Things To Do In Zagreb |Zagreb Travel Blog

Top things to do in Zagreb

Croatian capital city, and the largest business, political and student center, Zagreb offers so many things to do for locals and tourists alike. Unlike its coastal counterparts, Zagreb lives all year round.

When Vera and I lived in Zagreb, we loved strolling the Upper town, cycling Jarun Lake, or hiking to the Sljeme Mount. 

Things To Do In Zagreb, Illustration

Zagreb red roofs and Medvednica mountain in the back

We also enjoyed having a coffee downtown, picnic in the Maksimir Park, going for a day to Samobor, or for a lunch to the villages dotting the hills of Zagorje.

There are seriously so many things to do in Zagreb, that you'll quickly want to extend your stay here.

Zagreb is vibrant. It is flat and thus a perfect place for long strolls or for cycling. Zagreb is relatively small compared to other European capitals. And, it has lots of parks and even forests within the city limits.

Our top recommendations of what to do in Zagreb

If you have no time to read the entire blog, or if you are in Zagreb just for a day, put on your list these 5 things to do.

21 awesome things to do in Zagreb

Zagreb is a lovely city, with laid back atmosphere, strong coffee culture, pedestrian-only town's center, great bistro-style restaurants, green markets, the interesting craft beer scene, good downtown shopping, and stripes of bars and cafes at every corner.

We hope that you will enjoy your time in Zagreb!

Explore Upper town

The upper town is my favorite part of Zagreb. Here you will find some of Zagreb top sights. This part of town is exactly what its name suggests: it’s a part of the town perched on the slopes of the Medvednica Mountain. Along with Kaptol, this is the oldest part of the town. Remains of town walls and towers that surrounded the Upper Town in the medieval times are still preserved.

Zagreb’s upper town is a truly romantic part of Zagreb. It’s never overcrowded, and the traffic here is limited. It’s full of historical landmarks, secret passages, small museums, art galleries, and fun bars. You’ll also find here a Croatian Parliament building.

Vranyczanyeva poljana in Zagreb's Upper Town

Vranyczanyeva poljana in Zagreb's Upper Town

Zagreb's Upper town features some of the Zagreb top attractions: the Lotrscak tower, Stone gate (Kamenita vrata), St. Marc Church, Museum of Broken relationship, Stross promenade, the Mestrovic Atelier, the Klovicevi Dvori gallery.

But besides all those obvious sights and landmarks, Zagreb’s Upper town is famed for its secret sights, many courtyards tucked away from the main streets behind unassuming facades. Two events particularly celebrate this side of the upper town: Secrets of Grič, and Dvorišta.

Secrets of Gric

Secrets of Grič, a night tour of the upper town with costumed historical characters (and some fictional), is based on historical facts but blended also with known urban legends, and stories of famous Croatian novelist, Marija Juric Zagorka. This tour takes place from mid-June through September, in English, every Saturday, at 9.00 pm. The ticket costs 150 Kn, and the tour lasts for one hour. This is a great opportunity to experience different Zagreb, a history of the town as told by great Croatian novelist.

Dvorista

Another event that highlights the hidden side of Zagreb’s upper town is simply called Dvorišta, meaning Courtyards in Croatian. It takes place in mid-July, for nine days. With a motto “each courtyard has its story”, this event offers visitors a chance to experience part of the town that is usually shut behind facades, and doors. Participating courtyards are properly decorated and lighted, and each one features live music, drinks, and snacks.

Walking tours

Iva Silla of Secret Zagreb Walks offers also interesting tours of the upper town that reveal another side of Zagreb. Their most interesting tours are Private Zagreb Walking Tour, and Zagreb Ghosts & Dragons Tour.

Don't miss downtown Zagreb

Jurisiceva Street and Jelacic Square at night with blue tram

Jelacic Square and Jurisiceva Street at Night |Photo credit: Jorge Franganillo & Flickr

Downtown Zagreb is perhaps the town's area where you will spend most of your time in Zagreb. However, don't limit your visit to the main square and a few streets around it. While a visit to those Zagreb Croatia points of interest is a must-do, we recommend that you seek out Zagreb tourist attractions beyond the few obvious ones.

So, here are our suggestions for what to see in Zagreb downtown.

Jelacic Square, Zagreb's main square, is the starting point for exploring the downtown. The square is huge, with lovely buildings surrounding it on all four sides. The majority of buildings date back to the 19th century and feature different architectural styles: from post-modernism, Art Nouveau, and Biedermeier.

Many trams pass through the main square, connecting different Zagreb neighborhoods. Climb up the skyscraper in Ilica 1 for awesome 360° views of Zagreb, go to the chocolate & candy store Kras for some sweet souvenirs to bring back home, make a wish at Mandusevac fountain, or dance a night away in Johann Franck Club.

Tkalciceva Street

Once a creek that separated two towns: Kaptol, and Gradec, Tkalciceva Street, or Tkalca as locals call it, is a lovely pedestrian street lined with cafes, restaurants, and small shops on both sides of the street.

Many of these businesses are housed in small historical houses of different colors. And it just adds to the charm of Tklaciceva Street. The street starts just behind the main Jelacic Square and goes all the way to Kaptol Center.

Sidestreet terraces in Tkalciceva Street

Tkalciceva Street|Photo credit: Jorge Franganillo & Flickr

Stroll up and down Tkalciceva, take photos, climb up to Dolac Market, have breakfast or a leisurely lunch at Otto and Frank  (Tkalciceva 20). Taste a local beer at Mali Medo (Tkalciceva 36), jazz it up in Melin (Kozarska 16; just above Tkalciceva), take a flight of local brandies at Rakhia Bar (Tkalciceva 45), or enjoy some blues and rock at Booze and Blues Bar (Tkalciceva 84).

Bogoviceva Street and Flowers' Square

Bogoviceva Street is another downtown street full of cafes. It's ultimate see and be-seen Zagreb spot, particularly so on Saturday between 10 am and 1 pm.

Cvjetni Trg (Flower’s Square) is called so due to few flower stalls you can find there. The square is also filled with cafes, bars, casual eateries, and a shopping mall. Zagreb Orthodox Cathedral constructed in 1865, and Oktogon, a covered passageway that connects Flower’s Square with Ilica, can be found here too.

