Zagreb is the largest city and capital of Croatia. It has a sizable airport and is relatively easy to get to from other European countries. To get from the airport to the city center, consider using a ride-sharing service such as Uber or specifically Echo Taxis. Other taxi companies have a reputation of over charging tourists and visitors to the city.
When visiting Zagreb, you can easily explore the city on foot. For those who do not enjoy walking, there is a tram system to help you navigate the city. The main reason to rent a car would be to take a day-trip out of Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes, but this can also be done with an organized tour group.
Upper Town, also known as the Old Town area, is located in the city center of Zagreb and is a very central location. Staying in or around Upper Town will make it easy to explore the city. Alternatively, Lower Town is more modern and is the commercial center of Zagreb with many shops and stores. It will have nicer accommodations available and is still conveniently located.
Church with an intricate tiled roof
Large Cathedral and Croatia’s tallest building
Located in Upper Town, this gate is now a shrine. The legend says that during a fire In the 1700s, everything burned except the painting of the Virgin Mary and her son so many come to this gate and location for a prayer. You can walk right through it as it looks like an arch
Largest farmer’s market in Zagreb found near the main square
A unique museum giving visitors different sensory illusions
Climb the tower for views over the city
Plitvice Lakes National Park is a must do day-trip from Zagreb. The park consists of 16 different lakes and is one of the oldest national parks in Croatia. There are trails and pathways running throughout the park, allowing visitors to see the streams and waterfalls linking the 16 lakes together. The water is a breathtaking green and blue color and the park provides so much natural beauty.
When visiting the park, you can choose to visit on your own or with a group. If visiting in July or August, high season, consider going with a small group tour that will show you the highlights of the park and also do a nice job keeping you away from the crowds. We used Petros private tours and were provided with transportation to and from Zagreb, easy access to the park despite crowds (skipped ticket line as the company had pre-organized our visit), and a semi-private tour of the park. We were a more active group and therefore were able to see more of the park in the allotted time frame.
On the way to Plitvice Lakes, stop in Rastoke for 30 minutes to grab a coffee and wander around. Rastoke is a small and cute fairytale-like town. You will not need more that 30 minutes, but nice way to break up the drive to Plitvice Lakes.
Affordable Italian restaurant with a large menu located not far from the main square
Excellent restaurant with Mediterranean cuisine. This restaurant is more expensive, but offers delicious food and is centrally located.
Traditional Croatian cuisine
Another local recommendation for traditional Croatian cuisine
Zagreb provides a nice weekend trip, giving you a day to explore the city and a day to make a trip out to Plitvice Lakes. The city has more of a local feel and does not feel overly touristy, a stark contrast to Dubrovnik in Croatia. When walking around the city, you will notice there are signs all over pointing visitors to tourist destinations. This makes it easy to find key sights.
Zagreb is known for having wonderful Christmas markets in December. Be sure to check these out if visiting around the holidays.
Transportation and Accommodations
Things to do and see
Food and Drinks