The Upper Town, Zagreb – Photo credit IG @watchluke
If you find yourself in Zagreb and you have some time to explore, here is a list of things we recommend checking out! They’re all in the city center (or very close), so they’re easy to get to by foot or tram. I’ve also listed operating hours and any admission prices that apply!
We hope you’ll love Zagreb as much as we do 🙂
1. Jelacic Square (Trg Bana Jelacica)
Jelacic Square is located in the heart of Zagreb, being the main square in the city. It’s a wonderful, open area with beautiful architecture, and a perfect spot to start exploring Zagreb (most attractions, restaurants, cafes, etc. are just a few mins walk from here).
The square is named after Ban Josip Jelacic, who was a Croatian army general in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, and a statue of him on a horse stands in the very center. There’s also a legendary fountain located on the square called the Mandusevac Fountain, which is said to be the reason Zagreb got its name. The story is about a soldier who was tired and thirsty on his way back from battle, and there was a girl named Manda by the spring where the fountain is (hence why the fountain is called Mandusevac).
The soldier asked her to please scoop up (zagrabiti) some for some water for him. From that word “zagrabiti” came the city’s name, Zagreb. It was also said that anyone who drank water from that spring would always return to Zagreb.
2. Funicular Railway to the Upper Town (the shortest funicular in the world)
Just a short walk from the Jelacic square is the funicular, which is the best way to get to the upper town and enjoy some views of the city on your ride up! It’s actually the shortest funicular in the world (66m), so before you know it, you’ll be at the top.
It was built to make Zagreb’s upper and lower town more accessible to each other (rather than climbing the 160-something steps from the bottom to the top. The ride is only 10kn, and it goes every 20mins.
3. St. Mark’s Square (Trg Svetog Marka)
St. Mark’s Square is one of the most well known and photographed spots in Zagreb! It’s located in the upper town of Zagreb and in the middle stands the picturesque St. Mark’s Church. The church has the most beautiful rooftop tiles which represent the city’s coat of arms as well as the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia. St. Mark’s Church is one of the oldest buildings in Zagreb, and has become a symbol of the city.
Many other government, parliament and office buildings are also located here on St. Mark’s Square. Just a few steps away, you’ll reach beautiful viewpoints overlooking Zagreb and the cathedral.
4. Stone Gate (Kamenita Vrata)
The famous Stone Gate (Kamenita vrata) is a holy and spiritual place where people come to pray and worship the Virgin Mary. Under the arch of the gateway is a Chapel dedicated to her. The Chapel also holds a painting of the Virgin Mary that survived a devastating fire in 1731, so people believe a miracle happened.
The original gate was built in 1266 but rebuilt in the 18th century, after the said fire. It acts as a nice connection when you walk from the lower to the upper town.
5. Art Pavilion
6. Tkalciceva Street (Pedestrian Only)
Tkalciceva is my favorite street in all of Zagreb. It’s located between the two hills of old Zagreb, Kaptol and Gradec, above the Medveščak creek, within the pedestrian only zone!
Tkalciceva street – Photo credit IG @yumi1016ko
It’s now one of the most visited areas of the city because of the beautiful architecture, and the many, many little cafes, terraces and shops that line each side. It has an energetic, vibrant vibe, and it’s a great place to sit down, have a drink, chat with a friend and do some people watching.
7. Dolac Market
Dolac Market (opened in 1930) is definitely the most popular open market in Zagreb, where you can buy anything fruit, vegetables & cheese, to nuts, meat, fish, eggs, milk and other products from all over Croatia.
It’s located right behind the main square (Trg Bana Josipa Jelacica), and it’s become a very popular place for locals and visitors alike.
You can recognize the market by the rows and rows of stands and depending on the weather, each stand will put up the signature “Dolac” red umbrella to shade them from the sun or protect them from the rain.
It’s common to negotiate with the sellers for a better price, so don’t be afraid to do a bit of haggling next time you visit 🙂
8. Gric Tunnel
9. King Tomislav Square (Trg Kralja Tomislava)
King Tomislav Square, otherwise known as “Tomislavac” is located between the Art Pavilion and the main train station, Glavni Kolodvor.
Tomislav Square, named after the first Croatian King (King Tomislav), is one of the most representative points of Zagreb, and it’s the first view you’ll have if you arrive in Zagreb by train. It’s a beautiful square and park where you can relax, sit on a bench or on the grass, get some fresh air, admire the scenery and have a picnic! There are many trams that pass through the square, so you can get to almost any point in the city by starting here.
