Too often overlooked by tourists making a beeline for the coast, Zagreb is a fascinating destination on its own, combining the best of Eastern and Western Europe. As the political, economic and cultural capital of Croatia, the city throbs with energy but has retained a good deal of old-world graciousness. The sober Austro-Hungarian buildings in the town centre house elegant restaurants and fashionable boutiques along with scruffy pubs and rowdy beer halls. A proliferation of galleries display the works of the artistic community, a parade of international stars perform in the concert halls, and local DJs fill clubs with the latest sounds.
Spoiled by a coastline that lies only three hours away, Zagreb’s residents have a lively appreciation of the outdoors. Even in winter, the long, refreshing stretch of park that bisects the town centre is rarely empty. With the first breaths of spring, everyone heads to their favourite outdoor café to soak up the midday sun. On weekends, Maksimir Park in the east is a major destination for bikers, strollers and joggers. In the summer, everyone who doesn’t go to the coast scurries to Jarun Lake in the southwest to swim, boat and dance the night away in a lakeside disco. When Zagreb residents head for the hills, they don’t have far to go: Mt Medvednica is only a tram ride away and offers hiking, skiing and great views over the city.
No matter the weather, there’s a wealth of diversions in Zagreb. A proper pub-crawl could take weeks, and there’s an assortment of museums and galleries to explore, regular concerts for the culturally minded and enough fine shopping to max out a wallet-full of credit cards.
Best places to stay in Zagreb
Zagreb: Croatia's booming capital
A buzzing pocket-size capital on the edge of Europe, Zagreb is coming into its own with an appealing medley of the contemporary and ancient. All rolled into one in this mini-metropolis are edgy art, top food, creative fashions and festival fun galore.
Zagreb destination guides
Licence to travel: jet-setting with James Bond
It's a tough life but someone's gotta do it: flitting between exotic destinations, schmoozing in glam casinos and disposing of baddies without a backwards glance.
Croatia Adventure - Zagreb to Dubrovnik
A trip from Zagreb to Dubrovnik is not your backpacker’s typical European tour—it’s way better. In one week, scramble from historic Zagreb along the Adriatic Coast to stunning Dubrovnik. Along the way you’ll hit the highlights—did we mention Pag and Hvar, along the coastline? But you’ll also discover a Europe too often ignored by travellers.
Adriatic Adventure - Zagreb to Athens
From cultural Zagreb to ancient Athens and historic walled Balkan towns to the dance floors of exclusive nightclubs, this 15-day adventure promises a Europe you didn’t know was there.