East downtown consists of a few interesting streets and neighborhoods, particularly Mestrovic Pavillon (Dzamija), Vlaska Street, and Marticeva Street.

Vlaska Street

A long street starting right behind the main square, and going east all the way to Kvaternik Square, Vlaska Street consists of two parts: Old Vlaska (the part from the main square to Draskoviceva Street), and new Vlaska (further east from Draskoviceva).

This street is a bit rough around the edges but it’s full of interesting courtyards, hidden restaurants, and lovely bars. Don’t miss having a coffee at Finjak, the most instagrammable café in Zagreb, tasting one of the best pizzas in town at the pizzeria Karijola, or having a yummy lunch at Mali Bar, one of our favorite restaurants.

Marticeva Street

Marticeva Street runs parallelly with Vlaska, from Croatian National Bank all the way to Kvaternik Square.

Not so long ago, Marticeva was nothing but a somber street full of car dealerships, and car parts shops, but today the street is very popular among designers, hipsters, artists, and writers.

Hang out at Booksa, a cool bar for books aficionados, check Zagreb awesome modernist buildings – Wooden Skyscraper in Marticeva, and colorful Vitic skyscraper in nearby Laginjina Street, have a coffee at trendy Program Bar, or in a creative Mr. Frog Bar, or have a bite in nearby Noel Restaurant (Popa Dukljanina Street).

If you happen to be in Zagreb in mid-June, don’t miss the Design District Festival that takes place in and around Marticeva Street. The festival celebrates local creative communities and businesses from the neighborhood. The program includes jazz, yoga, and meditation at the roof-top, furniture exhibition, various workshops, architecture-focused guided tours, etc..

Ilica Street

Ilica is one of the oldest and longest Zagreb streets. It's almost 6 km long, and it stretches from the main square all the way to Crnomerec to the northwest.

This busy street is full of shops; many high street fashion stores, like Zara, Mango, and many shoe stores like Echo, or Geox are located closer to the main square, but as you continue along Ilica further from the downtown, all kinds of shops emerge.

Have an ice cream at Vincek (Ilica 18), buy original Croatian souvenirs at the Take Me Home Design Shop (Tomiceva 4, just off the Ilica Street), and have a funicular ride to the Upper Town (Tomiceva, just off Ilica Street). Taste the best coffee in town at the Eliscaffe (Ilica 63), enjoy awesome food at the Soi Fusion Bar (Ilica 50), or visit the Museum of Illusions (Ilica 72).

Also, don't forget to visit Nama, the only department store In Zagreb you have to visit even if you don't plan to buy anything. The store is a bit old fashioned but it still features many Art Nouveau details like stained glass, and wrought-iron railings, dating back to the times when it was built, in the early 20th century.

Visit the museum of Broken relationships

Items on display in the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb

Museum of Broken Relationships

A Museum of Broken Relationships has gained lots of attention ever since it was created, first as a traveling exhibition back in 2006, and since 2011 as a museum with a permanent location in Zagreb's Upper Town.

This museum is exactly what it names suggests; all items featured here are relics of broken relationships. Each item is accompanied by a story: some funny, others sad.

It is quirky, fun, and it takes less than an hour to wander through everything. They even have a little bar to have a drink, charge your phone or check your mail (yes, they've got a complimentary WiFi internet).

And don’t go there empty-handed.

Contacts:  Cirilometodska 2, Zagreb | tel: +385 1 485 1021 | e: [email protected] | Website

Admision: Adults: 40 Kn | Students & Seniors: 30 Kn

Working hours: Jun-Sept: 9 am-10.30 pm daily | Oct-May: 9 am-9 pm daily | Closed on Christmas, New Year's Day, Easter, and All Saints' Day

Shop at Zagreb's farmers' market(s)

Dolac Market

Stands at the Dolac Market

Zagreb got its first farmers' market back in 1890, and ever since the markets remain “the belly of the neighborhoods”. I've read somewhere that there are 28 green markets in Zagreb. They are an integral part of the Zagreb lifestyle. Vibrant, noisy, and lively, they are the best places to feel a local vibe.

The most popular farmers' market is Dolac. Centrally located, just behind the main square, Dolac spreads on two floors. The upper level features an open-air green market, souvenir, and clothes stands, enclosed fish market, bars, and restaurants mostly serving fast food or marenda. The ground level is enclosed and it features butcheries, bakeries, specialty food stores, and my favorite part – a dairy section.

Our tip: In the down section, from the main entrance, head straight to the diary section, all the way to the right. Here old women sell their homemade cheese, cream, and awesome cornbread.

Yummy cornbread from Dolac market

Yummy cornbread from Dolac market

Another popular farmers' market in Zagreb is Britanac. It's only two tram stations from the main square direction East (tram no. 1, 6, or 11). Britanac feels much more intimate than Dolac. Maybe it's due to the fact that the market is actually in the middle of a town's square (Britanski Trg), or a wear-and-tear look of the buildings surrounding it, but Britanac is kind of place where people feel good. Every Sunday the antique market takes place on Britanac.

Our tip: Have a specialty coffee at the Eliscaffe.

Other popular markets are Kvatric and Tresnjevka.

Strolling green markets should be high on your list of things to do in Zagreb!

Explore Zagreb parks and forests

Zagreb has lots of green areas, parks, and forests within the city limits. And walking in the park is always a good idea when thinking of what to do in Zagreb.

In downtown, make sure to follow the Lenuci's horseshoe. This unique urban complex consists of seven landscaped town's squares and a botanical garden. Lenuci was a lead architect on the project, while the shape of this urban complex reminds of a horseshoe. Thus, the name – Lenuci's Horseshoe.

Below is the map with all the details. The most popular landscaped squares are Zrinjevac (if you are in Zagreb during a Christmastime don't miss a great entertainment program on Zrinjevac and Strossmayer Square), and Trg Kralja Tomislava (right across the central train station).

Located east of downtown, Maksimir is Zagreb's oldest (open in 1794) and largest public park. It's also home to the town's ZOO. The first part of Maksimir is a classical, landscaped park with a wide central promenade, five artificial lakes, creeks, and meadows. The second part of the park consists of original, natural forests. Maksimir is very popular among locals, especially in spring.

