Many travelers skip Croatia's vibrant, youthful capital in favor of the coast, but Zagreb perfectly complements any Croatian itinerary. With grandiose Austro-Hungarian architecture, a never-ending calendar of festivals and events, the best coffee scene in the country, and nearby hiking and skiing, there's plenty to see and do in buzzy, authentic Zagreb.

Getting Oriented

The medieval St. Mark's Church in Zagreb.

Croatia's vibrant, energetic, and youthful capital is not to be missed. It's the perfect starting and/or ending point of a Croatian trip and a great way to balance a buzzy European city with the relaxed vibes of the Adriatic coast. Zagreb sits in the country's north, surrounded by lush nature, vineyards, castles, and hiking opportunities. And although it's an inland city, Zagreb is connected to the north Adriatic coast via major roadways. The most popular areas with the locals (thanks to the proximity) are Istria, Krk Island, and the Primorje-Gorski Kotar area.

Although an excellent complement to your Croatian adventure, Zagreb is also a great city escape on its own, and comfortable in all seasons. Enjoy the bustle of summer terraces and markets, the subtle autumnal colors of its forests, the beautiful spring blooms that linger for months, and one of the best holiday markets in Europe come wintertime. Plus, Zagreb is close to many of Croatia's hidden gems.

Explore the City

Zagreb often surprises its visitors, offering varied architecture, a fairytale-like Old Town, parks and greenery, and vibrant local markets.

Walking Tour of Zagreb

Explore the city's historic "Upper Town."

Enjoy a walking tour of Zagreb's historic core, roughly divided into two main parts: Upper Town and Lower Town, both expanded from medieval settlements. Along the way, some highlights include the Cathedral, Dolac Market, St. Mark's Church, and the House of Parliament, plus the Croatian National Theater and Ban Jelacic Square, the city's heart. For a break, stop to enjoy traditional štrukli, a beloved Croatian dish at a local restaurant. Read More

Food Tour at Dolac Market

Aerial view of Zagreb's Upper Town, featuring the red umbrellas of Dolac Market.

Explore Zagreb with your tastebuds and join the locals at the city's famed food hub, Dolac Market. Known locally as "Plac," this colorful market draws farmers and culinary artisans throughout the countryside, presenting the highest quality produce and unique specialties. Chat with producers and learn about the market's significance while trying a few different samples. Then, sit down with the locals for an authentic dish like štrukli or a drink of rakija. Read More

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Discover the Nature

Zagreb is small for a bustling European capital, but its surroundings make it even more special. Explore the city's sprawling nature park and countryside, offering hikes, biking trails, skiing, overnight cabins, castles, vineyards, and more.

Hiking Medvednica & Medvedgrad

The castle of Medvedgrad with views over Zagreb.

Enjoy a hike through Zagreb's own nature park, Medvednica, a densely vegetated oasis just north of the city. Set atop a hill within the park is Medvedgrad, a 13th-century medieval castle. The best way to experience its ruins is on foot with a moderate trek through the forests and along a refreshing stream. Hear the story of the Black Queen from atop the castle and enjoy incredible panoramic views of the city. Read More

Lunch & Wine Tasting in Zagreb's Countryside

The colorful countryside surrounding Zagreb.

Escape into Zagreb's peaceful and lush countryside, exploring some of the rural villages that dot this hilly landscape. Along the way, stop to enjoy traditional local specialties at a small family-owned eatery. You can try favorite dishes, such as roasted duck with mlinci, a traditional flatbread, or wild boar ragu. Then, taste some of the region's indigenous grape varietals with a wine tasting. Read More

Enjoy a Day Trip

Zagreb is close to numerous hotspots, making it the perfect hub to enjoy favorites, including hiking in Plitvice Lakes or castle-hopping in Zagorje. 

Visit Plitvice Lakes 

Misty beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park in autumnal colors.

Plitvice Lakes National Park is the oldest and most popular in Croatia, and for a good reason. This fairytale-like natural oasis offers 16 emerald lakes, 90 powerful cascades, several caves, and dense forests. It's a great day trip or overnight excursion from multiple places in the country at any time of the year. Luckily, Zagreb isn't far, so you can easily enjoy a day and a picnic lunch amongst the serene nature. Read More

Discover the Castles of the Zagorje Region

Trakošćan Castle, one of the fortresses of the Zagorje region.

Not far from Zagreb is the picturesque Zagorje region, known for its vineyards, castles, and quaint villages. Explore the area by visiting two of its most famous fortresses, starting with 14th-century Trakošćan Castle, which sits poetically on a reflective lake. Then head to the 16th-century Veliki Tabor Castle, originally built to defend against Turkish invaders. If you'd like to see some villages, consider a stop in Kumrovec, known for its 19th-century peasant houses and as the hometown of Tito. Read More

How to Craft the Perfect Zagreb Itinerary

Zagreb's National Theater with summer blooms.

As many opt to fly in and out of Zagreb, the city makes an excellent starting and/or ending point for any Croatian itinerary. Although located in the north of the country, Zagreb is still somewhat centrally located. Therefore, you can easily combine a trip to Istria, Zadar, or Split and the islands (Hvar, Vis, or Korčula) with the capital city. For longer trips, you can even combine Dubrovnik or Ston in the south.

If you're wondering how many days to spend in Zagreb, the magic number is four. Four days will give you enough time to explore the city, enjoy the surrounding nature, and take a day trip. But if you combine Zagreb with another region or two in Croatia, it's best to plan for at least one week. Two weeks will give you enough time to incorporate travel days (Croatia is long and narrow) and spend time both on the coast and inland. 

Some popular itinerary combinations include Zagreb, Istria, Zadar; Zagreb, Split, Dalmatian islands; or Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik

Past kimkim travelers have enjoyed the following itineraries featuring experiences in and around Zagreb: