22 Terrific Things To Do in Zagreb, Croatia by JetSettingFools.com

22 Terrific Things To Do In Zagreb, Croatia

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We often rave about Croatia; if asked about the country, we are likely to go on and on about the translucent sea, splendid nature, historic towns and buzzing cities. There’s a good chance we will gush over the cuisine and talk extensively about how welcoming the people are. And, when asked which cities we recommend people visit, we always include Zagreb. Really? It’s inland. Is Zagreb worth visiting? Yes! Read on for our list of the Best Things To Do In Zagreb and decide for yourself!


Things To Do In Zagreb, Croatia


Our Zagreb Travel Guide includes our list of the top recommendations of what to do in Zagreb, suggestions on where to stay in Zagreb as well as other Zagreb facts and information. And, although our list of things to do in Zagreb are numbered, they are not ranked – as we think a Zagreb visit wouldn’t be complete without doing them all! 


#1 Size Up The Zagreb Cathedral

Zagreb Cathedral towers, Zagreb, Croatia

The two landmark Gothic spires of the Zagreb Cathedral reach the height of 355 feet – making the church the tallest building in Croatia. It is a sight you will most likely catch a glimpse of before arriving at the church steps (although one of the spires will likely be under restoration).

The church – formally called the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary – was built in the year 1093 when the Diocese of Zagreb was established. However, the church was rebuilt in the 13th century, surrounded by fortifications in the 15th century (some of which still remain) and heavily damaged by an earthquake in 1880. Since then, reconstruction of the church has been almost constant.

Take a peek inside to look at the tomb of Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac behind the altar. Admire the artwork and ponder the chandeliers, which reportedly came from a Las Vegas casino.


#2 Wander the Streets of Old Town Zagreb: Gradec and Kaptol

Sunset on St. Mark's Church in Zagreb, Croatia


Today’s Zagreb Old Town is the melding of two smaller towns: Kaptol (where the Zagreb Cathedral stands) and Gradec, the Upper Town. Dating to the 11th and 13th centuries, the two towns were separated by a stream (that has since been diverted and covered). 

Gradec was a hill-topping town surrounded by city walls and protective watchtowers. Today, the Gradec cobblestone streets are ideal for a stroll when sightseeing Zagreb. At the center of the Upper Town is St. Mark’s Church Zagreb, which has a colorfully tiled rooftop that stands out among the orange-tiled rooftops of the rest of the Zagreb Old Town. The tiles were laid on the church roof in 1880 and are in the design of the coats of arms for Zagreb and the Triune Kingdom of Croatia. The church sits in the middle of (aptly named) St. Mark’s Square, which is ringed by ornate buildings which house the Croatian government offices.

{Use Our Detailed Free Zagreb Self-Guided Walking Tour}


#3 Gather Picnic Items at the Dolac Market

Follow the locals to Zagreb’s Dolac Market where Zagrebians have been shopping since 1926. In the raised outdoor market, you will find tables piled high with in-season fruits and vegetables. Shade will be provided by the iconic and colorfully striped umbrellas – a symbol of the city. Take the stairs underground to peruse the choice of meat and cheese. At the Dolac Market, you can assemble a picnic lunch – a must-do in Zagreb!

Join a small-group Zagreb Food Tour to get a taste of local Croatian specialties with a local guide! 


#4 Sip Croatian Craft Beer

Zagreb’s craft beer scene has evolved since our first visit to the city in 2014 – and sipping a Croatian craft beer has become one of the top Zagreb things to do! New breweries and taprooms are continually coming on the scene, offering a taste of Croatia’s inventive and tasty local brews. The beers from Nova Runda (try the APA or C4!) remain at the top of our list, but we also like what LD Brewery, Varionica and Tap B (from Split) are brewing.