One of my favorite parts of Zagreb is natural forests starting already downtown and girdling the northern neighborhoods. I recommend you to take a walk in some of them. Some, like Tuskanac, or Dubravkin put, you can reach within a 10-minute walk from the main square.

Tomislavac, a popular town square and park in Zagreb, just across from the central train station

Tomislavac, a popular town square, and park in Zagreb

Other popular forest parks in Zagreb are: Zelengaj, Cmrok, Jelenovac, Prekrizje, and Pantovcak.

Other parks in Zagreb are Bundek, Lake Jarun, and Medvednica.

Sip a coffee … for hours

Nowhere, but really nowhere, the coffee culture is so strong, so obvious, so important as it is in Zagreb. You'll notice this social phenomenon as soon as you start exploring the town.

Beautiful outdoor terraces are fitted with sun umbrellas during the summer, and heaters during the winter, and they are always full regardless of the time of day you pass by. If you get to know any local, (s)he will certainly invite you for a cup of coffee. You can order anything else, it's just that a word coffee here somehow got a meaning of a word drink.

Interior of the Velvet Cafe in Zagreb

Velvet Cafe

The main spots in Zagreb to have a coffee are Tkalciceva Street, Bogoviceva Street, and Cvjetni Trg. And while you should definitely visit them, our favorite cafes aren't located in these streets.

Velvet is a great little café bar-gallery tucked away at the corner of Tuskanova and Dezmanova Street. This is our favorite place to have a coffee or a simple breakfast like a croissant & freshly squeezed orange juice.
Dubbed “the most instagramable cafe in Zagreb”, Finjak serves great coffee, a good selection of teas, a good choice of beers, and gins. It is located in a courtyard just off Vlaska Street.
Palinovka is located in Zagreb's Upper Town. It's a popular Zagreb cafe with a wonderful outdoor terrace and friendly, neighborhood atmosphere.

If you prefer to join locals in your quest to discover perfect Zagreb cafes, you can check this guided Zagreb tour.

Hit the clubs

We'll be honest … not right people to talk about Zagreb nightlife, but nevertheless, we'll share a few things we know.

I wouldn't consider Zagreb as truly party town, that you'll find more east, like in Belgrade, or Prague. But, nightlife in Zagreb is still decent. No matter what kind of music you like, or what kind of party you enjoy, you'll find your place at Zagreb's night scene.

Generally, people start a bar crawl in bars located downtown, particularly in Tkalciceva Street.

Later they usually hit clubs either downtown or at the lake Jarun. Popular night clubs are Sax, Vintage Industrial Bar, Gallery, and Aquarius.

One of the ways to feel Zagreb's bar scene is to book an organized bar crawl tour. You can get more details here, and here.

And if you love beer, head to our post about the best places to have a beer in Zagreb.

Cycle at the lake Jarun

Lake Jarun is an artificial lake located in the western part of the town. People of Zagreb love this lake, and it's one of the most popular recreational areas in the town. The lake is also a popular clubbing place for after dark.

You can jog, walk or cycle around the lake; you can swim in the lake during the summer, or have a picnic. If you are staying in Zagreb for more than a day, it's always a good idea to explore the town beyond its center.

Lake is easily reachable from the city center. Just hop on tram no. 17 or no. 5 and they will get you to the lake in no time.

Recommended tour: Zagreb Big Tour

Eat your way through Zagreb

A plate with grilled salmon and veggies

Yummy food in Zagreb

I. Love. Restaurants. In. Zagreb. Being the capital of Croatia, Zagreb really has an excellent restaurant scene.

The big trend lately is small, bistro-style restaurants serving fresh food based on seasonal ingredients. Burgers also seem to be in fashion in the last years. Although not fast food burgers, but fancy and juicy mini burgers served by trendy restaurants. Asian fusion, sushi, and ramen are also popular menu items in Zagreb's restaurants.

Lunch is still a no. 1 meal in Croatia. For example, when we stay at my in-laws, we always have a big lunch, while for dinner we'll just eat leftovers or a sandwich. Zagreb isn't different! And since many people are at work during lunchtime, many restaurants offer a cheap (around 5-6€), simple but delicious and homemade lunch menu (called gablec in Zagreb). We've put together a list of best restaurants to have lunch in Zagreb. You can also check our post on must-try restaurants in Zagreb.

Visit museums

Whether you are an art & history buff or bluff, when planning what to do in Zagreb, consider visiting some of Zagreb museums and art galleries.

Museum of Broken Relationships

The Museum of Broken Relationships is quirky. Besides, it's small and it has a nice café with WiFi, a good selection of coffees and teas, and homemade cookies. So you really have no excuse to skip visiting at least this one when in Zagreb (see above for more details).

Croatian Museum of Naive Art

Unfortunately, this museum is closed since January 2020. It should remain closed for another 3 years. However, as soon as it opens its door, we'll update the information here.

Right across the street from the Museum of Broken Relationships, you'll find Croatian Museum of Naive Art. This is apparently the world's first museum of naive art. It displays paintings of Croatian naive artists, including works of Ivan Generalic, Franjo Mraz and Mirko Virius, founders of Croatian naive art. It would take you max. half an hour to visit. The staff is very informative and eager to answer all your questions.

Mestrovic's Atelier

Tucked away in a former Mestrovic family house, in Zagreb's Upper Town, you'll find Mestrovic's Atelier. Ivan Mestrovic was one of the top sculptors of 20th century. Even Rodin called him a genius. The atelier features his works but also shows family history through documentation, photos, and furniture. His works are displayed in each room, but also in the lovely garden. Local tip: There is a lack of detailed information on the artist and his work, especially in English. It's worth bringing with you your own guide book.

Klovicevi Dvori Gallery

The Klovicevi Dvori Gallery is probably the most popular art gallery in Zagreb. It's home to many traveling world exhibits once they arrive in Zagreb. Besides that, another interesting gallery, although a bit worn out, is Mestrovic Pavillon, located downtown, only two tram stations from the main square (tram no. 1, 17).

