Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Zagreb, Croatia’s Capital
The capital of Croatia, Zagreb, is the place to go if you want a city with charm, history, and delicious food. The gorgeous architecture, delectable cuisine, and welcoming residents make up for the fact that tourists frequently ignore this hidden gem. Everything you need to know about visiting Zagreb will be covered in this post, including the greatest places to stay and activities.
Table of Contents
How to get to Zagreb
Since Zagreb has its own international airport, travelling to it from other parts of Europe is simple. If your flight is coming from outside of Europe, you might need to make a connection in a different city first. As an alternative, you can travel to Zagreb by train or bus from other regions of Croatia or neighbouring nations. With stops in the Austrian Alps and along Hungary’s Lake Balaton’s shore, the train route from Vienna to Zagreb is particularly beautiful.
Ideal Season to Visit
In the spring or autumn, when the weather is mild and there are less tourists, is the ideal time to visit. Winter can be chilly and snowy, while summer can be hot and congested. Don’t miss the Christmas markets in the city centre of Zagreb if you are there in December. Here, you may eat traditional Croatian food and drink while sipping mulled wine.
Where to Stay
There are plenty of options for accommodation, from budget-friendly hostels to luxury hotels. Here are a few options to consider:
- Esplanade Zagreb Hotel: This historic hotel is located in the heart of the city and has hosted numerous celebrities over the years.
- Hotel Dubrovnik: This modern hotel is located near the main train station and offers comfortable rooms and excellent service.
- Hotel Academia: This boutique hotel is located in a quiet neighborhood near the city center and has a cozy, intimate feel.
- Chillout Hostel Zagreb: This popular hostel is located near the main square and offers a lively atmosphere and affordable prices.
- Swanky Mint Hostel: This stylish hostel is located in a renovated factory building and offers a variety of room types to suit different budgets.
- Whole Wide World Hostel: This cozy hostel is located in a quiet neighborhood near the city center and offers a welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff.
- Apartment Anamarija: This modern apartment is located in a quiet neighborhood near the city center and offers a fully equipped kitchen and comfortable living area.
- Apartments Zagreb Point: These stylish apartments are located in a renovated historic building and offer excellent views of the city.
- Apartment Melita: This cozy apartment is located in the heart of the city and offers easy access to all the major sights.
Being a relatively small city, Zagreb is simple to navigate on foot. There are numerous public transport choices, including trams, buses, and taxis, if you need to travel further. Tickets can be purchased at ticket booths or on the cars themselves.
Top Things to Do in Zagreb
St. Mark’s Church
One of Zagreb’s most iconic landmarks is St. Mark’s Church, located in the upper town. The church dates back to the 13th century and is known for its distinctive tiled roof, which features the coats of arms of Zagreb and Croatia. The interior of the church is also worth a visit, with beautiful frescoes and a stunning altar.
Another must-visit attraction in Zagreb is the Zagreb Cathedral, located in the city center. The cathedral dates back to the 11th century and is the tallest building in Croatia. Visitors can climb to the top of the bell tower for excellent views of the city.
If you’re a foodie, don’t miss Dolac Market, the largest open-air market in Zagreb. Here you’ll find fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and other local specialties. The market is open every day except Sunday and is a great place to pick up ingredients for a picnic or to sample some Croatian street food.
Museum of Broken Relationships
For a unique museum experience, check out the Museum of Broken Relationships, located near St. Mark’s Church. The museum features objects donated by people from around the world that represent past relationships, from love letters to wedding dresses. It’s a fascinating and sometimes poignant look at the highs and lows of love.
For a taste of Zagreb’s vibrant nightlife, head to Tkalciceva Street in the city center. This pedestrian-only street is lined with bars, cafes, and restaurants and is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. It’s a great place to grab a drink and people-watch.
For panoramic views of the city, climb the Lotrscak Tower, located near the upper town. The tower dates back to the 13th century and was originally used to defend the city. Today, visitors can climb to the top for stunning views of Zagreb’s rooftops and surrounding hills.
If you’re traveling with kids, don’t miss Zagreb Zoo, located on the outskirts of the city. The zoo is home to more than 2,000 animals, including lions, tigers, elephants, and giraffes. There’s also a petting zoo and playground for younger children.
Where to Eat
Zagreb is known for its delicious cuisine, with plenty of options for both traditional Croatian dishes and international cuisine. Here are a few places to try:
Traditional Croatian Cuisine
- Vinodol: This restaurant in the city center is known for its hearty Croatian dishes, such as roast lamb and grilled octopus.
- Konoba Didov San: Located in the upper town, this cozy restaurant serves traditional Croatian comfort food, such as goulash and grilled sausages.
- Bistro Vještica: This hip eatery near the main square is known for its modern take on Croatian cuisine, with dishes such as truffle risotto and sea bass with black risotto.
- Agava: This popular restaurant in the city center serves Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, with dishes such as seafood linguine and beef carpaccio.
- Takenoko: For Asian cuisine, head to Takenoko, located near the main square. The restaurant serves sushi, tempura, and other Japanese favorites.
- Zinfandel’s: Located in the Esplanade Hotel, this upscale restaurant offers a mix of international and Croatian dishes, with an emphasis on local ingredients.
Zagreb is a relatively safe city, but it’s always a good idea to take basic precautions when traveling. Here are a few tips:
- Keep your belongings close to you, especially in crowded areas. Pickpocketing can be a problem in touristy areas.
- Use caution when using ATMs, especially at night. If possible, use ATMs located inside banks or hotels.
- Be wary of strangers who approach you on the street, especially if they are overly friendly or persistent.
- If you’re traveling alone, avoid walking alone at night, especially in quiet or poorly-lit areas.
Zagreb is a vibrant and charming city with plenty to see and do. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, food, or nightlife, you’re sure to find something that interests you in Croatia’s capital. With its friendly locals, beautiful architecture, and rich cultural heritage, Zagreb is a destination that should not be missed.
Is Zagreb safe for tourists?
Zagreb is generally a safe city, but it’s always a good idea to take basic precautions when traveling.
What are the must-see tourist attractions in Zagreb?
Some of the must-see attractions in Zagreb include the historic Upper Town, St. Mark’s Church, Zagreb Cathedral, the Dolac Market, and the Museum of Broken Relationships.
What is the history of Zagreb and its landmarks?
Zagreb has a rich history dating back to the Roman times, with landmarks such as the 13th-century St. Mark’s Church and the medieval fortified town of Upper Town.
How can I get around Zagreb using public transportation?
Zagreb has an efficient public transportation system with buses and trams. Visitors can purchase daily, weekly, or monthly tickets, or use a rechargeable Zagreb Card.
Are there any festivals or events in Zagreb that I should attend?
Yes, some of the popular festivals and events in Zagreb include the Advent in Zagreb, INmusic Festival, and the Zagreb Film Festival.
What are some good day trips from Zagreb?
Some popular day trips from Zagreb include visiting the Plitvice Lakes National Park, Trakoscan Castle, and the historic town of Samobor.
What are the best shopping areas in Zagreb?
The best shopping areas in Zagreb include the pedestrian-only Tkalciceva Street, the Dolac Market, and the Arena Centar shopping mall.
Are there any famous museums or art galleries in Zagreb?
Yes, some of the famous museums and art galleries in Zagreb include the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Mimara Museum, and the Croatian Museum of Naive Art.