It used to be that there were only a few craft beer bars in Zagreb and we had to seek them out like detectives on a dead-end case…but that is no longer the situation. Dedicated craft beer bars have sprung up all over the city. We highly recommend you check out the bars on Opatovina Street – nicknamed Zagreb’s Craft Beer Lane – where you will find Craft Room, Ro&Do (now in a new location) and Tolkien’s House among others. In the Upper Town, pop into Pub na Kraju Svijeta. Outside of the Zagreb Old Town, try Hop In (near the bus station), Harat’s or Svijet Piva.

Use this link to Google Maps for the location of our recommended Zagreb Craft Beer Bars.


#5 Visit The Zagreb Main Square (Ban Jelacic Square)

Advent on the Main Square, Ban Jelacic Square, during Christmas in Zagreb, Croatia

At the heart of city center Zagreb is Ban Jelacic Square, named for Croatian hero Josip Jelacic. The statue of Jelacic on a horse stands in the center of the square (although during the Yugoslavia era, it was dismantled and kept in a cellar) is definitely one of the things to see in Zagreb.

The statue and nearby clock are popular meeting spots for locals and starting points for Zagreb city tours. The busy and expansive main square dates to the 17th century and today a steady stream of trams pass by the square moving people through the vibrant city.

Learn more about the Upper and Lower Towns on a private Zagreb walking tour to the city sights!


#6 Join the Zagreb Evening Stroll on Tkalciceva

Statue on Tkalciceva Street, Zagreb, Croatia

Tkalciceva Street – once a flowing river that marked the border between Kaptol and Gradec, which was filled in with gravel in the late 1800s – is a café-lined pedestrian-only lane stretching from Jelacic Square to Mala Ulica (Little Street). Hand-holding couples, families pushing strollers and dog-walkers parade up and down Tkalciceva each evening. The street is one of our top Zagreb places to visit for people watching and, on sunny days, it is a fine place to idle the afternoon away in one of the many cafes.


#7 Light a Candle in the Stone Gate Chapel

Open air chapel inside Stone Gate in Zagreb, Croatia

Stone Gate is the only remaining gate of Gradec, which leads from the Upper Town to the picturesque Radiceva Street. But, it’s not the historic gate itself that makes it a Zagreb must-see: it’s the open-air chapel that resides inside the gate. According to legend, there was a fire in 1731 that destroyed the (then) wooden gate. However, the fire peculiarly left a painting that was hanging inside the gate, “The Virgin and Child,”completely intact. The painting in now enshrined inside Stone Gate and people come to pray and give thanks to the Virgin Mary by lighting candles, leaving flowers and mounting engraved plaques on the walls.


#8 Step Back in Time in Zagreb’s Gric Tunnel

Built during World War II as a bomb shelter, the Gric (Gradec) Tunnel runs through the hill beneath the Upper Town. With a length of 1,150 feet, the tunnel has six exits. Shortly after the tunnel was completed, it fell into disuse – until 1993 when it hosted Croatia’s first rave, but further plans for the tunnel were stalled. In 2015, renovation of the Gric Tunnel finally commenced and reopened to the public in 2016 as a Zagreb tourist attraction. The tunnel is open every day for pedestrians to travel from one side of Gradec to the other without having to hike over the hill. The tunnel is used for special events, like the Advent Christmas Market. During a recent visit, the tunnel housed a free museum exhibiting the history of Zagreb.


#9 Get a Bird’s Eye View from Zagreb 360

Ban Josip Jelacic Square in Zagreb, Croatia

The Zagreb 360 observation deck occupies the 16th floor of a ‘skyscraper’ on Jelacic Square – making it one of the best places 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.

Even better, Zagreb 360 tickets are valid for multiple re-entry in a single day – meaning you can visit the viewing platform during daylight hours (and possibly see all the way to Slovenia) and then return after dark to see the city lights. Buy your Zagreb 360 tickets ahead of time! 


