Zagreb is a fascinating blend of Western and Eastern Europe, with its ancient Upper Town and elegant Austro-Hungarian Lower Town.
It is Croatia’s cultural, economic and political capital, brimming with creative energy combined with old-world charm. Whatever the weather or the season, there’s always something new happening in Zagreb.
Top things to see and do
- If you like your museums quirky and thought-provoking, visit the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb’s airy baroque Kulmer Palace. The exhibition consists of hundreds of donated items from around the world, each telling a heartbreaking story.
- Come to the 13th-century Lotrščak Tower at noon and put your fingers in your ears. Every day for the last 100 years, a cannon has been fired, commemorating its first shot at some marauding Turkish invaders. The cannonball, legend has it, landed squarely on the Turkish commander’s plate of roast chicken and he decided not to invade Zagreb.
- If you love modern art, architecture, film, theatre and performance, enjoy them all at the colossal, iconic Igor Franić-designed Museum of Contemporary Art. It’s Zagreb’s buzzing cultural hub.
- You may not consider a cemetery to be top of your ‘must see’ list, but a visit to Mirogoj will change your mind. One of the most beautiful cemeteries in Europe, its high, lime-green cupola-ed walls hide a peaceful haven of well-tended baroque arcades, sculptures and mausoleums.
- Shop for an astonishing array of luscious fruit, vegetables, eggs, flowers and wooden utensils under the red umbrellas of Dolac market in the cathedral square. Traders from all over Croatia bring their freshest home produce to sell - you can pick up delicious local delights for a memorable picnic.
- For another taste experience, and one you’ll probably have at breakfast, try Croatia’s national food – Paški sir. It’s a strong ewe’s milk cheese, aromatic with the wild herbs, plants and tough grasses that the sheep graze on.
Tips for travellers
In just over half an hour, you can be in Samobor, a pretty, medieval town. Its main square is lined with cafés and excellent restaurants, galleries and little artisan shops. Be sure to try a slice of the famous local custard cake, and look out for Samobor crystal gifts. Crystal-cutting is one of the main industries here.