Croatia’s capital Zagreb often gets overlooked by the more popular central European cities like Prague or Vienna. But just like them, the city offers the same and more with its rich history, vibrant culture, and charming streets. This makes it a perfect spot for a day trip to the southern European metropolis. Join us on a day Trip to Zagreb as we venture on a journey through this captivating city and immerse ourselves in its unique atmosphere.
Let’s begin with a little History of Zagreb:
The city’s history can be traced back to Roman times when it was known as “Andautonia.” However, the city as we know it today began to take shape in the Middle Ages. In the 13th century, two settlements, Kaptol and Gradec, developed on two hills overlooking the Sava River. Kaptol became the religious centre, home to the Zagreb Cathedral, while Gradec was the fortified town and the political hub.
The two settlements eventually merged in the 19th century to form the modern city of Zagreb. Over the years, the city has witnessed a fascinating blend of architectural styles, from Gothic and Baroque to Art Nouveau and modernist influences. This artistic mixture can be spotted on full display as we explore the city’s historic districts.
We do want to mention that as Zagreb is quite big and the attractions and sights are scattered around the place. We recommend using the tram to get from place to place. Bear in mind that tickets can be bought on the tram but are more pricey, so we suggest buying them at tobacco shops located almost near every station.
Exploring the Upper Town:
Lets begin our trip in the historic heart of Zagreb – the Upper Town. We recommend starting your journey at Ban Jelačić Square, the city’s famous main square named after a beloved Croatian military leader. From here, take the funicular to climb up to the Upper Town, offering panoramic views of the city as you ascend.
Stroll through the charming streets of the Upper Town, where you’ll encounter picturesque squares, historic churches, and colourful buildings. Don’t miss St. Mark’s Church with its distinctive tiled roof, showcasing the mediaeval coat of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia, and Slavonia.
Next, visit the Lotrščak Tower and witness the tradition of firing the cannon every day at noon. It is a custom dating back to the 19th century, which served as a signal for midday.
For animal lovers we recommend visiting the Zoo, located in Maksimir Park. After taking a stroll through the park first, make your way to the Zoo and observe different animal species.
Savour the authentic Croatian Cuisine:
Take a lunch break and indulge in the flavours of Croatia at a traditional local restaurant. Sample dishes like Čevapi (grilled minced meat), Peka (a slow-cooked meat and vegetable dish), or the popular and hearty Goulash. Complement your meal with a locally brewed beer.
Modern Zagreb and Cultural Delights:
After satisfying your taste buds with greasy but delicious food, head over to the Lower Town, where you’ll find a more modern side of Zagreb. Visit the Croatian National Theatre, a stunning example of neo-baroque architecture, and catch a performance if you have the chance.
Next, explore the Museum of Broken Relationships, a unique museum that showcases personal stories of heartbreak and loss through donated objects and their accompanying narratives. It’s a thought-provoking and emotionally engaging experience.
If you’re an art enthusiast, the Museum of Contemporary Art is a must-visit, featuring a diverse collection of Croatian and international contemporary art.
End your day with a relaxing stroll:
As the day winds down, take a leisurely stroll along the banks of the Sava River. The riverside promenade offers beautiful views of the city, especially at sunset. You can also enjoy a drink at one of the many open-air cafes that line the riverbanks.
Before you depart, visit Park Zrinjevac, a relaxing and recreational area known for its picturesque scenery. It’s an ideal spot for a relaxing evening walk or to simply unwind before heading back to your starting point.
A day trip to Zagreb offers a nice blend of history, culture, and culinary delights. From the cobblestone streets of the Upper Town to the modern art galleries and scenic riverbanks, this city has something for every traveller. As you leave Zagreb behind, you’ll carry with you a deeper appreciation for Croatia’s capital and its rich heritage, making it a memorable experience.