Top Tourist Attractions and Things to do in Zagreb (Croatia)
Mountains, lakes, cathedrals, museums, parks, and charming neighborhoods–Zagreb, the capital of Croatia has it all. As you discover the various things to do in Zagreb, you will understand the history, culture and local life of this delightful city.
While the Cathedral and St Mark’s Church are a couple of the top Zagreb points of interest, the city also has some unique attractions. You will realize this when you explore Mirogoj Cemetery, and when you visit the Museum of Broken Relationships, a one-of-a-kind museum.
Experience nature in the lap of the Medvednica Mountain, a stunning summer and winter destination where skiing facilities are available. See the breathtaking beauty of the Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Upper Town and Lower Town are home to some fabulous attractions in Zagreb, and its neighborhoods also have fabulous restaurants, bars, and shops. For leisure and recreational activities in Zagreb, you can enjoy the facilities at Lake Jarun as well as Maksimir Park.
Feel the vibrant vibe at the Dolac Farmers Market that has excellent fresh produce.
With this Zagreb city guide, you can now plan your trip to this beautiful city.
Table of Contents
- 1 Experience and top things to do in Zagreb, Croatia
- 2 Top Landmarks and attractions in Zagreb, Croatia
- 3 Practical information and Zagreb travel tips
- 4 Where to stay in Zagreb?
- 5 Short on time? Go sightseeing in Zagreb on a tour!
- 6 Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Experience and top things to do in Zagreb, Croatia
In case you are wondering what to do in Zagreb to satisfy your sporty side or if you wish to enjoy recreational activities, head to Jarun Lake, especially in summer. You can go swimming here, and also have a barbecue or picnic.
Enjoy biking, skateboarding, roller-skating, and try rowing or even wakeboarding at this sports and leisure center. If you are looking for fun Zagreb activities, this is the place!
The area also has the buzzing energy at night due to the presence of nightclubs and bars in proximity to the lake. Go clubbing or relax with a drink!
What you must do in Zagreb is a visit to a farmers market, the best place to procure local produce and assorted items. The vibrant Dolac Farmers Market with its indoor markets as well as open markets under striking umbrellas is a great place to buy all sorts of things.
You can purchase bakery items, assorted food products, seafood, meat, fruits, vegetables, honey, cheese, other dairy products, fast food and fresh juice. Artisanal pieces, jewelry, clothes, souvenirs and other knick-knacks too can be found here. A flower market is also situated in the vicinity. This farmers market is listed in almost every Zagreb city guide.
Museum of Broken Relationships
Looking for unique Zagreb attractions? Just the name ‘Museum of Broken Relationships’ is bound to make people curious. Broken hearts, failed relationships and heartache are at the crux of this museum that is eventually therapeutic.
The museum is the brainchild of artists and ex-lovers, Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić. You can see on display objects and items donated by former lovers from Croatia and across the world. Short panels give information about the objects; some are sad and some funny.
Put this museum on your list of things to do in Zagreb; it is open all days of the week!
Go on a Day Trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park
A place of breathtaking beauty and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Plitvice Lakes National Park is among the Zagreb tourist attractions that you can visit on a day trip. 16 pristine lakes, connected to each other, flow at various levels at this park resulting in the formation of numerous cascades and waterfalls.
These are divided into upper lakes and lower lakes where the waters can be seen in different dazzling shades. You can explore the beautiful Lake Kozjak on a boat ride. Do remember that swimming is not allowed in the lakes.
You can also discover the area by walking around although it will take many hours. Buses too are available. If you are sightseeing in Zagreb or around it, the Plitvice Lakes should be on your tour agenda.
With so many things to do in Zagreb, there can never be a dull moment. Both summer and winter are fun times to be in the city although summer with its countless activities is a great time to see the marvelous attractions in Zagreb.
