Zagreb, Croatia’s capital city, is a bustling town full of rich history, lush green parks, beautiful architecture, delicious food and kind people. There is an abundance of things to do in the city but if you’re pressed for time, you can certainly see most of the highlights in one day. I’ve outlined an itinerary for you to maximize the most out of your day in this beautiful city, complete with a map.
Fortunately, Zagreb is small enough that the entire city can be explored on foot. Plus you’ll get free wifi all around the city center, pretty amazing huh?! This capital city also boasts more museums per capita than anywhere else in the world. So if you’re a museum buff, you’ll surely be in heaven. It even has been given the nickname ‘the city of museums.’
Start @ Center Square (Ban Jelačić Square)
The best introcution to Zagreb can be found at the city center square, also known as Ban Jelačić Square. Here, you’ll find people walking about their day, kids playing, street performers, and the great statue of Trg bana Josipa Jelacica. Ban Josip Jelacic was the chief government official of what is now modern-day Croatia. He supported Croatia’s independence and is regarded as a national hero.
Did you know that you can tell how a man died by looking at the hoof position of the horse on any equestrian statue (a statue of a rider mounted on a horse)? If the horse is rearing its legs (both legs in the air), the rider died in battle. When the horse presents with just one front leg raised, it means the rider was wounded in battle or died of battle wounds. If all four hooves of the horse are on the ground, then the rider died of other means outside of battle.
Zagreb Art Pavilion
Even if you don’t go in, stopping to check out the outside of the Zagreb Art Pavilion is a must when visiting the city. The building dates back to 1898 and is a unique orange color. Together with the color and its architecture, it’s definitely worth a stop for a quick photo opp. You’ll also get to venture through three of Zagreb’s city parks along the way. Our favorite aspect about Zagreb was its city parks, which are scattered throughout the entire city. All throughout these parks, you’ll see locals hanging out reading newspapers, chatting, enjoying a snack and spending time with friends and family.
After visiting Ban Jelačić Square, head just up the stairs to Dolac Market. Here, you’ll find a farmers market with locals bustling about purchasing fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, fish, meat, souvenirs and so much more. Do note that there is an outdoor market and there is a market inside the building just adjacent. The outdoor market and covered market have different hours daily, but if you go from 7am-1pm daily, both will be open.
The Zagreb Cathedral (Katedrala)
After snacking on treats at the market, head just around the corner to admire the great Zagreb Cathedral. Even though part of it was undergoing restoration, it is such a gorgeous sight to see. This gothic-style Roman Catholic Church was constructed between 1880 and 1906. It’s a landmark in Zagreb because you can see its 108 meter high spires from just about anywhere in the city. Entry is free. Be sure not to miss the gold statue of Madonna, with four angels at her feet located just in front of the Cathedral.
The Main Tourist Street (Tkalčićeva Street)
You cannot visit Zagreb without taking a stroll down Tkalčićeva Street. Honestly the street really isn’t anything more than a plethora of shops, restaurants and bars, but you still cannot miss it! This street was once covered by a creek and was filled with watermills, but was later converted in the 20th century to a paved street.
If you’re tired of eating Balakan food, grab lunch at Umami Thai, which offers up delicious Thai cuisine with friendly service. They have two locations, but the one closest to Tkalčićeva Street is located just around the corner (order the Pad Thai, its delicious). For another really unique restaurant located right on Tkalčićeva Street, try Curry Bowl, which offers up delicious Sri Lankan cuisine. Get their Kotthu signature dish and order the Lion Beer (8.8% alcohol)! You won’t be disappointed!
St. Mark’s Church (Crkva svetog Marka)
After lunch, you’ll be feeling full and ready to walk off all of that delicious goodness, so head up the cobblestone street hill to the top where you’ll see St. Mark’s Church. Located in St. Mark’s Square (Markov Trg), this 13th century Roman Catholic Church has such a uniquely beautiful mosaic roof. It combines both gothic and romanesque features and is definitely worth the climb!
If you feel like taking another means of transport up the hill, walk around the corner to the iconic Zagreb Funicular. The track is just 66-meters (217 ft) long, making it the shortest cable car in the world. The funicular has been running for 120 years and departs every 10 minutes daily. The cost is just 4Kuna ($0.64 USD) per ticket.
Museum of Broken Relationships
While Zagreb is full of museums, by far the most unique is the Museum of Broken Relationships. The museum is super unique in that it’s a place with the sole purpose of sharing heartbreak stories and symbolic possessions. Stop in and have a look for yourself, entry is 40Kuna ($6.38USD). Hours vary by season, so check their website.
By now I’m sure you’ll be hungry and ready to chow down. Zagreb was one of the last cities we visited while spending 4+ months in the Balkans. Thus, local Balakan cuisine was not on our list of desired eats (sorry I don’t have any recommendations). We totally loved Zero Zero Pizzeria, which is located just in town with great outdoor seating and service. If you’re in the mood for affordable sushi, try Evergreen Sushi. Order the Dragon Roll, it’s delish!
The best place to watch the sunset over the city of Zagreb is at the Zagreb Eye 360° Observation Deck. Grab a drink and watch the city illuminate. Plus they allow pets, which was great that we could bring Miesha and they have free wifi! Entry is 60Kuna ($9.57USD) per ticket.
Late Night (or a mid-day beverage):
Our favorite pub in the city was Irish Pub Harat’s because of their great live music, draught beer options and outdoor bean bag seating! They’re located right in town near the market, so grab a beer (or two) while your nearby! We went several times during our stay in Zagreb.
Where To Stay
There are an abundance of hotels, hostels and Airbnb’s to stay at in Zagreb. We are avid Airbnb users, as we travel with our furry dog, Miesha. Plus we usually stay in cities for an extended period of time to really get to know the place (and Airbnb offers weekly and monthly discounts). Our Zagreb Airbnb was perfect if you’re on a budget.Our host, Niko was so kind, genuine and very responsive. The apartment is basic but offers all that you need for a short stay and it was located just 15 minutes walking from the city center. It’s also nestled next to a beautiful park and daily farmers market, which we absolutely loved. For $33 off your first AIRBNB booking, click HERE for my discount code!
We were SO incredibly lucky to find Saša, the owner of Pets Only Zagreb because we needed a dog sitter to watch Miesha for 3 nights while we went to Belgrade, Serbia. Fortunately, Saša is excellent with animals, as she’s training to be a professional pet caregiver at Zagreb Veterinary University. She took excellent care of Miesha and kept us updated with daily pics and videos (because I’m a crazy dog-Mom that always needs updates). We’ll surely use her services next time we’re in Zagreb!
Before You Go:
- Zagreb is such a walkable city, but only if you have the right shoes! I’ve literally worn these Nike Womens Air Max Shoes every single day for a year straight (running, hiking, exploring) and they’re still in great condition! Josh swears by his Nike Men’s Tanjun Running Shoes as well.
- Zagreb is SUPER safe, but we always pack smart and store our money and passports safely. We’ve been using the Buddy Pouch for years now, in over 40 countries, and (knock on wood) we’ve never had a problem.
- We travel with a lot of filming equipment, but our go to’s are our GoPro HERO5 Black and GoPro Karma Drone to get the best shots possible.
- We never go anywhere without travel insurance and the BEST is World Nomads. Their coverage is affordable and great, as well as their customer service.
- Check out my Blog Post: 15 Essential Items For Traveling The World for more details on what we take all around the Globe with us.
Thank you SOOOO much for stopping by!
XOXO The Traveling Blondie