#10 Linger Over a Cup of Croatian Coffee

Cup of coffee at cafe in Zagreb, Croatia

Coffee isn’t just a drink in Croatia – it’s part of life. But, it’s not really the drink itself; it’s in the Croatian café culture. Forget coffee-on-the-go; even in the buzzing capital city, people slow down to savor coffee, conversation and people watching. A group of friends can linger at a café for hours – often switching from coffee to beer…and then back to coffee before they get up to leave. One of our favorite Zagreb activities is to find a café – at the Dolac Market or Cvjetni Square – and drink in the culture.

Read more from a local about the Croatia Cafe Culture.


#11 Creep Around the Zagreb Mirogoj Cemetery

Famous architecture at Mirogoj Cemetery in Zagreb, Croatia

Established in 1876, the Mirogoj Cemetery is a landmark and – somewhat oddly – one of the top Zagreb attractions. The burial grounds resemble a park – just a park with a lot of gravestones – and feature ornate arcades and monuments. The Zagreb Cemetery was designed by Herman Bolle, one of Zagreb’s famous architects. The cemetery is not designated to one religion, so in addition to the Christian Cross that graces headstones, you will also see the Star of David and Crescent Moon and Star. Many of Zagreb’s most famous people have been laid to rest at Mirogoy Cemetery, including the first president of Croatia, Franjo Tudman. 

The Zagreb BIG Tour takes visitors to sights outside of the city center – including Mirogoj Cemetery – and ends with a Old Town walking tour. 


#12 Discover hidden gems on the trails of Medvednica

Dirt hiking trail in Medvednice Nature Park in Zagreb, Croatia

Just north of the city center is Medvednica – a mountainous, forest-covered nature park that tops our list of Zagreb things to do and see in the outdoors. Easily accessible by tram from the Zagreb center, there are several intertwining trails for hikers to tromp around the woods. The tallest peak at Medvednica, Sljeme, stands at 3,396 feet, but we have yet to climb to the top. Within the 88-square-mile park, there are waterfalls, a cave, a mine, and the Medvedgrad fort (some call it a castle) that provides stunning views of Zagreb.

Visit More Of The Best Parks In Zagreb!

9 Parks in Zagreb, Croatia by JetSettingFools.com


#13 Breathe In Nature At Zagreb’s Maksimir Park

Vidikovac, cafe, at Maksimir Park in Zagreb, Croatia

Less strenuous and closer to the Zagreb city center, but still abundant in nature is Maksimir Park. The tranquil park opened in 1794 and ranks as the oldest park in Zagreb, Croatia. The park features a grand entrance, multiple turtle-filled ponds and dozens of trails that weave through the forest. Also at the park is a zoo – another one of the Zagreb top attractions.


#14 Journey Through the City on a Zagreb Tram

The first trams in Zagreb were horse-pulled cars, but 20 years later – in 1910 – the electric tram was introduced to the city. Today, more than 200 million people ride the trams annually. The fleet of tram cars range from old-and-rattling to new-and-sleek. While the trams are an essential part of the traffic flow in the city, they are also one of the Zagreb sights that can’t be missed (quite literally if you spend any time in Jelacic Square!).

Riding Trams from Jelacic Square:

  • Maksimir Park: Use Tram 11 (toward Dubec) or 12 (toward Dubrava) and exit at Bukovacka.
  • Medvednica Park: Use Tram 14 (toward Mihaljevac) and exit at Mihaljevac (last stop); from there you can walk into the park or take Bus 140 to Tomislav Dom and ask the driver to tell you where to depart depending on where you want to go in the park. 
  • Svijet Piva Craft Beer Bar: Use Tram 11 (toward Dubec) or 12 (toward Dubrava) and exit at Masiceva.
  • Hop In Craft Beer Bar: Use Tram 6 (toward Sopot) and exit at Autobusni Kolodvor.
  • If you aren’t interested in leaving Old Town Zagreb, at least hop on an old-school tram for a few stops to Tomislav Square (use Tram 6 toward Sopot and ride two stops to Galvani Kolodvor) and walk back to the Zagreb city center through the park. 

