Croatia

Alternative Zagreb guide

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For past few months Zagreb was very often on my mind.

For the reason I can’t fully explain I felt like it’s such a great and underrated destination that deserved much more attention.

I was so right, the capital of Croatia is such a hidden gem of Europe!

I also had a feeling that I will find some cool, quirky and alternative spots among things to do in Zagreb and again I was right!

If you’re heading to Zagreb, Croatia I’ve prepared a mini alternative Zagreb guide for you with places you should definitely check out!

Zagreb essentials

alternative Zagreb guide

Cool accommodation in Zagreb: Swanky Mint Hostel

This is one of the funkiest hostels I’ve ever stayed in!

A former 19th century textile-dye factory still has an industrial vibe I enjoyed so very much!

The whole decor is wisely thought, all the details chosen precisely and altogether they create a perfect quirky atmosphere and make a place so unique and well, alternative.

Right at the check in every guest gets a welcome shot of rakija – a local homemade drink – served in the hostel bar.

It’s a great way to start the stay in Swanky Mint Hostel and get to know fellow travellers.

alternative Zagreb guide

alternative Zagreb guide

I stayed in 11 beds dorm. At first I was kind of afraid of it as I’ve never slept in such a big room but as it turned out I had nothing to worry about.

The dorm was designed carefully so everyone had some privacy – the room was full both nights I stayed there yet there was no noise at late hours and I got some really good sleep!

Every bed was equipped with the locker, bed lamp, power socket and a bedside shelf – such a simple and useful things that sadly many hostels forget about.

If someone doesn’t feel like staying in the dorm Swanky Mist Hostel offers also private rooms.

Everything is in the industrial loft style and for a really affordable price! Definitely my top accommodation top choice for Zagreb!

And since it has Booking rating of 9.1/10 it’s probably not only my favorite place to stay in Zagreb.

Click here to see current prices, more pictures, reviews and book the place!

alterative Zagreb guide

alterative Zagreb guide

alterative Zagreb guide

alterative Zagreb guide

Alternative Zagreb guide

And now let’s get to the point: below you have a little overview of altrnative Zagreb things to see!

Antique flea market

If you happen to be in the city on Sunday be sure to check one of the best places to see in Zagreb on that day: antique flea market on Britansky trg, only few steps away from Swanky Mint Hostel.

Even if you don’t plan to buy anything it’s a great place to just browse around.

I’m sure you will find some true gems and most unusual stuff. Just about everything is there – from old furniture and clothes to crystals and unopened letters (!).

It’s a great place to start your Zagreb sightseeing as it can be a great introduction to city’s vibe and its rich past. For me it was one of Zagreb highlights!

Also, the Britansky trg itself and the Ilica street leading to it are pretty stunning!

alterative Zagreb guide

alterative Zagreb guide

alterative Zagreb guide

alterative Zagreb guide

Booksa – a great cafe in Zagreb

I wish every city would have a place like Booksa! If I lived in Zagreb I’d definitely be a frequent guest there!

Booksa is not your usual Zagreb cafe, it’s also a bookclub and a small cultural center.

The place is designed to people who love books – the atmosphere is somehow intellectual, the sofas are comfortable and the selection of books and magazines is pretty impressive.

During my visit I could see at least two groups of people discussing their latest readings as well as numerous solo readers – almost every person in the cafe had a book in the hand.

There are places where I feel kind of uncomfortable when sitting with a book on my own but in Booksa I didn’t have this problem, I felt like I belong there!

alterative Zagreb guide

alterative Zagreb guide

alterative Zagreb guide

Kino Europa

I happened to be in the capital of Croatia on the first day of Zagreb Film Festival – when I found out about that I wanted to see the opening movie really badly but all the tickets were already sold out!

The screening took place in Kino Europa and even if I wasn’t able to see a movie I could at least admire their exceptionally colourful neon sign! (I love neons, all thanks to the Neon Museum in Warsaw!)

I wish I could at least sneak in to see the interior as it looks just stunning! There’s also a nice retro cafe and a shop I could spend way too much time and money in!

alterative Zagreb guide

Museum of Broken Relationships

One of the most unique and interesting Zagreb museums I’ve ever visited.

It’s like a real rollercoaster of emotions: you read the stories of love that had to end, accompanied by items that are a symbol of these relationships.

Be sure to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon as the crowds can be really bad in here. But it’s perfectly understandable since the place is so fascinating!

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Oktogon

This is such a spectacular hidden spot of the city and one of the most unique things to see in Zagreb!

A short passage connecting Ilica street and Cvjetni Trg is a home to some fancy shops but that’s not the reason to visit it.

