Are you visiting the Croatian capital and wondering what are the best things to do in Zagreb? After living abroad for some time, I’ve been back in Zagreb for the last four years. It’s much smaller than other European capitals, like Paris, London or Rome. But, with just around 800,000 inhabitants, it’s a small, liveable place that feels like a large city. Read my Zagreb City Guide to learn more about its exciting history, charming areas and places you should visit in Zagreb.

Things to do in Zagreb

With its historicistic architecture, coffee culture and numerous lovely parks, Zagreb has a great vibe. It’s still undiscovered and cheaper than many cities in Western Europe. With many interesting things to do in Zagreb, you should spend two or three days in the Croatian capital.

Read more: Ultimate Croatia Travel Guide

Weather in Zagreb

One of my favourite things about Zagreb is its great climate with four seasons. It has hot summers and cold winters with a lot of snow sometimes. In spring, it’s filled with colourful flowers and blossoming trees. It’s covered in red, brown, and yellow foliage in autumn, while the city smells like cooked corn and baked chestnuts.

Zagreb local TIP: In winter, you can go skiing on Medvednica Mountain, located on the outskirts of Zagreb. World Sky championship races are organised there in the first week of January. Residents of Zagreb love hiking and visiting restaurants on Medvednica Mountain that serve delicious traditional food from that region.

Public transport in Zagreb

Zagreb public transport consists of trams, buses and a funicular. Trams mainly operate in the city centre, while the buses connect it with the residential neighbourhoods.

A single ticket valid for ninety minutes in one direction will cost you around one and a half euros. However, if you plan to take a short ride for up to thirty minutes, you can buy a special ticket that will cost you only around fifty cents. If you will hop on and off a few times during the day, then the 24-hour ticket is something for you. You can buy it for around four and a half euros.

Zagreb local TIP: If you want to ride public transport like a local, you should complain about it a lot, too. When entering the tram, just roll your eyes and state loudly how the tram is late again.

Mix of cultural influences in Zagreb

One of my favourite things about Zagreb is the different cultural influences you can feel in it. You’ll immediately notice Austrian and German influence in its historical architecture and food. Mediterranean influence is visible in how people live in the streets and its coffee culture.

There is a strong influence from the east, especially in food like čevapčići or burek (I urge you to try both) from neighbouring Bosnia.

Zagreb is surrounded by a green ring, a rural area with numerous lovely traditions. It’s one of the fantastic things about Zagreb. Although it’s an urban city, it benefits from the beautiful area around it. Its residents are getting fresh produce from there. And it’s a wonderful place for a day trip from Zagreb.

Zagreb local TIP: If you want to feel it too, visit Zagreb’s central market, Dolac. There, especially on its ground floor, you’ll find pastries, dairy products, lovely fruits and vegetables and other delicious local food.

Places to see in Zagreb

Zagreb is quite a small city, and most of the things to do in Zagreb included in this article could be seen on foot.

Read more: Summer in Zagreb – Fun things to do in Zagreb this summer

Ban Jelačić Square

The main square in Zagreb, Ban Jelačić Square, is Zagreb’s meeting point and the heart of the city. It was named by the man whose statue you’ll find at its centre – Ban Josip Jelačić. He was a significant person in Croatian history. Among other things, one of his major decisions was the abolition of serfdom in Croatia in 1848. Another important site on the square is the Manduševac Fountain. According to the local legend, if you throw a coin in it and make a wish, it may come true.

This square also has numerous fairs, concerts, and manifestations, so there’s always something happening there.

Zagreb local TIP: Zagreb locals would rarely call this place by its full name. But, they instead refer to it as The Square – Trg. So, if you’d like to behave as a local in Zagreb, try to learn that hard word and meet your friends at Trg.

On the northern side of Ban Jelačić Square, a model of the city centre is located. It’s a lovely statue on which you can see the city from above and plan in which direction to wander next.

Dolac Market

Just above Ban Jelačić Square, one of the most iconic places in Zagreb is located, the Dolac Market. It’s where you can find fresh food from all over Croatia. My favourite is the fresh cottage cheese they have there. But you can also find some delicious pastries (visit the Dinara shop for them) or excellent-quality fruit and vegetables. It’s also very famous for its typical red umbrellas and a statue of ‘Kumica’, one of the ladies coming from villages around Zagreb to sell their products at the market in a big city.