From Zagreb Bus Station (if arriving by plane – then taking the Airport Bus to the city terminating at the bus station – or arriving by bus): Use Tram 6 (toward Crnomerec) and depart at Jelacic Square. 

Tickets can be purchased from the driver; you need one for each ride and it is required to validate the ticket at the front entrance of the tram by inserting the ticket in the yellow box. A short-ride ticket (less expensive than a regular ticket) can be used for each recommended ride. 


#15 Marvel at the Architecture on Zagreb’s Green Horseshoe

Art Pavilion and fountain on Green Horseshoe in Zagreb, Croatia

One of the top things to do in Zagreb, Croatia is to spend time wandering through the eight connected city squares (designed in a U-shape) that comprise the Green Horseshoe Park in the heart of the city. 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.

Designed and built in the 1880s, the Green Horseshoe is home to outstanding architecture. Many Zagreb Museums (Archeological, Modern Gallery, Art Pavilion, Croatian State Archives, Ethnographic and Arts and Crafts), the famed Esplanade Zagreb Hotel, the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Croatian National Theater – as well as several fountains, sculptures and monuments – can all be found on the squares of the Green Horseshoe.

Lining the streets that surround the squares are remaining historic mansions of Croatia’s wealthy (although most now house individual apartments). Wandering through the Green Horseshoe is one of the things to do in Zagreb, Croatia where you are certain to be among locals.


#16 Ride the World’s Shortest Funicular

Funicular Lower Station in Zagreb, Croatia

Perhaps more a novelty than a necessity, a ride on the World’s Shortest Funicular is simply a fun thing to do in Zagreb. The funicular was built in 1890 (initially using steam engines to power the car up the 217 feet of track) to access the Upper Town without having to make the climb. It takes less than a minute for the car to ascend from Llica Street to Stossmayer Promenade – at a steep 52% incline.



#17 Seek Out Zagreb’s Growing Street Art Culture

The street art culture is gaining momentum worldwide and it’s true in Zagreb, too. With the recent addition of the Whale Mural on the wall of the Art Gallery building in Gradec, more visitors and locals have become curious about the Zagreb street art scene. It is somewhat hidden in the city center (find the stairs that lead into Art Park from Strossmayer Promenade), but quite prevalent outside of Old Town Zagreb at the Student Center and Medika.

We were fortunate to have a local artist (also our Airbnb host!) guide us through a Zagreb city tour of the street art. You can contact him for a tour…and a place to stay!

Use this link to Google Maps of Street Art locations (Whale Mural, Art Park, Student Center and Medika).


#18 Climb to the top of Kula Lotrscak

Lookout Tower Kula Lotrscak in Zagreb, Croatia

The 13th century Kula Lotrscak lookout tower stands stoically at the top of the funicular beside the entrance to Strossmayer Promenade in Gradec. For just a few dollars, the defense tower’s spiral staircase can be climbed for fantastic city views, especially of Gradec and St. Mark’s Church Zagreb.

Every day at noon, a Zagreb cannon is shot from the fourth floor to signal mid-day. The sound can be heard throughout the Zagreb Old Town.


#19 Attend Mass at St. Mark’s Church Zagreb

St. Mark's Church during Christmas in Zagreb, Croatia

Although many people pass by (and take the required Zagreb photos of) St. Mark’s Church Zagreb, few actually go inside. 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.


#20 Over-Indulge In Amazing Croatian Food

Croatian cuisine is some of our favorite (and least healthy!) around the world. Heavy on the meat and carbs, it is essential for us to balance our visit to Zagreb with a walk in one of the many city parks! Burek and Cevapi are two Balkan staples and the best restaurants in Zagreb for these calorie-laden dishes are: Burek and Cevapi u Somunu – both so inventively named.

However, a dish unique to Zagreb is Strukli, a doughy, cheesy pastry that can be sweet or savory – and the place to eat it is La Struk (again, appropriately named!). The cozy interior is as simple as the menu: salty or sweet, cooked or baked with four variations: walnuts, apples, blueberries or truffles.

