Croatia

12 Best Things to See and Do in Zagreb


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Zagreb, the capital of Croatia and its political and cultural centre, is a lively and dynamic city. It is a long-established tourist hotspot featuring some of Croatia’s best (and coolest) museums, as well as a fantastic dining, shopping, and café scene.

Zagreb, which is getting more and more popular as a destination, is a beautiful city with lots of exciting things to see and do. The stunning and remarkable architecture, fantastic museums, and numerous more Zagreb must-see locations, including alternative locations, can all be found in Croatia’s capital.

Whether you are interested in history, nature, or art and culture, Zagreb is sure to please tourists with everything it has to offer. Numerous stunning Austro-Hungarian structures can be found sporadically around the Croatian capital, and its charming mediaeval old town is a fun destination to explore.

With these top 12 things to do and see in Zagreb, you can explore this beautiful city that is full of history, culture, and great people.


1. Gornji Grad – Wander through the Upper Town of Zagreb

The majority of the key attractions can be found in the city centre, making Zagreb a city that is ideal for exploring on foot. Two major parts of the city centre are called Gornji Grad (Upper Town) and Donji Grad (Lower Town).

Gornji Grad, Zagreb’s Upper Town, which has gorgeous cobblestone lanes and houses with red-tiled roofs, is a lovely site to start a sightseeing tour of the city.

Gornji Grad, formerly known as Kaptol and Gradec, is the location of several of the city’s most popular tourist destinations, including the cathedral, the assembly, as well as a number of museums and churches.

Be sure to wander down Tkalčićeva Avenue, the city’s most well-known street, which is studded with sidewalk cafes, eateries, and shops. Kaptol Square, known for its numerous structures from the early seventeenth century, and the Dolac fruit and vegetable market are other attractions.

Donji Grad is a more contemporary neighbourhood with top-notch museums. The Croatian National Theatre is also housed there.

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Tkalciceva ulica in Zagreb
Image by @mikecleggphoto

2. St. Mark’s Church – Enjoy Christian Kaleidoscope art

One of the most well-known sights in Zagreb is St. Mark’s Church, which dominates the plaza with the same name and is located in Upper Town.

The renowned thirteenth-century church in Zagreb is well-known for its multicoloured tiled roof and regal-appearing gothic doorway that is adorned with fifteen sculptures in eleven niches.

The church is the centre of attention in St. Mark’s Square despite the fact that there are other significant governmental structures there. This is due to the church’s distinctive roof, which is lovely to behold.

Don’t forget to visit the interior as well for a look at the magnificent statues by renowned Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic and the frescoes drawn by Jozo Kljakovic.

From late April to October, on weekends at 12:00 PM, it gives visitors an additional attraction of Zagreb’s Guard-Changing ritual in front of its entrance.

St Mark's Church, Zagreb
Image by @mikecleggphoto

3. Zagreb Cathedral – See the neo-gothic architecture

The cathedral is among the must-see attractions in Zagreb because its twin towers can be viewed from a variety of points throughout the city, making it one of the city’s most well-known monuments (after all this is the tallest building in Croatia).

The cathedral was originally constructed in the early thirteenth century, but the 1880 earthquake severely damaged it, forcing a neo-Gothic reconstruction.

The cathedral’s entrance is free, and you should enter to view the treasury and gorgeous Gothic interior.

The official name of this magnificent structure is Cathedral of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. You’ll undoubtedly pass by the cathedral during your visit to Zagreb because it is located close to the city’s major square.

While in Zagreb, you should not miss this location.

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4. The Lotrščak Tower – Watch the cannon ceremony

One of the city’s most well-known structures, Lotrščak Tower is situated in Zagreb’s Upper Town and dates all the way back to the 13th century.

When you hear cannon fire about noon, don’t be panicked or shocked; nothing erroneous is happening; it’s only a local custom.

The cannon fire from the Lotrščak Tower can be seen every day at precisely noon; it has been a tradition for more than a century and celebrates Zagreb’s victory over the Turks.

One of the most popular Zagreb sites, the Lotrščak Tower, is where you should try to be about midday if you want to witness the ceremony first-hand.

The tower has an exhibition gallery, souvenir shops, and visitors can climb it for breath-taking city views.

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Lotrscak Tower in Zagreb
Photo © Vladographer | depositphotos.com

5. Museum of Broken Relationships – Be awed by its singularity

The museums in Zagreb are excellent and fascinating and the capital of Croatia is renowned for having the major portion of museums worldwide. Of course, the famed Museum of Broken Relationships is the most well-known.

The Museum of Broken Relationships is a fascinating destination to visit and is focused on break-ups, in case you hadn’t realised from the name. The museum’s collection appears to be a mishmash of unrelated things and is situated in Zagreb’s Upper Town close to the Lotrščak Tower.

The artefacts, which range from the tragic and depressing to the hilarious and poignant, include display panels that explain the significance of the object and how it represented or characterised the failed relationship.

The Museum of Broken Relationships is absolutely unlike anything you’ve ever seen, making it a little unique place!

See Tickets

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6. Stone Gate – Take in the elegance of the chapel’s beauty

The Stone Gate, which was once a part of the mediaeval city walls, is visible when you go between the Upper and Lower Towns via Kamienita ulica. As one of the most significant sacred locations for the locals, stop there for a moment.

Because there is a portrait of the Virgin Mary holding the young Jesus, you might even see some individuals there meditating in solitude or burning candles. The painting is housed in a chapel that was constructed to honour the significant relic. I

According to folklore, the Stone Gate and its surrounds suffered significant damage during the 1731 fire. The picture was the only piece that was unaltered. It is visible behind the exquisitely adorned Baroque iron gate that a local craftsman built-in 1778.

