30 Best things to do in Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of Croatia, situated along the Sava river, at the slopes of the Medvednica mountain, on the northwest of the country. Zagreb is very well worth a visit because it offers a great experience about authentic Croatian life.

Some of the best things to do in Zagreb include exploring the Upper Town and Lower Town, as well as many museums, art galleries, churches, parks, markets such as the Zagreb Cathedral, Museum of Broken Relationships, Dolac Market, Mirogoj Cemetery, and Maksimir park. You can taste local Croatian food and wine, and enjoy vibrant nightlife.

Zagreb City Centre is divided into two areas, Upper Town and Lower Town. while Upper Town is the oldest of the city, Lower Town is more of a modern area.

Upper Town, or Gornji Grad, is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets and historic landmarks such as the Zagreb Cathedral, the St. Mark’s Church, the Croatian Parliament, cemetery Mirogoj, Museum of Broken Relationships, and Tkalčićeva Street.

Lower Town, or Donji Grad, is a modern part of the city that offers great nightlife, shopping, dining, lodging, spacious parks, and is well-connected to public transportation. It is home to attractions such as Ban Jelačić Square, Zrinjevac Square, Strossmayer Gallery, Mimara Museum, and the Main Station.

Upper and Lower Town are connected by the The Blue Funicular, which is the shortest funicular in the world. In addition to the attractions of the Upper Town and Lower Town, you can visit Maksimir park, Zagreb Zoo, and the Dynamo Stadium.

30 Best things to do in Zagreb, Croatia

1. Kaptol

Zagreb was once two towns, Kaptol and Gradec, that were separated by the Medveščak stream until merged into Upper Town, or Gornji Grad.

Kaptol is located on the eastern slopes of Gradec Hill. King Ladislaus founded the Zagreb bishopric in 1094, making the residence of the bishop and the Cathedral was built on the southeast of the Kaptol hill.

The Kaptol Cathedral is a main attraction of the Kaptol Hill. This Roman Catholic church was first built in the 11th century,  and rebuilt several times after the damage of the Mongol invasion in the 13th century and the earthquake in 1880.

You can also find many restaurants, cafes, and shops, as well as the Kaptol Centre shopping mall, providing plenty of shopping experiences.

2. Gradec

Gradec is a part of the Upper Town, located next to Kaptol. It is packed with popular tourist attractions, as well as many cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops.

The history of Gradec dates back to the 13th century when Croatian – Hungarian king Bela IV built a Golden Bull, as well as four gates including Mesnička Gate, Opatička Gate, Dverce, and the Stone Gate, which is the only one preserved today.

Some of the attractions in Gradec are the 14th century St. Mark’s Church with its colored roof, the Parliament and Government buildings, as well as the 13th century Lotrščak tower, and Zagreb’s main square called Ban Jelačić Square.

There are also the the baroque church of St. Catharine’s, and Greek Catholic Cathedral of Saints Cyril & Methodius, as well as many museums.

You can find Strossmayer Promenade, offering panoramic views over the city. The street and its surroundings are packed with food trucks and open-air bars in summer.

3. Lower Town

While Zagreb’s Upper Town has medieval character, Zagreb’s Lower Town is more modern with a shopping center, businesses, spacious parks, more hotels, museums, and closer to the main railway station. 

You can find the Green Horseshoe of Zagreb, Ilica Street, Dolac Market, Ben Jelacic Square, which is the city main square, Zrinjevac Square, Trg Zrtava Fasizma with Mestrovic Pavilion, and the 19th century National Theatre.

Lower Town is home to numerous museums and art galleries such as  Mimara Museum, Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters, Ethnographic Museum, and the Archaeological Museum.

4. Ban Jelacic Square

Ban Jelacic Square is one of the best things to do in Zagreb because it is the main square of the city, as well as a popular meeting point of locals and tourists.

Ban Jelacic Square is located on the hillside of the Gradec and is surrounded by grand 19th-century buildings, the Ban Josip Jelačić statue, towering clock, the Manduševac fountain,  as well as many nice cafes, restaurants, and shops.

