Croatia

8 Zagreb museums you can’t miss

(Last Updated On: 16/09/2019)

Zagreb, Croatia is full of charming lanes, picturesque corners, and beautiful architecture. But there is more to see in the city!

When wandering around you might stumble across some of Zagreb museums that are definitely worth visiting.

Zagreb, Croatia

I can’t count how many times I had a chance to visit Zagreb. My first trip there was in 2002 and I’ve been returning ever since.

But only during my last visit, I had a chance to discover some of the best Zagreb museums. And I loved them all!

Zagreb is known for having the biggest number of museums per capita in the world. This gives you so many options to see amazing exhibitions in Zagreb.

Obviously, you can’t see them all during your stay in the city (or can you?). That’s why I put together this list of best museums in Zagreb that you will hopefully find useful when planning a trip to Croatian capital!

Zagreb, Croatia

Best Zagreb museums

Image of War – War Photography Museum

This is probably the most touching of Zagreb museums and a must-visit for everyone who wants to get to know Croatia (or the Balkans) beyond the beautiful views and delicious food or for anyone who appreciates good photography.

The museum hosts a collection of photos from the times of the Balkans war in the 1990s. Most of them are black and white, which only adds to the overall feeling of the images.

They were taken mostly in Croatia so you will see destroyed Vukovar, besieged Dubrovnik, rocket attacks in Zagreb and more.

You can see here photos taken by the well-known international photographers (like Paul Lowe who is the author of the incredible pictures from besieged Sarajevo – you can see a short movie with his work here, it gives me chills every time) as well as local artists and amateurs (like Pavo Urban who died when taking pictures of the war in Dubrovnik). There are also short stories describing what the photographers did during the war in Croatia.

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

The exhibition isn’t big, just three rooms, but it’s packed with photographs and emotions. Seeing them all, reading the captions and stories can be difficult and disturbing but I think it’s necessary to learn about the fairly recent history of Croatia and the region.

And while most you see are pictures and stories of Croatians being victims, you can also learn about some crimes they did to the Serbian community in Krajina. Things are never black and white only.

Once you are done with photographs you can watch two short movies: one with Croatian photographers who worked during the war and tell their stories and one with testimonies of children from the war-times (it instantly reminded me of the War Childhood Museum in Sarajevo). There are also small plates with even more stories written on them.

You will leave the War Photography Museum with the thumping head. It’s not an easy place to visit but crucial to all the curious travelers.

The museum’s slogan says “War belongs in a museum” and that’s why we need to visit such places, to learn about the difficult history so it will never happen again.

Practical info:
Address: Hebrangova 4, you need to ring a bell to get inside the building
Website: www.imageofwar.hr
Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10:00-20:00
Price: Adults – 50 HRK
Students, Seniors 65+, Veterans – 40 HRK
Couples – 80 HRK / 2 persons
Groups of 10+ – 30 HRK
Photos: Taking pictures is allowed without the flesh

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Zagreb Rocket Attacks Memorial Centre

This place perfectly complements the War Photography Museum and you should visit these two together (especially that they are not located too far from each other).

The Memorial Centre is fully dedicated to the rocket attacks in Zagreb in 1991 and 1995 and those who lost their lives or were injured in these events.

While Zagreb itself was a rather peaceful place during the war in the Balkans, the city was hit by two rocket attacks.

The first one, in 1991, was aimed at the president of Croatia at that time – Franjo Tuđman. The second attack, at the beginning of May 1995, was the retaliation and resulted and 7 deaths and over 200 people injured.

In the museum, you can see some remnants of these events, such as rocket pieces that landed in the Children Hospital, international newspapers covering the events or shoes of Almira Osmanovic – the prima ballerina of Croatian National Theater that was injured when the attacks occurred during the rehearsal.

There are also plenty of photos and documentaries to walk you through the events.

I must admit I didn’t know much about Zagreb rocket attacks so it was a very interesting place for me to visit and learn about this part of the recent history of the Croatian capital.

