It’s easy to call Zagreb the city of museums because there’s a lot of them here. However, this lovely Croatian city has more to offer and they’d most likely take you out of your museum adventure.
Explore the Upper Town where there are so much history and culture, spend a day in a wine region or seeing the city on top of a mountain, or experience Croatian coffee culture at an old market square.
There’s more, and here’s a list of the best things to do in Zagreb, Croatia to help you make the most of your time in the city.
10 Best Things To Do in Zagreb, Croatia
1. Explore the Upper Town in Zagreb
Exploring the Upper Town is hands down one of the best activities to do in Zagreb. Stroll along the cobblestone streets, marvel at the impressive architecture of its old historic buildings, find a bench or stairway to sit in at the main square and take in the city before you.
Zagreb simply captivates, particularly the wealth of sights and attractions located in the Upper Town. To get to this charming part of Zagreb, you need to make an upwards climb which can be a bit challenging but worthwhile.
Visit museums, check out historic buildings end monuments, have coffee or a meal at the market and in the evening, join a quirky walking tour. An interesting tour you can join is the Secrets of Grič, which features costumed guides that will take you through a unique tour of the Upper Town.
2. Zagreb Cathedral
Originally called the Cathedral of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, this church is one of the best places to see in Zagreb. The Zagreb Cathedral is a must-visit, as it is one of the city’s landmarks and among its iconic monuments. This stunning Neo-Gothic structure has already survived an earthquake as well as several Restorations.
This Cathedral is also one of the most recognizable structures in the city because of its twin towers that can be seen at any point in Zagreb.
Monday to Saturday – 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Address: Kaptol 31, Zagreb, Croatia
3. People watch in Jelacic Square of Zagreb
As the main square in Zagreb, Jelacic is an ideal base for exploring the city. A charming space surrounded by a literal old architectural showcase, most structures date back to the 19th century featuring Art Nouveau, Biedermeier and postmodernist influences.
Trams also pass through the main square, and these modes of transportation connect most of Zagreb’s neighborhoods.
Walk around Jelacic for a better feel of Zagreb. Make a wish at Mandusevac fountain, visit the chocolate and candy store Kras for some goodies to bring home, or if you’re up for some partying come evening, head on to the Johann Franck Club.
4. Have Some Croatian Coffee
Immerse yourself in the Croatian coffee culture and have a cup, or five while you’re there. In Zagreb and the rest of Croatia, the best way to have coffee doesn’t always include a takeaway cup or drinking it in one gulp as you go from the coffee shop to your next destination.
Here, coffee drinking is almost a ritual. Get a cup, or mug, sit down and savor it. Over a conversation with family or friends, while reading, or simply people-watching – having coffee in Zagreb is akin to slowing down to breathe.
People are allowed to stay in cafés for hours as long as they have a cup of coffee with them. Order a cup from a café in Cvjetni Square or Dolac Market, find a good seat in the corner or by a window, and drink in the culture.
5. Wine Region of Plesivica
While in Zagreb, set aside some time for a quick, easy day trip. Visit Plesivica, a wine-growing region in the hills just 30 minutes away from Zagreb. This region is also ideal for cycling and hiking after you’ve toured the area or sampled some wine. While there, make sure you check out winemakers like Korak and Rezek, or Tomac and Sember if you prefer sparkling wines.
It’s best to join a group tour when you visit, or better yet, hire a local driver to take you around so you can sample as much wine as you can without worrying about driving.
6. Try out Zagreb Eye
A fantastic way to see most of Zagreb without spending hours walking around is from the Zagreb Eye. Located sixteen floors up, this observation deck offers a 360-degree view of this stunning historic city. Here you get to see how Zagreb is a wonderful mix of the old and the new – with historic structures standing alongside skyscrapers, as well as monuments and squares.
Zagreb Eye allows you a different perspective of this charming city, and it’s an ideal way to either start or end your day.
Monday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Children up to 150 cm – 30kn (€4.06)
Adults – 60kn (€8.11)
Family – 150kn (€20.28)
Address: Zagreb Eye observation deck, Zagreb Skyscraper Ilica 1a, 16th floor 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Phone: +385 1 4876 587
7. Go museum-hopping
Zagreb might as well be called the city of museums, and they’re among the best things to see in Zagreb. There’s just a lot, each with a distinct character. There are the usual places that honor the city and country’s history as well as its natural wonders, and there are those that are put up as an homage to everything like technological marvels or broken affairs.
These museums are spread all over, but you’ll find most in the Upper Town. If you have set aside an entire day got museum hopping, make it worthwhile by visiting at least five. If you have half a day, make it at least three.
Some of the more notable Zagreb museums are the Minara Museum, Nikola Tesla Technical Museum, Zagreb City Museum, Croatian Natural History Museum, Meštrović Atelier and Museum of Broken Relationships.
8. Shop at Ilica Street in Zagreb
At almost 6 kilometers long, Ilica is one of Zagreb’s longest and oldest streets. Stretching from the main square to the Crnomerec in the Northwest, Ilica is lined with a variety of shops and Nama. It is an old fashioned department store that’s one of the more interesting places to visit in Zagreb.
Built in the early 20th century, Nama is a must-see even if you’re not planning to buy anything. Check out its quaint art nouveau details such as stained glass and wrought iron, which is quite photogenic.
Ilica Street may seem like most shopping strips in other European cities but with the wide range of either upscale, brand name and local shops alongside Nama, a stroll here lets you enjoy that distinct Zagreb vibe that you won’t find anywhere else.
9. Check out the Dolac Market in Zagreb
A good way to experience Zagreb and feel like a local is to visit its markets. Located just behind the main square is the Dolac Market, a great place to blend with locals while sampling and supporting local products.
With a variety of goods on offer ranging from fresh produce, native delicacies, freshly cooked meals, and even souvenirs you can bring home – Dolac market won’t disappoint. It is also an integral part of Zagreb and a must-visit.
Monday to Friday – 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Saturday – 6:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Sunday – 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Address: Dolac 9, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 642 2501
10. Hike Medvednica Mountain
If you’re up for a more challenging adventure as you explore Zagreb, head up north for a hike at Medvednica Mountain. A popular destination for the more active types, Medvednica Mountain has trails for every level of hiking ability.
But the one that’s most recommended for first-timers is the one that leads up to the Puntijarka mountain house. It is 957 meters up and just below the highest part of Medvednica, called Sljeme.
This challenging yet fulfilling hike starts in town at the last tram station all the way to the peak. This is one of the best things to do in Zagreb on weekends, even if it gets a bit crowded. If you don’t feel like hiking, you can also drive up or ride the city bus.
When you reach Puntijarka, sample some of their simple but delicious and affordable meals. You may also try other trails like Miroslavec which has more facilities for a picnic and resting.
Whichever trail you take, you’re likely to come across some interesting and scenic spots like caves and springs, chapels and churches, the Tomislavac hotel and a medieval fortified town called Medvedgrad.
Ready to visit Zagreb and don’t know where to stay yet? Here’s a list of the best hotels in Zagreb that you can check out.