Croatia is one of our favourite countries to travel to – we even chose it as a destination for our honeymoon! Ever since we visited last year on a week sailing trip along the coast we have been dying to go back. So when it came to planning our two week railing trip through Europe with Eurail and STA Travel we knew we wanted to stop somewhere between Ljubljana, Slovenia and Budapest, Hungary – and Zagreb was the perfect stopping point.
We only had 24 hours to see as much of Croatia’s capital and we were up for the challenge… until the Beast from the East swept through Europe and exploring the city meant facing the -10 degree temperatures, but we persevered and saw as much as we possibly could.
Check out our vlog below to see what we got up to during our 24 hour stay in Zagreb, and keep scrolling if you would like to read more on everything you need to know for a visit here!
Things To Do in Zagreb
The Cathedral is one of the most beautiful buildings in Zagreb. Make sure you also go inside to have a look around. When we visited it was a Sunday so we were able to get a glimpse as to what a service is like in the cathedral and listen to the songs and prayers.
There are over 20 open air farmers markets in Zagreb, but one of the largest, and most centrally located is Dolac Market. Here you will find stalls selling fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, breads and meats. It is the perfect spot to go to collect locally sourced picnic supplies!
The Upper Town (Gradec)
Dating back to the 13th century, this hill-topping town used to be surrounded by city walls and watchtowers. It is now the perfect place to take a stroll along the cobblestone streets and look over the city.
To get here you can either walk up a set of stairs, or take one of the world’s shortest funiculars. We decided on the latter just so we could say we spent $1 for a 20 second ride up a hill – haha!
Once a flowing river that marked the border between Kaptol and Gradec (upper and lower town), which was filled in with gravel in the late 1800s, is now a cafe-lined pedestrian only street. This was our favourite spot in Zagreb, with cute little buildings, a number of amazing coffee shops and so many food options you will want to visit for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
For those that want to spend a little time out of the hustle and bustle of the city head to Mount Medvednica for a breathtaking hike. You can take a tram to its base and from there start your hike. The forest trails are well marked and cared for and the mountain is full of historical and natural sights to see – including an abandoned sanatorium and ruins of a mansion.
If you are looking for a good picnic spot, or a day to lay out in the sun head to the Botanical Gardens. Very little has been changed since it opened to the public in 1891, and there is no entry fee.
St Mark’s Church
At the center of the Upper Town is St. Mark’s Church, which has an amazingly colourful tiled rooftop. The tiles were laid on the church roof in 1880 and are in the design of the coat of arms for Zagreb and the Triune Kingdom of Croatia.
Mirogoj – The City’s Main Cemetery
This is is a first for us recommending a cemetery to visit, but for good reason. Many agree that Mirogoj is one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Europe. Founded in the second half of the 19th century, it’s the eternal home of many important Croatian historical personalities. Many graves in the oldest part of the cemetery are decorated with sculptures by great artists. At the tourist information centre, you can get a free brochure that highlights the most famous graves.
Zagreb has a cannon that strikes every single day at noon – you won’t miss it, trust us!
Where To Stay
If you are looking for luxury, check out Esplanade Zagreb Hotel. Opened in 1925, Hotel boasts one of the most prominent buildings in city. Its art-nouveau offer large beds and TV, while the marble bathrooms include a bathtub, shower and complimentary L’Occitane cosmetics. This place is super lux!
If you are looking for location, check out Hotel Dubrovnik. This is where we stayed, located in the very of on Zagreb’s and the building dates back to 1929. It offers and suites with classical décor and amenities with also a gym, bar, restaurant and free Wi-Fi.
If you are looking for a hostel, check out Hostel Shappy. Featuring free Wi-Fi and a terrace in ‘s centre, Shappy is a great choice for backpackers. The hostel is situated in a , right next to the Cvjetni Trg Shopping Centre, 200m from the nearest tram stop and only 250m from the central Ban Jelačić Square. Numerous bars, night clubs, museums and galleries can be found nearby.
Book an Airbnb: We have stayed in Airbnbs all around the world and is one of our favourite ways to spend a few nights in a city. Usually they can be a lot cheaper than hotels, but with all the same perks, if not more!
Have you stayed in an Airbnb rental before? If not and you would like to sign up to Airbnb why not use this link here so you can receive a $50 Airbnb travel credit.
Where To Eat
Here is a list of some popular spots to find a bite to eat in the city…
- For traditional, authentic cuisine head to Starifijaker.
- For icecream you must try Chocolate 041 Ice Cream.
- For a casual lunch spot we recommend Mio Corazon Tapas Bar.
- For a burger go to Rocket Burger.
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