10. Zagreb City Museum
11. Museum of Broken Relationships
Museum of Broken Relationships is one of my favorite museums in Zagreb. It’s such a unique museum, full of love and heartbreak stories from past to present. People donate objects, memories and notes of relationships from the past with a story behind each. Most don’t have happy endings, but all are very interesting stories to read about.
The museum was founded in 2006 by Olinka Vishtica and Drazen Grubisic, two artists who were once partners, but eventually ended their relationship.
After much success in Zagreb, a Museum of Broken Relationships was also opened in Los Angeles!
Winter (October 1st – May 31st):
Adults: 40 kn
12. Zagreb 360° Observation Deck
Zagreb’s Viewpoint 360° is located right across from the main square (Trg Bana Jelacica), at Ilica 1A, on the 16th floor, and offers stunning views of Zagreb. There is also a cute area to sit and have a drink, play board games, work or just hang out.
Once you buy an entrance ticket, it’s valid for the whole day, so you can come back at any time for another drink, some more views, and another round of fun in the evening.
Children up to 3 years old – Free
13. Image of War – Photography Museum
This a great educational museum that exhibits photographs of the Homeland War in the nineties. The authors are top local and world photographers, as well as ordinary people, and a portion of the income from each ticket sold is donated to war victims and refugees.
Some of the photos are shocking, as the museum didn’t want to hide the horrors of war. They are anti-war, and even have a slogan “Let’s keep the war inside the museum!”photography museum – Photo credit IG @luca_marinara
Because of some very real images and exhibits, the museum is not recommended for younger visitors.
One very unique aspect of the museum is that in addition to photographs by Croatian authors, photographs by Serbian authors who recorded the conflict from their point of view, are also included.
The Images of War Museum is located in the heart of the Zagreb, at Hebrangova Street 4, just a few min walk from the main square.
Opening hours: 10am to 10pm
14. Zagreb’s Botanical Gardens
If you love beautiful, unique plants, Zagreb’s Botanical Gardens are certainly a place you’ll enjoy. According to the latest stats, there are currently around 5000 species of plants at the gardens (of which about 300 are protected), which are beautifully arranged by their place of origin. When the flowers are in bloom, it’s quite the sight to see, too, with all of the vibrant colors!
The Botanical Garden is located a bit west of the main train station, Glavni Kolodvor, on Marulic Square 9a, but the main entrance is located on the north side of Mihanoviceva Street.
Admission to the Botanical Gardens is free of charge
15. Maksimir Park and Zoo
Maksimir Park was opened to the public in 1794 and was the first of its kind in this region of Europe. It’s not far from the city center (about 6 tram stops east of the main square), and it’s a great place for a day trip to escape the crowds and enjoy nature!
Maksimir park – Photo credit IG @gordantrtanj
There are 5 lakes within its 18 hectares, so it’s perfect for jogging, cycling or just a leisurely stroll. There are also plenty of ice cream stands through on the main pathway, and at the top of the hill, there is a little cafe with the best views of the park where you can sit for a coffee or drink, too!
The park has a very cute restaurant and cafe with a huge outdoor space to sit and have a meal afterwards, (or just a coffee/drink).
Want to see some animals while in the park? Head to the zoo that’s located right inside the park’s grounds. The zoo is home to lions, red pandas, meerkats, grey wolves, brown bears, Chinese leopards, and chimps to name a few.
Zoo Zagreb – Photo credit IG @tajchy_photography
You can even make a donation and become an adoptive parent to an animal and give your little bundle of joy an official name, then get updates on him/her with a photo! The zoo is definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in Zagreb and/or want to expand your family 🙂
Tickets for the zoo:
Adults – 30KN
16. Mirogoj Cemetery
Mirogoj Cemetery was opened in 1876 and is the main cemetery in Zagreb. It’s considered one of the most beautiful cemeteries in all of Europe with its stunning architecture, sculptures and picturesque green ivy winding its way around the pillars and walls.
The most well-known symbol of Mirogoj are the arcades, which were modeled after the Italian Renaissance cemeteries and took almost 40 years to build.
Mirogoj cemetery – Photo credit IG @gylemartin
From April 1 – October 31, 6:00am – 8:00pm
From November 3 – March 31, 7.30am – 6:00pm
From November 1 & 2, 6.00am – midnight
That wraps up our list of the top things to see and do in Zagreb! We really hope you’ll get to explore at least a few of these great places while you’re here. Leave a comment below with which one(s) were your favorite 😉