Zagreb, located to the north, near the neighbouring Slovenia, is a new, interesting city break alternative. Here you won’t find the Croatian equivalent to the Eiffel tower or Guggenheim, as the capital of Croatia is devoid of that kind of iconic tourist attractions and must-sees. The biggest attraction in this lesser known Central European city is the everyday life that you see in the streets. Go mingle with locals at the bustling town marked Dolac, where you can buy fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese and other local produce, or at the many lively cafés around the central square Trg Bana Jelacica, where both young students, old tale-tellers and newspaper readers can hang around for hours.
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Places to experience in Zagreb
Zagreb emerged around the two rivalling mediaeval villages Kaptol and Gradec situated on two opposite hills. In these neighbourhoods you can find the city’s landmark, the cathedral, and the large pedestrian street Tkalciceva, which has become the centre of the city’s nightlife with restaurants and bars, including the local brewery Medvedgrad – give it a go, Croatians do make proper beer!
Below the hills, in the newer part of town built by the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 19th century, lies a horseshoe-shaped network of gardens and cultural institutions called The Green Horseshoe. Here you can walk from one museum to another, meet the young lovebirds holding hands on benches, and newly-wed couples being photographed in the old music pavilion.
Getting around in Zagreb
You can easily experience the central part of Zagreb on foot, but do yourself a favour and try Zagreb’s old funicular from 1890. Public transportation is cheap and the modern trams run 24/7.
If you want to experience a part of Zagreb that’s very different from the beautiful central part, you can take a bus or a tram to the residential area at Jarun and Novi Zagreb (New Zagreb), where towering blocks shaped by post-war era’s communist aesthetics dominate the skyline.
In the outskirt of Zagreb lies the impressive Mirogoj cemetery, the last resting place for many artists, politicians and other influential people. During the winter you can go skiing on the Medvednica Mountain just north of Zagreb, and in just about an hour’s drive, you can visit beautiful medieval towns like Samobor and Varazdin.