The square was founded as the main marketplace in the 17th century under the name Harmica. It later was renamed as Ban Jelačić Square, which was named after Ban Josip Jelačić, one of the national heroes.

Ban Jelacic Square is also a major transportation hub, with trams, buses, and trains all converging on the square.

5. Tkalčićeva Street

Tkalčićeva Street Is a beautiful street packed with restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and traditional shops. The street is located in the center of Zagreb and is known for its lively atmosphere and vibrant nightlife.

Tkalčićeva Street was converted from a former river that separated Kaptol and Gradec. It is named after Ivan Krstitelj Tkalčić, a well-known Croatian historian and priest.

Tkalčićeva Street leads to Uptown and Kaptol,  and it is also home to the old sundial, and the statue of Marija Jurić Zagorka, a famous Croatian writer & journalist.

6. Dolac Market

Dolac Market is one of the best free things to do in Zagreb for foodies because it is The Stomach of Zagreb and is a traditional farmer’s market with a lot of fresh veg & fruits, and homemade food.

Dolac Market is located in the heart of the Upper Town, right behind the main square. Dolac Market is also a  great place to experience daily local life.

The market is divided into 4 sections: 

  • Splavnica, the flower market
  • The main indoor market building, 
  • first-floor indoor market, selling fresh vegetables and fruits
  •  the covered fish market.

Dolac Market  is open every day except Sunday. You can try to find a variety of Croatian food and buy souvenirs. 

7. Statue of Marija Jurić Zagorka

The Statue of Marija Jurić Zagorka is located in Tkalciceva Street, near the Marija Jurić Zagorka Library.  Marija Jurić Zagorka is a famous writer & Croatia’s first female journalist.

She was born in 1873 in the Croatian town of Karlovac and grew up in Zagreb. She is known for her novels, which often focused on the lives and struggles of women in Croatian society.

Some of her most famous works include The Witch of Grič, The Girl from the Mountains, and The Phantom of the Castle.

8. Mimara Museum

Mimara Museum is one of the muse-see in Zagreb for history buffs and culture vultures. The museum has a collection of artwork donated by Ante and Wiltrud Topić Mimara.

The collection has archaeological artifacts, art objects of more than 3,500 works of art, ranging from ancient Egyptian artifacts to European masterpieces from the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Some of the notable works in the collection include paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, and van Gogh, as well as sculptures by Rodin and Degas.

9. Archaeological Museum

The Archaeological Museum houses over 400,000 pieces in its permanent exhibitions. The museum is located in the heart of the Old Town, within walking distance to its central square.

Founded in 1836, the Archaeological Museum is dedicated to the study and preservation of the archaeology of Croatia and the surrounding regions. 

Its permanent exhibits have a wide variety of artifacts from the prehistoric, ancient, and medieval periods, including ceramics, glass, metal objects, and jewelry. 

There are also temporary exhibitions and educational programs for visitors of all ages.

10. Licitar

If you are wondering what to buy as a souvenir in Zagreb, you should think of Licitar, which is shiny little red hearts shaped cookies, decorated with a little mirror in the middle.

Licitar is a cultural heritage and has been regarded as a global cultural heritage since 2010.

Licitar is the best gift for St. Valentine’s day. You can buy it at local pastry shops or supermarkets. If you are interested in making it, you can participate in a workshop.

11. Lenuci Horseshoe

Lenuci’s Horseshoe, or the Green Horseshoes, is a U-shaped area of seven squares and a botanical garden, located in the Lower Town of Zagreb, below the main square.

The horseshoe was designed by a popular Zagreb engineer, Milan Lenuci, in the 19th century. It was built from the 1880s and completed until the 1920s.

The horseshoe-shaped area includes several important landmarks and cultural institutions such as the Nikola Subic Zrinski Square, Zagreb Botanical Garden, Croatian National Theatre, and the Academy of Dramatic Arts.

12. Jarun Lake

Jarun Lake is a multipurpose recreational sports center and is a popular place for watersports such as windsurfing and stand-up paddling, sunbathing, and swimming. 

