What to See in Zagreb, Croatia
I have had the pleasure of going to Zagreb 3 times in a matter of months. I was exploring the Balkans and Central/Eastern Europe and Zagreb, Croatia is a nice stopping point. Each time, I got to revisit amazing sites, but also explore new ones.
I spent most of my time in Zagreb, Croatia during the winter season. There aren’t a lot of people, which allows you to see the town more in depth.
Here are my 8 must see things in and around Zagreb. There is so much to do there this doesn’t even cover all of it but will get you off to a good start.
I am excited to share more about Zagreb with you and hope you get to see this great capital one day!
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What to See in Zagreb, Croatia
1. Take a Tour
There are two free ways to get a walking tour of Zagreb. I like doing a walking tour in the beginning to give me an idea of what to see and do. I think of it like an overview and then I can spend the rest of my time exploring the areas and things to do that I am interested in.
The tourist office offers a free self guided walking tour pamphlet that you can do yourself. There is also a free walking tour that happens at the main square in the city center. Do keep in mind free walking tours usually involve a tip at the end.
Editor’s Note: There is also a lot of street art in Zagreb which you can find a separate tour map for here.
2. Taste the Local Cuisine
Croatia, like the other Balkan countries, has some really tasty traditional foods. Some of these include Burek, cevapi , and a drink similar to vodka called Rajika. Different bars, bakeries, restaurants, and cafes serve these treats. One bar in particular is worth mentioning is Mio Corazon. The name sounds Spanish as it’s a tapas bar, but the atmosphere is definitely Croatian! It isn’t too far from a farmer’s market near upper town.
Burek is a type of pastry that can be filled with meat, cheese, veggies, combination of them, or a sweet filling for dessert! Cevapi is a traditional sausage.
3. Madvedgrad Fortress
Madvedgrad fortress is a day trip from Zagreb. The traveler can take the bus from Zagreb city center to the outskirts. Then you have to hike through the forest, up a hill. The hike took us a few hours (including the bus ride). It isn’t an easy hike and definitely not handicap accessible. However, once at the top, the view is…medieval! When we were there, the fog was surrounding the old ruins and I really felt I was back in the medieval days.
We had the place to ourselves and we got to wander around. There is no ticketing. The only price is the bus fee. This fortress is located on the Medvednica mountain. Fun fact, “grad” means castle.
4. Mirogoj Cemetery
Mirogoj cemetery in Zagreb is one of the most beautiful in the city. And it’s free for roaming around. I was here during the winter, and the snow fall really brought out the Gothic beauty.
During the summer it might be a lovely place to have a picnic because it is set up like a park. It is definitely worth visiting if you are interested in more quiet places.
5. Museum of Broken Relationships
This was one of my favorite museums ever, but here in Zagreb specifically. You don’t want to miss this place. It isn’t free to enter and the best is to check the museum’s site for the opening hours and ticket prices. Or you can take an organized tour of it.
As the name suggests, this museum covers different relationships that went wrong. Some are funny and some are somber. People have donated items that represent their story along with their story to share with the world their own experiences.
6. Christmas Market
Did you know Zagreb was rated to have the best Christmas Market in Europe in 2015? If you’ve taken my advise and gone to Zagreb at Christmas time throughout the city you’ll find different markets and stalls to enjoy the festive season. It isn’t as snow filled at Germany and Austria, but it is still beautiful!
Just like other markets, you can get warm drinks, alcoholic drinks, and sweet treats as well as little items to purchase as a souvenir!
7. Krapina Museum
Interested in another day trip? Check out Krapina! Krapina Museum was the center of Croatia’s biggest archaeological find. Scientists discovered many Neanderthal bones at the site.
Modern day humans are descendants of homo sapiens; however, scientists have now found that some homo sapiens mated with Neanderthals and some modern humans still have Neanderthals DNA.
This is a huge museum dedicated this the history of Neanderthals. If you are interested in history, do not miss out on this opportunity. It is worth visiting!
8. Plitvice Lakes
This isn’t a day trip per se, but I did it as one. My recommendation is to go from Zagreb to here and then here to another town such as Split.
Plitvice Lakes is a national park of Croatia. It offers beautiful scenery and different waterfalls. Since I went in the winter, there was hardly anyone, but it was super cold! Be sure to check the bus times- there are not that many and you can be stuck waiting for hours in the dark, which happened to me. Or you can do it as an organized day tour.
My final advice: take the time and explore Zagreb and Croatia fully. Use this travel guide and others to give you an idea, but make the trip your own, meaning, if you want to travel to Zagreb 3 times like me or one time for 3 months that’s fine, the important thing is enjoying it!
Do you have anything you’d add to the list of What to See in Zagreb? Let me know in the comments below.
This article was contributed by Marinella Yule of myopenpassport.net. She has explored over 40 countries, 48 out of the 50 USA states, and currently speaks English, Spanish, and French. She likes doing outside the box things like pole dancing and long distance cycling. She has done two trips comprising of about 6k miles or 10k km in total. Connect with her via Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.
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