Two Days in Zagreb - St Mark's Church

Croatia’s capital city is a wonderful place to spend a couple of days in, practically any time of year. There’s so much to see, do and enjoy and there are excellent amenities such as accommodation, restaurants, entertainment and more. If we had to lob a criticism Zagreb‘s way, it would be that it has too much stuff to enjoy in just two days! (In which case, you should really book a longer stay…or come back to Zagreb again soon.) But here’s our guide to how to make the most of two days in Zagreb.

Two Days in Zagreb

When should I spend two days in Zagreb?

Zagreb is an excellent city to visit any time of year – spring, summer, autumn or winter!

We would advise against visiting right at the start of the year – let’s say January – when the weather might be especially cold and even snowy, and this might hinder your movement around the city.

But having said that, the other end of the year, in early winter, is a fabulous time of year thanks to the wonderful Advent in Zagreb celebration.

Spring and early autumn are excellent times to visit thanks to generally mild weather. Early and later summer are also great – perhaps just avoid the peak summer when the weather can be incredibly hot.

Two Days in Zagreb Itinerary

Day 1 AM – Explore on foot

In almost all of these Two Days in… guides we have on the Visit Croatia website, I essentially tell travellers to head to the city and do a bit of a wander around to get their bearings and see some of the most famous sights. For Zagreb, I’m going to do something completely different.

Just joking! Of course, I’m going to tell you to head to the city’s main square, Trg Ban Jelacic to see an impressive man-on-a-horse statue and to be within easy walking distance of much of what the city has to offer. Start by taking a walk around the square and enjoy the regular bustle of everyday life here – people rushing off somewhere, trams pulling in and zooming off, shoppers laden down with bags of fresh fruit and veg from the market. In the bottom left corner you’ll find the Tourist Office; pop in to pick up some excellent brochures and guides.

As well as a number of grand buildings around the edge of the square and the aforementioned statue (of Ban Jelacic himself), you will spot Mandusevac Fountain. This tiny fountain may not look like much, but it’s an important site in Zagreb’s history. Built atop a natural spring (that has supposedly existed for centuries), the fountain has even given the city of Zagreb its name. (As the legend goes, a girl called Manda was told to scoop up water (“Mando, zagrabi!“) by a passing knight).

Head northwards from the main square next to Muller department store and you’ll reach Zagreb Cathedral. This originally 13th-century structure (with many additions and reconstructions over the years) is an important symbol of the city, not least its twin spires. They were sadly quite badly damaged during the 2020 earthquake and are still under the process of being repaired. In front of the Cathedral is the beautiful Monument of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Zagreb Cathedral
Zagreb Cathedral

Now cross Kaptol Street to head westwards and you’ll come to Zagreb’s large open-air market, Dolac. It is always exceedingly full of life in the mornings, understandably; walk the aisles looking at all the fresh products. It’s also a good place to pick up a souvenir or two! (There’s also an indoor market selling meat, fish items and similar items underneath this open-air part.)

Take the northerly exit from Dolac and then the first left to come to Tkalciceva ulica. This fully pedestrianised street has a good reputation for its numerous cafes and bars; while you might like to make a stop for a coffee now (along with half of Zagreb) – Otto and Frank would be a good pick – I’m not done with our day 1 morning itinerary!

Head left and then the first right to find yourself on Radiceva ulica; walk a few minutes north until you come to the statue of Saint George slaying a dragon. (Yes, that same one that’s the patron saint of England.) Walk up the stone ramp to find yourself at the mesmerising Stone Gate (Kamenita vrata). A fire in 1731 destroyed all of a wooden gate that used to be the eastern entrance to then Gradec town – apart from this painting of the Virgin Mary here that still exists. It is now somewhat of a shrine, and you will notice people lighting candles here or praying.

Continue walking westwards; it’s not long before you come to the wonderful St Mark’s Church, another true symbol of Zagreb. Marvel at the beautiful tiled roof which depicts the coat of arms of Zagreb on the right and the coat of arms of the 19th/early 20th-century Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia on the left. On the right-hand side of the church is the Croatian parliament building, Sabor, while on the left is the Croatian government headquarters, Vlada.