The lake was formed along the river Sava with small islands of Youth, Wildlife, Love, Universiade, Trešnjevka.  The lake is the location of the INmusic Festival in June.

There is also a skate park, several bars,  and restaurants located around the lake, making it a great place to relax and enjoy a drink or a meal. 

The lake is located in the southwestern part of Zagreb, easily accessible by public transportation. 

13. Museum of Broken Relationships

Museum of Broken Relationships is one of the cool places to visit in Zagreb that features a collection of donated items that represent the end of a romantic relationship. 

Founded in 2006 by Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić, the museum has a collection of letters, photographs, and personal mementos, all of which tell the story of a failed relationship. 

The museum aims to provide visitors with an insight into the nature of relationships and the emotional toll that they can take. It is a unique and thought-provoking destination that is well worth a visit if you are in Zagreb.

The museum is open every day, in the summer from 9 am to 10:30 pm, and in winter from 9 am to 9 pm. The admission fee is 25 Kn for adults, and discounted prices for children and seniors. More information can be found on the museum’s website.

14. Samobor

Samobor is a beautiful town, located around 30 km from Zagreb, making it an easy day trip from the capital city of Croatia. You can enjoy good local food & kremšnita cream cake, which are some of the famous things of the town.

Samobor is also known for its craft makers and artisans. It is a great place to shop for craft products including clothing, licitar hearts, leather items, and crystals.

Popular attractions to see in Samobor are:

  • King Tomislav Square
  • Samobor Castle
  • Samobor Museum

You can easily get to Samobor by car, or by bus from Zagreb Bus Terminal. The one way journey will take around 40 minutes.

15. Karlovac

Karlovac is another popular day trip from Zagreb. It is set right on the Zagreb-Rijeka highway in central Croatia, about halfway between Zagreb and Rijeka.

The surrounding region is known for its natural beauty, with the Mrežnica and Korana rivers flowing through the area and the Plitvice Lakes National Park located nearby.

Some of the best things to do in Karlovac are:

  • Aquatika Freshwater Aquarium Karlovac
  • Dubovac Castle
  • Franciscan Museum Karlovac
  • The Museum of Army Collections from the Croatian Homeland War
  • Foginovo bathing area
  • Renaissance Star-Shaped Fortress

16. Zagreb Cathedral

Zagreb Cathedral, or The Cathedral of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is an  important cultural and historical landmark in the city. 

This Roman Catholic cathedral-church is one of Croatia’s tallest buildings with 108 m spires. The cathedral is situated on Kaptol, a medieval settlement situated on a hill above the city’s center. 

The cathedral was built in the Gothic style and was heavily damaged in the 1880 Zagreb earthquake, but was restored in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

17. Croatian Craft Beer

Croatian craft beer is gaining popularity in Croatia as there are several breweries in Zagreb that produce a variety of different styles of craft beer.  You can visit the breweries such as the Medvedgrad, Zlatni Med, Garden Brewery,  Pulfer, and Varionica.

You can find craft beers on tap at bars and restaurants, and specialty bottle shops such as The Craft Room in Opatovina Street, Caffe bar All In, The Old Pharmacy Pub, and Pivnica Medvedgrad Ilica.

The city also hosts beer festivals, such as the Zagreb Craft Beer Festival or the Zagreb Beer Garden Festival. 

18. Stone Gate 

Stone Gate, or Kamenita vrata, is one of the gates surrounding the old town of Gradec in Upper Town and is the best-preserved gate in Zagreb. 

Much of the Stone gate was destroyed in a fire in 1731, except a portrait of the Virgin Mary from a room. A chapel was built to protect the painting, attracting many people to come to pray and light a candle.

19. Zagreb’s Gric Tunnel

Tunnel Grič was constructed during World War II as shelter from bombings. It also served as a shelter during the Croatian War for independence, as well as a place of the first rave parties in Zagreb in the 1990s and today it is open to the public.