Practical info:
Address: Frano Petrić Street 4/I, the museum is on the first floor, you need to ring a bell to get in
Website: www.mgz.hr
Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10:00-19:00
Sunday 10:00-14:00
Price: free
Photos: Taking pictures is not allowed (hence I don’t post any pictures)

Museum of Broken Relationships

Probably the most known and popular of museums in Zagreb, this is such an interesting and unique place to visit.

Located conveniently in the Upper Town on Ćirilometodska 2, between Lotrščak Tower and St. Mark’s Church, Museum of Broken Relationships focuses on, well, broken relationships.

The exhibition is a collection of personal items, each telling the story of the relationship that didn’t work out.

Some of them are heartbreaking, some of them are funny. Some of them are typical love relationships between partners, others show the bond between family members or even a dedication to pizza (I so can relate to this!).

Sometimes the death tore people apart, sometimes the timing wasn’t right for the relationship to survive, sometimes feelings were not enough and sometimes just life happened.

Reading the stories was a real emotional rollercoaster, there were so many feelings involved, even if many of the stories were so real and down-to-earth!

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

At the end of my visit, I felt a bit overwhelmed with all the stories and emotions (and I’m not a very emotional person). You might shed a tear too.

But the museum shows the beauty of life, with all its ups and downs. And that’s what makes the place so good!

Even if there are a lot of items on the display, it is only around 5% of the museum’s collection! People from all over the world donate their personal items to the museum, as a way to share their pain with the world or to just close the chapter in life.

It took me two attempts to visit the museum – when I tried for the first time it was so busy I was told to wait for 15-30 minutes. I returned the other day in the morning and it was better but still busy.

I strongly recommend visiting Museum of Broken Relationships either before 11 am or after 7 pm (I confirmed this with the museum staff) – that’s where most likely you won’t find too many people around and you will be able to focus on the exhibition and stories.

Practical info:
Address: Ćirilometodska 2
Website: www.brokenships.com
Opening hours: Summer (June 1st – September 30th):
Every day 9:00-22:30
Winter (October 1st – May 31st):
Every day 9:00-21:00
Closed on Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter and All Saints’ Day, on December 24th and 31st open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Price: 40km
Photos: Taking pictures is allowed without the flesh

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Museum of Contemporary Art

If you like contemporary art – this museum is a must! It is located a bit outside of the center, across the river Sava, but it’s easily accessible by public transport and definitely worth the trip.

There are three floors of the permanent exhibition (I visited those) and some temporary exhibitions that require an extra ticket.

The permanent exhibition shows works of contemporary artists mostly from Croatia, but you will find some international artists too.

The variety of works is incredible: you can admire here paintings, sculptures, photography, short films, art installation and more.

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

As soon as you enter the first floor you get a slap in the face with a huge work by Sejla Kameric called “Bosnian Girl”. I knew it before but seeing it live, in such a huge format, was a completely different experience.

Looking at this huge picture of a woman (the artist herself), with offensive words written on it, words that originally came from Dutch peacekeepers during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, made me feel really uncomfortable.

But that wasn’t the only disturbing and thought-provoking item in the exhibition of the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Another strong collection was the one with masks taken from women who were abused and now live in women’s shelter. Each plaster mask came with the story of the women and how she ended up in the shelter.

Besides these, I also really liked the collection of pictures of a man kneeling down in front of the most powerful institutions in the world or short movies showing how artists spend their holidays.

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

I was also lucky as one of the rooms had screenings of short, kind of psychedelic films about spomeniks – impressive concrete monuments from the times of Yugoslavia.

I’m very much interested in these but since they are usually located in the middle of nowhere I haven’t seen many of them in real life (yet). Watching those movies made me transfer to these places, even if only virtually. I think that’s where I spend most of the time in the museum.

Once you are done with seeing the exhibitions you can end your visit to the museum in a fun way. There is a huge slide that in a few seconds can take you from the upper level all the way to the ground floor!

I didn’t take it but only because there was a line of kids before me and I was in a hurry to catch the bus to the airport.

The best way to get to the Museum of Contemporary Art is to take tram no 6 from Trg J. Jelačića, Zrinjevac or Glavni kolodvor all the way to the last stop – Sopot.

