Zagreb. City in Croatia, Europe


City in Croatia, Europe

Zagreb Photo © chrmoe

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Trg Kralja
	Tomislava near the trainstation - Zagreb
Trg Kralja Tomislava near the trainstation - Zagreb. Photo by R Arno
The capital city of Croatia with lovely parks, squares, museums, and churches is worth a visit. The city grew from medieval communities, Kaptol to the east and Gradec to the west, each situated on a hill and divided by the Sava (Wikipedia Article) River.

The Habsburg-era buildings in the town center houses elegant restaurants and fashionable boutiques along with pubs and rowdy beer halls. Its attractions are largely historical, ranging from the Paleolithic Veternica Cave, through the vestiges of Roman culture, to the fascinating medieval old town. The city is divided in two district, the romantic hilltop Gornji Grad (Wikipedia Article), made up of winding cobbled streets, sheltered beneath the cathedral, the Croatian Parliament building, the Donji Grad with the National Theater, the University, and a number of museums. The Gornji Grad, linked to the lower town by a funicular railway or the Zakmaridjeve Steps (stube), is undoubtedly the loveliest part of Zagreb.

Zagreb Cathedral under
	renovation during sunrise - Zagreb
Zagreb Cathedral under renovation during sunrise - Zagreb. Photo by Tomislav Čar
If you wish to enjoy a unique panorama of Zagreb, head to the city's newest tourist attraction, the Zagreb Eye, located on the 16th floor of a skyscraper at Ban Josip Jelačić Square.

In summer, you can hop on the tram and take a ride to the scenic Jarun Lake to boat, swim or windsurf. There are also nearby hiking opportunities on Medvednica (Wikipedia Article) Mountain.

Zagreb's nightlife is primarily student-orientated, with the highest concentration of small bars and cafés lining the pretty street of Tkalčićeva in Gornji Grad. The best time to visit the city is in spring, when the weather is pleasant, the city is less crowded, and usually less expensive.

Ilica	street -
Ilica street - Zagreb. Photo by Piero Damiani

What to See & Do

Zagreb Cathedral

Zagreb Cathedral - Zagreb
Zagreb Cathedral - Zagreb. Photo by Connie Ma
The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin Mary is Zagreb‘s main landmark. An earthquake in 1880 badly damaged the cathedral and reconstruction in a neo-Gothic style began in the late 19th/early 20th century. Inside, don’t miss the Baroque marble altars, statues and pulpit, and the tomb of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac. The Baroque Archbishops’ Palace is attached to the cathedral.

Museum Mimara

The Mimara Museum, housed in an amazing neo-Renaissance palace, is the city's biggest and most important art history museum. The permanent exhibition is made up of the private collections of Ante Topić Mimara. The museum has over 3,750 works, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, textiles, and rugs, spanning over three millenniums. Inside you'll find Egyptian, Greek and Roman collections as well as a significant collection of items from the Far East. However, the main attraction is the painting collection of works by Raphael, Rembrandt, Bosch, Caravaggio, Velazquez, Manet, Goya, Renoir and Degas, on the second floor.

Ban Jelačića Square

Zagreb's main square, pedestrian-only (with the exception of trams), is a lively, public meeting place rimmed by several elegant pastel-colored Secessionist facades and open-air cafés. The centerpiece is a bronze equestrian statue of its namesake, Ban Jelačića. The square’s name comes from the 19th century ban who led Croatian troops into an unsuccessful battle with Hungary in the hope of winning more autonomy for his people.

Ban Jelačić Square -
Ban Jelačić Square - Zagreb. Photo by Miroslav Vajdic

St. Mark's
	Church - Zagreb
St. Mark's Church - Zagreb. Photo by Nicolas Vollmer

St Mark’s Church & Square

Zagreb's main square, until the 19th century, is home to the neoclassical Parliament and the Baroque Ban's Court Palace. The centerpiece is St Mark's Church, best known for its eccentric red, white, and blue tiled roof featuring the coats of arms for Zagreb and the Kingdom of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia, which was added to this 13th century building in 1880. Inside are hand-painted walls by Jozo Kljaković, and a crucifix by Meštrović.

City Museum

Housed in a converted 18th century convent, this museum presents the turbulent history of Zagreb from its origins as a hilltop town to the present day, passing through the Austro-Hungarian epoch. The museum is closed on Monday.

Archaeological Museum

The Archaeological Museum, founded in 1836, boasts three floors of history ranging from the Stone Age, the Egyptians to the Greeks and Romans. The museum is well laid out, interestingly presented and full of marvelous artifacts. Be sure not to miss the impressive coin collection on the first floor, containing some 260,000 coins, medallions and medals. At the museum's garden, surrounded by ancient artifacts, you'll find a pleasant cafe where you can enjoy a cup of coffee.

Kamenita Vrata (Stone Gate)
	- Zagreb
Kamenita Vrata (Stone Gate) - Zagreb. Photo by Bern Harrison

Lotrščak Tower

The Lotrščak Tower, located in the Upper Town, was built in the 13th century to protect the southern city gate. The lovely Romanesque tower once held a bell, which rang out each night prior to the closing of the gates. You can climb the tower via a steep spiral wooden staircase. The views over the city are stunning and worth the climb. A cannon fires every day at noon and if you don't like loud noises watch from a distance.

Museum of Contemporary Art

Zagreb's newest art museum opened in 2010. It's a great space to catch up with the latest in Croatian art, photography, sculpture, and multimedia. The permanent display, called Collection in Motion, showcases 620 edgy works by 240 artists, roughly half of whom are Croatian.