Recently, a burger-craze has raged through Zagreb and, while not to exclusive the region, they are cooking up some tasty gourmet burgers throughout the city. Our top recommendation for a Zagreb burger is Submarine (actually, oddly named…as only burgers are on the menu!). 

A link to Google Maps of our favorite places to eat in Zagreb.


#21 Visit A Zagreb Museum

There are numerous Zagreb museums that visitors could spend hours getting lost in. While we generally prefer to be in the outdoors, there are a few Zagreb museums that intrigued us enough to spend a few hours indoors…and we highly recommend that fellow travelers do the same!

Museum of Broken Relationships

Not an ordinary museum, the displays at the Broken Relationships Museum are everyday objects accompanied by stories of failed relationships. The exhibits – everything from letters to voodoo dolls to a treadmill – are items that the donor associated with their heartbreak. Some stories had me laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes, while other stories simply made me want to cry. 

Zagreb 80s Museum

Croatians have a deep affection for the 1980s (as evidenced by their love of 80s hair bands and classic rock). When guests step inside the 80s Museum in Zagreb, it is literally like stepping back in time. Visitors tour a ‘house’ that is decorated in all things 80s – from Walkman cassette players to a Yugoslavia Zastava car. 

Image of War Photography Museum

For many people (ourselves included), it is difficult to fully comprehend the war that raged in Croatia in the ealy 1990s. Learning the facts helps to order the details, but – like the say – a picture is worth a thousand words. The Image of War Museum exhibits a timeline of photos that help to better tell the horrific story of the Homeland War. 

Use this link to Google Maps to locate our three recommended museums in Zagreb.


#22 Attend Amazing Zagreb Events

As the capital city of Croatia, there is always something going on – and attending an event is one of the top things to do in Zagreb. A list of Zagreb upcoming events can be found at the Zagreb Tourist Information office (located on Jelacic Square | Website).

We have attended numerous events while visiting Zagreb – including the awarding-winning Zagreb Advent festival. We have also been to the Burger Fest (where we ate way too many burgers!), the Bas Nas music and food fest and Cest is d’Best. Other Zagreb events include concerts, Zagreb BeerFest and City Food Festival.

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Our Top Tips For Zagreb, Croatia Things To Do

Now that you know what to do in Zagreb, we have a few more tips for visiting the city! 


How Many Days In Zagreb? 

Many people think one day in Zagreb is enough to see the city sights, but we think you need more time in Croatia’s capital. We recommend at least two full days – but if you are planning day trips from Zagreb, three to five days would be ideal. There are just so many places to see in Zagreb – and once you get there, you won’t want to miss out! 


Day Trips From Zagreb

After a full dose of Zagreb sightseeing, go further afield to explore the region on one of the many day trips from Zagreb. A few of our favorite cities to visit on Zagreb day trips are: Samobor, Krapina, Varazdin and Plitvice Lakes. All of these cities can be reached by public transportation, but for the sake of time and ease of travel, consider taking an organized Zagreb tour.

{Read our complete guide to Day Trips from Zagreb!}


Where To Stay In Zagreb, Croatia

Fountain at the historic Hotel Esplanade in Zagreb, Croatia

We thing the best place to stay in Zagreb is in or close to the historic Old Town. 

When we visit Zagreb, we stay in Airbnb Apartments. (Not already a member of Airbnb? Use this link to create an account and save money on your first stay!) We have found that staying in apartments is often less expensive than hotel rooms – with the added benefit of a kitchen and, usually, more space. Zagreb holiday apartments can also be searched on FlipKey (which is part of TripAdvisor) or on VRBO

However, for those who prefer staying in traditional accommodations, there are many hotels in Zagreb, Croatia to choose from in – or close to – the city center. Search for Zagreb Hotels here, or check out these top-rated hotels (based on guest reviews!) for your upcoming trip: Hotel Academia, Hotel Jagerhorn or Esplanade Zagreb Hotel.

