There are so many things to do in Zagreb for locals and tourists. And unlike its coastal counterparts, Zagreb lives all year around, and not only during the summer months. When I lived in Zagreb, I loved strolling the Upper town, cycling Jarun Lake, or hiking to the Sljeme Mount.
I enjoyed having a coffee downtown, picnic in the Maksimir Park, or 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. Zagreb is flat and thus perfect to walk or cycle. Zagreb is relatively small compared to other European capitals. Zagreb has lots of parks and even forests within the city limits.
Contents For Top things to do in Zagreb
- 1 Things to do in Zagreb: our suggestions
- 1.1 Explore Upper town
- 1.2 Visit museum of Broken relationships
- 1.3 Shop at Zagreb’s farmers’ market(s)
- 1.4 Explore Zagreb parks and forests
- 1.5 Sip a coffee … for hours
- 1.6 Hit the clubs
- 1.7 Cycle at the lake Jarun
- 1.8 Eat your way through Zagreb
- 1.9 Visit museums
- 1.10 Hike Medvednica Mountain (if it’s weekend this is where many locals are)
- 1.11 Visit Zagreb Cathedral
- 1.12 Visit Zagreb cemetery
- 1.13 360º Views of Zagreb
- 1.14 Skydiving in Zagreb
- 1.15 Escape Games
- 1.16 Wake boarding at the Jarun Lake
- 2 Quick Zagreb Travel Guide
Things to do in Zagreb: our suggestions
Explore Upper town
Upper town is my favorite part of Zagreb. And it’s 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.
Zagreb’s Upper town features some of the must-see Zagreb landmarks: 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 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 May through September, every Friday, and Saturday, at 9.00 pm. It lasts for one hour, and it’s a great opportunity to experience different Zagreb, a history of the town as told by great Croatian novelist.
Another event that highlights hidden side of Zagreb’s upper town is simply called Dvorišta, meaning Courtyards in Croatian. This is a brand new event created in 2014. It takes place in mid-July, for nine days. With a moto “each courtyard has its story”, this event offers to 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.
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 Hidden Zagreb Tour, and Zagreb Ghost Tour.
Here you have it: exploring the upper town is high on our list of best things to do in Zagreb.
Visit museum of Broken relationships
A Museum of Broken Relationships has gained lots of attention ever since it was created, first as a travelling 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 with a story: some funny, others sad.
It is quirky. It is fun. It takes less than 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@example.com | 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
Read more: Our blogging buddy, Mandie Sanders, visited the Museum of Broken Relationships, and you can read all about her experience over at her blog Rambling Mandie.
Shop at Zagreb’s farmers’ market(s)
Since ever Zagreb got its first farmers market back in 1890, farmers’ markets became and still remain “the belly of the neighborhoods”. I don’t know one single Zagreb neighborhood that doesn’t have its own farmers market. I’ve read somewhere that there are 28 such markets in Zagreb. Impressive! And seriously, markets are an integral part of 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 open-air green market, souvenirs, and clothes, enclosed fish market, bars and restaurants mostly serving fast food or marenda. The ground level is enclosed and it features butcheries, bakeries, speciality 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 corn bread.
Another popular farmers’ market in Zagreb is Britanac. It’s only two tram station from the main square direction East (tram no. 1, 6, or 11). And while Britanac is really the city center, it feels much more intimate than Dolac. Maybe it’s due to the fact that 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 people feel good at. Every Sunday the antique market takes place on Britanac.
Our tip: Have a breakfast at Kava Tava.
Other popular markets are Kvatric and Tresnjevka.
Explore Zagreb parks and forests
Zagreb has lots of green areas, parks and forests within the city limits.
In downtown, make sure to follow the Lenuci’s horseshoe. This is a unique urban complex consisting of seven landscaped town’s squares and a botanical garden. Lenuci was a lead architect on the project, while a shape of this urban complex reminds of a letter U, or a horseshoe. Thus, the name – Lenuci’s Horseshoe. Below is the map with all 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 Trg Kralja Tomislava (right across the central train station).
