It was no surprise for our Croatia Travel Specialist when Lonely Planet nominated Zagreb as the “Best European Destination to visit in 2017”. We have been in love with Zagreb for many years. Offering many galleries, museums and historic monuments picturesquely found via quaint cobbled streets. With so many highlights it’s hard to know where to begin. We’ve put together a few of our favourites that we’re confident will steal your heart.
A spectacular place to begin your day in the centre of Zagreb is the Ban Jelačić Square. The square features a large statue of ban Josip Jelačić on a horse created by Austrian sculptor Anton Dominik Fernkorn. The city square is the perfect place to explore Zagreb’s many cafés, restaurants and bars.
The Manduševac Fountain provides a wonderful insight to the city’s history. This Fountain was built above a natural spring that provided Zagreb with drinking water right up until the end of the 19th century. It is believed that the name of the city originated from when an old Croatian war leader was returning from battle tired and thirsty, asked a girl named Manda to scoop up some water from the spring for him. The Croatian word for “to scoop up water” is “zagrabiti”. So the spring got the name Manduševac, after the girl, and the town got the name Zagreb after the scoop of water
Zagreb’s colourful fresh flower and food market is just North of the Ban Jelačić Square. Here you will find stalls owned by people from all over Croatia that come to sell their products in the buzzing and hyped market. You could spend hours wandering through aisles filled the fresh flowers, produce and homemade bread. Even if you don’t buy anything, the Dolac Market gives you an insight into everyday life in Croatia’s largest city and you may be introduced to something you’ve never tried before.
The Zagreb cathedral is the tallest building in town and likely the most iconic. This Roman Catholic cathedral is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary and Kings Saint Stephen and Saint Ladislaus. The jaw-dropping beauty survived one earthquake and many reconstructions that transformed it into a neo-gothic monument. The inside of it is just as astonishing as the outside. From miles away, the two ornately decorated spires of the cathedral
Moving on from the Zagreb Cathedral take your sense of discovery via the a walk through Stone Gate and what remains of the old city wall to Gornji Grad, which translates as Upper Town. Gornji Grad is a picturesque medieval town known for its historic cobblestone streets and beautiful red tiled roofs.
Amongst the many churches and historic buildings, a must see is the Church of St. Marks. With its infamous patriotic red, white and blue roof tiles bearing the coats of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia, Slavonia, and Zagreb City. Allow time to visit the museum of Broken Relationships. Within the museum you will find compelling and heartbreaking stories told by hundreds of personal belongings of past lovers from all over the world. The display of stories told through personal belongings is what ultimately makes this museum so appealing and unique.
To finish off your day in Zagreb, take the funicular down to Ilica Street, the main shopping street in Zagreb. Prior to your shopping expedition be sure to visit the Zagreb Eye. Here you can enjoy 360-degree views of the Zagreb and it’s stunning surrounds from a 182m above sea level viewing deck.
Ilica Street runs from Ban Jelačić square to Vrapče district making it one of the longest streets in Zagreb. Fashion lovers will enjoy the countless local boutiques and well-known stores. As well as plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants for foodies.