Croatia

Is Zagreb Worth Visiting? Reasons to visit Zagreb, Croatia

Last Updated on 22/04/2024 by kami

Zagreb, Croatia, is one of the most underrated capitals in Europe to visit. The city is often in the shadow of more popular places to see in Croatia (such as Dubrovnik, Hvar, Split, or Pula, to name a few). Still, you will find solid reasons to visit Zagreb.

I’ve been there a few times, always enjoying all the great things to do in Zagreb and often returning to spend more time in this charming capital. And every time, I fall for the city more and more.

If you ask yourself, “Is Zagreb worth visiting?” I’m here to dispel doubts. Below, you will find all the reasons you should include the city in your Croatian itinerary. Trust me, you will not be disappointed!

is zagreb worth visiting

Reasons to visit Zagreb

Without further ado, here is a short overview of why you should visit Zagreb.

Beautiful architecture

If you enjoy grand cities like Vienna, Budapest, or Prague, you will like Zagreb too. Since the capital of Croatia was part of the Habsburg Empire, you can expect to find buildings of a similar style to those three mentioned capitals as well as other beautiful cities in Central Europe.

The Lower Town is the best area to admire the magnificent architecture from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. This part of Zagreb was created at that time, when the city gained its importance, hence the abundance of the Belle Epoque townhouses does not surprise. Many of them are rich in decor and details, so it’s good to look around closely when wandering around, as you never know what kind of gems you might find.

The most beautiful part of the Lower Town is between the main train station and Trg bana Josipa Jelačića, where interesting buildings intertwine with lovely green spaces – a result of smart urban planning of that time.

is zagreb worth visiting

is zagreb worth visiting

is zagreb worth visiting

is zagreb worth visiting

Historical landmarks

Since Zagreb has a long history, dating back to the 11th century, you can also expect some interesting historical sites and landmarks in the city. You will find them mainly in the Upper Town, the oldest part of the country’s capital.

Some of the most important places are the neo-Gothic Cathedral (originally from the early 13th century, the tallest building in Croatia), Stone Gate and Lotrščak Tower – both part of the medieval city walls, the beautiful Mirogoj cemetery from the 19th century, or St. Mark’s Church – one of the oldest monuments in the city.

A quirky Zagreb attraction is the funicular – one of the shortest in the world, covering a distance of only 66 meters and connecting the Upper and Lower towns. Another interesting Zagreb landmark is the Grič Tunnel from World War 2 – a former bomb shelter used today as a pedestrian shortcut.

These are only a few historical landmarks in Zagreb, but the city offers many more monuments worth visiting.

is zagreb worth visiting

is zagreb worth visiting

is zagreb worth visiting

is zagreb worth visiting

is zagreb worth visiting

Great museums

Zagreb is known for having the biggest number of museums per capita in the world. You can find some really interesting places there, but the most popular one is the world-famous Museum of Broken Relationships.

As the name indicates, the museum focuses on broken relationships. People from all over the world contributed to its exhibition by donating personal items that tell the story of their past relationships. Some are funny or swoon-worthy, others heartbreaking, but they all show how different each relationship can be. This museum might sound a bit quirky, but that’s why it’s so popular and worth visiting.

Other interesting museums in Zagreb are more traditional ones, such as with contemporary art, Modern Gallery, or War Photography Museum.

A unique cultural place to visit is the Art Pavilion – the oldest gallery in South-East Europe, opened in 1898. There is no permanent exhibition here, so what you might see there depends on your luck. In the past, works of well-known artists like Andy Warhol or Auguste Rodin were shown here.

is zagreb worth visiting

is zagreb worth visiting

is zagreb worth visiting

Quirky attractions

The Museum of Broken Relationships isn’t the only quirky attraction in Zagreb. There are more unique places you can add to your Zagreb itinerary.

One of them is the Solar System – the model of nine planets and the Sun, located all over the city on a scale of 1:680 000 000. The first one – the Sun – is right in the center of the city, and all the others are farther and farther away.

Other unique attractions you might be interested in checking out are Oktogon Passage with a beautiful stained-glass rooftop, Medika – the first legalized squat in the city, or Zagreb Rockets – the three residential buildings in the shape of a concrete rocket, built in 1963, the most iconic example of brutalist architecture in the Croatian capital.

Fans of street art or great cafes will be satisfied too, as Zagreb is a leading destination in the region for both.

is zagreb worth visiting

is zagreb worth visiting

is zagreb worth visiting

is zagreb worth visiting

is zagreb worth visiting

is zagreb worth visiting

Vibrant atmosphere

The center of the city, especially on sunny and warm days, is bustling with a mix of locals and tourists. Numerous outdoor restaurants and cafes are packed with people enjoying a good meal and drink and relaxing in the sunshine. If you like places with a vibrant atmosphere, Zagreb is a place for you.

is zagreb worth visiting

is zagreb worth visiting

is zagreb worth visiting

Good base for day trips

If you want to see more of Croatia but don’t like moving around with all your belongings, you can use Zagreb as the base and see more of the country from there. Some fantastic places in the country are within a reasonable distance from the capital; you can also jump across the border to visit Slovenia!

The best places you can visit on day trips from Zagreb are:

is zagreb worth visiting

is zagreb worth visiting

is zagreb worth visiting

A perfect introduction to Croatia

While the majority of tourists focus on the Croatian seaside, with its breathtaking coastline and charming towns, Zagreb is a bit in the shadow of more popular places. But the capital can be a great introduction to Croatia, where you can get to know local culture and food, learn more about the country, and see a bit of its regular face before heading to more popular places along the Adriatic Sea.

is zagreb worth visiting

is zagreb worth visiting

is zagreb worth visiting

Further reading

I published many articles about Croatia that you might find useful when planning your trip there. Here are some of them:

If you are looking for articles about a specific destination – check out the map with all the articles I’ve published (and their locations). You can also join my Facebook group about traveling in the Balkans and ask your questions there.


Travel Resources

Below you can find the brands I trust and use when planning trips:


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is zagreb worth visiting


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