Zagreb, Croatia, is the perfect spot to base yourself in Central Europe. This capital city is home to plenty of landmarks and close to several national parks, making it a great stop on your European Bucket List tour. So, if you’re wondering what to do in Zagreb, look no further! We’ve got you covered on all the best things to see and do while you’re there.
Zagreb is the largest city in Croatia and also happens to be the transport hub for the entire country.
Split into two sections, Upper Town and Lower Town, you will find a distinct atmosphere in each part of the city.
Zagreb’s Upper Town (Gornji Grad) is a maze of old streets nestled between two hills: Kaptol and Gradec. This is the oldest part of town and the best place to enjoy restaurants, museums, and bars.
Lower Town (Donji Grad) is quite the opposite, with wide boulevards and plenty of green space. Sitting in a park and watching people stroll by is one of the best things to do in Zagreb!
What to do in Zagreb
Zagreb is packed full of exciting things to see and do. From quirky museums to stunning street art and everything in between, this historic city has something for everyone to enjoy.
The top attractions in Zagreb are St. Mark’s Church and the Cathedral. Both are located in Upper Town and are sites to behold because of their unique architectural details.
Maksimir Park is the oldest park in Zagreb. It has consistently been ranked one of the most beautiful urban parks in Europe and is deeply embedded in the city’s cultural history.
If you are meeting someone, head to Jelačić Square. This is the most popular meeting point in town. This is also a great shopping area in Lower Town.
Visit the Zagreb Botanical Garden. It’s the perfect break from the city. This beautiful garden, founded in 1889, is laden with colorful birds, butterflies, and plants.
It only takes about an hour to walk through and feels a million miles away from the bustle of the city.
Tickets cost 10 kunas ($1.40) per person.
The Croatian National Theatre is also one of the best places in Zagreb for a stunning photo op. This bright yellow building and manicured lawns are noticeable anywhere. Plus, the architectural details are fabulous.
Want to see it all? Join a walking tour. Several free options will take you past all these famous sites and give you the history behind them.
Wander around the streets in Upper Town and see what famous street art you can take in. Zagreb is covered in beautiful murals and different artwork, most of which are connected to the city’s history or its inhabitants in some way.
Head to Upper Town at 12 noon and watch the Grič cannon fire from the top of Lotrščak Tower. This has to be one of the best free things to do in Zagreb because it brings you back to older, simpler times. It is also great to watch tourists get a fright if they aren’t expecting that boom!
Unusual things to do in Zagreb
Are you wondering what to do in Zagreb, Croatia, to get off the beaten path?
Spending time in Miragoj Cemetary may sound morbid, but it is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and learn a little about famous Croatians.
One of the most unusual things to do in Zagreb is visiting the Museum of Broken Relationships. This one-of-a-kind museum is home to people’s donated possessions, telling the story of their relationship’s demise. Exhibits range from strange to heartbreaking, but wandering through the museum near St. Mark’s Church is an enlightening way to spend an afternoon.
What to do in Zagreb to soak up some nature
Once you’ve had your fill of the city, the best day trips from Zagreb take you to the amazing national parks and lakes nearby.
Plitvice Lakes National Park absolutely needs to be on your must-see list while you are in Croatia.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is breathtaking. Several waterfalls cascade over limestone and chalk formations and have created natural dams. This process has, in turn, created gorgeous lakes, waterfalls, and caves within the park.
Located about 137 km (~85 miles) south of Zagreb, you can easily take a bus to Plitvice Lake. There are also several day trips that you can join from the city.
Another beautiful place to see is Lake Bled in Slovenia. Located about 195 km (~121 miles) northwest of Zagreb.
Lake Bled is home to the fairytale-like church situated on an island right in the middle of the lake.
This scenic spot is perfect for an afternoon of hiking and enjoying the natural surroundings.
You can easily drive this distance in about two hours. There is a bus and public transport as well, but this will take closer to three hours.
Where to go after Zagreb
If you plan to travel around Europe after Zagreb, consider these next destinations!
Croatia is packed full of stunning scenery and phenomenal things to do. After Zagreb, head down to the Croatian coast.
Getting from Zagreb to Split is easy and hassle-free!
If you are on a budget, there is a bus that travels this route for $18 per person. The ride takes about five and a half hours.
It is also possible to fly into Split for approximately $65. This will save you time and won’t break the bank!
Budapest is a perfect next stop once you’re ready to leave Croatia. Located about 340 km (~210 miles) northeast of Zagreb, Hungary’s capital city is a great place to continue delving into Eastern European culture.
There are plenty of options to help you get from Zagreb to Budapest. There are buses for around $17 per person and flights just as cheap as a domestic flight within Croatia.
Vienna is another fantastic option if you want to stay in the region but explore a new city.
Getting from Zagreb to Vienna is a breeze. It is only a five-hour bus ride from one capital to the next. The best part is that buses are fairly comfortable and only cost $16 per person.
Yes, Croatia is a member nation of the EU. They will also join the Schengen Zone in June 2022.
Croatia currently uses the Croatian Kuna. However, from June 2022, you will also be able to use Euro as legal tender.
Yes. The majority of people in Croatia are bilingual. This is even more common in larger cities and tourist destinations like Zagreb.