Technical Museum

Technical Museum, maybe bears a boring name but has interesting items on display, especially for children, and technical geeks. The main floor is dedicated to transport with a display of old cars, trains, planes, trams, as well as models of different ships and boats. Smaller rooms and balcony feature firefighting equipment, and mock-ups of satellites and spacecraft, and even mining equipment including a mine shaft. The highlight of the visit is a scheduled demonstration of Tesla's electrical feats and discoveries. For info and schedule check the museum's website. One of the great things to do in Zagreb with children.

Lauba House For People and Art

A contemporary art gallery, located in a former textile mill, Lauba is a privately-owned gallery, opened in 2011 with Tomislav Klicko's private art collection. Since then, it has become a creative place and exhibition space for many Croatian and international contemporary artists. Although it's located off the main tourist sites, Lauba is an interesting place to visit: the interior is lovely, temporary exhibitions change regularly, and there is a nice bistro with very decent food.

Tortureum

Tortureum is a torture museum recently open in Radiceva Street in Zagreb. The museum is small, yet very interesting. It exhibits a range of tools used for torture and execution throughout history.

Museum of illusions

Museum of illusions is located in Ilica Street. Get lost in the maze of mirrors, watch people around you shrink or grow, have fun with many other optical illusions and brain teasers. It's rather small but in our opinion a great place to visit with kids.

Zagreb City Museum

Opened in 1907, Zagreb City Museum shows different aspects of life and development of Zagreb through history: from prehistoric to modern times. The museum is small and never crowded, but well laid out and with well-described items. A great place to start exploring Zagreb because it will make you understand it better.

Hike Medvednica Mountain (if it's weekend this is where many locals are)

Medvednica Mountain is located north of Zagreb, while its slopes are an integral part of the town. There are many hiking trails on the Medvednica, but probably the most popular hike that locals take is up to the Puntijarka mountain house, located at the elevation of 957 m, just below Sljeme, the highest peak of Medvednica.

The hike literally starts in the town, from the last tram station all the way up (no.14 from the main square; and then a no.15). On weekends the trails get busy with locals. However, if you aren't into hiking, you can also reach the summit by car or a city bus.

In Puntijarka you can have a simple traditional meal, like beans, or roasted potatoes, or a delicious apple pie. And the prices are very affordable.

Another popular hiking trail (because it's the least demanding, and close to the town) is Miroslavec trail that starts in Sestine and takes you to the Kraljicin Zdenac along and across the creek.

Kraljicin Zdenac is a small pond. Next to it there ate plenty of wooden tables and benches for a picnic and a rest. A bit higher there is a mountain house Lugareva kucica offering simple but delicious meals.

Other popular landmarks include remains of Medvedgrad, a medieval fortified town; caves and springs, like Veternica and Zdencec; chapels and churches; and a hotel Tomislavac.

If you like to feel like local, hiking should definitely be on your list of things to do in Zagreb.

Visit Zagreb Cathedral

Red roofs and Zagreb cathedral

Red roofs and Zagreb cathedral

It is nice, it is close to the main square. It has lots of Gothic architectural elements. The embalmed body of the Cardinal Stepinac lies in a sarcophagus near the main altar. The interior is full of statues, paintings, and inscriptions in a Slavic script. Check how Matt from Landlopers got genuinely surprised by it. In March 2020 after a strong earthquake, the Cathedral's spire was damaged and taken down.

Visit Zagreb cemetery

This is actually a weird one. I would never visit cemeteries no matter how nice they are. The last cemeteries I visited were Paris and Varazdin. But I didn't find it entertaining. Neither could I enjoy “the beauty”.

However, Zagreb cemetery is listed on Tripadvisor as the 10th of 204 attractions in Zagreb. Must be a reason. And there must be people different than myself. The description on Tripadvisor says “This cemetery contains world-class artwork and atmosphere.” Atmosphere? Whatever. Well, here you have one of the quirkier things to do in Zagreb.

The cemetery is beautiful, well laid out with a monumental entrance, and a central part full of sculptures. You can visit graves of many famous Croatians like Drazen Petrovic and Kresimir Cosic, famous Croatian basketball players, Ivo Tijardovic, Croatian composer, a painter Edo Murtic, many other sportsmen, politicians, actors, and alike.

Bus no. 106 brings you up to Mirogoj from Kaptol (a bus stop near the Cathedral).

360º Views of Zagreb

Climb to the 16th floor of the only high-rise on Zagreb's Main Square and enjoy 360-degree views of the city. Open every day from 10 am to 11.45 pm. Besides the observation deck, there is a nice bar where you can have a drink while enjoying the views.

Skip the line by purchasing your admission ticket in advance!

Skydiving in Zagreb

A skydiver in the air above Zagreb

Photo credit: Adventure-Driven-Vacation.Com

Dreaming of diving through the skies? Maybe Zagreb is the place to experience this adrenaline-pumping activity. Located at the Lucko sports airfield, Skydiving Zagreb offers tandem jumps from their Cessna planes. The jump is at around 3.000 m, with a free fall of about 30 to 50 seconds. It'll set you back 199 €.

Get more info here.

Escape Games

There are few companies in Zagreb offering this live game. The game is intended for 2 to 5 people. Basically you get clues, hints, and 60 minutes time to escape a zombie lab or a bunker, and get yourself out using logic and teamwork. It costs 70 to 175 Kn depending on the number of players. You can check more details here, here, and here.

A day trip to Plitvice Lakes

A one day trip from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes is simply one of the best things to do in Zagreb. One of the most visited places in Croatia, the park consists of 16 lakes interconnected by many waterfalls and cascades. There is a total of 8 trails you can follow in the park. The hike can take anywhere from 2 up to 8 hours.

There are a few ways to visit Plitvice from Zagreb.

You can take a combo tour that includes a transfer from Zagreb to Split, as well as a visit to the Lakes. As such, it's actually a pretty good deal. There is plenty of time to visit the lakes, and also to have lunch before proceeding to Split. For 130 € you get a door-to-door transfer from Zagreb to Split, as well as admission tickets for the Plitvice Lakes included in the price.

Save on your transfer and a trip to Plitvice Lakes by booking in advance! 

You can also visit Plitvice lakes on your own, by car, or by bus that connects Zagreb with Plitvice Lakes. A one-way bus ticket costs anywhere between 10 € and 15 €. The ride takes 2h to 2.30h (depending on a line, and a number of stops in-between). You can check bus schedules here.

