Zagreb was the second stop in our Croatia by Car trip. We arrived here in the afternoon despite leaving Belgrade early and driving only on the highway, because we lost almost two hours at the customs between Serbia and Croatia.
We enjoyed a lot our two days stay in Zagreb and it was enough to get the vibe of it because it’s not a big city. But there are many things you will love about it: it is an affordable medium sized capital, clean, animated day and night, with many options to stop for drinks or to eat without breaking the piggy bank. The narrow streets with short colored buildings in the old town, or the wide squares and boulevards and neatly displayed imposing buildings in the modern town – can all be explored at a slow pace by foot.
We walked the whole central area and here is how we organized our stay:
- Lower Town – the modern town has the wide boulevards, the parks and baroque and art-nouveau buildings. Start your tour from the Central Train station (Glavni kolodvor) and in straight line follow the Green Horseshoe (Lenuci) – a system of squares and parks in U shape – and take a look at or even visit the Art Pavilion, the Library of Croatian Academy of Arts, the Academy of Sciences and Art and the National theater buildings. You then arrive at Ban Josip Jelačić, their most important square that marks the end of the Lower Town.
- Upper Town – the old town starts from the main square upwards and you don’t want to miss the Zagreb Catholic Cathedral in Gothic style, remaining even today the tallest building in the city, the Church of St. Mark’s with the code of arms on its roof, the Dolac market of fruit and vegetables.
The Lotrščak Tower used to be an observation point and also housed a bell that rang every evening announcing that the city gates were closing for the night. We have returned here and climbed to the top when the sun was setting and the whole city lights were on. However, I really hope they have solved the illumination issues inside the tower, because the narrow staircase and the rooms were in complete darkness.
The Stone Gate is one of the few remaining gates from the deference wall of the city.
Notable is also the Tkalčićeva Street, lined by small buildings in vivid colors and by many restaurants and cafes.
The Grič Tunnel, that passes under the old town, was opened to the public as tourist attraction in July 2016, originally built during WWII as a bomb shelter. When we visited there weren’t really a lot of things to be seen inside, but they had started the premises to transform it into a museum.
Accommodation: because we traveled by car, we stayed at a rented Airbnb studio apartment located near the highway. Zagreb is not big, the bus stop was close taking us in less than 15 minutes to the main train station where the city center begins. For 30$/night it was a good stay, with a free parking place. However if you’re not with the car, I would recommend also checking the central area because you can find good deals right there.
To eat: if you are into burgers, we recommend you this place, located in the old town. I remember it took a while for our order to arrive, so if you are starving…well, just know that you’ll have to starve for a little more.
For a short escape from Zagreb we highly recommend Varazdin, less that an hour away by car, that we have visited in the last afternoon here.
Don’t forget to come back to check the other places we have visited!
Photos taken with: Samsung Galaxy S7 & Sony DSC-RX100M3