Read more: Day trip from Zagreb – Hrvatsko zagorje Region

Kaptol & Zagreb Cathedral

The oldest parts of Zagreb are Gradec and Kaptol. In the past, those were two towns. Gradec was a free royal city, while Kaptol belonged to the church.

They had numerous disputes and bloody battles, especially during the Middle Ages. Even the street connecting them is called Krvavi most, meaning the bloody bridge, because of all the violent encounters.

Today, Kaptol is the area around Zagreb Cathedral consisting of many Baroque and Historicistic houses. It’s a part of the city that developed around the Cathedral, mainly consisting of the old churches and homes of the clergy. That’s why it’s always quieter than its neighbouring Gradec and Ban Jelačić Square. Walking from the Cathedral, along Nova Ves Street, towards Opatovina Park is lovely.

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Although its construction started in the Middle Ages and was rebuilt a few times later, Zagreb Cathedral is today primarily a Neo-Gothic building built at the end of the 19th century. It has a beautiful Gothic feel from the inside. Still, my favourite thing is walking around it. You can see all the details in the stone sculptures and some old houses surrounding them.

The Cathedral is being restored in a moment, so access to it might be limited.

TIP: A nice restaurant in the area to have lunch at is Capuciner, located just across from the Cathedral.


Located on a small hill above the main square in Zagreb is another old medieval neighbourhood – Gradec. It’s home to small picturesque streets, charming cafes and a few great museums.

Museum of Broken Relationships is a great place, with quite a nice restaurant with a Parisian vibe. Zagreb City Museum has a great collection dedicated to the city’s history. It’s also interesting because you can see the remains of the oldest city walls on its ground floor. Klovićevi Dvori Gallery is where you’ll usually find some of the best temporary exhibitions in town, so check what’s on before you visit Zagreb.

Read more: Zagreb museums are severely damaged in recent earthquake

Saint Mark Church in Zagreb


One of the most famous buildings at Gradec is Saint Mark’s Church. That small medieval church is renowned for its roof decorated with the coat of arms of Zagreb and the Triune Kingdom of Slavonia, Dalmatia and Croatia. Some of the most important Croatian state institutions on Saint Mark’s Square are the Croatian Parliament and the Croatian Government Offices. So, don’t be surprised by the police and security presence there.

Read more: 20 Most iconic churches in Europe

Lotrščak Tower & Grič Cannon

On the southern side of Gradec, an old Medieval tower, the Lotrščak Tower, is located. Every day, right at noon, you’ll hear a cannon shooting from there. Legend says that a cannonball fired from that tower saved Zagreb from Turkish occupation in the 16th century. So, to remember that important event in Zagreb’s history, the cannon shoots at noon each day.

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Zagreb Funicular

You can enjoy some of the best views of Zagreb from there and ride in the old funicular. It’s one of the shortest public transport funiculars in the world. You can get to Zagreb Funicular from Ilica Street or get downhill next to Lotrščak Tower.

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Zelena potkova (Green Horseshoe) in Zagreb

In the mid-19th century, Gradec and Kaptol united to form a unified city – Zagreb. It soon started expanding to the south, to the neighbourhood known today as Donji Grad (the Lower Town).

Many beautiful historical buildings were built during that time. Some of their facades are gorgeous, and I always find new details on them while walking there. Unfortunately, many of them were damaged in two strong earthquakes in 2020. They are being restored in a moment, so you’ll see lots of scaffolding there.

While creating the city’s new area, the city planners also wanted to make Zagreb a greener city. So, its urbanists started a project known as the Green Horseshoe. It’s a network of parks spanning through the city centre, forming a U-shape (you can see it well on the map above). Most buildings near the parks are cultural institutions, like museums or theatres.

One of the parks there is the Botanical Garden. It’s open daily, making a lovely relaxing area in the city centre. Be sure to include it on your list of things to do in Zagreb.

Bundek and Jarun Lakes

If you want to experience Zagreb like a local, visit one of Zagreb’s lakes, Jarun or Bundek. They are the city’s green oasis where you can stroll around them, have a picnic or enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine in some of its lovely cafes. These two lakes are very popular among locals, especially on weekends.

Zagreb coffee culture & craft beer movement

“Let’s grab a cup of coffee!“ is probably one of the most common sentences in Zagreb. It’s a way to catch up with friends, finish a class in college or a day at work. You’ll see many cute little cafes and bars packed with people. The craft beer movement is also quite strong in Zagreb, so look for local beers in bars, too.

