Here’s our guide to sightseeing in Zagreb, taking in the city’s most famous sights.

Trg Bana Jelacica/Ban Jelacic Square

When sightseeing in Zagreb, it’s a good idea to head here first. Being the main square in the city, from here you are within walking distance of all the major attractions. (Furthermore, the main tourist office is at no. 11 in the square – head here to pick up useful leaflets, brochures and maps.)

In the middle of the square you will of course see a statue of Ban Jelacic himself. Josip Jelacic is a Croatian hero (ban means viceory) who defeated the Hungarians in an uprising in 1848. His statue was erected in 1866 (in fact, pointing north towards Hungary) but was removed in 1947 after Yugoslavia was reformed post World War II. (It was removed because of its significance to Croatia – Yugoslavia was not a country to allow individual nationalism from its republics.) The statue was placed back on the square in 1990 just prior to the break up of Yugoslavia – he now, however, faces the other way.

Whilst in the square, do take a look at the beautiful buildings on all sides. There’s also a plethora of cafes in the square – take a seat, order a coffee (or beer) and watch the world go by in the pedestrianised square.

You will also see a small fountain in the square – this is Mandusevac Fountain, which is in a slightly different location to its original position. The original fountain derived waters from Medvescak creek, which flowed from Medvednica mountain.

Zagrebacka katedrala/Zagreb Cathedral

When facing north in the square, take the right-most street and head up it to see the twin neo-Gothic spires of the cathedral. Although parts of the cathedral date from the 13th century (and after), it was very badly damaged in an earthquake in 1880. Most of the structure, including its spires, dates from the late 19th/early 20th centuries. Inside the cathedral you will find the tomb of Cardinal Stepinac (who was Archbishop of Zagreb from 1937 to 1960) which contains a sculpture by Croatia’s most celebrated sculptor, Ivan Mestrovic.

The baroque Archbishops’ Palace is attached to the cathedral.

Sightseeing in Zagreb - Zagreb Cathedral

Zagreb Cathedral – undergoing refurbishment (as ever!)

Trznica Dolac/Dolac Market

Near the cathedral is Zagreb’s main market – the colourful Dolac. It is definitely worth a visit to see all the stalls and sellers in action. You will find many food items (particularly fruit and veg) on sale, although there will also be some craft items and other little bits and pieces on offer. You can also have an inexpensive meal in one of the fast-food kiosks close by.

Kamenita vrata/Stone Gate

Walk along Tkalciceva Ulica towards the upper town and you will come to the one of the only surviving origial town gates from the 13th century. This gate, and its painting of the Virgin Mary, miraculously escaped the great fire of 1731 and for this reason is a place of pilgrimage, as you will see by the number of lit candles left here.

Crkva Svetog Marka/St Mark’s Church

One of the most famous sights in Zagreb, if not in the whole of Croatia, is St Mark’s Church with its beautiful tiled roof featuring the coat of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia. The church was constructed in the 13th century; inside, there are works by Ivan Mestrovic.

Sightseeing in Zagreb - St Mark's Church

On the same square as St Mark’s Church (which is Markov trg/Mark’s Square) you will also find the Sabor, a building that was built in the early 20th century and which is home to the Croatian parliament today. (Sabor means parliament.)

On the west side of the same square you will also find the Banski Dvori (which means Ban or Viceory’s Palace) and is today the Presidential Palace.

Kula Lotrscak/Lotrscak Tower

Built in the 13th century, the good people of Zagreb are reminded of the time each day at midday when a cannon – called the Gric cannon – is fired. If you’d like to keep up to date with Gric cannon and the Lotrscak tower, it has its own Twitter feed: @gricki_top. Guess what? It tweets once a day, at midday, saying “boom!”. (Or, in fact, the Croatian for it…which is “bum!”.) You can climb the tower for a great view of Zagreb.

Sightseeing in Zagreb - Lotrscak Tower

(Many moons ago, a lady emailed Visit Croatia to ask us to mention that there is a similar ceremony in Edinburgh that occurs at 1 o’clock – this was for a trivia question for her class. We’ve decided to keep this little bit of info here!)

Uspinjaca/Funicular railway

Just below the Lotrscak Tower is the uspinjaca, a funicular railway that was constructed in 1888. It is, in fact, the oldest public transport system in Zagreb – a year older than the horse-drawn tram. On a track of just 66 metres in length, it is also the shortest funicular railway in the world. Hop on for the ride from the Upper Town to the Lower Town – or vice versa.