The tunnel Grič is 350 m long, connecting Mesnička Street and Radićeva Street. You can find the sculptures of giant Nutcrackers in the central space.The Zagreb Advent is worth a visit.

This tunnel is free of charge, open from 9 am to 9 pm daily. 

20. Zagreb 360 Observation Deck

Zagreb 360 Observation Deck is a popular tourist spot that you shouldn’t miss, providing panoramic views over the city. 

Zagreb 360 Observation Deck is situated on 16 th floor of a skyscraper on Ban Jelačić square. There is a  covered terrace at the top of the building.

It is open daily 24/7 and tickets are 30 kunas for the adult. You can order a drink at its cafe and enjoy stunning views.

21. Croatian Food

Zagreb is the capital city of Croatia, famous for its traditional Croatian food scene. The city has a mix of Mediterranean and Eastern European influences, and the cuisine includes a variety of dishes made with locally grown ingredients. 

Some of delicious food you should try are:

  • Roasted Turkey with mlinci, purica sa mlincima
  • Fuži, are traditional Istrian pasta
  • Čobanac, Slavonian shepherd stew
  • Peka, traditional one-pot dish
  • Štrukli, boiled dough filled with cheese and served hot

In addition to these traditional dishes, Zagreb also has a wide range of international restaurants that serve a variety of cuisines.

22. Croatian Coffee

Zagreb’s cultural heritage is influenced by the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, the Ottoman empire and Italy. In Zagreb, you can find many places to enjoy Croatian coffee, including traditional coffee houses and modern cafes.

Croatian coffee, also known as Turkish coffee or Bosnian coffee, is a type of coffee prepared by boiling finely ground coffee beans with water and serving it in a small cup. It is a traditional beverage in Croatia and is often served in social settings or as a part of a meal. 

23. Zagreb Mirogoj Cemetery

Zagreb Mirogoj Cemetery is one of the best landmarks of Zagreb, located  in the north of the city. It is a must-see attraction in Zagreb as it is considered one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Europe .

The cemetery was designed by the Croatian architect Hermann Bollé and was opened in 1876. 

The Mirogoj Cemetery has beautiful architecture, park-like setting, and numerous notable burials such as Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić, August Šenoa, Ivan Zajc, and Ante Starčević.

24. Medvednica

Medvednica mountain is a popular place for hiking, skiing, and many outdoor activities, located close to Zagreb. The mountain is accessible by car and bus.

The highest peak on the mountain is Sljeme, 1,035 m above sea level. There are several trails that lead to the top of Sljeme, as well as a number of ski runs for winter sports. 

The mountain is also home to a number of cultural and historical sites, including the Medvedgrad fortress and the Staro Zeljezno cemetery.

25. Zagreb Maksimir Park

Zagreb Maksimir Park is the oldest and largest public park in Zagreb, as well as a beautiful urban park in Europe.

Some of the best things to do in the park are:

  • ZOO Zagreb, with more than 8.800 animals and 37 difference pieces 
  • Maksimir five lakes and springs
  • Bird Watching Tours
  • Nordic Walking
  • Attractions, with numerous sculptures, Bishop Haulik, the chapel of St. George, the Echo pavilion, a Swiss house.

Maksimir Park is a great place to spend a leisurely afternoon and enjoy the natural beauty of the city. There are also a number of  restaurants and cafes inside the area.

26. Tourist Tram

Taking a historical tram is one of the great ways to explore the city in a vintage vehicle that has been restored to its original condition.

The Tourist Tram travels along a route that passes through many of Zagreb’s most important landmarks and tourist attractions. The tram ride typically lasts for about an hour, and tickets can be purchased at the starting point of the tour. 

Some of the sights that you might see on the historical tram tour of Zagreb include the city’s charming old town, the beautiful parks and gardens, and the historic churches and buildings that line the streets of the city.

27. Ride the World’s Shortest Funicular

The Zagreb funicular is the shortest cable car in the world, linking the  Upper and Lower Towns The stations are located at Tomićeva Street and at the foot of Lotršćak Tower.

