The largest city in Croatia, Zagreb is also known for its green parks, its impressive (yellow) monuments and its unusual museums, not to mention its many good neighborhood cafés! It’s almost impossible to not fall for its charm, and that’s why we created a list of our 20 favorite places to visit during your next trip to Zagreb! Varied activities, cute corners and gourmet restaurants await you in the Croatian capital!
The best things to do in Zagreb
Known for being the shortest and oldest funicular in the world, it’s still a good way to access the Upper Town with a nice view of the city of Zagreb! After climbing for a few seconds, you’ll find yourself at the foot of the Lotrščak Tower, another essential stop which we’ll tell you about in detail a little further below.
Located in the Upper Town, St. Mark Square is famous for its pretty church and its roof proudly displaying Zagreb and Croatia’s coats of arms. Try to stop there on a beautiful day to see this emblem of the city shining in the sun. If the interior is accessible during your visit, you can also admire the statues of Ivan Mestrovic, the most famous croatian sculptor.
Have a picnic at Zrinjevac Park & King Tomislav Square
Just across the main train station, you’ll find the largest public square in the city and its imposing statue commemorating the first king of Croatia, King Tomislav. With its large fountain and vast green areas, it’s a great place to stop and relax in front of Zagreb’s magnificent art pavilion. Behind King Tomislav Square, you’ll also find the pretty Zrinjevac Park, an ideal spot for a picnic.
A visit to Zagreb isn’t complete without a stop at Dolac Market. To stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables to cook a colorful recipe at home, we advise you to stop there early in the morning. Since the market usually closes at the beginning of the afternoon on weekdays, you’ll be sure not to miss anything. Dolac Market is often considered the heart of the city and you can find lots of tasty local products there as well as a large selection of flowers and herbs.
Visit the Croatian National Theatre
With its style mixing neo-baroque and rococo, the Croatian National Theatre is definitely one of the most magnificent monuments of the city. Built in 1895, its Austro-Hungarian influences make it an idyllic place for art lovers who wish to attend opera, ballet or theater performances.
Built under the Upper Town during World War II to protect civilians from bombardments, the Grič Tunnel underpass also served as an air-raid shelter during the Croatian War of Independence in the 1990s. Now a tourist attraction and a nice shortcut to enter different part of the city, the 350 meters long tunnel under Zagreb’s old town has also been used for fashion shows and concerts.
Full of cafés and restaurants, Tkalčićeva Street is a colorful street where it’s good to stroll and make culinary discoveries. From traditional Croatian restaurants to gelato counters to cozy terraces, you’ll find a bit of everything on this pretty pedestrian street.
Built in the 13th century to protect southern Zagreb, the panoramic view on top of Lotrščak Tower is simply spectacular. We recommend that you go there around lunch time to be able to hear the daily cannon shots that have sounded at noon every day since 1877.
Also built in the 13th century, Stone Gate is the medieval entrance to the Old Town and a sanctuary for Zagreb’s residents. Its famous stone door and a painting of the Virgin Mary survived a fire in 1731 and have thus become a place of pilgrimage where locals and travelers rest for a few moments in silence.
If you want to explore the city by tram or go to Maksimir Park, chances are you have to stop at Jelačić Square. Central point of Zagreb, café-bars and terraces abound in this corner of the city.
In the middle, the statue of Count Josip Jelačić, an important Croatian military strategist, symbolizes both the country’s stormy past and its great victories. Erected in the 1800s, the statue was removed during the communist era, then reinstated in the 1990s during the fall of Yugoslavia to represent Croatian nationalism.
Covering more than 50,000 square meters and containing more than 10,000 plant species, the Zagreb Botanical Garden is one of the parks forming the city’s “green horseshoe”. Its bucolic decor is a perfect escape area for a soothing walk after a day full of activities.
Immerse yourself in history at the Zagreb City Museum
To learn more about Zagreb, from its medieval past to the Croatian War of Independence, the Zagreb City Museum is a very interesting place to stop. Open since 1907, there are more than 12 thematic collections, interactives exhibitions, numerous models and thousands of objects that have stood the test of time and date back to prehistory.
If visiting museums is one of your favorite activities when you travel, you’ll be spoiled in Zagreb, the city in the world with the highest number of museums per inhabitant! Among the most popular are the Modern Art Gallery of Zagreb, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Illusions, the Croatian Museum of Naive Art and, the most unusual, the Museum of Broken Relationships.
The best restaurants and cafés to try in Zagreb
Zagreb is a very affordable city to treat yourself to a nice restaurant and the cuisine, like Croatia, is varied and inventive! Fresh fish and local seafood are always on the menu, as well as dishes with Mediterranean influences inspired by the region of Dalmatia. Zagreb is also the city of countless café-bars where people stop at any time of the day to grab a coffee or a drink a beer and have a social break. Here are some of our favorite addresses to remember for your next stay in Zagreb!
This divine Croatian restaurant is our favorite recommendation for a romantic dinner in Zagreb! One of the city’s best restaurants, local wines and recipes take center stage at Vinodol where the flavors are always harmonious, from entrée to dessert. In addition, the decor is sublime with its old-style vaults and its cozy terrace. All the dishes are delicious and well-portioned, but we particularly recommend their decadent struklis, their dalmatian pie, a real classic, and their perfectly fruity pavlova!
Located just across Dolac Market, Broom 44 quickly became our favorite neighborhood café during our stay in Zagreb. We went back several times as we loved their coffees, sometimes for a simple latte and other times for brunch, with a beautiful view of the market that comes alive in the morning.
With its moody decor reminiscent of the famous train that once passed through Zagreb, the Orient Express café-bar, right next to Vinodol restaurant, is a must for sipping a cappuccino or a Croatian beer at any time of the day.
A few other interesting places to try in Zagreb
If you’re in digital nomad mode and you stop in Zagreb for a long time to combine remote work and travel, you’ll have plenty of choices for good cafés where you can stop and get inspired! Botaničar and Cogito Coffee are excellent addresses to keep in mind for your next trip in the Croatian capital.
For a colorful brunch, stop by the Roots Bar, while for a nice gelato break, we suggest you to drop by Melt. And to end the day with a cocktail in a setting worthy of Alice in Wonderland, head to the Gin Garden to grab a drink in a treehouse!
We hope that all our recommendations will allow you to have an amazing time in Zagreb while creating your ideal itinerary in this incredible city!
Have a nice trip!
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