Another viable option is to book a group tour from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes. It takes a minimum of 2 persons to run the tour. The tour costs 59 €, including transport and a guide but excluding entrance tickets that you need to buy in advance online. Click here for more info on a group tour to Plitvice Lakes.

Interested to know more? Read our Ultimate Plitvice Lakes Travel Guide.

Visit Ljubljana, Lake Bled and Postojna Cave

Lake Bled

Photo credit: Walkerssk & Pixabay

Slovenia is easily reachable from Zagreb. And if you don't plan to visit it on its own, you can consider a day trip to Slovenia as one of the things to do in Zagreb.

The most popular sites in Slovenia include Ljubljana, Slovenian capital city, then Lake Bled, a wonderful lake in the Julian Alps, and Postojna Cave, one of the largest karst cave systems in the region.

Ljubljana is only 140 km from Zagreb, and both, Lake Bled and Postojna Cave are 50 km away from Ljubljana. While theoretically, you can visit all three in a day, we suggest you stick to two; either Ljubljana and Lake Bled, or Ljubljana and Postojna Cave.

You can visit Slovenian highlights from Zagreb either on your own by car, or it might be just more convenient to visit them on a group tour. Prices of these coach tours differ, as some include certain admission fees, and others don't. Double-check what is included in the price before booking.

Experience Trakoscan Castle and the baroque town of Varazdin

Trakoscan Castle dates back to the 13th century, and it lies at the shores of Trakoscan lake. A visit to the castle makes a nice day trip from Zagreb. You get to see the castle, have a nice walk around the lake, and enjoy stunning views from some of the windows in the castle.

Today, the Trakoscan Castle houses a museum with a collection of photos, books, weaponry, furniture, paintings, and prints. The admission fee is 40 Kn per adult, and 20 Kn for kids aged 7 to 18. The museum is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm (8 pm from April to November).

Varazdin, on the other hand, is a small baroque town with beautiful architecture, lovely palaces from the 19th and 20th centuries, and one of the oldest city halls in Europe. Varazdin is also known for its park-like town's cemetery.

What to do in Zagreb, Illustration for pinterest

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Explore wine-growing hills of Plesivica by bike

Plesivica is a hilly wine-growing region half-way between Jastrebarsko and Samobor, about a 30-minute drive from Zagreb.

The region is perfect for hiking, cycling, and well, wine tasting. Some of the popular winemakers from the area are Tomac, and Sember, both known for their sparkling wines, then Korak wines, as well as Rezek wines.

The best way to see the region is by group tour or hiring a private driver. This way you can sample as many wines as you want without worrying about driving.

Visit Samobor

Samobor is a gorgeous little town less than 30 km away from Zagreb. Famed for Krempita cake (cream puff pastry cake), its carnival, lovely architecture, and nice walks, Samobor is one of the most popular day trip destinations among people from Zagreb.

If you have a chance, plan a visit to Samobor. You can either do it by means of local buses or even on a bicycle. A one-way bus ticket costs around 30 Kn (4 €).  Buses leave from Zagreb central bus station, but also from other stops along the way, as Ljubljanica bus and tram stop, or Crnomerac.

You can also book a guided tour of Samobor to learn more about town's history, and discover hidden gems.

Quick Zagreb Travel Guide

We've written an in-depth Zagreb travel guide, full of useful information for anybody planning a visit to the Croatian capital. However, if you just want a quick overview to plan your stay in Zagreb, below we give you a few suggestions about places to stay, recommended restaurants, best bars, public transport, and transfers.

Zagreb Accommodation

Here are our few suggestions for places to stay in Zagreb, from Zagreb hotels to apartment rentals and hostels.

Esplanade Zagreb Hotel

If you don't mind paying a little bit extra, this is the place to stay in Zagreb. Constructed in 1925 for passengers on famed Orient Express, hotel Esplanade still features many details of that Epoque, and it's a true landmark of Zagreb. Click here for more info and availability.

Best Western Premier Hotel Astoria

This lovely hotel, located in downtown Zagreb, a short walk from the main square, features 98 rooms and 2 suites. Rooms bear classic design, with carpeted floors and a bit dated decor, however, they are comfy, clean, and well-appointed. The staff is friendly, and the overall atmosphere is convivial and laid-back. Rich breakfast, top location, and private parking make this hotel a favorite among visitors to Zagreb. More info and the latest prices …

Hotel 9

Modern, design hotel, located next to the main bus station, hotel 9 offers spacious rooms with comfy king beds. The staff is super-friendly. Click here for the latest prices.

Jagerhorn hotel

Located in a courtyard, just off the Ilica Street, hotel Jägerhorn first opened back in 1827. It is Zagreb's oldest operating hotel. It's a 3-star property with clean and comfy rooms, and friendly staff. Parking is off-site. More info …

B&B Fotic

This lovely bed & breakfast located in downtown Zagreb offers only three rooms, each of them with en-suite bathroom. B&B Fotic also features lovely onsite bistro. Click here for the latest prices and availability.

Irundo Apartments

Irundo manages around 60 apartments and rooms, all scattered throughout the downtown Zagreb. They have a choice of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, as well as single and double rooms with ensuite bathrooms. All apartments are modern, and well-equipped, including the fully-equipped kitchen in each of them. A great alternative to hotels, if you long for more space, and cheaper stay, particularly for larger parties. Click here for more info and prices.

Tesla Boutique Apartments

Located in the heart of Zagreb, in Teslina Street, Tesla Boutique Apartments consists of three apartments that can accommodate two to four persons. Apartments are brand new, fully-equipped, with all modern cons, including WiFi. More info here …

Design Studios Svi-Mi

Located in downtown Zagreb, in Marticeva Street, Design Studios Svi-Mi consists of five fully-equipped studio apartments. Apartments are modern, clean, and comfortable. Parking is provided in a garage nearby, and it costs approx. 12€ for 24h. More info and prices …

Swanky Mint Hostel

This is our go-to hostel. Very well designed, Swanky Mint hostel offers dorm rooms, as well as private rooms with en-suite bathrooms. If you travel solo or look for cheaper accommodation, we highly recommend staying at this hostel. Click here for more info.