Top Landmarks and attractions in Zagreb, Croatia
Upper Town (Gornji Grad)
Besides the Cathedral and St. Mark’s Church the two top sights in Zagreb, there are several other attractions in Upper Town. The Stone Gate (Kamenita Vrata) was destroyed in a fire, but the Mother of God painting that survived is housed in a chapel here.
You can also take a walk down Strossmayer promenade. Also, see the 13th-century Lotrščak Tower where a cannon is fired daily at noon. If you like museums, visit the Meštrović Atelier museum, the former residence of Croatia’s most famous sculptor.
Another interesting place is the Croatian Museum of Naïve Art where works of untrained but well-known artists are on display. Lovely cafés, restaurants, and bars in the Upper Town especially on Tkalciceva Street are among the other Zagreb highlights.
Cathedral of the Assumption (Zagreb Cathedral)
One of the top things to see in Zagreb, the Zagreb Cathedral is a significant landmark and its two tall spires can be seen from many parts of the city. The 13th-century cathedral was destroyed in an 1880 earthquake. It was subsequently restored in Neo-Gothic style. Some restoration work is still in progress. You can see paintings, statues, stained glass windows, and a marble altar inside the cathedral.
Also situated here is a relief of Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac by Ivan Meštrović. The cathedral is on every tourist’s list of tourist attractions in Zagreb.
St. Mark’s Church
As you stand in front of St Mark’s church, among the top tourist attractions in Zagreb, its roof commands immediate attention. White, red and blue chequered tiles are used to showcase the design of the coat of arms of Zagreb as well as that of Croatia, Dalmatia, and Slavonia.
Constructed and modified in the 13th and 14th centuries, the church’s south portal is notable for sculptures in the niches including that of St Mark, twelve apostles as well as Mary and Joseph with Baby Jesus. You may even be able to watch the changing of the guards on the square outside. If you visit Zagreb, make your way to this church.
A cool refuge in the summer heat and a winter skiing destination in the cold months, Medvednica Mountain is a mountain and nature park with forested areas. It’s one of the highlights of Zagreb tourism.
At Slejme, its highest peak, there is a winter sports center. During winter, snow covers the slopes for more than three months peaking in February. So if you wish to try skiing here, make a trip to Zagreb during the winter months.
There are mountain cottages for day trips as well as restaurants in the area. Summer too is an excellent time to go; there are various hiking trails that you can explore. Relax in the meadows, or enjoy a picnic in the areas with wooden benches. You can go up the mountain by hiking, or by road in a bus or car.
If you wish to know about what to do in Zagreb that is off the beaten path, a visit to Mirogoj Cemetery is recommended. While some people may find cemetery visits eerie, Mirogoj has a beautiful and artistic setting, with a church, domes, arcades, beautiful gardens, and cemeteries with lovely sculptures.
Interestingly, this is the final resting place for people of various religions including Christians, Muslims, Jews and even irreligious ones. You can experience the serene atmosphere of this cemetery that is unquestionably one of the best attractions in Zagreb. Famous people, as well as ordinary folk, are buried here.
One of the most entertaining activities in Zagreb is taking a walk along Tkalciceva Street or relaxing in one of its cafés. During daytime, you can admire the buildings painted mostly in pastel colors on either side of the street and visit the shops and restaurants.
As you take a stroll, you can see an old sundial, and the statue of Marija Jurić Zagorka, writer, and first female Croatian journalist. At night, there is a different vibe to the street.
You can hang out with your friends at a café or other nightspots to drink beer or wine. Agava, Mali Medo as well as Otto and Frank are great places to eat and drink in the area. This place scores high on the Zagreb tourism circuit.
A beautiful place for recreation and fun activities, Maksimir Park, is among the principal Zagreb tourist attractions. You can reach the park via tram. It is Zagreb’s oldest public park known for its lush green landscape as well as lakes, creeks, pavilions such as the Bellevue Pavilion, flora and fauna. Enjoy biking, walking, or just relaxing in the scenic locale. It is quite romantic too!
