The Croatian coastline including Split, the island of Hvar, and Dubrovnik to the south may dominate the normal traveller’s itinerary. It is time to put Zagreb on the map. Here are our 47 best things to do in Croatia’s premier city.
Number 1: Sample the Food
The first port of call for anybody experiencing a new culture should be to enjoy its favourite cuisine. My favourite to try is štrukli. Štrukli is a distant relative to the Austrian strudel and Zagreb has some of the best around.
Number 2: Explore the City by Tram
London is famous for its double decker red buses and black cabs, and New York has the iconic yellow cab. Zagreb’s answer to this is its blue trams. They provide an elegant ride around all of the main parts of the city.
Number 3: Zagreb Cathedral
Get a taste of history and religion when you visit the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary. The church has a similar feel to it as Sagrada Familia of Barcelona due to its near constant renovation since its construction in 1093. It is the tallest building in Zagreb, so you’ll be hard pressed to miss it.
Number 4: Shop at Dolac Market
A raised outdoor market identified by its famous striped umbrellas containing all of your fruit, vegetable, cheese, and meaty needs.
Number 5: Take a Walk around the City
A seasoned traveller’s trip is to only walk if you need to go anywhere. That means no taxis or trams! This way you see everything up close and find things you wouldn’t normally find. It is a cool trick to try sometime, and Zagreb is the perfect place to give it a go.
Number 6: Sample the Alcohol
Head over to Zagreb’s Craft Beer Lane (Opatovina Street) and try one of the many new craft beers being brewed in the city at Craft Room, Ro&Do and Tolkien’s House.
People forget that Croatia sits on the same fertile land that Italy is famous for producing its wine from.
Some make sure to try a bottle or two of Zagreb’s vino.
Number 7: Visit Jelacic Statue
Jelacic statue sits in the centre of the square that also bears his name. Pay your respect to Josip Jelacic, a Croatian hero who abolished serfdom in his country.
Number 8: Zagreb 360 Observation Deck
Zagreb 360 occupies the 16th floor of a building in Jelacic Square – making it the best place to visit in Zagreb for a view. Standing 600 feet above sea level, the open-air outdoor walkway allows guests the opportunity to take Zagreb photos or sit at one of the alfresco tables to sip cocktails in the clouds.
Number 9: Tkalčićeva Street
They say go where the locals go! Tkalčićeva Street is where the Zagrebians go to let their hair down.
Number 10: Visit Statue of Marija Jurić Zagorka
Zagorka was the country’s first female journalist, born in 1873. Zagorka managed to write no fewer than nineteen novels in her lifetime which are still widely read today. Many of them are set in Old Zagreb.
Number 11: Mimara Museum
Tick off your compulsory museum trip by visiting Mimara Museum. Named after the 20th-century art collector Ante Topić Mimara.
The permanent exhibits at the museum were donated by Miramar who was linked with art theft during the Second World War and also forgery after that.
So if you think you know your art, try and spot the fakes!
Number 12 – Archaeological Museum
Maybe the best representation of Croatia as a country that links east and west would be to visit Zagreb’s Archaeological Museum.
Number 13: Green Horseshoe Park
Wander through the eight connected city squares that comprise the Green Horseshoe in the heart of Zagreb.
The eight squares – Zrinjevac, Josip Juraj Strossmayer, King Tomislav, Ante Starcevic, Lenuci Fitness Park, Marko Marulic, Ivan Mazuranic and Republic of Croatia – are connected on the southern end by the Zagreb Botanical Garden.
Number 14: Ride the World’s Shortest
This is just a FUN thing to do in Zagreb that you can’t do anywhere else.
Number 15: Take a tour of Mirogoj Cemetery
An architectural landmark that is the final home for over 300,000 souls.
Number 16: Visit the Museum of Broken Relationships
Getting over somebody? Then look no further. The entire museum is dedicated to relics of broken relationships.
Number 17: Party with the Locals
People usually 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.
Or book onto one of the many bar crawls. You never know who you might meet!
Number 18: Lake Jarun
Jog, swim, cycle, or enjoy a picnic beside Zagreb’s artificial Lake Jarun.
Number 19: Convent of the Clares
This is one for the history buffs. This place has a permanent collection of 4,500 objects illustrating Zagreb’s history from prehistoric times. Anything you’d like to know about Croatian history, you can find here!
