Planning a solo trip to Zagreb? Here’s everything you need to know for your visit:
- Capital and largest city of Croatia, with a population of about 684,000.
- Located in the north-west of the country, along the Sava river.
- The city is credited with the invention of the mechanical pencil by Slavoljub Penkala in 1906.
- While the horseshoe-shaped country is sited on the Balkan Peninsula along the Adriatic coast, the city is draped between the banks of the Sava River and the foothills of Mt. Medvednica.
- Became the capital after Croatia split from the Republic of Yugoslavia.
- Nicknames: Bijeli Zagreb Grad (“White City of Zagreb”), City of Museums, The Coastal City.
- Currency: Croatian Kuna (HRK). 10 Kuna is about 1.30 Euros.
- Spoken languages: Croatian (English spoken by those in the tourism industry).
- Best time to visit: from May to September to make the most of the fresh spring days and clement summer nights.
- Arriving via airport: Zagreb International Airport (Pleso Airport) is 10 kilometers south of the Central Station in Zagreb. Getting to the city is relatively easy – a bus ride takes just 30 minutes. Look for the official transport company “Pleso prijevoz Ltd” for the bus line between the Airport and Zagreb’s Main Bus Station. Buses leave every half hour from 5 AM to 8 PM, with tickets costing 30kn one-way. Taxis charge 150-200kn.
WHERE TO STAY
- Best hostel for solo travelers in Zagreb: Hostel Bureau. Slap bang in the heart of the city, with very clean rooms, welcoming staff and modern facilities. Newly renovated, with 24/7 access. Book ahead to reserve your spot!
- Most hotels in Zagreb are located near the city centre, and are affordable (compared to typical Western European prices).
- Gornji Grad or Upper Town is the historical and cultural half of the city, rich with Baroque architecture, unmissable landmarks, charming markets and authentic restaurants.
- Donji Grad or Lower Town has a generous variety of central accommodation, particularly in the area of Glavni kolodvor.
- Zagreb has an organized and efficient public transport system, with bus lines and trams servicing all destinations in the city.
- The Zagreb Card combines free access to public transportation with free or discounted entry at participating museums and attractions as well as discounts at restaurants and service providers. The pass can be purchased for 24 hours at 98 kuna (about €13) or for 72 hours at 135 kuna (about €18). For information, check out the official website.
- ZET operates the well-developed public transportation system which includes buses, trams and cable cars using the same ticketing system. Tickets cost 12kn and are valid up to 90 minutes after validation, while a 24-hour pass costs 40kn. Map of Zones (you will probably only visit Zone 1).
- Taxis charge a minimum starting fare of 9.90kn and 4.90kn for each additional km. Call 1777 or 1212 to pre-book. Alternatively, Uber is available in the city through their app.
- Drinking age is 18, and last call is 5 AM (some clubs are open all night).
- Tkalčićeva is known for its diverse range of wine bars and lounges ideal for a relaxed night out although its central location is favored by those wishing to hop around the different clubs.
- Preradovićeva hosts a laid-back scene perfect to meet new people.
- Ban Jelačić Square is an excellent destination for casual bars and restaurants perfect to jump start the evening.
- Great bars to check out: Tolkien’s House, Funk club, Cafe bar A’e (hidden cocktail bar), Vintage Industrial Bar, Čeh Pub, and Krivi put.
- Night clubs: Masters Club, Depo klub.
UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT
- One of the most impressive and beautiful attractions is the Zagreb Cathedral. Also, don’t miss St. Mark’s Church – recognized easily by the checkered design on its roof.
- Zagreb City Museum introduces visitors to the cultural, artistic and historic patrimony of Zagreb dating back to the Roman Period.
- Trg Ban Jelačić is the main square of the city, styled in Austro-Hungarian style and easily one of the most important public spaces.
- Art Pavilion in Zagreb is the oldest exhibition hall in the Slavic south, host to fine art belonging to 20th century Croatia.
- Important and unique monuments in the city include: Kamenita Vrata (“Stone Gate”), Holy Mary Column, Lotrscak Tower, Croatian National Theater, Mestrovic Pavilion, and Palace of HAZU.
- Take a walk around the city center, visiting the most important landmarks and attractions.
- Maksimir Park is a city institution, not only its oldest park but among Europe’s first to open. The meadows, creeks and lakes are a natural plant and animal habitat.
- Medvednica Mountain marks the southern border with Zagorje and is a nature park beloved for its beech and oak forests, while scenic hiking trails take one to the ancient ruins of the medieval town of Medvedgrad and on to the highest peak, Sljeme.
- Jarun Lake is the idyllic destination for a stress-free afternoon in the company of nature. In the summer it becomes a busy getaway for residents and tourists alike who seek out water activities such as boating and wind-surfing.
- Dolac Market is open every day and is the city’s main market, a place where farmers sell their home-made wares and products. Open since 1926, it is one of the best places in town to sample authentic delicacies and mingle with locals.
- Tipping for good service is commonplace – leave around 10% for taxi drivers and waiters.
- Zagreb’s deep-seated love for music extends to the numerous quirky shops specializing in vinyl records of every genre.
- Looking for a good cafe to relax at? Check out In the yard and Botaničar.
- Great restaurants to try: Pri zvoncu ($$ – traditional Croatian), Vinodol ($$), Restoran “Sofra” Borovje (Bosnian), Rock&beer club Alcatraz, Zrno bio bistro ($$ – vegan).
- Where to find good cheap eats: Dolac Market, Ribarnica and Trg Kvarternikov are known for their quick and economic eateries. Don’t forget to try some of the unique local dishes, including stewed meat (kotlovina), beef fillet steak (pisanice), and štrukli. Consisting of rolled dough filled with cream and cheese, štrukli is Zagreb’s signature dish – most restaurants offer their own variation!
- Dangerous areas: Zagreb is a very safe city. Just in case, try to avoid the suburbs and the city parks at night.
Recommended trip duration: 3-4 days