Zagreb is the capital of Croatia and it is, by far, the biggest city. Zagreb is located in the middle of the country and can be easily reached by plane and train. Now I am not going to sugar-coat this article and say that I am in love with the city, but being that it is the major hub of a lot of travel in Croatia I have been there many times. Zagreb has many interesting attractions, great shopping, happening nigh tlife, and great food. I would not recommend Zagreb as a main attraction, but considering that it is the biggest city and easiest to fly to in order see other areas of the gorgeous country, there are some things you should check out if you are there.
One of the coolest things to do in Zagreb is to take a walk around the central main part of the old historical area. Central Zagreb has the best shopping in the city, great restaurants and nightclubs, and has a fantastic open-air market. The market is generally happening from the early morning until the mid afternoon. You can find everything there from fresh fruit and vegetables and fresh meat to great handcrafts and local wine and honey. A walk around the huge market can take hours and you will be sure to find some great things. Just up from the main open air market is the Zagreb Cathedral on Kaptol, which is probably the most famous building in Zagreb and its spires can be seen from all around the city.
In the historical old town centre is the Croatian History Museum. The museum is part of history itself as a gorgeous Baroque palace, Vojkovic-Orsic-Rauch, which was built at the end of the 18th century and the museum was formerly the private residence of 3 successive baronial families.
The building that houses the Croatian National Theatre is a national treasure and holds great dramatic, opera, music, and ballet productions. One highlight of the Theatre is the ceremonial curtain, which was painted by renowned Croatian painter Vlaho Bukovac.
If you want a little history you can head to the village of Scitarjevo, which is just outside Zagreb, and check out the Andautonia Archaeological Park. Here there are the remains of the ancient Roman town called Andautonia, which has been excavated and is currently a fascinating tourist attraction.
The nightlife in Zagreb is great with a huge student population. There are many small bars and cafes located on the cool street of lining the cool street of Tkalciceva in Gornji Grad. If you want a little more sophistication you can check out try either Hemingway, Trg Marsal Tita 1, or Skola, Bogoviceva 7, which are both chic lounge-bars that serve cocktails and have great music. If you want a brewery atmosphere head to either Pivnica Medvedgrad, Savska 56, or K Pivovari, Ilica 222, both of which are Central European style beer halls that are attached to breweries. There are also many cafes and bars located in the main square.
There are a lot of cool clubs in the city, but a couple of the better ones are the dance club Aquarius, which overlooks Lake Jarun and is about 4 kilometres from the city center. If you wan t a chance to see some Croatian celebrities check out Saloon, Tuskanac, which is THE place to be seen.
There are no shortages of restaurants all around town, but since it is a huge city you can also find many international types of food. In the main square area you can find these eateries and real Croatian fare, along with some of the best pizzas in the city.
Ok, so Zagreb is not one of my favourite cities, but there are a lot of things to see and the open-air market is one of the better ones I have been to in big metropolitan areas.
Best of Zagreb Tips
You’ll find lot of ideas for things to do in Zagreb in our Best of Zagreb collation post.
More Tips for Things to Do in Croatia
We’ve lots more tips on what to do in Croatia on Europe a la Carte.