Home Europe Croatia Is Zagreb Worth Visiting? 7 Reasons to Visit Zagreb

Is Zagreb Worth Visiting? 7 Reasons to Visit Zagreb

Zagreb: worth visiting

Less frequented than the spectacular Dalmatian coast, is Zagreb worth visiting? We believe it absolutely is. Sure, you don’t have access to the sea or the Croatian islands but you have so many other benefits to make up for that. When you visit Croatia, don’t neglect the capital. It’s got so much to offer tourists and ex-pats.

Elevated 122 m (400 ft) above sea level, this is a more rugged terrain than the serene seaside. This gives it character and charm. Furthermore, it’s home to a quarter of Croatia’s population. That makes it the busiest city with the most going on. If you prefer lively urban living, then this makes it an ideal home.

Zagreb is a central hub of culture and academia. If you want to learn more about the world, then there aren’t many European cities that are better suited to providing this. So, is Zagreb worth visiting? Yes, for the following seven reasons.

A Cultural Powerhouse

Zagreb is worth visiting for it's culture
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Some travelers are interested in rest and relaxation, others in natural exploration. However, many travel to learn about new cultures. If you want to learn about Croatian culture, then there’s no better place to do it than in Zagreb. The city is bursting with museums that help you learn more about the world you live in. If you have enough time, try to visit as many as possible.

One particular museum of note is the Museum of Broken Relationships. It might sound different but that’s exactly what’s so appealing about it. The museum is full of real objects that people have donated after a breakup. Each one comes with a story about why the relationship failed. After wandering around this museum you’ll understand more about life and relationships than any other museum has taught you.

Beyond the museums, check out the Cathedral of Zagreb, St. Mark’s Church, and Ban Josip Jelačić Square. These are the most cultural experiences you can have in Croatia and go beyond what you’ll find at the coastal resort towns. Zagreb really is a cultural powerhouse just waiting to be explored.

Access to Spectacular Mountains

Is Zagreb worth visiting? Yes, for the mountains
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While you may be attracted to the capital because it’s a big city, is Zagreb worth visiting if you also want access to nature? Well, fortunately enough, it has this as well. You’ll be surrounded by some of Europe’s most incredible mountain ranges offering some breathtaking hikes. If you prefer mountains to beaches, then Zagreb is for you. Croatia’s coast, while beautiful, is much flatter.

If you’re looking for specific recommendations, then one of the country’s best mountain hikes is Sljeme. This is a tough one but also one that can be conquered by anyone of moderate fitness levels. The peak is 1033 mm (3389 ft), meaning that it’s not Croatia’s highest mountain but it does offer the most spectacular views.

The highest mountain, if you were wondering, is Dinara. Shared with Bosnia and Herzegovina, it’s a spectacular 1913 m (6276 ft) high. However, it’s a good 3.5-hour drive from Zagreb. Start by exploring the incredible mountains that exist on your doorstep while staying in Zagreb. You can easily lose yourself in the stunning beauty of Croatia’s wilderness, where you might even spot bears and wolves.

A Buzzing Student Scene

Zagreb university attracts students from around the world
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As the cultural center of Croatia, Zagreb is also famed for its university. Zagreb University alone attracts learners from around the world and has a student population of over 70,000. This gives the city a lively and vibrant atmosphere that you may find appealing. Whether you’re young and looking for like-minded friends or just enjoy the energy of a student city, it’s well worth visiting the amazing city of Zagreb.

This means there is a thriving nightlife, with countless bars to visit. Perhaps you’ll relax with an Old Fashioned at the Hemingway Lounge or grab an inventive cocktail at the Old Pharmacy. The streets are filled with hidden joints to relax in the evening among some stunning architecture.

Zagreb is an open and welcoming city which is why visitors just love going there. This is, in large part, due to the influence of the student population. They keep the city feeling fresh, creative, and exciting. If that’s the kind of vibe you’re after, then you should definitely aim to spend at least a few days in Zagreb.

An Easily Navigable City

Zagreb is easy for visitors to explore
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While large cities come with plenty to do and a thriving nightlife, they can often increase stress. That’s because they’re often so spread out. Getting from point A to point B can be a real pain and it’s all too easy to get lost. You’ll be glad to hear, then, that Zagreb is incredibly easy to navigate. The main attractions are all within walking distance of each other and the city center is surprisingly small.

In fact, you rarely need to use public transport. Walking allows you to get to know the city more intimately, to exercise, and to save money, not to mention the environment. That’s why, when deciding whether to visit Croatia or somewhere else and asking yourself ‘is Zagreb worth visiting’, you’ll be swayed towards saying yes. For many travelers, the ideal destination is a place that has all the benefits of a big city but still feels small.

Fun fact: Zagreb is home to the world’s shortest public transport journey. This is in the form of a funicular that takes you from the bottom of a hill to the top. That’s perfect for when you can’t be bothered with the steps. Also, it has the world’s shortest bus line: route 150 that takes just 10 minutes to get from the first stop to the last. This shows just how small and easy to navigate it is in Zagreb city center.

The Best of Outdoor Dining

Eat outdoors like locals in Zagreb
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Zagreb is the perfect place to indulge in Croatian culture. In particular, Croatians have a love of coffee shops and outdoor dining. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Zagreb. On every street corner, there will be another classy dining establishment. There’s something just so pleasant about eating outside in the fresh air.

Being located inland, away from the coast, Zagreb heats up a little quicker than Croatia’s coastal cities. This means that you could be enjoying outdoor dining as early as March. Whether you’re on a streetside or in a park, this is a joyful activity. Unlike some other European cultures, Croatians like to live life at a slower pace, enjoying every moment.

If you’re going abroad to relax, then Zagreb is the perfect place to do just that. The likes of London, Paris, and Rome are too busy, with people constantly rushing around and working too hard. Zagreb is a capital that moves at its own pace, with people often taking a long lunch in the beautiful sun. It’s not that there’s nothing to do, just that people feel that they have plenty of time to do it all.

Streets Paved with History

Is Zagreb worth visiting for its interesting historical streets?
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Zagreb’s history is long and fascinating. But is Zagreb worth visiting if you want to learn more about Croatian historical culture? Absolutely, because you’ll find it on every street. Although the city feels modern at times, the ancient architecture and old-fashioned trams give it an old-timey feel. The city was founded by the Romans but built into what is recognizably Zagreb in the middle ages.

Over the centuries, different styles of architecture have been brought in, bringing new vibes. Downtown Zagreb was mostly constructed in the 1800s but other buildings date back to the 17th Century and earlier. As you slowly discover more and more about this city, you’ll come to learn stories that will blow you away.

Of course, you could read about these stories online in articles like this one. However, nothing beats actually being there and wandering the streets. You’ll feel deeply connected to Zagreb’s proud past as well as its thriving present. The buildings are beautiful and fiercely preserved by the local community.

Access to Beautiful Parks and Gardens

Visit Zagreb for amazing parks and gardens
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There will be times when you want a taste of the countryside but don’t have the time to trek out into the mountains. Fortunately, you can experience the tranquility of nature without leaving Zagreb city center. The city is home to countless parks and gardens, where you can easily escape the bustle of big city life.

The lower town alone is home to seven spacious parks that the public is welcome to use. Surrounded by greenery, waterfowl, and the gentle trickling of water, you’ll keep your stress at a healthy level. Step seamlessly from the busy urban environment into a peaceful garden paradise. Is it worth visiting Zagreb if you want to experience nature on a daily basis? Yes, Zagreb offers exactly that. This is what makes it such an attractive city and one that is frequented by all types of travelers.