St Mark's Church, Zagreb
St Marks Church

Now head south to a smallish rectangular tower, Lotrscak. Aim to be here for 12pm if you like loud noises – for the tower has a canon that is fired at 12 on the dot every day. (Or stay away if you get easily scared; in fact, you’ll hear the boom! almost everywhere!)

Opposite Lotrscak Tower is the top station of Zagreb’s funicular. Buy a ticket from the booth and then sit yourself down for the short trip down to Ilica.

If this exploration has not satisfied you yet, spend a bit longer wandering the streets of Zagreb’s Upper Town (Gornji grad) to see what else you can uncover.

Two Days in Zagreb - Lotrscak Tower
Lotrscak Tower (The rectangular building)

Day 1 Lunch – Pastry delight

You’re probably quite exhausted from all that walk, aren’t you? Let’s grab something hearty for lunch. Head back towards Dolac market to Burek Dolac for a…burek, a meat or cheese-filled pastry that is very typical in the Balkans. Devour your pastry, and then consider whether you should get the apple-filled one for dessert too? (The answer is yes!)

Day 1 PM – Parklife and a spot of museum culture

Seeing as you’ve covered a considerable amount of ground in Zagreb’s Upper Town, it would be a real shame to miss the lower town. Rectify this by heading south from Trg ban Jelacic (take Praska ulica which is almost opposite Mandusevac Fountain) until you hit Zrinjevac Park. At first glance, you might think this is just a small bit of greenery in central Zagreb, but start taking a stroll through the park’s paths you’ll welcome the pretty surroundings and relaxed atmosphere. Take a moment to sit on a park bench and watch local Zagrebians go about their day – I’m sure you’ll see a few young ones horsing around in the park too.

Two Days in Zagreb - Zrinjevac Park
Zrinjevac Park

After you’ve taken a breather, continue heading south to the rest of the trio of parks – through Josip Juraj Strossmayer Park – and then on to Trg Kralja Tomislava to see the wonderful grand Art Pavillion, a large fountain and a statue of King Tomislav himself. Beyond that is the late-19th century Zagreb Main Train Station (Glavni Kolodvor) building and to the west you’ll also spot the imposing and historic Esplanade Zagreb Hotel that was built as a stop for passengers on the Orient Express.

Now that you’ve had a good stroll in Zagreb’s Lower Town, it’s museum time. Zagreb is home to many a fine museum and gallery, with many older ones and some more modern and quirky ones too. The Museum of Broken Relationships is a celebrated one, rightfully so, and I love the Zagreb 80s Museum. For art, consider the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Mimara Museum.

Two Days in Zagreb - Museum of Broken Relationships

Alternative: If you’d like to continue outdoor adventures (perhaps you have kids that need to run around!), hop on a tram to the Maksimir area of Zagreb to enjoy a pretty park (the oldest park in Zagreb) and the excellent-value Zagreb Zoo.

Day 1 PM – Dinner and Drinks

Try some cuisine that is typical in this part of Croatia at Stari Fijaker just off Ilica. Start off with one of the warming soups – the Zagorje Soup with potato, ham and mushrooms in particular – before opting for a dish of stuffed cabbage and sausage, duck or turkey with mlinci (a style of pasta) or Zagreb steak (veal filled with cheese and ham).

Zagreb is not a place that is short on drinking establishments, that’s for sure. Try one of the Pivovara Medvedgrad locations (the most central, and largest, one is on Ilica) to sample the locally produced beer. Or hear back to Tkalciceca ulica for a bit of a pub or bar crawl!

Day 2 AM – Breakfast

Eggspress in Vlaska ulica has been getting rave reviews for its inventive and beautifully presented egg dishes. Join the crowds and fill yourself up for an energetic morning!

Day 2 AM – Explore on two wheels

Now that you’ve got your energy levels up, let’s spend the morning seeing Zagreb from a slightly different viewpoint – on two wheels. Join a cycle tour that will cover some of what you saw yesterday on foot, but much more besides too – such as venturing into Novi Zagreb (New Zagreb) an area of the city that is south of the River Sava. There are several different companies running bicycle tours, but we’d recommend 4-Hour Cycling Tour during which you’ll see a number of important sights with your guide.

Alternative 1: You may have noticed the colourful street art in the city – learn more with the 2.5-hour Zagreb Street Art Tour about some of the unusual and interesting paintings on show.