From there it’s a few minutes walk to the museum, you will see it on your right side from the tram stop. The 30 minutes ticket for 4 kunas should be enough for the trip (the journey from Trg J. Jelačića takes 27 minutes according to the schedule).

Practical info:
Address: Avenue Dubrovnik 17
Website: www.msu.hr
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday 11:00 – 18:00
Saturday 11:00 – 20:00
Price: Adults – 30 HRK
Concessions (students, elderly, disabled visitors) – 15 HRK
Groups of 10+ – 15 HRK
Family ticket with children under 15 – 50 HRK
Toddlers, unemployed, members of professional associations and press free of charge
Photos: Taking pictures is allowed without the flesh

Zagreb museums

Croatian Museum of Naïve Art

Across the street from the Museum of Broken Relationships, you can visit the Croatian Museum of Naïve Art. It’s worth stopping by in here, even if you are not a big fan of the art.

You might have never heard of Naïve Art before and I totally get that as, for some reason, this kind of art (mostly paintings) doesn’t get as much attention as it should.

Works in this style are created by people who don’t have professional education or training in the art field.

I heard about Naïve Art for the first time in Katowice, Poland where I attended the exhibition. It was love at first sight.

The paintings, even if a bit simple, grotesque and naive, were also a bit intriguing and got my attention right away. I know the word “cute” shouldn’t be used to describe art but that’s how the Naïve Art works I’ve seen were.

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

The Museum in Zagreb, which is the first museum of Naïve Art in the world, shows the works mostly of Croatian artists (however on the exhibition I also found paintings by Polish Nikifor).

You can see a variety of paintings, showing both local life and everyday events as well as some distant destinations (like a train station in Leipzig, Germany or the cathedral in Milan, Italy).

I was again very much impressed with the works presented in the museum.

Although I found the Croatian works to be a bit darker and gloomier than Polish ones I still think the Museum of Naïve Art has an exceptional collection and is a perfect place for you to learn more about this style.

Croatian Museum of Naïve Art is also kind of an optimistic place. It shows that even if you don’t have a proper education you still can achieve great things!

And that’s one more reason why I like this style so much – Naïve Art gives you hope!

Practical info:
Address: Sv. Ćirila i Metoda 3, 1st floor
Website: www.hmnu.hr
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 10:00-18:00
Sunday 10:00-13:00
Price: Adults – 25 HRK
Students and Seniors – 15 HRK
Family ticket*: 50 HRK – * Families with children up to 15 years
Photos: Taking pictures is allowed without the flesh

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Modern Gallery

Located in the beautiful Vranyczany Palace, just across the street from Zrinjevac Park, the Modern Gallery is home to a big collection of Croatian art from the 19th, 20th and 21st century.

You can admire here some of the best local artists and even if I sadly didn’t know any names I enjoyed this place a lot!

It’s a great overview not only of the Croatian art scene but the art style in the past two hundred years.

The Gallery was founded in 1905 and has been one of the major art institutions in the Croatian capital ever since.

You can see here around 700 works: mostly paintings, but there are also occasional sculptures and art installations, especially in the part dedicated to the newer art.

I especially enjoyed the peculiar walk through the history of art here. Room after the room, you could admire how the trends were changing and how much the art has evolved, constantly pushing boundaries.

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Another reason to visit Modern Gallery is the building itself.

Vranyczany Palace was designed by the Viennese architect Otto Hofer and built in the second half of the 19th century for the wealthy Vranyczany family.

The building is a perfect example of the architecture from the times of Austria-Hungary. Inside the Palace is almost as beautiful as on the outside. I’m sure you will stop by to take some pictures of the stunning staircase – I did!

Practical info:
Address: Ul. Andrije Hebranga 1
Website: https://www.moderna-galerija.hr/en/
Opening hours: Tuesday – Friday: 11am – 7pm
Saturday and Sunday: 11am – 2pm
Closed on Monday and holidays
Price: Adults – 40 kn
Scholars, Students, Pensioners 30 kn
Family – 70 kn
Group visit (10-30 persons – scholars, students, pensioners, adults) – 20 kn
Toddlers – free
Photos: Taking pictures is allowed without the flesh

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Art Pavilion

I’ve been so many times in Zagreb, I took so many pictures of Art Pavilion yet it never really occurred me to actually go inside. Until now. And oh my, I’m glad I finally did!

