For a long time, Croatia was primarily known for its beautiful coastline, crystal clear sea and breathtaking beaches. But that’s in the past - the newest trendy destination in Croatia is Zagreb!
Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, has become a true tourism hotspot in recent years and its popularity as a city break destination is constantly on the rise. The city has airline connections with all major European cities, and can be reached from just about anywhere in Europe in just two hours.
Patients choosing Dentum for their dental treatment have the opportunity to create the perfect combo with a city break, and to explore all of Zagreb’s must-see sites.
In this blog post, we’ve listed some of the most popular spots in our beautiful city that will fill your suitcase with beautiful memories and new experiences!
Sightseeing: Explore Zagreb’s city centre by foot
Most of Zagreb’s touristic hot spots are located in its centre. The city centre is divided into two districts: Upper Town (Gornji grad) and Lower Town (Donji grad).
The Upper town, as its name suggests, is a network of small, romantic streets on a small hill. Here you can find the coziest little café bars and restaurants, and important government buildings such as the Parliament. Be sure to visit Zagreb’s main farmer’s market and the cathedral.
Zagreb’s Lower Town is a great place for shopping, taking a stroll in one of the many parks, discovering modern and historic buildings and observing the busy yet relaxed lifestyle of the locals.
Your first free day is perfect to discover these two districts on foot, as everything is really close.
Croatian National Theatre
Let’s start your tour at the Croatian National Theatre. This theatre, opera and ballet house was opened by the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph I in 1895. It’s a popular meeting point amongst young people and the benches around the theatre are the perfect spot to enjoy some sunshine. Maybe you’ll get lucky and get to listen to a rehearsal!
Petar Preradović Square
Even though it’s officially called Petar Preradović Square, amongst Croatians it’s mostly known as Flower Square (Cvjetni trg). Filled with flower stalls and pavement cafés, this is one of the central points of Zagreb’s everyday life and the perfect spot to enjoy a coffee.
The Funicular links the Upper Town with the Lower Town. It’s only 66 metres long, making it one of the shortest public transportation funiculars in the world. So hop on and take a ride to the Upper Town!
The Lotrščak Tower was originally part of the city’s defenses and later served as a prison. Nowadays, it houses a gallery and art shop, and the 360-degree view over Zagreb from the top is well worth the climb. Also, if you hear a cannon fire, fear not. Every day for the last 100 years, this cannon has been fired from this tower to mark noon.
St. Mark’s Church
St. Mark's Church is one of the oldest buildings in Zagreb, located on St. Mark's Square and is easily recognizable with its colourful tiled roof. The church is a protected cultural monument of the Republic of Croatia.
This is Zagreb’s only preserved gate from the medieval defence walls. Legend has it that all the wooden gates were destroyed in a fire in 1731, and only the painting of the Virgin Mary with Child survived the fire unscathed. To commemorate the event, grateful citizens built a chapel within the arch of the Old Stone Gate. Today many believers come here to pray, light candles and worship the Virgin Mary.
Also called Tkalča, this is probably the most attractive and colorful street in Zagreb,
bustling with life in front of numerous traditional shops, cafes and restaurants. Here you can find all kinds of cuisines and adorable cafés where you can satisfy your sweet tooth.
Dolac is Zagreb’s largest and most beloved farmer’s market. Vendors from all over Croatia sell their beautiful fresh produce here. It is open every day from 6:30 a.m to 3:00 p.m. Explore the stands, have a chat with the locals and buy anything your heart desires, as you can find anything from fruit, vegetables, cheese, honey, meat and fish.
Cathedral of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin Mary
Just a 2 minutes walk from Dolac, the Cathedral is the tallest and most monumental Neo-Gothic style sacral building in Croatia. You’re free to enter the church for some sightseeing or to attend the church service, but please make sure that you’ve turned your mobile off.
Ban Jelačić Square
Ban Jelačić Square is Zagreb’s main square and there’s always a lot going on. Some even say that the square seems more like market, as the city’s constantly organizing fairs for local vendors. During advent, this square is transformed into a dreamy winter wonderland.
Officially called Trg Nikole Šubića Zrinskog, this park has become a vital part of the city in recent years. No matter what the season, there’s always something to see and explore: From concerts, food festivals to the Advent Fair, Zrinjevac is surely one of the most beautiful and interesting spots in Zagreb.
Time to unwind: Nature in the City
Nature plays a vital role in our mental and physical health. Many scientists believe that spending time outdoors has a healing effect on the body and improves psychological well being. That’s why we recommend you to spend at least one day exploring Zagreb’s green spots.
If you need a time out from busy city life, then the Botanical Garden is the place to be. There’s no entrance fee and you can revel in more than 10,000 plant species, ranging from exotic imports to indigenous Croatian plants. And who knows, maybe you’ll even spot the cute, little turtles living there!
Maksimir Park and Zagreb Zoo
Maksimir Park is a green oasis covering 18 hectares in the heart of Zagreb. It is easily accessible from the main square with the trams number 11 and 12. The best thing about the park is that it houses the Zagreb Zoo. The Zagreb Zoo has grown considerably since the early 20th century, when it was opened to the public with a modest collection of three foxes and three owls. Today it is home to 275 animal species that you can admire.
Zagreb is one of the few cities lucky enough to have a mountain right on its doorstep. Protected as a nature reserve, Mount Medvednica and its 1,035-metre high summit, known as Sljeme, are a popular destination for local hikers. Trails lead from Zagreb’s suburbs right to the top, where mountain lodges serve hearty portions of local food. Of course, you don’t have to hike all the way to reach the peak, there’s also a bus that can take you there.
Diving into Croatia’s cultural life: Discover Zagreb’s most popular museums
Museums generally feature exhibitions specific to the region they are located in. So visiting Zagreb’s most interesting museums is a great way to absorb some local colour and enhance your experience, with rich insights into the history of this region.
Here’s a list of the most popular museums in Zagreb:
Museum of Broken Relationships
This museum not only offers an absolutely unique experience but it’s also the winner of the prestigious Kenneth Hudson European Museum award for the most innovative museum in Europe. Moreover, the Museum of Broken Relationships exists only in two places in the whole world: Here in Zagreb and in Los Angeles.
Croatian Museum of Naive Art
The Croatian Museum of Naive Art holds more than 1,600 works of art – paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints – mainly by Croatian artists. Established as the Peasant Art Gallery in 1952, the current Croatian Museum of Naïve Art is the world’s first museum dedicated to this genre.
Museum of Illusions
Exploring the Museum of Illusions will delight your grey cells. Enter a world that will blow your mind but also give you an opportunity to learn all sorts of things. Entice in the optical illusions, holograms, infinity room, anti-gravity room and much more.
Zagreb City Museum
This is the perfect place for those interested in the history of Zagreb. Learn more about Zagreb’s spiritual and everyday life, its culture and architecture, famous people, great romances and hardships of its inhabitants.
Tortureum - Museum of Torture
The Tortureum offers an insight into various instruments of torture and execution that have been used since the ancient times to the present day. Visitors are able to see, touch and try exhibits such as the full-scale replica of the 1792 guillotine with the 1889 Berger mechanism.
This is the diverse private art collection of Ante Topić Mimara, who donated over 3750 priceless works of art to his native Zagreb (despite spending much of his life in Salzburg, Austria). At Mimara you can see rich and diverse collections of ancient artifacts and early medieval European art.
This museum is one of the favorites of the locals. It features a planetarium,
steam-engine locomotives, scale models of satellites and spaceships, and a replica of a mine.
Now that you know what awaits you on your dental treatment abroad, all you have to do is contact us for your appointment at Dentum!