Lower Town (Donji grad)
As you walk down the spacious streets of the Lower Town, you can see shopping areas, museums, art galleries and restaurants. Of the several things to see in Zagreb, the Lower town is an impressive area with its ‘Green Horseshoe.’
It is a zone with parks, gardens, and buildings with striking architecture. Visit the Botanical gardens that have numerous plant species as well as Zrinjevac Park with its lush gardens, a music pavilion, and water fountains.
In Lower Town, you can also visit the Mimara Museum to view its art collection and stop by the Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters. Among the Zagreb tourist places, Lower Town holds a high degree of importance.
Practical information and Zagreb travel tips
Why should you visit Zagreb?
The beautiful city Zagreb has its own outstanding beauty of many museums and galleries. Among many museums, the Museum of Broken Relationships is completely a unique one to explore. St Mark’s Church and Cathedral are top two attractions in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. You can also enjoy the stunning beauty of nature by visiting many parks and lakes. The most beautiful Plitvice Lakes National Park is a must-visit UNESCO World Heritage Site for nature lovers. There are also outdoor cafes, restaurants, and pubs for relaxing and enjoying your perfect vacation in Zagreb.
When is the best time to visit Zagreb?
- Summer (May to August)
- Summer is the highest season and you can expect more tourists during the months of July and August
- You can witness many music and art festivities, Dance Week Festival and Animafest during this time
- The average temperature is 28°C
- Autumn (September to November)
- September is the ideal time to visit Zagreb; you can expect fewer tourists
- The weather is pleasant, you’ll love the blue sunny skies
- The water is still warm enough for refreshing dips and swims
- You can witness World Theatre Festival in September and International Zagreb Film Festival in November
- Winter (December to February)
- During winter it is cold enough and can expect snow
- The average temperature is 1°C
- There are lesser crowds as this is the low season for this city
- You can witness documentary-themed film festival in February
- Spring (March to April)
- The best time to visit Zagreb and can expect less traffic of tourists
- Trees are starting to bloom and you’ll love the natural beauty of Zagreb
- Perfect season to visit many parks and lakes
- You can enjoy boating, exploring local life and market, relaxing time in local cafés, pubs, and restaurants
Do you need a visa for Zagreb?
Since joining the EU, Croatia has adapted to its latest visa laws. Although not part of the Schengen area, you can use your multiple entry Schengen visa to enter Croatia. Other than that, citizens of EU group countries can freely enter while citizens of USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia can enter the country just with their passports and stay for 90 days. You can check our complete guide on how to get a Schengen visa and as well to see if you’re eligible to enter the country with just your passports or if you’ll need to apply for a visa prior entry.
Where to book your flights to Zagreb?
Check our handy-dandy guide on how to find the cheapest flights around the world – read it here.
Do you need an insurance?
Remember this: anything can happen! Read our take on why you need a travel insurance and how it can save you money when things go unplanned – read it here.
Where to stay in Zagreb?
The 4-star Hotel President Pantovca offers you a relaxing and comfortable stay in Zagreb. The nature-oriented atmosphere of this boutique hotel is exceptionally beautiful. All rooms are well decorated and come with lush garden view and terraces. Their best service towards guests made them one of the top-rated hotels in Croatia. The popular sightseeing attractions Museum of Broken Relationships and Zagreb Cathedral are just 2 km away from the hotel.
Anastasia Suites Zagreb
Anastasia Suites Zagreb is a 4-star apartment kind of hotel and offers all luxuriously decorated suites to stay. They provide all high-class services to their guests. You’ll get a homely relaxing atmosphere during your stay here. Many sightseeing attractions are near the hotel to explore. This hotel is kid-friendly as well.
Esplanade Zagreb Hotel
Esplanade Zagreb is a beautiful 5-star luxury hotel. All rooms and suites elegantly decorated and offer spectacular facilities to their guests. The hotel is renowned for their high-class service. They have their health club of complete relaxation for you. The popular Museum of Contemporary Art is 4 km away from the hotel.
Short on time? Go sightseeing in Zagreb on a tour!
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