Zagreb is the capital city of Croatia, located in the hinterland to the north. Many tourists rush straight through Zagreb and as they head to the attractive coast but more and more are realizing how amazing Zagreb is, as it reveals a heap of majestic and urban experiences…Let’s uncover some!
Gornji Grad (Upper Town) is certainly the most attractive tourist spot in Zagreb, and for good reason. Gornji Grad is a medieval complex above Zagreb’s main Ban Jelačić Square that consists of charming palaces and churches, museums, galleries, and parliamentary buildings. A great way to get to Gornji Grad is by a funicular, a vertical 66-meter tramway built in 1890 starting on Tomićeva Street. The highlight of Gornji Grad is St. Mark’s Church, a 13th century beauty with a decorative roof featuring the coast of arms of Zagreb as well as the Triune Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia. As you meander through the cobbled-lanes of Gornji Grad, buy the obligatory souvenir, pop into the Pod starim krovovima pub for the hard-to-get Vukovarsko beer on draft as you mingle with the bohemian crowd, pay a visit to the quirky Museum of Broken Relationships, world famous for its exhibits of leftover objects from former failed love relationships. As you make your way downtown again, pass through the tranquil Stone Gate (Kamenita Vrata), featuring a painting of the Mother of God, the only surviving item from a grand fire in 1731. Therefore, today it is the city’s biggest shrine, where visitors light candles in gratitude to the protector of Zagreb.
So we’ve all brought home the odd magnet or kitsch souvenirs from our travels abroad, mostly to be tucked away into a drawer and forgotten forever. Buying a souvenir has become compulsory expense on your trip, so why not buy something useful? You may notice on the Dolac open-air market, that a red umbrella shades all the stalls with colorful stripes at the rim. Well, this is the Šestine umbrella, a symbol of Zagreb, and to brighten up your grey days at home, get one handmade by Cerovečki Crafts. You probably didn’t know that the necktie (cravat) is a Croatian invention, and the best place to buy this world famous fashion accessory is in Zagreb! Bringing home nibbles is always popular and the colorful licitar hearts made of honey dough are a cute reminder of the charming capital.
Some of the most memorable vacation experiences are surrounded by food; try a štrukli cheese pastry at the swanky Esplanade Hotel, a local nibbles from the farmers market of Dolac, a glass of local red in Basement Wine Bar, and Zagrebačka kremšnita vanilla-custard cake at bustling Vincek, to name a few.
The Lenuci Horseshoe
The Lenuci Horseshoe, also known as the Green Horseshoe is an uninterrupted belt of parks and squares that form a U-shape on Zagreb’s Lower Town city grid. The construction of this green haven in a metropolitan landscape was initiated by city surveyor Milan Lenuci in the late 19th century and consists of seven lush squares; Nikole Šubić Zrinskog Square, Josipa Jurja Strossmayer Square, King Tomislav Square, Ante Starčević Square, The Botanical Garden, Mark Marulić Square, Mažuranić Square and Marshal Tito Square. It’s just magical to take a stroll along this historical green strip in an urban center.
If you haven’t already been to Zagreb, include this in your itinerary – you will be in for a surprise. Have you been to Zagreb and experienced it’s fascinating side? Tell us about your experiences and what other discoveries you have made in Croatia’s capital.