Votive plates are placed throughout the interior of the gate; make a wish while you are there as well.

Zagreb and the Stone Gate
Photo © xbrchx | depositphotos.com

7. King Tomislav Square – A beautiful piece of architecture

The town’s geographic heart is represented by King Tomislav Square. Your attention will undoubtedly be drawn to the major city square that was named for the first Croatian king.

If you arrive in Zagreb by train, it will be the first thing you notice because it is located in front of the Central Train Station.

The two most striking elements of the square are the magnificent King Tomislav statue and the Art Pavilion. The square’s buildings are all recognised as historical buildings.

People frequently stop by this lovely square to sit and unwind because it’s a terrific place to do that. Both locals and visitors are drawn to the area by its lively atmosphere and enjoy relaxing on the terraces with a coffee, and open scenery.

It transforms into a paradise for outdoor skating in the winter.

8. Mirogoj Cemetery – Experience the deeply calm ambiance

The most significant cemetery in Croatia and one of the most stunning cemeteries in all of Europe, Mirogoj is the final resting place of many well-known Croatians.

Hermann Bollé, one of Austria-Hungary’s well-known architects, designed the cemetery, which was built around the end of the nineteenth century (buried here as well).

There are numerous spectacular gravestones, monuments, and statues spread around the area, along with members of all religious groups, politicians, artists, singers, and writers laid side by side.

You should certainly spend some time here exploring, taking in the exquisite decorations on the graves, and reflecting on Zagreb’s past in the eerily tranquil atmosphere.

You can also visit Mirogoj with this tour.

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Mirogoj Cemetery
Photo © deymosd | depositphotos.com

9. Ride one of the world’s shortest funiculars

One of Zagreb’s highlights, the funicular connects the Lower Town to the Upper Town. It is one of the shortest in the world, covering the sixty-six-meter distance in exactly 64 seconds.

Throughout its hundred-twenty years of history, many locals have counted on it because, despite being short, the journey up the side of the hill is extremely steep.

Since the funicular started in 1890, one year before the horse-drawn tram, it is truly the city of Zagreb’s oldest form of public transportation. As you enter Zagreb’s mediaeval district, you realise that you are in a very different area of the city.

Every day between 6:30 AM and 10 PM, the funicular is open, running every ten minutes. Although it costs 5 Kunas, you can also use other public transportation tickets.

There are stairs next to the funicular so you may still view its original design if you don’t wish to ride it.

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The funicular in Zagreb
Photo © xbrchx | depositphotos.com

10. The Zagreb Eye – A visual paradise for picturesque sight lovers

The Zagreb Eye, a viewpoint that is a unit of the Zagreb 360° – Observation Deck, is a visual heaven for those who enjoy panoramic vistas. You won’t miss a thing because to its stunning 360-degree view of the city.

Ban Jelačić square, the Manduševac fountain, Upper and Lower town, as well as the most significant cultural and historic structures in Zagreb, including its squares, streets, and parks, are all visible from the sixteenth floor of the Zagreb Skyscraper.

On a clear day, you may see as far as Slovenia or Moslavačko gorje. The ideal time to get on to the top is early evening, when you can take fantastic photos of Zagreb during the day and wait until twilight to take beautiful twilight snaps.

If you haven’t been to the Zagreb 360° observation deck, you haven’t really been to Zagreb.

Views from Zagreb 360
Image by @mikecleggphoto

11. Culinary walking tour – Enjoy the Croatian culinary scene

Zagreb is a fantastic destination for all culinary enthusiasts, as one could anticipate from the capital’s city.

It is always advisable to sample some of the mouth-watering Croatian cuisine here, but there are also many foreign restaurants available if you like to taste well-known cuisine.

If you choose to eat locally, Stari Fijaker, La Štruk, or Pod Zidom Bistro are the top places serving Croatian food.

Croatian cuisine is diverse, showcasing each region’s customs and heritage from antiquity to the present. Join a culinary tour for the chance to taste them all in one mouthful.

If you want to learn more about Croatian food and sample some of the best regional delicacies, you might also want to join for the well-regarded Traditional Culinary Walking Tour.

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12. Go for day trips – Plitvice Lakes National Park & Slovenia tour

If you wish to base yourself in Zagreb for a few extra days and explore the region around it, be mindful to include extra time in your Croatia itinerary to embark on some fantastic day trips from Zagreb.

Samobor is the nearest, but you may easily go from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes and explore this breathtaking location, one of Croatia’s highlights by booking a Rastoke & Plitvice Lakes National Park Day Tour from Zagreb. The numerous waterfalls and lakes are quite stunning and worth seeing!

Even, Slovenia is not too far away, so you might decide to hop over the border and visit there! Ljubljana and Lake Bled Tour from Zagreb provides you an opportunity to explore two of Slovenia’s most well-known tourist destinations.

These 11-hour trips come with a knowledgeable guide, transportation, and pickup and drop-off from hotels.

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Lower Lakes at Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
Image by @mikecleggphoto

Summary

Zagreb delights visitors with enthralling adventures and experiences. It is dotted with fascinating sites and bathed in genuine European beauty.

This is an excellent spot to learn more about Croatia and the region and can serve as the beginning or end of your vacation to the Balkans.

Zagreb needs to be given more attention. Trust me, you will not be disappointed!

Author

Written by

Arunabha Chakraborty

Arunabha is a travel writer and digital marketer located in Kolkata, India. He is passionate about writing and photography and enjoys documenting his wanderlust experiences through his blog, encouraging others to travel and create unforgettable memories. He found a passion for travel writing right after his master’s degree. You can follow his travels on Instagram and his blog.

 Read full bio | See more articles from Arunabha

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