ZAGREB: WHAT CAN I DO IN TWO DAYS!
Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. Political, commercial and cultural heart of Croatia. We chose to travel to Croatia mostly due to the famous medieval cities along its coastline. We decided though, that it would be a mistake not to visit the Capital. And so we stretched, we modified, we planned and we did it. What can I say guys? Putting aside the fact that it doesn't have a seafront (which I don't mind coming from the island of Cyprus), I enjoyed this city in some aspects, much more than the other cities of Croatia. For those who haven't read my previous blog posts, we've driven from Dubrovnik to Makarska and Split and some other places in between. From Split we flew to Zagreb.
Zagreb City Museum
This one came as a surprise. A beautiful surprise, to be precise. This museum covers so many topics, in a sense of connectedness.
‘’The permanent exhibition gives a portrait of the city in all of its aspects, showing it in the light of politics, the church, history, economics and business, town-planning and architecture, the history of art and literature, entertainment, and everyday life..The exhibition shows the past of the City of Zagreb, from prehistory, traces of which were recently uncovered under the very building of the museum itself, to the present day.’’
We visited the museum twice in one day, as our visit was interrupted (had to leave for hotel check-in) so bear in mind that one ticket stands for a whole day. Tickets for adults are app. €4. Various different prices and packages for students, children, families etc. You can spend from a couple of hours up to a half day on your visit here.
Kula Lotrscak Tower
Kula Lotrscak Tower was built in the 13th century to guard the southern gate of the walled ‘’upper town’’ part of the city, feared of a new Mongol invasion. Today, the large tower is a tourist attraction with an observation area deck on the top, which offers amazing panoramic city views.
You should visit this place, as we did, in combination with the rest of the ‘’upper town’’ and if you have the time, walk down through the Art park (click here) where you might also see some street art (mainly graffiti). Within the park you also have the option to enter Tunnel Grič (read about it below).
The Tunnels (Grič Tunnel)
This is a pedestrian tunnel, that was built during ww2 by the fascist Ustase government to serve both as a bomb shelter and a pathway. It consists a central hall, which is connected by various passageways that lead to streets in the west, in the east and to the south.
Give it a visit and walk through this amazing tunnel where your mind might travel for a moment, in other not so proud time periods of humanity. By the way, aside from the beautiful walk through the tunnel, this is actually also a pedestrian road and a shortcut to some destinations once you get used to it.
Ban Josip Jelacic Square
As of any square of a big city and especially a capital square, Ban Josip Jelačić Square has it all. Foods, drinks, shops, people of all ages gather here as a meeting point. Not gonna say much about it, other than you must at least visit the square, even for a few minutes. We visited the square at our first day in Zagreb, which was our meeting point for our free walking tour (check bellow)
Info. The name of the square is taken by ‘’Josip Jelačić’’, Croatian governor of Croatia and head of the armies of Croatia and the Croatian-Slavonian sections of the Habsburg military frontier during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848–1849.
Zagreb Green horseshoe
This is by far the best route to explore the lower town. It’s like a huge park along the main road with the shape of Greek letter ‘’Π’’. It is a green line area which includes, parks, small squares, statues, museums, galleries, gardens, Croatian state buildings etc. ‘’Lenuci’s Green Horseshoe’’ combines all the above on a single route which was an amazing experience filled a whole afternoon. The perfect way to explore the Lower Town. We spent our afternoon here and we did the whole route by foot. You can also use a bicycle, it is very safe and this will gain you some time if you want to enter some museums or galleries.
If you actually write on google maps search box ‘’Lenuci's Horseshoe’’ the whole area will appear on your screen, making it super easy for you to explore using your mobile. Click here for more information about the green horseshoe.
Tip. You can go a bit further if you like southern than Zagreb Green horseshoe and the railroad, if you want to see some fountains and the Lisinski Concert Hall.
Free walking tour
The 2 hour free walking tour with ‘’freespirittours’’ lovely guide Vid, was very informative, easy going and funny guy.
‘’ The tour covers all the Old Town main sights such as Zagreb's main square, Stone Gate, St. Mark's Square, Lotrscak tower, Catherine's Square etc. The tour is based on historical and cultural facts, as well as the everyday life of Zagreb as the capital of Croatia…’' - click here for more information about the tour.
Even though they are free, we always tip the guide on those kinds of tours. It is the only way my logic works to act in these wonderful initiatives. I’m sure you do too.
Ivana Tkalcica Str.
The street of pubs and food. An area with lots of visitors, locals and tourists. Its the safe option to make when looking for something to eat and/or drink.
Cathedral of Zagreb
Zagreb's cathedral, formerly known as St. Stephen’s Cathedral was built during the 11th century. This cathedral is a main landmark of huge historic and religious importance. It is also considered to be a structure of significant architectural value. We visited the cathedral amongst others on our free walking tour. This is a must visit once you are in Zagreb. Unfortunately we couldn’t enter the church due to construction renovation works.
Food and Drinks
Well, as I mentioned before Croatian food, a mixture of Central European and Mediterranean influenced cuisines, is beautiful. The cuisine in Zagreb in relation to the coastal cities we’ve visited, which I mentioned in my previous posts, was far better in many aspects. More options for local cuisine, fusion and vegan cuisine, in general the experience felt and tasted better and more local, which was kind of expected. Check my suggestions below.
Swanky Monkey Garden (good for food and perfect for cocktails and drinks. We saw a lot of locals there. Definite Must)
Otto & Frank (we had the most amazing breakfast at this place)
Mali Medo Pub (nice burgers, amazing local craft beer)
La Štruk (Traditional local strukli)
Stari Fijaker (tradition local cuisine)
Pizza Bakery Takeaways in the city center. (There are many bakeries in the whole city center, around the Ban Josip Jelačić Square and not only. Pizza is Italian, but since Croatian Pizza is so tasty, very popular and it’s everywhere. Especially in Zagreb)
I always suggest that you should do your own research. Zagreb is quite an easy going city. Everything ‘’important’’ is pretty close, either by foot, or bicycle. There is also the tram and lots of bus routes. During my research I found plenty of satisfying properties for staying options, on both booking and airbnb. Our final decision though after all the research we did, it was to stay in Paon Boutique Apartments which I honestly think was a superb choice. Beautiful, spacious, value for money, nice breakfast on your door and 10 minute walk to the Ban Josip Jelačić Square. I suggest it for sure.
This is it guys. This was our final visit in Croatia before our flight back to Cyprus. I hope you liked it and if you want to learn more about Croatia on our previous visits check click on the links below.
Hopefully I will make another post later on, about our 9 days in Croatia focusing on tips on how we did it, how we decided where to go, how we were moving around etc. Make sure you check you subscribe below if you like my posts and you haven't done it yet!
Until the next post .. Cheers!