Number 20: Attend mass at St. Mark’s Church Zagreb
The church is not open to the public for touring, but it is open for mass when you can get a look inside the historic church. Mass times are as follows: Monday-Friday at 6pm; Saturday at 7:30pm; Sunday at 10:30am and 6pm.
Number 21: Stone Gate Chapel
Running along the same theme: light a candle at Stone Gate Chapel. It is an open-air chapel that resides within Gradec’s last gate.
Number 22: Walk the Gric Tunnel
Built during World War II as a bomb shelter, the Gric Tunnel runs through the hill beneath the Upper Town.
Number 23: Explore Medvednica
If you like the outdoors then you’ll find paradise in Medvednica. A mountainous forest-covered national park, that is a must see.
Number 24: Maksimir Park
If you enjoy nature, but not enough to fully immerse yourself in it, then Maksimir Park is a less strenuous option compared to Medvednica.
Number 25: Enjoy the Street Art
If you prefer a more urban look to your art then Zagreb also has you covered with a burgeoning street art culture emerging.
Number 26: Explore the City via Cycle
The city has many cycling tours if you prefer a more dynamic speed to walking.
Number 27: Go Shopping
There are several large shopping malls for all of your materialistic impulses. They include: Arena Centar, City Centre one West, Avenue Mall, and many more.
Number 28: See a Football Match
The Stadion Maksimir hosts both Dinamo Zagreb and Croatian National Team games. Experience the magic of the beautiful game in a beautiful city.
Number 29: See a Show at the Croatian National Theatre
Perhaps you fancy a night at the Opera, or a folklore performance? Only sitting 850 people and only open every fortnight on a Saturday, the Croatian National Theatre offers a truly unique experience.
Number 30: Zagreb Zoo
There is no better place to take your children in Zagreb. The zoo has a wide selection of animals and provide various shows to keep you entertained for hours!
Number 31: Take a Ghost Tour
Are you a coveter of the unknown, or a non-believer? The Ghost Tour of Zagreb is a great event for adults and children alike. It involves a rich blend of true and false events to show you Zagreb’s scary side.
Number 32: Botanical Gardens
The perfect place to relax amongst lush plants and playful turtles.
Number 33: Wake up and Smell the Coffee
Croatians are some of the worlds biggest coffee drinkers because it allows them time to socialise. So if you go for a cup of coffee you’re likely to make some new friends!
Number 34: Listen Out for the Gric Cannon
The Gric Cannon fires everyday at noon to mark midday, can you hear it?
Number 35: Nerd out at the Nicola Tesla Lab
Zagreb Technical Museum houses a replica of Tesla’s lab. Learn and take part in the lectures about Tesla himself.
Number 36: Visit the Museum of Illusions
Freak yourself out by shrinking or disappearing completely!
Number 37: Lake Bundek
This lake is smaller than Jarun, but has the largest children’s playground in Zagreb!
Number 38: Explore Zagreb’s Solar System
It revolved around the Landed Sun sculpture in Bogoviceva street. The other planets are proportional in size and distance to it.
Number 39: Watch a Film Under the Stars
Don’t miss the change to watch a film at one of Zagreb’s outdoor cinemas.
Number 40: Don’t Forget to Take Home a Croatian Suvenir
Favourites are the Croatian tie or the Cerovecki Umbrella.
Number 41: Cest is d’Best
In early June the Cest is d’Best festival gets underway complete with fire eaters and jugglers.
Number 42: Find all the Revamped Water Pumps
Revamped old water pumps have been painted over by Pimp My Pump art collective all over the city. How many can you find?
Number 43: Watch the Sunset
Strossmayer Parade is my favourite spot.
Number 44: Make a Wish Come True
All you have to do is throw a coin in Mandusevac fountain.
Number 45: Play Escape Games
You and your team have 60 minutes to escape the bunker, go go go!
Number 46: Wake Boarding at Jarun Lake
Zagreb may be a landlocked city, but you can still find the water if you try hard enough. Wake board at Jarun lake to get your fix.
Number 47: Breathe
Just breathe. Take a moment to take in your surroundings. You’re in Zagreb! Enjoy the moment.