Croatia is an amazing place to visit if you’re looking for a blend of central European flair and budget travel.
In the northern part of the country is where you’ll find the beautiful capital city of Zagreb.
You might be wondering – is Zagreb worth visiting?
In short, yes, it’s a beautiful city with incredible architecture, delicious food, and easy access to nature.
In this post let’s look at some of the best things to do in Zagreb so that you can make the most of your trip!
The Best Things to Do in Zagreb, Croatia
In this Zagreb travel guide you’ll find recommendations for what to do in Zagreb, suggestions on where to stay in Zagreb, and other helpful Zagreb facts.
I’ve tried to cover all of the popular tourist attractions in Zagreb as well as the some hidden gems that I’m sure you’ll love.
Let’s jump right into it!
The Zagreb Cathedral
Towering above the city at more 100m in height, the Zagreb Cathedral should be one of your first stops during your trip.
It’s the tallest building in Croatia and one of the most impressive churches in the country.
The two Gothic spires, one of which always seems to be under construction, are picturesque and covered in eye-catching architectural details.
The church was built in 1093 and has stood in place for nearly 1,000 years.
It wasn’t always the same church though – the first time it was rebuilt was during the 13th century.
Fortifications were built around the church in the 15th century, some of which you can see nearby.
In 1880 the church was damaged by an earthquake and has been under renovation for construction since then.
If you’re interested, feel free to step inside to check out the tomb of Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac that you’ll find behind the main altar.
Take a moment to admire the incredible artwork, details of workmanship, and the chandeliers which are said to have come from a casino in Las Vegas.
From here it’s easy to explore the rest of Zagreb making this cathedral the perfect starting point for your trip.
This cathedral was one of the first stops on my Zagreb walking tour with Hello Zagreb – a great tour company that I personally recommend.
Explore the Upper Town (Gradec)
The Upper Town in Zagreb is one of my favorite places in the city.
It’s quiet, lots of opportunities for photos, and the view from the top is amazing.
This is one of you’ll find one of the best views of Zagreb.
Zagreb’s Upper Town got its name from this location on the slopes of the Medvednica Mountain.
This is one of the oldest parts of the city where you can find well-preserved historic town walls and medieval towers.
For some reason, most tourists never make their way up here so it’s always a peaceful place to visit.
Throughout the Upper Town are popular historical landmarks, small museums, local art galleries, and secret passages and laneways.
Some of the highlights of the Upper Town include:
- Lotrscak Tower
- Stone Gate
- St. Marks Church
- The Museum of Broken Relationships
- Kloviceci Dvori art gallery
- Stross promenade and pedestrian areas
Another interesting feature of the Upper Town are the original gas lights.
Every night someone walks to each light and lights the gas lamp individually – there are crowds of people following the guy so you don’t want to miss this experience.
Guided tours of the Upper Town are available if you’re interested in learning more about this beautiful neighborhood.
Take your time to explore the Upper Town so you can discover all of its hidden passages and unique treasures.
Admire the Church of St. Mark’s
One of the highlights of the Upper Town is St. Marks Church.
This is one of the main tourist sites in Zagreb.
It’s the rooftop of St. Mark’s Church that will catch your eye the first time you see it.
The brightly tiled rooftop is covered in orange, red, and blue tiles.
The tiles were added to the church roof in 1880 and designed to match the Zagreb coat of arms and the Triune of the Kingdom of Croatia.
St. Mark’s Square surrounds the church with the nearby buildings being used as local city offices.
Walk Along Tkalciceva Street
Between Gradec and the Zagreb Cathedral is the cafe-lined pedestrian Tkalciceva Street.
There used to be a river here that was the border between the Upper and Lower town.
At the end of the 19th century the river was filled in with gravel, turned into a road, and Tkalciceva Street was formed.
Today, the street is lined with quaint little cafes, vibrant restaurants, and small shops with unique souvenirs.
It’s one of the few pedestrian-only areas in the city making it a quiet and relaxing place to walk around.
Tkalciceva Street stretches from Ban Jelacic Square to Mala Ulica with lots to check out along the way.
One of the highlights of Tkalciceva Street are all the unique statues of famous Zagreb locals.
All year round the cafes and restaurants are packed with people.
When you’re exploring Tkalciceva Street don’t forget to grab a seat somewhere to enjoy a drink and spend some time people watching.
Where to Stay in Zagreb
Wondering about the best area to stay in Zagreb?
The best place for sightseeing is close to historic Old Town.
There are a number of options for accommodation in the city with prices starting at $30 per night for a double room.
During my trip I stayed at the Rooms 17 Guesthouse located on Tkalciceva Street steps away Zagreb Cathedral and Upper Town.
This is an amazing property with private double rooms starting $55 per night.
Looking for something a little more upscale and luxury?
Then I’d recommend checking out the Esplanade Zagreb Hotel – a 5-star property in the city center.
Getting to Zagreb
As a popular European Capital, Zagreb is easy to reach by plane, train, bus, or car.
Cheap flights can be found from all over Western Europe with prices starting at just $10 depending on how early you book.
The train station is a short 15-minute walk from the main square in the Old Town.
Taking the bus to Zagreb will be the most affordable option if you’re already visiting somewhere in Central Europe.
The train can be expensive, although it’s the fastest method of transportation if you’re not flying.
Driving in Zagreb is tricky – finding parking can be stressful and hotels can charge upwards of $30 per night for a parking spot.