightly more commercial than Upper Town which means there are more apartment-style accommodations.

There are also more places to stay here, which makes it a cheaper area to stay in. Here you can find plenty of hotels, hostels, Airbnbs and apartments.

Similar to Lower Town, a private room starts here at around €30 per night.

Where to eat in Zagreb

Tkalciceva street
Cafes lining Zagreb’s streets

Zagreb is a capital city that is flourishing with cuisines and exciting flavours. As well as traditional Croatian food, you can find dishes from all over the world.

There are places for every budget too. From quick bites to fine-dining.

With so many places to pick from, here are our 3 unmissable spots to eat in Zagreb:

Noel – the only Michelin Star restaurant in Zagreb

Noel is Zagreb’s only Michelin Star restaurant. If you’re looking for some incredible, fine-dining food, then this is the place to go. Noel offers two 6 course menus, one vegetarian and the other titled ‘The Chef Experience’.

The restaurant serves a brilliant combination of traditional Croatian cuisine and modern flavours. All of this is done with local and seasonal ingredients. It comes at a price, but it’s completely worth the experience.

Soi Fusion – the best Asian food in Zagreb

You may not have come to Croatia for Asian food, but Soi Fusion is somewhere you have to try before you leave Zagreb. Serving dishes from all over Asia, you’ll find gyozas, ramen, curries, poke and buns on the menu.

After one visit you will want to come back for more. The ambience is fantastic and the prices are affordable.

La Štruk – try the traditional Croatian dish that is Štrukli 

Following on with something a little more Croatian. La Štruk serves only the traditional Croatian dish, Štrukli. It’s a dish mainly found in Hrvatsko Zagorje and Zagreb, so where better to try it!

Štrukli is made from a special dough that is either boiled or baked. Inside there’s a delicious helping of cheese and other fillings. This is definitely the place to get a traditional taste of Croatia.

How to get around in Zagreb

Zagreb has an extensive and efficient transport system, making it an easy city to explore. There are plenty of options, all of which are cheap to use.

Here are your ways to get around Zagreb:

By Foot

Zagreb is very much a pedestrianised city, especially the centre. You’ll find that Lower and Upper Town are free of cars and perfect for walking through.

You may need transportation to connect you to the different areas. Although the walk between Upper and Lower Town is only 20 minutes.

Once you’re in the centre, your own two feet are all that you’ll need.

By Tram 

Modern Tram in transit
Blue tram with it’s destination on the front

Zagreb’s tram system has been operating since 1891. However, back in the days 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.

The trams add to the charm of the city, whilst being an efficient way to get around. All trams are marked by a number on the front, rear and side of the tram, so they’re easy to use and impossible to miss!

Buying a ticket

To make it easier, the ticket system is the same for the tram, bus and funicular.

You’ve got lots of options when it comes to buying a ticket:

  • One way ticket: 4 KN (€0.50)10 KN (€1.30) – valid for 30-90 minutes. These can be bought on the tram or from a ticket kiosk.
  • Day ticket: 30 KN (€3.95)
  • 3-day ticket: 70 KN (€9)
  • 7-day ticket: 150 KN (€19.50)

By Bus

Zageb Bus
One of Zagreb’s 134 bus lines

Just like the tram lines, Zagreb also isn’t short on bus lines. They have 134! That means you can get pretty much where you want whilst using the bus.

The ticket system is exactly the same as for the tram which we explained above.

By Taxi

There are plenty of taxis roaming around Zagreb. Luckily for us, a few years ago the number of taxi licences available were increased.

This increased competition and reduced prices. The average rate is around 6 KN (€0.75) per kilometre for traditional taxis.

Bolt holds the crown for the cheapest rate, so we would recommend using them.

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