Distinguished by its neo-historicism and Art Nouveau architecture, Zagreb, Croatia’s capital and largest city, stands as the cultural, scientific, economic, political and administrative center of the country. The lively and charming city boasts 30 museums (the most per capita of any city in the world) and more than 30 active theaters. The Croatian National Theatre, housed within a Neo-Baroque building, is the national home of ballet, opera and drama. It’s no wonder Zagreb enjoys a packed cultural and events calendar throughout the year.
You can easily access everything on foot, so whether going to Gornji grad
(uptown) or Donji grad (downtown) — the cultural, religious and commercial hubs of Zagreb — you’ll find it easy and enjoyable to get around. Stop by Ban Josip Jelačić Square, one of the city’s notable symbols, as well as the charming Flower Square (Cvjetni trg), surrounded by cafés and shops. The city boasts a botanical garden and many parks open for public recreation. Maksimir Park, Zagreb’s largest, makes a perfect place to relax over coffee, have a picnic or take long walks among the greenery and around several small lakes.
Take a fun but short ride on Zagreb Funicular — the shortest in the world — which connects Lower Town with Upper Town. Upper Town contains the twin-spired Gothic Zagreb Cathedral and 13th-century Saint Mark’s Church, while Lower Town includes the central Ban Jelačić Square plus shops, museums and parks. In this year-round outdoor city, travelers can explore Jarun Lake in spring and summer, hike Medvednica mountain or surrounding areas in autumn and even ski near Mount Medvenica in winter.
Let’s get to the food. Surrounded by lush countryside, Zagreb offers an intriguing mix of urban and rural cuisines. From an extensive seafood selection caught along the Adriatic coast to natural and fresh ingredients produced locally, it offers an ample selection for all diets. Foodies will enjoy some of Croatia’s top restaurants here, like Michelin-starred Noel, along with Dolac Market offering seasonally produced food, fresh cream and cheese, and doughnuts. Don’t miss the chance to try the city’s most famous specialties: strukli, cheese-stuffed pasta, and roasted turkey from Zagorje served with mlinci, dried pasta pieces softened with boiling water and finished in the gravy from the roast. Zagrebians are big coffee drinkers, and coffee shops and cafés line the streets, such as pedestrian-friendly Tkalčićeva Street.
Situated within easy reach of other European cities, Zagreb makes a great weekend break destination with stays at notable hotels such as Hotel Dubrovnik and Esplanade Zagreb Hotel. Steeped in history, with surrounding ruins dating from Roman times, Zagreb remains one of Europe’s most exciting destinations.
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