The Art Pavilion is located at Trg kralja Tomislava, literally in front of the main train station.

It was built at the very end of the 19th century and eventually opened on 15th December 1898, making it the oldest gallery in South-East Europe. The main purpose of the Pavilion was to host a large scale exhibition.

There is no permanent exhibition here, only temporary ones. In the past in the Art Pavilion people could admire work of such great artists as Henry Moore, Auguste Rodin, Andy Warhol or Joan Miró.

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

When I visited the Pavilion there was a nice exhibition of the Croatian artist, Bojan Sumonja. It was interesting, some of the paintings made me admire it for a tad bit longer but I didn’t fall head over heels in love with it (unlike some other works of art I’ve seen in Zagreb).

But to be honest the current exhibition isn’t the main reason to visit the Art Pavilion.

The interior of the Art Pavilion is stunning! If you’ve seen some beautiful cafes, museums or theaters built at the turn of the 19th and 20th century in the former Austria-Hungary (so places like Vienna, Budapest or Lviv) you get the idea.

The place is so rich in details you don’t really know where to look and when the exhibition you visit is just average you don’t really pay all that much attention to it and admire the interior instead. And that’s fine, you are appreciating the work of art anyway!

Practical info:
Address: King Tomislav square 22
Website: www.umjetnicki-paviljon.hr
Opening hours: Monday – Thursday 11:00-22:00
Friday 11:00-21:00
Saturday – Sunday 11:00-20:00s
Price:From 30 HRK to 80 HRK
Depending on exhibition
Photos: Taking pictures is allowed without the flesh

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Zagreb 80’s Museum

What a fun museum to visit it is! I wouldn’t have known about it if it wasn’t for the recommendation I got on Instagram, and I’m so glad I did!

The museum is located next to the Stone Gate. The first-floor apartment in one of the houses was transformed into the typical flat of the Yugoslavian family in the 1980s.

Six rooms are full of various items from that time that everyone had and used, from the furniture and kitchen equipment to entertainment such as vinyl, cassettes or fashion magazines (or even erotic ones).

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

The best thing about the museum is that it’s fully interactive. You can touch everything, open cupboards or cabinets, try on clothes, sit on the couch – just anything you feel like, really!

The last room, in the back, is full of old computer games that of course, you can use. This was so much fun and brought back so many memories, especially playing on Commodore C64 that I also had 25 or so years ago!

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

If you are from the former Eastern block countries you might find the museum as a perfect reminder of the old times, a walk down the memory lane. I still remember a lot of the items from my own house at the end of the 1980s and beginning of 1990s.

If you are from a different place you can get a glimpse on how life used to look like in the former Eastern block. It’s such an interesting place to visit, to have some fun and get a new perspective on Zagreb, Croatia and the rest of the Balkans.

Practical info:
Address: Radićeva 34, 1st floor
Website: www.zagreb80.com
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday 10:00-22:00
Price: Adults – 40 HRK
Seniors (age 65+) and Students – 30 HRK
Children from 3 till 13 – 25 HRK
Infants (age 0-2) – Free
Family ticket * – 90HRK – * 2 adults and 1 child under 13
Group of 10+ visitors – 30 HRK/person
Photos: Taking pictures is allowed without the flesh

Zagreb museums

Zagreb museums

More amazing museums in Zagreb

The museums described above are my personal favorites among museums in Zagreb. But there are more options to choose from!

Here are some other Zagreb museums you might find interesting:

  • Zagreb City Museum
  • Backo Mini Express
  • Museum of Arts and Crafts Zagreb
  • Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters
  • Technical Museum Nikola Tesla Zagreb
  • Ethnographic Museum Zagreb
  • Mimara Museum
  • Atelier Meštrović Zagreb
  • Croatian History Museum
  • Croatian Natural History Museum
  • Glyptotheque Zagreb
  • Typhlological Museum
  • Croatian Museum of Architecture
  • Mestrović Pavillion
  • Lauba People and Art House

Tips for visiting Zagreb museums

In the peak season (so basically summertime) try to visit the museums just after opening or in the late afternoon / early evening hours. This especially applies to the Museum of Broken Relationships that is extremely popular and can get a bit crowded. You don’t want to visit it with too many people around.