Main Square Hostel

This is another cool hostel, located just behind the main square (thus the name!). We love their industrial feel, with high ceiling and exposed pipes. Rooms are bright, with boxed beds for maximum privacy. More info …

Eating out in Zagreb

Zagreb restaurant scene is constantly changing, and for the most part, improving all the time. However, it's not always easy to recommend restaurants in Zagreb, as some of them shine for a year or two, just to completely disappear the following year.

We've seen it happen with Prasac, a former restaurant in Upper town, or 5/4 restaurant in downtown. However, below we list a few of our fave eateries in Zagreb, which we hope will be around for quite a long time making superb food.

Restaurants in Zagreb we like

Mali Bar: Mali Bar, a bistro tucked away? in a courtyard off Vlaska Street, is run by Croatian star chef – Ana Ungarkovic. This place is convivial and always full of regulars. Food is fresh and seasonal. Taste their homemade chicken liver pâté, beer-battered fish and chips, or peas soup.
La Struk: La Struk is a cute little place located in Skalinska Street (near Dolac market) that serves only one Zagreb classic dish – strukli, a cheese-filled pastry. They prepare it in two ways: boiled, and baked, and as sweet or savory. The dish comes in many variations: only with cheese, bacon & onions, truffles, blueberries, honey & nuts, apples, and cinnamon, etc.
Rougemarin: Rougemarin is our favorite restaurant in Zagreb. Housed in a former lightbulb factory, the restaurant features a large dining room whose interior has a rough industrial feel, and a large breezy and shaded terrace – a perfect place to eat al fresco. The food is fresh and delicious. Some items change monthly, while others remain standard on the menu. We love their spring rolls, stir fry veggies, pork, and udon noodles wok, and their choco-orange cheesecake is to die for.
SOI Fusion Bar This relatively new bar (opened in 2019) located within Swanky Mint Hostel, serves Asian fusion food. Here you can indulge in dishes like gyoza, satay or katsu chicken, green curry, or tuna poke. All dishes are super yummy, and prices go from 5 to 10 € a dish. Don't miss their crazy dessert – sticky toffee pudding!
Amelie: Amelie is the most popular pastry shop in Zagreb with shops at three different locations in Zagreb: in Vlaska Street just next to the main square, and two other in a residential area of Zagreb, both not far from the Maksimir Park. Amelie offers a variety of cakes and pastries, as well as a choice of hot and soft drinks.

Best bars in Zagreb

… for bear

Mali Medo: One of three pubs that belong to Medvedgrad Brewery, located in the midst of Tkalciceva Street, Mali Medo is their most prominent pub. They brew their own beers: lagers, ales, and IPA. The place is always busy, which slows down the service sometimes. Nevertheless, the atmosphere is always great, their beers are superb, and the prices are affordable.
Tolkien's House: Serving the best beer in Zagreb since 1996, Tolkien's House is a must-visit pub in Zagreb for beer aficionados. Located at Opatovina 49, a strip of bars between Dolac Market and Tkalciceva Street, you'll find here a great choice of craft beers, stouts, porters, and other special brews.
Pinta: We love this small pub in Radiceva Street. Cozy interior with vaulted ceiling, friendly staff, and a great selection of local and imported beers make Pinta locals fave pub.

… for wine

Wine Bar Bornstein: This lovely wine bar open in 2015, as an extension of already established wine shop Bornstein that open 30 years ago. The bar is located in a 200-year-old vaulted brick cellar, not far from Zagreb Cathedral. Over 100 wine labels from Croatia and the world available by glass, convivial atmosphere, convenient location, friendly knowledgable staff, and a selection of snacks make wine bar Bornstein wine lovers favorite spot in Zagreb.
Bastion No. 19: A cozy wine bar in Masakrykova Street, Bastion No. 19 offers a great choice of less known and modern Croatian and international wine by the glass. This is a great place to taste specialty wines, but also craft beer and whiskey. The offer changes regularly. Expect to pay 20 Kn to 40 Kn per glass.

… for coffee

Velvet: We love Velvet! It's a wonderfully decorated café, with a great vibe, lovely street terrace, and an excellent choice of coffee, tea, cakes, and fresh juices.
Quahwa: Located in Teslina Street, Quahwa is a specialty coffee shop with a relaxed vibe, friendly staff, and a nice outdoor terrace. The cafe is smoking-free (rare in Croatia), and besides a great selection of coffee, they also serve a good selection of teas, including matcha tea.
U Dvoristu: Another local hot spot when it comes to coffee, cafe bar U Dvoristu (literal translation In the courtyard) is hidden away in one of many Zagreb courtyards. This place is cozy and warm, making you feel at home, in your own living room. Here you can taste real Ethiopian coffee, but it's also an occasional place to buy fresh, organic produce, as they organize a green market from time to time.
Eliscaffe: Run by Croatia's famed barman, Nik Orosi, Eliscaffe goes under the motto “no logo, just taste”. This is a great place for true coffee lovers, ones that can make that subtle difference between different roasts of quality coffee. You'll find here coffee from all over the world.

Events in Zagreb

Advent: Advent in Zagreb is super fun, and in 2015 Zagreb was voted the best Christmas destination in Europe. Activities start at the beginning of December with St. Nicolas Day and end at the beginning of January with Epiphany. Festivities take place all over downtown Zagreb with Christmas markets, music, a good vibe, and great street food.
Summer at Stross: A series of events, named Summer at Stross, take place in the Upper Town, from the end of May through the beginning of September. Events include concerts, creative workshops, street performances, and other fun events.
The Courtyards: An unique event taking place for a week in mid-July, the Courtyards are filled with live music, good vibe, food, and fun people. The venues for these events are various courtyards in the Upper Town, otherwise closed to the public. The idea is to discover unique and different Zagreb.
C'est is d'best: The oldest street festival in Croatia, C'est is d'best takes place in the streets of downtown Zagreb at the beginning of June. Jugglers, musicians, acrobats, clowns, magicians, and also a myriad of other street performers bring a breath of joy to all passersby.
INmusic festival: Held annually in late June, INmusic festival is the biggest open-air festival in Croatia. Three days of great music and friendly crowd gather on the Youth Island at the Lake Jarun.

