Whether you’re spending a weekend in the city or visiting on route to the coast, the lively Croatian capital has plenty to keep you entertained. Here are a few ideas for how to spend 3 days in Zagreb.
Day 1: Take a Walking Tour
Start your explorations in the central Jelačića square from where it’s an easy walk to all the city’s top attractions. Ride the funicular to the Upper Town (Gornji Grad) where you can take in the views from the picturesque Strossmayer Promenade, light a candle at the Stone Gate (Kamenita vrata) shrine, and pay a visit to the grand Gothic Zagreb Cathedral of the Assumption. In the Lower Town (Donji Grad), stop for coffee in Cvjetni Trg (Flower Square), then discover the scenic loop of Lenuci’s Horseshoe, stopping off to check out the Botanical gardens and the Croatian National Theatre along the way.
Day 2: Tour the City’s Museums
The streets of central Zagreb are brimming with museums and art galleries, and you could easily spend an entire day taking in the highlights. The Mimara Museum is a must, housing the extensive collection of artworks and artifacts amassed by collector Ante Topic Mimara, as is the award-winning Museum of Broken Relationships, one of Europe’s most unique museums, devoted to the unrequited and lost loves of people around the world. For art fanatics, the Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Arts and Crafts, the Miroslav Kraljevic Gallery and the Gallery of Naïve Art are all worth a visit.
Day 3: Get out of Town
One of the most popular side trips from Zagreb is to the Plitvice Lakes National Park, but if you’re short on time, you might be better exploring the closer sights. The beautifully preserved Trakošćan Castle is a top choice, set in a fairytale landscape of English-style gardens. Combine it with a trip to nearby Varaždin, which served as the Croatian capital during the 18th-century, and is one of Eastern Europe’s most impressive Baroque towns, featuring highlights like the striking 16th-century Town Hall and the looming Stari Grad fortress, now home to the Town Museum.