Located town’s East end, Maksimir is Zagreb’s oldest (open in 1794) and largest public park. It’s also a home to the town’s ZOO. The first part of Maksimir is a classical, landscaped park with wide central promenade, five artificial lakes, creeks and meadows. The second part of the park consists of an original, natural forest. Maksimir is very popular among locals especially in spring.
One of my favorite parts of Zagreb are its preserved, natural forests starting literally downtown and girdling the northern neighborhoods. They are many, and I highly 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. Once there, you’ll forget that you are just few steps from the city’s hustle & bustle.
Other popular forest parks in Zagreb are: Zelengaj, Cmrok, Jelenovac, Orlovac, Prekrizje, and Pantovcak. But Pantovcak is a residence of Croatian president, and thus closed for public.
Other parks in Zagreb are Bundek (the latest park built), Lake Jarun (see under no. 7), and Medvednica (see under no. 10).
Sip a coffee … for hours
Nowhere, and I say nowhere, is coffee culture so strong, so obvious, so important as it is in Zagreb. And, imagine!, Zagreb doesn’t even have a one single Starbucks :). You’ll notice this social phenomenon soon as you start exploring the town.
Beautiful outdoor terraces are fitted with sun umbrellas during the summer, and gas heaters during the winter, and they are always full regardless of a 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.
Main cafe spots in Zagreb are Tkalciceva Street, Bogoviceva Street, and Cvjetni Trg. And while we strongly encourage you to visit (and have a coffee at) each of them, our favourite cafes aren’t located on any of them.
Check our full list of cafes in Zagreb.
Hit the clubs
We’ll be honest … not right people to talk about Zagreb nightlife, but nevertheless, we’ll share few facts 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 people usually hit clubs either downtown, or at the lake Jarun. Popular night clubs are: Sax, Vintage Industrial Bar, Gjuro 2, Gallery and Aquarius.
And if you love beer, head to our post about the best places to have beer in Zagreb.
Cycle at the lake Jarun
Lake Jarun is an artificial lake located in a western part of the town. People if Zagreb love this lake, and it’s one of the most popular recreational areas in the town. The lake is also popular clubbing place for after dark.
You can jog, walk or cycle the lake; you can swim in the lake during the summer, or have a picnic.
Eat your way through Zagreb
I. Love. Restaurants. In. Zagreb. Being a capital of Croatia, Zagreb really has an excellent restaurant scene. Although the town still somehow lacks in choice of restaurants serving different ethnic food, even this part of Zagreb food scene started developing in the last few years. The rest assured, you can really eat well in Zagreb, and not necessary expensive.
Big trend lately are small, bistro-style restaurants serving fresh food based on seasonal ingredients. Burgers also seem to be a big trend lately. But not a fast food kind of burgers, but fancy and juicy mini burgers served by stylish restaurants.
Lunch is still a no. 1 meal in Croatia. For example when we stayed at my in-laws, we’ll 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 a lunchtime, many restaurants offer a cheap (less than 5€), simple but delicious and homemade lunch menu (called gablec in Zagreb). We’ve put together a list of best restaurants to have a lunch in Zagreb, if you’re interested in further reading. You can also check our post on must-try restaurants in Zagreb.
We particularly love eating at the restaurant Rougemarin. In fact, last five times we’ve visited Zagreb, every time we’ve eaten there. While they have daily menu (Tuesday through Friday), and they also change some of their dishes monthly, spring rolls and lemon tart, delicious treats that draw us back time and time again, remain on menu constantly.
Whether you are an art & history buff or bluff, when thinking of things to do in Zagreb, consider visiting some of Zagreb museums and art galleries.
Museum of broken relationships is quirky. Besides, it’s small and it has a nice café with WiFi, 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 below all details).
Right across the street 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. Staff is very informative and eager to answer all your questions.
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: Lack of detailed information on artist and his work, especially in English. It’s worth bringing with you your own guide book.
The Klovicevi Dvori Gallery is perhaps the most popular art gallery in Zagreb. It’s home to many travelling world exhibits once they arrive to Zagreb. 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, perhaps bears a boring name, but has an interesting content, 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 spacecrafts, and even a 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 museum’s website. One of great things to do in Zagreb with children.
Lauba House For People and Art is 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 interesting place to visit: the interior is lovely, temporary exhibitions change regularly, and there is a nice bistro with very decent food.