The Zagreb Funicular’s ticket is 4 Kuna, and can be purchased by the driver at the stations. The funicular runs every day from 6.30 AM to 10 PM. 

28. Zagreb Street Art 

Zagreb has a thriving street art scene with several public murals and graffiti artworks throughout the city. Some notable street art locations in Zagreb include the Maksimirska Cesta, Mural Igora Taritaša, Martićeva, Shell mural by Lonac, Dobojska Ul.

Street art in Zagreb often reflects the city’s history, culture, and contemporary issues. Some notable street artists who have worked in Zagreb include OKO, Lonac, Lunar.

29. Kula Lotrscak Tower 

The 3th-century Kula Lotrscak Tower offers stunning views over the city where you can climb up to its top. It is a historic Romanesque tower, 30 meters high, with an observation deck from its dome.

Since the 19th century, a small cannon has been on the tower, and a shot is fired every day at noon. 

30. St. Mark’s Church Zagreb

St. Mark’s Church is one of Zagreb’s oldest buildings, dating back to the 14th century. It is famous for its colorful roof, and is conveniently located on St.Mark’s Square.

The church also has a Romanesque window and Gothic doorway, as well as Gothic sculptures,  and the oldest coat of arms of Zagreb from 1499. Inside, you can see the two statues by Ivan Mestrovic.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Zagreb worth visiting?

Zagreb is worth visiting because it is the capital and the largest city of Croatia where you can experience authentic Croatian life. The Old Town is full of charm, and home to famous attractions such as the Dolac market, St Mark Church, the museum of broken relationships, Stone gate, and the cathedral.

What is Zagreb best known for?

Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of Croatia that is best known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and thriving nightlife. There are many museums, art galleries, and cultural landmarks, as well as a vibrant food and nightlife scene with many restaurants, bars, and shops.

What to do when you are bored in Zagreb?

Some of the best things to do when you are bored in Zagreb are visiting museums, art galleries, go for a walk in a park, or grab a coffee and people watch at one of the many outdoor cafes, eat some Croatian cuisine, or visit one of the nearby beaches. 

How do I spend a day in Zagreb?

Spend a day in Zagreb by exploring the city’s historic Upper Town, visiting museums and galleries, and trying local food and drinks at a café or restaurant. Take a stroll through the beautiful Maksimir Park or enjoy a concert or performance at the Croatian National Theater. End the day with a relaxing soak at one of the city’s thermal baths or spas.

What to do in Zagreb in 2 days?

With 2 days in Zagreb, you can explore the historic Upper Town, as well as many museums, churches, and parks such as the Zagreb Cathedral, Museum of Broken Relationships, and Mirogoj Cemetery. There is also lively nightlife with many bars, and clubs in Tkalčićeva Street where you can try local Croatian food and wine. 

What are the best free things to do in Zagreb?

Some of the free things to do in Zagreb are exploring the historic Upper Town, visiting Zagreb Cathedral, strolling along the vibrant Tkalčićeva Street, visiting the Dolac Market, relaxing in one of the lovely parks and gardens. 

What are the unique things to do in Zagreb?

Some of the unique things to do in Zagreb include meeting witches at the Zagreb City Museum, riding the world’s shortest funicular railway, strolling through the Gric tunnel air-raid shelter, exploring WWII ruins, and visiting the Pimp My Pump water pumps.

What are the coolest things to do in Zagreb?

Some of the coolest things to do in Zagreb include visiting the Museum of Broken Relationships, exploring the lively street art scene, trying local cuisine at one of the many markets or restaurants, and taking a stroll through the beautiful Maksimir Park.

See more: Where to Stay in Zagreb

So there you have it, the best things to do in Zagreb, Croatia for your next trip. If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment below.

About Author: Linda Smith

I'm Linda Smith, the Hotel Expert, an experienced travel blogger who passionate about traveling. I'm here to share with you all my travel experiences and tips. I cover a wide range of travel topics, specializing in sharing information about the best areas, neighborhoods, and hotels in each city. I hope all these things will make your travel easier.

Leave a Comment