Alternative 2: If you’d like to have a bit more of a leisurely morning, why not do a spot of shopping? Take a look at our guide to Shopping in Zagreb for some of the best shops and areas to seek out.

Day 2 Lunch – Sample some specialities

Just south of the main square, Heritage – Croatian Food is a quick place for lunch but is anything but unhealthy fast food. Their flatbread sandwiches contain meats and cheeses that are Croatian specialities (such as Slavonian sausage or cheese from Lika), whilst their dried fig and walnut salad is a must.

(Note: the restaurant is very small so I would recommend making a reservation – or turning up as soon as they open for lunch at 12pm – to eat here.)

Day 2 PM – Up, up and away

Let’s get “out of Zagreb” for a bit, hey? I don’t actually mean leaving the city at all…well, barely…but instead up to the peak of Medvednica Mountain that sits above Zagreb. These days it’s a fun journey up there because you can make use of the Zagreb Cable Car. (Read up my post to find out all about how to get to the base station.) The cable car itself is all part of this afternoon’s fun, but once you’re up on Sljeme, enjoy the views all around. You can also enjoy a nice coffee and sweet treat at the restaurant here, or go up even further to the Sljeme 360 Viewpoint to enjoy the cafe (and board games) there.

Zagreb Cable Car Top Station
The top station of Zagreb Cable Car

Alternative: If you’re visiting Zagreb in summer when it can be quite sweltering, consider heading out to Lake Jarun in the southwest of the city. (Tram number 17 runs to here.) Here you can swim in the lake and then sunbathe to dry off, or seek shelter amongst the greenery. There are also plenty of sports activities on offer here too if you want to raise your heartbeat somewhat.

Two Days in Zagreb - Lake Jarun
Lake Jarun

Alternative 2: If you would like to make a short hop actually out of the city, consider heading out to the pretty little town of Samobor. It’s only about 50 minutes/1 hour away (take a look at timetables and tickets on the Zagreb Bus Station website). Explore the main part of town and the nearby ruins of Samobor Castle, shop for arts and crafts and make sure to make time for a slice of kremsnita! (A cream cake Samobor is famous for.)

Day 2 PM – Dinner and Drinks

For something special for your last night in Zagreb, why not opt for Zagreb’s Michelin-starred restaurant? Noel serves up a tasting menu that contains – simply put – stunning art-like dishes made up of seasonal ingredients and using top culinary techniques. Many of the dishes are modern twists on typically Croatian fare. This is not a meal that you’ll forget in a hurry!

For something a little lower in price but still very tasty, head to Boban for its mix of Mediterranean and Croatian cuisine in a charming setting.

Round off the special evening – in fact, the whole special two days in Zagreb – with cocktails at the Esplanade 1925 Lounge Bar in the Esplanade Hotel. Opt for one of the signature cocktails; a fitting one would be the “Zagreb” made with local spirit Pelinkovac and chesnut liqueur.

Two Days in Zagreb – Where to Stay

There is so much excellent Accommodation in Zagreb that you’ll really be spoilt for choice. Everything from hotels (at all star levels and budgets) to hostels, and plenty of private apartments too.

Take a look at the map below to search for accommodation in the city.


Two Days in Zagreb – Getting Around

Despite being a large city – Croatia’s largest of course – you’ll find that for the most part, Zagreb is a very walkable city, and especially so right in the centre.

Beyond that, the tram and bus network is pretty extensive…and trams are always fun to use! Get yourself a block of tram tickets from any newspaper kiosk and then you can make multiple journeys whilst you’re exploring.

I would really recommend that you download the CityMapper transport app (they do indeed have Zagreb as one of their cities) to help with your navigation.

If you need some help in getting to and from Zagreb Airport, take a look at our special page.

Two Days in Zagreb – More Things to See

To set yourself up before you head off for two days in Zagreb, take a look at our Sightseeing in Zagreb page for ideas of more things to see and do. And for a little preview, check out our Photos of Zagreb and Zagreb Photos 2 pages.

There’s tonnes of excellent information about Zagreb on the web. After you’ve read up everything on Visit Croatia, take a look at the Zagreb Tourist Board website.

Enjoy your two days in Zagreb!