Zagreb Eye

Zagreb Eye isn’t quite the same thing as the London Eye, but it still has glorious city-wide views nevertheless! Located in a skyscraper in the corner of the main square, this 16th floor observation deck will provide you with wonderful views over Zagreb’s terracotta-coloured rooftops and over the nearby sights of Trg ban Jelacic, the Cathedral, Dolac market and more besides. Priced at only 30 Kunas for adults, the Zagreb Eye is also open 365 days of the year so you can also check it out on days when other things might be closed (e.g. holidays)! Also open late into the night (until 10.45pm), you can visit at sunset or when it’s dark to see the twinkly lights of the city. There’s also a bar on the same floor so you can seek refreshment whilst enjoying the views.

Tours of Zagreb

If you’re interested in an organised tour of the city, Viator have a 1.5-hour walking tour of Zagreb which takes in many of the most famous sights including those in both the Gornji (Upper) and Donji (Lower) Towns. For more details, please see their Zagreb Walking Tour page.

  • Veronica Stevenson

    Checking Zagreb out during the Europeans next January!

    • For the European Figure Skating Championships? Nice! Hope you enjoy that and Zagreb!

  • Bertie

    Going to Zagreb in a few days, the 23rd really hyped, my girlfriend is from Zagreb so hoping she can show me around some of the great sights. this site is very handy thankyou 🙂

    • Great, glad you found it useful, Bertie. I am sure you’ll have a fantastic time in Zagreb!

  • peter

    i want to visit there,i am actually from kenya living in greece i have a girl friend from there

  • Re

    Awesome….!!

  • gill

    Morning i am hoping to come for new year and wondered if 7 days would be too long? Looking to leave England 28th December I know it is cold but if we enjoy will come back in summer. If too long what would you recommend ?
    Gill

    • Hi Gill, I know you’ve left this comment in our Zagreb section – did you specifically mean visiting Zagreb, or just Croatia in general? Either way, I do actually think that 7 days would be a little long at this time of year. You can of course do plenty of sightseeing as at any time of year (perhaps visiting a few more museums so you can spend more time indoors away from the cold!) and wherever you’ll be, there will be (post) Christmas celebrations (fairs and so on). New Year’s Eve is also relatively big business, normally with live music and other celebrations on main squares or main “streets” (e.g. the Riva in Split, Stradun in Dubrovnik).

      Seven days in just one place might be a little long (apart for those people who like lying on a beach/poolside and doing not much else) at any time of year, so would be best broken up by visiting nearby towns/islands. If you’re in Zagreb, the problem would be that the interior of Croatia can get rather snowy. That’s not to say that everyone gets stuck indoors, but it just makes moving around a little more difficult. If you would be on the coast, and if it were summer, I would absolutely suggest that you visit some of the local islands. But at this time of year, they would be very, very quiet with not very much to do at all. (Still, some might like to experience this kind of island life!) The coast (particularly in the south) would be unlikely to be snowy, and wouldn’t be as cold as the interior.

      In conclusion…I’d suggest perhaps just a few days in Zagreb or Dubrovnik over New Year’s. Both can be reached direct from England (London!) at this time of year, and both would work well as a mini-break. Because of its size, Zagreb’s a busy city all year round, and Dubrovnik is doing much to encourage visitors in off-season.

      Hope this has helped a bit. Please feel free to ask us more questions, if you like!

  • Hello
    I am getting married this summer, first week of august, in Zagreb. I can’t seem to find a place (pub, bar..) where they have live Balkan music groups playing. Could you please help me out? I love this music, and I think it could be really a lot of fun to have wedding drinks with balkan music/ dancing.
    thanks for your help

  • Hello
    I am getting married this summer, first week of august, in
    Zagreb. I can’t seem to find a place (pub, bar..) where they have live
    Balkan music groups playing. Could you please help me out? I love this
    music, and I think it could be really a lot of fun to have wedding
    drinks with balkan music/ dancing.
    thanks for your help.
    Raphael

    • Hi Raphael, there’s plenty of places offering live music in Zagreb, but for specifically Balkan music (I guess you mean traditional, rather than pop music)…huh, not too sure! You may have heard of Tkalciceva ulica/street in the Upper Town – there’s absolutely loads of cool bars here, and it would be a fun place to go and I’m sure you’ll find something good here! Some do have live music, but not sure whether it’s quite what you’re looking for.

      Otherwise, maybe check out some of the venues shown in this list from Zagreb’s Tourist Office: http://www.zagreb-touristinfo.hr/?l=e&id=100. HTH a bit, and hope you find a suitable venue. All the best for your wedding!

  • Wayne L Parworth

    I have relatives who came from Zagreb and I was wondering if there is a website where I could find out more about them?

    Nora

    • A truly fantastic website on Croatian genealogy is http://www.croatia-in-english.com/ – do take a look, as there’s plenty of information there on how to find out more about Croatian ancestors/relatives and so on.