Stone Gate

The original 13th century city walls had four gates, of which only Kamenita Vrata remains. Deep inside the dark passageway, there are locals stop to pray before a small shrine adorned with flickering candles. According to legends, a great fire in 1731 destroyed every part of the wooden gate except for the painting of the Virgin and Child by an unknown 17th century artist. People believe that the painting possesses magical powers and come regularly to pray before it and leave flowers.

Croatian National Theater

The National Theater is an architectural gem with wonderful performances of opera, ballet and drama at affordable prices. The imposing neo-Baroque building, dating from the late 19th century, was designed by the Viennese architects Hellmer and Fellner. It was formally opened by Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef I. The only way to admire the impressive, beautifully decorated interior of the theater is to attend a performance.

Mirogoj Cemetery -
Mirogoj Cemetery - Zagreb. Photo by Jonathan Reid

Museum of Broken Relationships

Housed in one of the Upper Town’s finest Baroque mansions, the thematic display takes visitors through a series of different emotions associated with break-up, illustrated by objects donated by members of the public. It was named ‘most innovative museum’ at the European Museum Awards of 2011.

Art Pavilion

The stunning Art Nouveau style Art Pavilion was constructed in the late 19th century. It was designed to host changing exhibitions of contemporary art. The yellow pavilion is surrounded by a lovely park that leads to the central train station.

Mirogoj Cemetery

The exquisite Mirogoj Cemetery, renowned as one of Europe's most beautiful cemeteries, was built in the 19th century by architect Herman Bolle. The absolute highlight is the majestic entry way to the cemetery; the massive cupola, and archways that wraps the length of the cemetery. The park-like Mirogoj is an architectural delight, crisscrossed by paths and dotted with artfully designed tombs and sculptures.

Jarun Lake

The Jarun Lake is located southwest of the city and is easily reached by public transport from the center. The artificial lake is a popular getaway for the locals with plenty of activities, from water-sports and swimming in the summer to year-round biking, roller skating, jogging and walking. It also boast some of the capital's liveliest bars and discos. Give it at least half a day, take a stroll around the beautiful lake, stop by one of pleasant waterfront cafes for a cup of coffer or a lunch and enjoy. Each summer, the lake also hosts the popular INMusic Festival.

Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb - Zagreb
Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb. Photo by Bokeh & Travel

Food & Drink

Traditional restaurants lean towards pork, veal, fish, and other grilled and breaded delights; trendier venues are rapidly finding a foothold from Kaptol down to and around the Lower Town. The best-known dishes, which truly represent Zagreb, are ‘purica s mlincima’ (turkey roast with sheets of baked pasta-like dough that soaks up the tasty juices) and ‘štrukli’ (pasta parcels of soft, young cheese boiled and baked in the oven). Some of the best restaurants are to be found in the northern suburbs. Balkan-style grilled meats such as 'ćevapčići' are popular, and are lower in price than more elaborate main courses. For snacks, there’s a good number of bakeries and sandwich bars in the central area. Larger cafés usually offer a range of pastries, ice creams, and cakes, You can find the popular eateries in the pedestrianized section around Bogovićeva and Preradovićev trg.


Ilica Street -
Ilica Street - Zagreb. Photo by Matej Duzel
You can find international brands in the suburban shopping malls. Ilica, the street running west from Jelačić, is the main shopping drag. Here you’ll find Mango and local fashion stores such as Image Haddad, Lei.Lou, etc. North of Jelačić, the cobbled Radićeva offers funky jewelry, galleries, and boutiques.

The highlight of shopping in Zagreb has to be a visit to Dolac, the lively market on the north side of Trg Bana Jelačića square. Colorful stalls selling fruit, vegetables, and flowers are set up on the raised piazza outside, while an indoor area below displays meats and dairy products. If you are looking for reasonably priced souvenirs and gifts you should check out the craft stalls behind the fruit and vegetable section.


Zagreb has a decent set of hotels for all budgets. Most of the city's accommodation tends to be concentrated right in the center, close to either the bus or train station. Generally, the hotel service is of good quality and the rooms are neat. The majority of hotels have their own car parks and some might have underground garages. High room rates are not uncommon in central Zagreb's largest hotels, though a short walk or tram ride from downtown will bring you to comfortable, modern pensions for considerably less. Renting apartments is a good option for anyone staying for a week or longer. For budget travelers, Zagreb is filling up with the hostels that offer dorm beds and private doubles too.




Getting Around

Zagreb is served by an extensive network of buses and trams. The city center is compact and manageable on foot. If not, most of its 15 tram routes pass through Trg Josipa Jelačića, the main square. Tickets, which are valid for 90 minutes and should be validated upon boarding, can be bought either from a kiosk. Zagreb’s public transport system also includes two tourist bus routes that operate a hop-on/hop-off service. The red route operates in the heart of the city, whilst the green route operates on a much longer route, which allows the tourist to take in places such as Maksimir and Lake Bundek.

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Author: Ayda. Last updated: Apr 19, 2015

Pictures of Zagreb

Art Pavilion - Trg Kralja Tomislava - Zagreb
Art Pavilion - Trg Kralja Tomislava - Zagreb. Photo by Pfadfindergruppe Bruck an...

Ban Jelačića Square - Zagreb
Ban Jelačića Square - Zagreb. Photo by Aris Gionis

Stone Gate - Zagreb
Stone Gate - Zagreb. Photo by Dennis Jarvis

Trg Kralja Tomislava - Zagreb
Trg Kralja Tomislava - Zagreb. Photo by R Arno


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