Despite being the capital, Zagreb is one of the more underrated cities in Croatia. I suppose it’s because there are so many gorgeous coastal cities like Dubrovnik, Split, Hvar, etc. with their aqua-turquoise-blue-green water and sandy beaches. (I’ll have a Dubrovnik Travel Guide for you soon)
I had the pleasure of living in Zagreb for 3 months and grew to really love it. If you are going to be in Croatia at some point, I highly recommend visiting the capital! Here are some of my favorite things…
1. King Tomislav Square
Here you will find one of the most beautiful squares in the city. At the heart of the square is a big, beautiful, yellow building which is the Art Pavilion of Zagreb. It’s a 19th Century art museum built in 1898. This square becomes a huge focal point during the Christmas season when it’s lit up and turned into a giant ice rink! There are many squares within walking distance and each housed different parts of the Christmas Markets with unique gifts, delicious food and nightly entertainment. During the rest of the year these squares are perfect for an afternoon stroll or a quick lunch.
2. Ban Josip Jelačić Square
This is the main square of the city and is surrounded by many attractions and restaurants. The square has existed since the 17th century and has long since been the most common meeting place in the city. It is part of the pedestrian zone so it’s inaccessible by car. However, there are many lots within walking distance or you could take the TRAM or an Uber.
3. Cathedral of Zagreb
Right up the street from Ban Josip Jelačić Square is the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Zagreb, the most beautiful building in the city. It was built in the early 12th century using Gothic style architecture and is actually the tallest building in all of Croatia. It is incredible to think that you are standing inside a building that began construction in 1093. It is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, Kings Saint Stephen and Saint Ladislaus and is a must see while visiting the city.
4. St. Mark’s Square
The most popular landmark in Zagreb has got to be St. Mark’s Church due to it’s intricate tiled roof bearing the coat of arms of Zagreb. The church was built in the 13th century and is of late Gothic style with some Romanesque features. There are two other important buildings in this square, the Banski Dvori or the seat of the Government of Croatia, the Constitutional Court of Croatia and the Croatian Parliament building.
5. Lotrščak Tower
The Lotrščak Tower is right on the outskirts of St. Mark’s Square and is definitely worth climbing. The tower was built in the 13th century as well was constructed to guard the southern gate of the Grič town wall. Everyday at noon they fire a cannon from the tower. It’s pretty fun to be standing up at the top when it goes off!
6. Plitviče Lakes National Park
This is a bonus stop because it’s about 90 minutes away from Zagreb but is well worth the drive. This is one of the most beautiful national park’s in the world. It doesn’t matter what time of year you go, the water is always a striking green-blue. During the summer months it’s surrounded by the most lush greenery and it’s truly breathtaking. There are a few different trails and some are longer than others so make sure to dress for hiking.
My Favorite Restaurants in Zagreb
- Basta– really good charcuterie plates and super yummy classic Naples style wood fire pizza.
- Batak Grill– great Croatian food, really flavorful! Try the Ćevapčići.
- Boban– delicious Italian food, my favorite dish is the Truffle pasta but the Salmon is really good too.
- Burgeraj– my husband’s favorite restaurant and the best burger in Zagreb, hands down. The restaurant is super tiny so it’s usually best to come for lunch and be prepared to wait 20-30 minutes because each burger is handmade to order! (trust me it’s worth the wait)
- Choco Cafe– perfect breakfast or brunch spot. Really tasty omelets.
- Evergreen Sushi– good sushi for Europe, doesn’t compare to LA though.
- Johann Franck– perfect location in Ban Josip Jelačić Square, a little more pricey but it’s worth it to sit, relax and people watch on the outdoor patio. Plus you’re in walking distance to the Cathedral!
- Mano– really delicious steaks! One of the more upscale restaurants so perfect for a date night or when you want to get dressed up.
- Rocket Burger– another really good burger. The restaurant is nestled on a really cute little street within walking distance from the main square and perfect for an afternoon or evening stroll.
- Sofra– really good authentic Bosnian food.
In case you’re in need of a little touch up while on vacation…
- House of Nails– ask for Klaudija, she does a really great job and is very friendly.
- Chix Threading Bar– they do a great job threading and it’s very, very inexpensive.
- Bliss Institute– they do really great facials and offer a wide range of options for a very reasonable price.
I truly enjoyed my time spent in Zagreb and I really hope that this guide has encouraged anyone traveling to Croatia to make a stop in their beautiful capital! 🙂