Transport in Zagreb

Zagreb blue tram in Praska Street

Photo credit: ArvidO

Best explored on foot, Zagreb also offers a good tram network, intercity buses that connect surrounding neighborhoods, towns, and villages, cheap taxis, and bicycle rentals.

Tram ticket for a single ride costs 10 Kn, 7 Kn and 4 Kn for 90 min, 60 min, and 30 min validity; but you can also purchase a daily ticket for 30 Kn or a three-day ticket for 70 Kn.

Taxis in Zagreb today are relatively cheap and operated by different companies: Radio Taxi Zagreb, Cammeo Taxi, UberX, Eco Taxi. Expect to pay around 4-10 Kn for the start, every consecutive km costs 3-6 Kn, and every minute of waiting time you will pay around 1 Kn. The minimum spent is 12 Kn. Radio Taxi Zagreb is the most expensive taxi company in Zagreb.

NextBike is a company, or a network, of city bikes available at 17 locations in downtown. You need to register with the company (via their application) and you choose one of three models: pay as you go (5 Kn per 30 min), 7-day prepaid rides (100 Kn for an unlimited number of 30-minute rides for a week), and yearly prescription, where for 200 Kn you get an unlimited number of 30-minute rides. Both prepaid models give you an option to use bikes as much as you want; the first half an hour is always free of charge, while each consecutive 30-minute you pay 5 Kn per hour.

Car rental in Zagreb

Many visitors to Croatia arrive first to Zagreb because Zagreb Airport is the main international airport in Croatia, and it receives flights all year round.

At Zagreb airport, you will find over 20 car rental companies. Their counters are at the passenger terminal, just outside the baggage claim zone.

However, we highly recommend that you book your car rental in Zagreb in advance (the sooner the better). By doing so, you will secure a better price of your car hire in Zagreb, but also you'll make sure to actually have a car. As demand in summer goes up, the cars rent fast.

We always recommend using Rentalcars.com when booking your car rental in Zagreb, and in Croatia.

We've written a full post on car rental Zagreb if you would like to read more.

Zagreb Airport transfers

For those of you who arrive in Zagreb by plane, information on transfers from the airport to the town can be valuable.

The cheapest way to reach downtown from the airport is by Zagreb public buses that run between Kvaternik Square and Velika Gorica with a scheduled stop at the Airport Zagreb. Travel time is around 40 minutes, and the bus runs from 4.30 am to midnight, every 25-35 minutes. A one-way ticket costs 10 Kn if bought at the kiosk, but 15 Kn if bought on the bus. You can find the timetable here.

A shuttle bus runs between Zagreb airport and Zagreb's central bus station. The shuttle always follows the flights timetable. They run from 4 am to 10.30 pm, the majority of the time (but not always) every half an hour. You can check the full timetable following this link. The one-way ticket costs 30 Kn (approx. 4 €). If you are in transit in Zagreb and have just a couple of hours to visit the town, return daily ticket costs 40 Kn (approx. 5.5 €).

You can take a taxi from the airport to the town. However, only certain taxis are allowed to station at the airport, and they normally charge more for the ride than if you book a transfer ahead, and have your driver wait for you.

Expect to pay for a taxi ride from the airport to Zagreb central bus station with an official taxi around 110 Kn (approx. 15 €) while with others you can travel for as cheap as 50 Kn.

Official taxi charges 10 Kn a start, and an additional 6 Kn per kilometer, while Cammeo, for example, charges 5 Kn for a start, and 3 Kn per kilometer.

Recommended travel guides

Zagreb travel blog

If you are planning to travel to Croatia, you can also check our post on top things to do in Croatia.

What other things to do in Zagreb would you suggest adding to our list? As always, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please leave them below. 

49 replies
  1. Karen Fiascone
    Karen Fiascone says:

    Frank – love this site – thanks for all the great tips! Quick question – my 24 year old daughter and I are visiting Croatia in June. We have a 6 hour layover in Zagreb on the way home. Is it worth heading into the city for a few hours? It looks like the downtown is only about 30 minutes from the airport. What do you recommend? Thanks!!

    Reply
  2. George
    George says:

    hey Frank thank you for the tips, im goin to visit Croatia in mid sept, with a friend.
    let me know if something more should i know!

    thanks

    Reply
  3. Mabel
    Mabel says:

    Thanks Frank, it’s very useful. We plan to use bike to travel around Zagreb. However, is there any fee that is not paid for a yearly basis? Yearly fee doesn’t seem to be applicable to tourists.

    Reply
  4. Jack
    Jack says:

    Thanks for your article Frank; we’re going to Zagreb in a few days and will use your recommendations! We want to spend some time on the beach too – can you recommend the best place to go for relaxing on the beach?

    Reply
  5. Marian
    Marian says:

    Hi Mark,
    I will arrive to Zagreb to pursue some business activities at about lunch time. What would you recommend for my family (wife + 2 twin daughters aged 14) to do in Zagreb before we continue for Dubrovnik in the afternoon of the following day ?
    Thanks,
    Marian

    Reply
  6. Marko
    Marko says:

    Been reading your blog for a while, reminded me of Croatia.while I lived abroad and now that I am back I am still reading it, force of habit I guess XD Anyway I think that it would be useful for your readers to add the fact that since June 2015 Croatia i.e. Zagreb will be connected with Toronto via airplane (again) so I think it needs to be included somewhere in your blog 🙂 Keep up with the good work will continue to read. Lijepi pozdrav,
    Marko

    Reply
  7. Ayten
    Ayten says:

    Hello!
    I am planning a trip to Zagreb in April and I was wondering if there’s a train from Zagreb to Budapest directly?
    Thank you!

    Reply
  8. Ayten
    Ayten says:

    Hello!
    I am planning a trip to Zagreb in April and I was wondering if there’s a train that I can take from Zagreb to Budapest directly ?
    Thank you!

    Reply
  9. Ignatius
    Ignatius says:

    Hi Frank,
    I’m planning to visit Croatia in May. Where should I visit to experience Croatian wines?
    My visit will include Zagreb and Opatija.
    Appreciate your suggestions.
    Kind regards,
    Ignatius

    Reply
    • Frank G
      Frank G says:

      Hi Ignatius,
      you should definitely visit Istria, especially the northwest Istria where you’ll find popular wineries: Kabola, Cuj, Kozlovic, Coronica, etc.