Budget travelers can search for Zagreb Hostels – like The Dots Hostel and Swanky Mint Hostel. For a true bargain – and a unique experience – search for hosts on Couchsurfing, where travelers stay with locals for free. 


Getting To Zagreb, Croatia

Architecture in the city of Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb can be reached by plane, train, bus or car. Our preferred method of getting anywhere is by flying (we are JetSetting Fools, after all!) and we have flown to/from Zagreb and Zurich, London, Skopje, Amsterdam and Warsaw (to name just a few!). When we do need to purchase plane tickets, we start our search for the best deals on airline tickets on Skyscanner.

To get from city to city when flights are not possible, we usually rely on public transportation and take trains or buses. In Europe, our preferred bus company is FlixBus – as it is economical, clean and comfortable. We aren’t keen on driving abroad, but renting a car can often save time and money (especially when traveling with more than two people) – and a car rental allows for greater discovery.  


Zagreb Facts

  • Zagreb is the capital of Croatia and is the largest city in the country with a population of about 800,000 residents. 
  • The language is Croatian, but many people in the city (especially the younger generations) speak English. 
  • The currency is the Kuna (however it is expected that Croatia will switch to the Euro in 2023). Check the current conversion rate
  • The Zagreb Tourist Information Office is located on Jelacic Square. They provide an array of free and helpful brochures, as well as a handy Zagreb tourist map. (Offical Toursit Board Website)


Before You Go To Zagreb

  • Zagreb is a walkable city…but only if you have the right travel shoes! Don’t forget to pack a pair of lightweight and comfortable walking shoes for your trip. I (Sarah) have traveled with these shoes by Columbia, Skechers and Reef. Kris prefers wearing these shoes by Merrell and Sanuk.
  • We’re certain you’ll be snapping tons of photos during your trip. Rather than relying on your mobile phone to capture the sights, upgrade to an actual camera for higher quality photo. We travel with a Canon Rebel (which takes amazing photos, but can be a bit clunky) and a Canon PowerShot ELPH (which takes beautiful pictures, is lightweight and is a great budget camera).
  • It’s easy to get turned around in any foreign city…even Zagreb! Make sure to have a good city map and/or guidebook before arriving and your favorite Day Bag to carry everything on your everyday essential travel list!
  • We think travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel protected with World Nomads.

Start planning your trip to Croatia! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing!  Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!


More Tips For Your Trip To Croatia: It’s not too soon to plan for your 2022 vacation to Croatia! Get started with our detailed guides to all the Top Croatian Destinations; from Split, Rovinj, Dubrovnik, Zadar, and Plitvice Lakes to the best Croatian Island Hopping destinations like Hvar, Vis, Brac and Korcula!


We want to know: What are your favorite things to do in Zagreb, Croatia? What would you add to our list? Tell us in the comments! 


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6 thoughts on “22 Terrific Things To Do In Zagreb, Croatia

  1. Karen Benetti

    Hi jet setters! This is the second time I’ve read your blog! I went to Preko from Zadar and read your thoughts and went 2 more times as well! Next week we will be in Zagreb and we will be there a month so we will c all of your 22 things to see in Zagreb so thank you very much!

    • Hi Karen,
      We’re pleased you’re loving Croatia and that we can assist in your travels! Enjoy Zagreb, for a month, we’re zealous!
      Cheers & Travel well,
      Sarah & Kris

  2. I have a two day Zagreb trip planned in March and to be honest, I think I might need to figure out how to extend the trip because who knew there were so many things you can do there, ha-ha. Anyways, thank you for the wonderful and VERY informative guide.

  3. Great suggestions. I visited last year, but unfortunately I didn’t have an awful lot of time so couldn’t do much. However I did go up Zagreb 360, visit the Cathedral and also went to Plitvice Lakes for the day which was great. Next visit I’ll try some of your other ideas.

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