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 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.
Hike Medvednica Mountain (if it’s weekend this is where many locals are)
Medvednica Mountain is located north of Zagreb, and its slopes are integral part of the town. There are many hiking trails on the Medvednica, but perhaps 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. And if you aren’t into hiking, you can also reach the summit by car or a city bus.
In Puntijarka you can have 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 wooden tables and benches for 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
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. Interior is full of statues, paintings, and inscriptions in a Slavic script. Check how Matt from Landlopers got genuinely surprised by it.
Visit Zagreb cemetery
This is actually a weird one. I would never visit cemeteries no matter how nice they are. 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 7th of 64 attractions in Zagreb. Must be a reason. And there must be people different than myself. Description on Tripadvisor says “This cemetery contains world-class artwork and atmosphere.” Atmosphere? Whatever. It is nice. And I went there few times when I was younger.
Well, here you have one of quirkier things to do in Zagreb.
360º Views of Zagreb
Climb to 16th floor of the only high-rise on Zagreb’s Main Square and enjoy 360 degree views of the city. Open everyday 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.
Skydiving in Zagreb
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 Cesna planes. The jump is at around 3.000 m, with a free fall of for about 30 to 50 seconds. It’ll set you back 190 €.
A live game intended for 2 to 5 people that gives you clues, hints, and 60 minutes time to escape a zombie lab or a bunker, and get yourself out using logic, and team work. It costs 70 to 175 kn depending on number of players.
Contacts | a: Kneza Mislava 15, Zagreb | m: +385 95 844 1825
Working hours | Mon-Sat: 12.30 pm-9.30 pm | Sunday: 12.30 pm-5 pm
Wake boarding at the Jarun Lake
You don’t need to reach Croatian coast in order to take on the water. You can get your hands at wake-board experience at the lake Jarun. Open from June through September, the Wake Park has one line with various obstacles, ramps, and bumpers.
Quick Zagreb Travel Guide
We’ve written in-depth Zagreb travel guide, full of useful information for anybody planning a visit to Croatian capital. However, if you just want a quick overview to plan your stay in Zagreb, below we give you few suggestions about places to stay, recommended restaurants, best bars, and public transport.
Here are our few suggestions for places to stay in Zagreb.
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, former restaurant in Upper town, 5/4 restaurant in downtown, or Yellow Submarine, a great burger place that we loved, and then judged it a total flop on our last visit there. However, below we list few of our fave eateries in Zagreb, which we hope will be around for quiet long time making superb food.
Best bars in Zagreb
… for bear
… for wine
… for coffee
Events in Zagreb
Transport in Zagreb
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 costs 10 ln for a single ride, 30 kn for a day, or 70 kn a three-day ticket.
Once extremly controled, and expensive, taxis today are relatively cheap and operated by different companies: Radio Taxi Zagreb, Cammeo Taxi, and since October 2015, Uber. Expect to pay around 15 kn for the start, and it includes first 2 km, every consecutive km costs around 6 kn. And while Uber isn’t cheaper than Cammeo, we love it for its ease of use, friendly drivers (they really try hard to make your ride pleasant and fun), and ease of payment.
NextBike is a company, or a network, of city bikes available at seven locations in downtown. Upon registration you pay a yearly fee of 79 kn (around 10€). Afterward you can use bikes as much as you want; first half an hour is always free of charge, while each consecutive hour you pay 8 kn per hour.
Recommended travel guides
- Fodor’s Croatia Travel Guide (we are co-authors!).
- Lonely Planet Croatia Travel Guide
- Rick Steves’ Croatia & Slovenia
Zagreb travel blog
- Zagreb Travel Guide
- Where to stay in Zagreb
- Must-try Zagreb restaurants
- Best restaurants for lunch in Zagreb
- Five best places for beer in Zagreb
- Zagreb itineraries for travelers not tourists
- Advent in Zagreb
- A quick guide to Zagreb for couples
- Souvenirs to buy in Zagreb
- Today spotlight: Dolac Market
- Bistroteka Zagreb
- Mali Bar, a cozy bistro with yummy food
- Restaurant Mano
What other things to do in Zagreb would you suggest to add to our list? As always, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please leave them in comments below.