Croatia is gradually becoming an increasingly popular destination in Europe! And capital Zagreb is surrounded by history - from Austro-Hungarian architecture to its medieval-style centre. When it comes to activities and sights, a holiday in Zagreb is sure to make you fall in love with the capital. Get all the details you need for a 2-3 day citybreak in this travel guide!
Transport - By plane
The city centre is about 20 km from Zagreb Airport and can be reached by taxi or bus. The taxi ride takes about 30 minutes and prices vary between 20-35 euros. Taxis are available 24/7, and prices increase by 20% if you arrive on weekends, nights or holidays. Another option is the 290 bus to Kvaternikov Square (in the centre) which leaves every 30-40 minutes from the airport. The journey will take about 35 minutes. Another type of bus is the express bus, especially for the airport. The ticket costs 4 euros and you will find an express bus leaving every 30 minutes between 6-22:30, and also at night when there are flights.
Public transport in Zagreb
The most convenient way to get around Zagreb if you didn't come by car is by public transport. Trams and buses run between 04:00-00:00 daily, and for both options the tickets are the same. Prices vary between 0,50-2 euro for 30, 60 or 90 minute tickets. Tickets can be purchased from newsagents or from the driver (only 2 euro tickets can be purchased from the driver). Don't forget to validate your ticket as soon as you board the bus, as you may be fined by the ticket inspectors.
Zagreb Card can help you save money, depending on the locations you want to visit and the mode of transport you prefer. With the Zagreb Card you can travel for free on trams and buses in zone 1 for 24 or 72 hours. In addition, you get free access and discounts to some of the tourist attractions, restaurants or hotels. The card costs 13 euros/24 hours and 18 euros/72 hours. It can be purchased online and I have attached a link at the end.
The cheapest accommodation starts from 20 euros per night in host-run properties, while hotels cost around 50 euros per night. As you can also walk around Zagreb, we recommend staying close to the city centre so you can admire the beauty of the city both in the morning and late in the evening. We recommend Apartment Hebrangova rated 9,5 on Booking. It is a hotel studio located about 500 m from the centre and is modern, equipped with TV, air conditioning, Wifi, bathroom and kitchenette - both private. The location accepts pets and prices start from 50 euro/night.
For a holiday in Zagreb with your family, the best area to stay is near Ribnjac Park. A quiet area with lots of greenery and playgrounds, here you can find hotels as well as apartments for rent in hotel accommodation.
Zagreb Cathedral is considered the symbol of the city, its two tall towers being the largest in Croatia. Originally built in the 12th century and restored in the 19th century in neo-Gothic style, the Cathedral is located in the Kaptol district in the city centre. The nearest car park is Langov - located next to Ribnjak Park to the right of the Cathedral. Here parking costs about 0,93 euro/hour.
Marble altars, a grand organ and a treasure chest with valuable objects from the 11th-19th centuries are just some of the main attractions. Admission is free and you can visit the Cathedral from Monday to Saturday between 10am and 5pm or on Sundays between 1pm and 5pm.
Gornji Grad means "Upper Town" and refers to the historic district in the hill area. Here you will find the oldest buildings in Zagreb, and the small stone streets have a medieval look straight out of fairy tales. The nearest car park is Tuskanac, located in the south-western part of the district, to the left of Gric Park. The hourly parking fee is about €1.33.
You can visit in this area Gric Tunnel (free access) built during World War II as a bomb shelter, Gric Park and Lotrscak Tower built in the 13th century from where you can admire one of the most emblematic buildings in Zagreb, namely Church of St. Mark in Zagreb(approx. 2 euro/adult and 1 euro/minor).
Ban Josip Jelacic Square
Ban Josip Jelacic is the central square of the capital and is located south of the Kaptol district. Most of the buildings around the square date from the 19th century, and the architectures range from Biedermaier to Art Nouveau and Post-Modernism. You can also leave your car at the Langov car park, northeast of Ban Josip Jelacic Square.
This is the heart of the city's social life and the most important tourist attraction is the statue of Ban Josip Jelacic. In the area you'll find many cafes with terraces where you can admire Croatian culture while enjoying a coffee or tea.
Maksimir Park is the oldest public park in all of South-Eastern Europe and is among the most beautiful parks in Europe. It is an authentic oasis of nature and worth a walk through at least once. The park has its own car park in the south-west and parking prices start from about 0,30 euro/hour.
Access to the park is free, but if you want to visit Zoo Garden, you will have to purchase the ticket for about 4 euros. With the Zagreb Card you have free access. The park is open 24 hours a day, and the zoo is open from 9-19 (summer) and 9-16 (winter).
Depending on the length of your stay in Zagreb and your tourist priorities, we recommend you to visit Plitvice Lakes located at about 130 km from the capital. It is the symbol of Croatia, being the oldest and largest national park in the country. With 16 lakes linked by walking paths, waterfalls and wildlife forests, a visit to these lakes will be an adventure to remember.
You can reach Plitvice Lakes by bus directly from Zagreb. The trip will take about 2 hours and 30 minutes and tickets vary between 10-15 euro one way. You can take one of the 10 buses available per day from the Central Bus Station. Another option is to rent a car which will get you there with the cost of rental and petrol about 80 euro. We have attached a link to the end where you can rent a vehicle at affordable prices.
Tickets for the lakes can be purchased on the official website (link at the end) or at the desk at the entrance. They vary between 40 euro/day for 1 adult, 16 euro/day for 1 child between 7-18 years and 26 euro/day for 1 student. The park is open from 7am to 8pm and tickets can be purchased on the spot until 5pm. If you go by car, the price per parking starts from 1 euro/hour.
Croatian cuisine prides itself on delicious, but mostly natural dishes with local ingredients. Among the most popular traditional dishes is Strukli - Local cheese, sour cream and eggs, all baked in a very thin dough. You can also serve the sweet version of this dish, made with fruit.
For vegetarians, Absmalcane Mahune is perfect: bean noodles cooked and topped with garlic, breadcrumbs and spices. Everything is cooked in butter, hence the name, which means 'fried in butter'. You can also serve this dish with fried bacon or with a beef steak.
A few restaurants with delicious breakfasts are Otto & Frank (2-10 euro - European breakfast dishes, but also traditional) in the southern part of the Kaptol district or Korica bakery in the Lower Town area (1-8 euro).
For lunch and dinner, you can also try Heritage trailers with Croatian food at prices between 3-20 euros from the southern part of Kaptol or traditional & European restaurant Pri Zvoncu in the southern part of the Lower Town (5-45 euro)
Capital of Croatia is truly a destination to put on your list. No matter what season you want to go, it will pleasantly surprise you with its architecture, hospitality and natural beauty. Keep in mind that Croatia's official currency is the Kuna. We recommend you to pay cash in this currency as opposed to card in euro to avoid bank fees for currency exchange. For a weekend/2 person stay, it is recommended to have a budget of at least 400 euro. Below are some links to help you plan your holiday.