Tkalča Street

One of the most popular streets in Zagreb is Tkalčićeva Street, also known as Tkalča among the locals. That old medieval street is packed with bars, and it’s a place to see and be seen in Zagreb. It’s also a wonderful street with cute little houses painted in different colours.

Grič Tunnel

Grič Tunnel is a 350-meter-long tunnel built during the Second World War. It was created to serve as a shelter in case of bombing. Today, it’s often used as an exhibition venue or a lovely shortcut under the Gradec neighbourhood.

If you visit Zagreb in Summer, walking through Grič Tunnel will provide you with some cooler air and a place to hide from the heat for some time.

Where to eat in Zagreb

Zagreb offers plenty of great places to eat. However, in this Zagreb City Guide, you’ll find just a few places in the city centre where you can have a quick bite.

Pastry shops in Zagreb

Pastries are considered street food in Zagreb, and you’ll find pastry shops everywhere in the city. Be sure to visit some of them and enjoy delicious pastries.

Bread Club – This is not just a regular pastry shop; the guys working there make artwork of their pastries. They have a few locations in Zagreb. However, the most beautiful one is next to the Ribnjak Park entrance. (Address: Vlaška 27, Zagreb)

Dinara – Another excellent pastry shop in Zagreb is called Dinara. There, you’ll find more traditional pastries. But, definitely, amazingly delicious ones. They also have a few locations in Zagreb, but the ones closest to the city centre are at Dolac and Cvjetni Trg. (Address: Preradovićeva 1, Zagreb)

Places for a quick lunch in Zagreb

Rougemarin Doma Bistro – Although they have a few restaurants in Zagreb, this one is an excellent place for a quick bite in Zagreb. Located just outside the main square, you’ll find soups, sandwiches, and other delicious food there. (Address: Petrinjska 2, Zagreb)

Broom 44 – This lovely restaurant in Zagreb is where you’ll find some delicious and healthy lunch options. Located on the Dolac Market, this is your place in Zagreb for delicious healthy food. (Address: Dolac 8, Zagreb)

Poke Poke – This small restaurant is one of my recent discoveries in Zagreb. They make great poke bowls with fresh fish, vegetables and other ingredients. My favourite thing is to take one of their poke to go and have it at Zrinjevac Park close by. (Address: Bogovićeva ulica 4, Prolaz neboder, Zagreb)

Places for something sweet in Zagreb

Amelie – This is one of my favourite places in Zagreb for cakes. Using only the best ingredients, they make small art pieces out of their cakes and cookies. Their location in Vlaška Street is just below the Cathedral. So you can enjoy a nice view while having some of their famous cakes. (Address: Vlaška 6, Zagreb)

Vincek – One of Zagreb’s classic cake shops, it’s still quite popular among the locals in Zagreb. I include it in this Zagreb City Guide because of its lovely terrace just next to the Zagreb funicular and a variety of gluten-free cakes. (Address: Ilica 18, Zagreb)

What to buy as a souvenir in Zagreb

One of Zagreb’s symbols is the licitar hearts. Citizens of Zagreb used to give them as a present to their friends or loved ones. You’ll find them in small souvenir shops around the Dolac Market or in the street between the Ban Jelačić Square and the Cathedral.

One of my favourite shops is Nautilus Gifts (address: Vlaška 2, Zagreb) because you can find many souvenirs made by Croatian artists and designers there. Another one is Babushka Boutique (address: Vlaška 7, Zagreb), where you’ll find some lovely stationery, jewellery and home decor.

If you’d like to buy some food as a souvenir from Zagreb, then Paprenjak could be an excellent choice. It’s one of the most famous cookies from Zagreb. Kraš is a Croatian candy factory, so if you visit any of their stores around the city, you’ll find a lovely selection of chocolate bonbons that could be a perfect souvenir from Croatia.

Did you know that a tie was invented in Croatia? Or a pen? Well, now you know, and that’s why they could also be nice (probably more expensive) presents from Zagreb. Croata is the most famous Croatian tie producer, and they have a store very close to Ban Jelačić Square.

Radićeva Street is packed with small stores selling very cool souvenirs, and you’ll find many cute things there. So, if you’re looking for souvenirs, that should be your place to go!

Hopefully, this Zagreb City Guide with some tips from a local will make your stay in Zagreb more interesting, fun and meaningful.

Have you been to Zagreb? Do you have any other tips for visiting? Let us know in the comments below!

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