  10. Mandie @ RamblingMandie
    Mandie @ RamblingMandie says:

    Ha, I just got here this morning and I’ve already done numbers 1, 2, 7 & 8! Actually I’m sitting here drinking coffee & working in the Museum of Broken Relationships right now – I think it’s going to be my next post because I loved it so much! (Also they have free WiFi & an electrical outlet lol)

    Reply
    • Frank G
      Frank G says:

      Hi Mandie, awesome! I am checking your post today. So glad that you’ve enjoyed it. And outlet tip is great to know .. never paid attention to that. Thanks, girl! Let us know if you come to Istria. We are heading to Dalmatia very soon. Have fun!

    • Frank G
      Frank G says:

      Thanks Frank! Appreciate it a lot. A bit busy for another week, but then I’ll happily follow the rules and answer all questions. Are you guys coming to Croatia in September?

  11. Adelina | PackMeTo
    Adelina | PackMeTo says:

    I did about half of these in the day that I was in Zagreb. I really wish I had gone inside the Museum of Broken Relationships. We walked past it and peeked into the windows, but thought it was too strange and probably wouldn’t have been too interesting. Now I’m just left wondering what it would have been like…

    Reply
  12. Frank
    Frank says:

    I see everyone was intrigued by the same thing I was – the museum of Broken Relationships. How odd, but interesting…I’d visit!
    Frank (bbqboy)

    Reply
  13. Lauren
    Lauren says:

    When you talk about traffic and parking being a nightmare, that reminds me of Toronto! But you’re right, when you are visiting a city, you don’t care about that type of thing – usually you walk or take transit everywhere! I’d love to visit this city someday, especially the market, the museums, and exploring the downtown area!

    Reply
  14. Dennis Kopp
    Dennis Kopp says:

    Thanks for the great suggestions, Frank! It’s been quite a while since I have actually been to Zagreb and I don’t remember it as a place where I wanted to live either. But I do remember that the upper town area was a great place to explore and wander around. Now that I am reading all your suggestions, I am actually realizing that I need to go back and see more of the great things the city has to offer… 🙂

    Reply
  15. Patricia Storbeck
    Patricia Storbeck says:

    Hi Frank. I’m not a city person either. Like you I like to only visit cities. For the markets and shops…never now when a fabulous pair of shoes may jump in my bag.
    Unlike you I like cemeteries. Because of the angel head stones. The one with the most beautiful angels and rusted wrought iron railings and views I ever saw was in Horta, on the island of Faial in the Azores. The photographs I took were stunning. Maybe also because my daughter died and I have a morbid fascination with cemeteries too. I love to read inscriptions and in Europe in June or July all the cemeteries are a riot of yellow flowers. It’s a sight to behold. Some kind of festival. I forgot which one.

    The Museum of Broken Relationships. So cool. I think I’m going to write a story with that title.

    Ciao,

    Patricia

    Reply
  16. Amy Lynne Hayes
    Amy Lynne Hayes says:

    I didn’t make it to Zagreb when I was in Croatia – only spent a gray, rainy day in Dubrovnik. I’m dying to go back to that country though! I can completely understand a love hate relationship with a place. Sometimes it’s nice to the leave the drudgery of daily living to the residents, and experience a place as a temporary visitor who doesn’t have to care about how much the price of parking went up! 🙂

    Reply
  17. Margherita @The Crowded Planet
    Margherita @The Crowded Planet says:

    When I had a look at this article, I was thinking ‘The Museum of Broken Relationships has got to be in there!’. I loved that place. I didn’t know you could leave an item, sounds like a great idea to keep the project going. I loved the green markets too, and I have to go back to climb Sljeme mountain! When we visited the weather was terrible!

    Reply
  18. Dave Cole
    Dave Cole says:

    I wonder if anyone has ever broken up with their partner at the Museum of Broken Relationships. I have not been to Zagreb for a while, but I’m pretty sure that I had a few beers on Tkalciceva Street. It was the summer and I think 75% of Zagreb was on the coast. Not bad for a quiet drink on a cooler August night.

    Reply
  19. Angie
    Angie says:

    This looks like a great list of suggestions and I’ve bookmarked it! Between you and Chasing the Donkey, Croatia is slowly becoming n°1 on my bucket list!

    Angie from reasons to dress, fashion, real mom street style & life as a North American mom in Italy.

    Reply
  20. Heather
    Heather says:

    This was great. I’m with Nina – I’ve never heard of a museum of broken relationships. While it seems kind of sad, it’s also very intriguing! I chuckled that there is a place there to have a drink, too. One might need one after reading about all the ‘break-ups!’

    I write this each week, but I am so looking forward to going to Croatia. I read your blog so often I feel like I will have such a great itinerary! – Heather, Life of a Traveling Navy Wife

    Reply
  21. Bryan
    Bryan says:

    My family is from the village of Domagovic, do you have any articles or information on this area. Thanks!
    Bryan Fabyanic (Fabijanic)

    Reply
  22. Phil Riley
    Phil Riley says:

    Hi Frank,
    You mention Varazdin. I am thinking of buying a house in that area, which is not far from where I currently live in Hungary. Have you seen much of that region and do you think it would be total madness for a Brit like myself to want to go and live there?

    Reply
    • Frank G
      Frank G says:

      Hi Phil, thanks for stopping by. I haven’t visited that area much. Been in Varazdin 2 times. It’s lovely town. That area, along with Istria, is considered the most developed (and people the most open-minded) in the whole Croatia (not sure if it’s true). It still gets pretty cold over there during the winter. This is why I prefer seaside towns. But I don’t think it would be a madness for a Brit to go to live there. Town seems pleasant, nature around is nice, Zagreb is not far, … You should be ok. Why Varazdin out of all? ‘Cause it’s close to where you live right now?

  23. Peregrine Falcon
    Peregrine Falcon says:

    Hi again Frank!
    I see you’ve visited Vincek’s. I prefer cakes from slastičarnica kod Šime in Petrinjska street. They excellent, although Vincek’s are also very good.
    Greetings to you from Lago di Bundek :).

    Reply

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