I read in the reviews of the Museum of Contemporary Art that people went all the way there to Novi Zagreb only to find it closed.

Well, when I visited the museum also seemed to be closed as there were no people around and through the window, I couldn’t see anyone inside but once I came closer to the door they opened and it turned out the museum is indeed working. So don’t get discouraged if the place looks empty, approach it anyway.


The Art Pavilion might get closed when there is the exposition change.


You might want to invest in Zagreb Card. I didn’t and it was a mistake.

The Zagreb Card costs 98 kunas for 24 hours and 135 kunas for 72 hours.

It allows a free entrance to a few attractions (including Museum of Broken Relationships, Museum of Contemporary Art or 360° observation deck), free public transport and discounts to numerous other attractions.

If you want to visit only the observation deck (the best thing to do in Zagreb really!) and one of the museums you already save money.

Click here for more details on Zagreb Card.


Travel resources

With over 15 years of independent traveling, I’ve learned which websites and services are the best when planning a trip. I always use and trust the following websites:

Money – My number one tip for everyone is to start using Revolut bank card to save money when traveling.

You get the card by mail within a few days and you can use it all over the world. You top up the card in the app on the phone, where you can also have accounts in different currencies and exchange money between them, for no extra fee and at very favorable rates. Everything is super easy and fast, you only need an internet connection to manage your accounts in the app.

Revolut supports over 140 currencies and offers free withdrawal from ATMs all over the world. In the first 6 months I’ve used Revolut card in 12 countries in 3 continents and had no issues at all. And I saved a lot of money in the exchange rates!

Click here to learn more about the service and order your own Revolut card!

Accommodation – I always book my accommodation through Booking.com.

They have really good deals (especially with their “Genius” program that you become a member of after few reservations) and in most of the cases, if your plans change, you can cancel the reservation without any extra costs.

I also value them for a really good customer service that I had to use a few times.

Check the best deals on accommodation in Zagreb here!

Insurance – I never travel without the insurance as you never know what might happen on the road and better safe than sorry (I’ve learnt my lesson).

I can recommend World Nomads that offer the insurance dedicated to travelers just like you and me.

Click here to get the insurance policy for Croatia here.

Day tours – I do go for a day trips when I travel as often they are the most convenient way to see the place that saves you time and money.

I most often use Get Your Guide that offers a variety of tours all over the world. Click here to check all the best tours you can take during your trip to Zagreb!

Offline maps – For years I’ve been using MAPS.ME app and I can’t recommend it enough!

It’s free, works offline perfectly fine and saved me many times. You can easily transfer Google Maps with all the bookmarks to maps.me and use them offline wherever you are.

Click here to download it to your phone before your next trip!


Further read

Now, that you know all about Zagreb museums, you might be interested in other articles I wrote about Zagreb, Croatia and the Balkans:


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

  • If you don’t want to miss new posts and news from me click here to sign to my newsletter! You can also follow me on Bloglovin!
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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!

love, kami 2

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Jane
    26/08/2019 at 09:42

    The biggest number of museums per capita in the world belongs to Basel, Switzerland.

    • Reply
      kami
      15/09/2019 at 15:24

      Then Zagreb tourism website has wrong information published. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Valentin
    21/09/2019 at 22:27

    I live in Croatia and I haven’t been to many museums described here. Surely I must correct this :)
    I would add one more museum in this list – Museum of illusions. It is on Ilica street, 8-10 minutes of walk west from Ban Jelačić square (center of Zagreb).

    • Reply
      kami
      04/10/2019 at 21:21

      I was passing by this museum but didn’t go inside – I will change that next time, thank you for the recommendation! :) And you should definitely go to some of the museums from my list, they were all so good! :)

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