Zagreb is Croatia’s Coastline Capital and offers some seriously great big-city attractions. This place is home to one quarter of the country’s population, which makes Zagreb the political and cultural center of Croatia, boasting some of the best museums, restaurants and shopping in the area.
Top Attractions in Zagreb
Zagreb’s Upper Town called Gornji Grad is the main sightseeing spot of the city and boasts attractions like the Cathedral, the Croatian Sabor, the Church of St. Mark, the Tower of Lotrščak, and the hugely popular Museum of Broken Relationships. Soak up all the splendor of the cobblestone streets and red tiled roofs of the buildings that line the medieval town
Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, formerly known as St. Stephen's Cathedral is best known for its two ornate spires and the medieval design that has been maintained over the years despite alterations and the earthquake of 1880.
The Art Pavilion
The yellow Art Nouveau exterior of the Art Pavilion is what will draw your attention (it was originally built for the international exhibition in Budapest) and it is Croatia’s oldest exhibition hall of its kind. The facility can be found I the public square of Trg Kralja Tomislava. You might also want to pay a visit to the Meštrović Gallery with its 300 scupltures in wood, stone and bronze among the other items like drawings, furniture and lithographs related to religion and portraiture.
The Archeological and Ethnographic Museums
Zagreb’s Archeological Museum houses 5 main collections that comprise of roughly 400,000 items relating to Croatian history. The Egyptian mummies, Greek vases and medieval sections of the museum are particularly interesting. As for the Ethnographic Museum, you’ll see a lot of cultural history collections like ceramics, jewelry, gold, musical instruments, textiles, tools and elaborate costumes on display.
What resembles a typical English garden, Maksimir Park comprises of roughly 45 acres of beautiful green landscapes, and its Zagreb’s largest park. It boasts two pavilions, the Bellevue Pavilion and the Echo Pavilion in addition to its many paths and trails, manmade lakes, wooded areas and flower gardens. It’s the best place in the city to head to for some relaxation and perhaps a lovely picnic. The kids will love the park’s small zoo.
The Lotrščak Tower was originally built to guard the southern gate of the Gradex town wall and dates back to the 13th century. It’s one of Zagreb’s most unmissable landmarks and a climb up to the top of the tower rewards visitors with some of the most spectacular views of the city, and once you’re done, head over to the exhibition gallery and quaint little gift shop for some curios. Nearby you’ll find the Stone Gate, the last of the city’s original gates that was built during the 13th century.
Located in Zagreb’s Upper Town you’ll find the City Museum that comprises of the Convent of St. Clar, a 1100’s tower and a 17th century granary. The museum houses 12 collections that make up almost 75,000 pieces describing the history of Zagreb.
The Museums of Naïve Art and Broken Relationships
These unique and quirky museums might sound odd, but they’re well worth visiting. One of Croatia’s most popular museums is the Croatian Museum of Naïve Art showcasing the work of artists like Ivan Generalic, Mraz, Mirko Virius, and Smaljic. Then there’s the Museum of Broken Relationships with its intriguing collection of personal objects and artifacts from old lovers and partners, each accompanied by a detailed description of why the relationship failed.
The Botanical Garden
Zagreb’s Botanical Garden was the Zagreb University’s Faculty of Botany’s original built research area and comprises of 50,000 square meters of land. The garden is part of a series of parks that form Zagreb’s "Green Horseshoe" in Donji Grad. The botanical gardens boast an arboretum, two ponds, an ornamental bridge, and roughly 10,000 different plant species. Nearby you’ll find the Natural History Museum housed in Amadeo Palace, playing home to an estimated 2.5 million pieces.