Say you are in Zagreb, and say you are, for some reason, stuck here for three days, or, a weekend. You arrive on a Friday, have the whole Saturday, and plan on leaving Sunday afternoon. Do you have any time to see what Zagreb has to offer? Of course you do! You won’t get to know the city in an out, and you will just skim the surface, but it will be enough to get the feel of the city,a nd to see what makes it so special and unique.
On day 1 you arrived in your hotel, unpacked, and are ready to see what the city has to offer. The perfect thing to do is to just dive into the city life, and do what I call the essential Zagreb tour. You start off at the main railway station, and stroll past Tomislav square, past the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences to Zrinjevac.
Zrinjevac is a green park, full of live and very people friendly, as are all Zagreb parks. They were never designed to only be looked at, and if you want to sit down on the soft grass next to one of the fountains, feel free to do so. No matter what time of the year you are visiting the city, you also have a very good chance of finding some festival or fair on this stretch of your stroll, and it usually offers something delicious to eat or drink.
After that we continue to the Jelacic Square, the heart of the city. The wonderful buildings surrounding it really give you a feel of what this city was built to be- ornate and displaying craftsmanship and art, but still built for people.
Feel free to stroll along the Ilica street until you reach the funicular. Of course, if you prefer, you can take the stairs, one of the streets or a path up to the old town, but the funicular is a fun way to reach the Gric tower and the St. Marcus church, as well as the parliament.
Feel free to wander around, take a peek at the Museum of broken relationships or the Stone gate, and after that, descend down over the Bloody Bridge street to our final destination for the day- Tkalca.
Tkalca exists for one thing only-fun. The street is dedicated to bars, cafes, restaurants and ice cream shops, and is one of the most popular places in the city to spend your evening. After all the art and culture you experienced, you deserve a break with a pint and some good cooking!
Day 2 is about all the things around the city. It’s no secret that I love the mountain above the city, but I love the museums (which are usually open until 1 PM on a Sunday and closed on Monday) as well. You can find a list of them, and they are mostly littered around the city centre. But if museums aren’t your thing, and you want to see what the outside of the city is like, you can grab a number 14 or 8 tram to the final station- Mihaljevac, and after that grab a bus, and after less than half an hour, you are outside of the city and in nature.
I highly recommend the Medvedgrad medieval castle, partially restored, as it offers a beautiful view of the city and the surrounding area. After that, stroll down towards the Queen’s well, where you will also find something to eat, and grab a bus back to town. If you still didn’t have enough, I would suggest milling around the Jelacic square and the streets branching off Ilica to do some shopping, and grabbing dinner and drinks.
On Day 3, you should try to get up early enough to visit the famous Dolac market, just a few steps away from the main square, and continue to visit the famous Zagreb cathedral. It is a work of wonder, especially since we all wonder when it will be finished. It seems to have scaffolding on it for as long as anyone can remember (and I’ve even seen photos from the start of the 20th century where it has the same scaffolding).
We’re taking it easier today, since you’ve spent the past two days walking, so we can only suggest a short tram ride to either the Maksimir park and zoo, if you want to see what a forest in the heart of the city looks like, or the botanical gardens which are open most of the year . If you are in an adventurous mood, you can try to find a few planets branching off from the main Sun sculpture, but trying to find them all might send you on a very very long stroll.