11 must-see things to do in Zagreb

Visiting Zagreb: what are the best things to see and do in Croatia’s capital?

The capital of Croatia, Zagreb is attracting more and more visitors to Europe. It is no longer seen as a political and economic center, but rather as a cosmopolitan city. Situated along the Sava River and covered by the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain range, Zagreb boasts some historic sites not to be missed. Since Croatia joined the EU on July 1, 2013, it’s even easier and cheaper to visit Zagreb. As well as the capital, the whole country is worth discovering, particularly via its coastline on the Adriatic Sea. The country is a trendy destination, so why not start with Zagreb? Here’s what not to miss, what to do and what to see in Zagreb:

1. Have a coffee in the Place des Fleurs

Also known as Petar Preradović Square, locals named it Cvjetni trg (flower or « flower » square), due to the many flower stands, which are a famous Zagreb landmark and favorite meeting point. So start your day in Zagreb with a good cup of coffee and a view of the square and the passers-by on Cvjetni. And don’t forget to try a traditional Croatian dessert or ice cream in one of the many patisseries in the area.

2. Visit Zagreb Cathedral

Zagreb Cathedral in the Kaptol district is a Roman Catholic institution and the tallest building in Croatia. It is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary and to the kings St. Stephen and St. Ladislaus. The cathedral is typically Gothic, as is its sacristy, which is of great architectural value. Its bell towers can be seen from many parts of the city. Really worth seeing.

cathedrale zagreb

Flickr – tiagovaz

3. Rent a bike

If the weather is fine, don’t hesitate to rent a bike. It’s a great way to discover the city and the banks of the Sava. What’s more, you’ll be doing a bit of sport to get rid of the few beers and the good Croatian food you drank and ate the day before.

Also in the guide:

4. Visit the flea market on Britanski trg square

Sunday mornings are always an attraction at the antiques market, which is brimming with joy and excitement. Here you’ll find everything to pique your curiosity, from decorative objects to old books and collectibles of both local and international origin. Located right in the heart of the city, the market is a real cultural treat for all antique fans.

5. Hike or ski the slopes of Sljeme

The Croatian capital Zagreb boasts a ski resort just a twenty-minute drive from the city center. It was on the ski slopes of Medvednica Mountain that top Croatian skiers Janica and Ivica Kostelić took their first steps on the slopes. You should try it too! But if you’re not so keen on winter or skiing, you can always go hiking and enjoy nature and the fresh air. A cable car can take you from Bliznec to the top of Sljeme.

6. Discover Zagreb’s nightlife

Clubs, bars, cafés, etc… Zagreb is packed with places to go out. Start your evening on bar-filled Tkaliciceva Street, not far from Ban-Jelačić Square. For the best nightclubs and clubs, head for the Jarun district. If you’re only going to Zagreb to party, then don’t forget to book a hotel in the center for your convenience (see below).

7. Explore Lake Jarun

Jarun is Zagreb’s most popular sports and leisure center. Here you can kayak, canoe, sail, surf, swim, jog, cycle, rollerblade and skate. Around the lake, you’ll find numerous nightclubs and cafés, which are particularly popular during the summer months.

8. Try Croatian cuisine

Zagrebacki odrezak (veal cutlet stuffed with ham and cheese and grilled with breadcrumbs), turkey with mlinci (flatbread), janjetina (roast lamb garnished with Mediterranean herbs), fuži (a type of pasta from Istria), štrukli (baked or cooked filled pastry from Zagorje), Croatian olive oil(maslinovo ulje), pršut from Istria and Dalmatia, cured ham, kulen (spicy pork sausage from Slavonia), Paški Sir (sheep’s milk cheese from the island of Pag), etc… Traditional Croatian cuisine is rich, and you’d be wrong not to try it. We could go on and on…

cuisine croate zagreb

Wikimedia – che

9. Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art

Opened in December 2009, it is the first museum to be built in Zagreb in 125 years. If you’re looking for the Croatian name, the museum is known locally as Muzej suvremene umjetnosti, or MSU for short. You can find the museum in Novi Zagreb. It’s best to visit in the early evening, as the 5-storey building is beautifully lit.

10. Take a look at the Lotrščak Tower

The Tower, located in the Gradec district, is a fortified tower built in the mid-13th century to protect the city’s southern gate from enemy forces. At exactly noon every day, the cannon is fired from the Lotrščak Tower, a tradition that has lasted for a hundred years. You can also climb the tower for a 360-degree view of the whole city, ideal for taking panoramic photos.

11. Admire the local style and architecture

If you pay close attention, you’ll see many magnificent works of art and decorations on the streets, facades and roofs. The roof of St. Mark’s Church in the photo is just one example.

eglise saint marc zagreb

Flickr – jaime.silva

facade zagreb

Flickr – jaime.silva

How to get to Zagreb

Zagreb is now relatively well served by airlines. To find a cheap flight to Zagreb, compare prices on the website of our partner Ulysses.

Where to stay in Zagreb?

The city has many charming hotels and youth hostels that won’t cost you too much. Zagreb has two main areas to stay: the Upper Town and the Lower Town. To find a cheap hotel in Zagreb, use this Zagreb hotel comparator.

Map of hotels and accommodations –