The place got its name from the octagonal stained glass dome that tops the passage. It’s such a beautiful piece, with a small flower details around.

I’m sure everyone, not only architecture lovers, will appreciate it!

alterative Zagreb guide

alterative Zagreb guide

Zagreb Solar System

Did you know that Zagreb has its own Solar System?

In 1971 the local artist Ivan Kozaric created a sculpture of Sun that can be found on Bogoviceva street.

It became an inspiration to many and eventually in 2004 a designer Davor Preis made an installation – Nine Views – with models of nine planets.

They are located all over Zagreb, the size of planets and distance between them are in the same scale as Sun.

Only four of them – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars – are located in the city center yet I still manage to miss them all! Hopefully you will have more luck!

alterative Zagreb guide

Zagreb street art

Unfortunately the street art in Zagreb center is almost nonexistent. However there are few places that are a paradise for every street art lover!

One of them is the wall along Kneza Branimira street, next to the train station. It’s maybe half a kilometer long but there’re some exceptional murals there (and others are still good!).

It took me maybe half an hour to walk this short distance as I was checking carefully each piece. It was pure heaven for me!

This place is part of the Street Art Museum that has some other locations around the city.

Take a look at the whole post I dedicated to street art Zagreb!

alterative Zagreb guide

alterative Zagreb guide

alterative Zagreb guide

Medika

The first legalized squat in Zagreb, located in the former medical factory, is the center of the alternative culture and the core of alternative Zagreb.

The place where best parties in the city take place, along with some good art exhibitions, movies screening, workshops or flea markets.

Everyone who wishes to share their art or organize a meaningful event is welcome to do it at Medika.

Unfortunately when I was around on Sunday afternoon it was closed but at least I could admire some good street art on the wall around (my favourite mural in Zagreb was there!).

alterative Zagreb guide


Travel Resources

You can find the best accommodation options at Booking. They have many discounts and excellent customer service. Click here to look for the place to stay in Zagreb

Never travel without travel insurance, you never know what might happen and better safe than sorry. You can check the insurance policy for Croatia here.

I recommend joining organized tours to get to know the place better and to visit more places during your trip. You can find a great selection of tours at Get Your Guide – click here.

Make sure to have the offline map always installed on your phone, they can save you so many troubles. I always use the free app Maps.Me.


For the end I left a few announcements that might interest you:

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  • I’ve included a few handy links of services and products I personally like and use so you can plan your own trip to Zagreb too. They are often affiliate links. This means I will get a small commission if you book/purchase anything through my links, at no extra costs for you. If you like what you are reading and seeing here and would like to support me and my blog please consider using those links. It would be like getting me a virtual drink that you don’t have to pay for! Thanks!

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Claire
    08/09/2016 at 16:04

    Fantastic! I visited Zagreb once years and years ago, but definitely didn’t see nearly enough – must put it back on the to visit list!

    • Reply
      kami
      13/09/2016 at 21:57

      Definitely! It’s such a great and underrated city and I bet it has changed a lot since your last visit!

  • Reply
    Nika
    17/09/2017 at 00:07

    Amazing guide! I need to set it on my reminder list for my next Zagreb visit. Last time I discovered Zagreb as THE vintage & second hand city and felt in love with all this amazing little shops. And the antique market is a very nice add to what I did the last time ;-)

    Thank you & keep on going.

    Best,
    Nika

    • Reply
      kami
      05/10/2017 at 10:01

      Thank you! Zagreb is really great and I just can’t believe how overlooked the city is! I’m going there again later this month and I can’t wait to discover some more!

  • Reply
    Carolyn Barnes
    16/10/2021 at 05:16

    We’re headed to Zagreb in February, and I’m so glad I found your guide! As a lover of books and antiques, I’m putting both the flea market and Booksa on our list!

    • Reply
      kami
      25/11/2021 at 18:19

      I hope you will enjoy Zagreb as much as I did! All the best!

  • Reply
    Silvija
    16/08/2022 at 21:08

    Hi! I live in Zagreb and I realy love my city. I haven’t been living here for long so I din’t know about some things you wrote about here (like Booksa) so I wanted to thank you. Also, it is not strange that you didn’t see the other planets of the solar sistem because they are really, really small (for instance Mars is a small ball on a metal plate on the wall of a cafe called Cookie factory). Anyways, thank you!

    • Reply
      kami
      17/08/2022 at 20:33

      I’m really glad you found the article useful! Next time I’m in Zagreb I will have to be more careful when looking for more planets. Thank you for the tip about Mars!

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