A quick stopover in Zagreb: What to do in one day

Zagreb is nothing like the medieval towns of Split and Dubrovnik, and yet, warrants a day or two. Here is a broad itinerary for what to do and see in Zagreb in a day. This was the start of our 2 week itinerary in Croatia.

There is interesting architecture, small museums, good restaurants and beautiful parks to be enjoyed in Zagreb. We explored the city by walking around everywhere.

What to do in Zagreb in one day: Start with Ban Jelačić Square

This is the central square of the city of Zagreb, named after Ban Josip Jelačić. We were staying in the city centre, so we walked to this square, though it is well connected by the public transport to other city areas.

Close to the square is the Zagreb Cathedral, with lots of Gothic architectural elements.

what to do in zagreb one day, what to see in zagreb
The imposing Zagreb Cathedral

We only had a few hours to kill in the city before driving down to Ljubljana. We decided to walk about the Square, taking in the sights, watching the people thronging about, feeling the summer buzz in the air. And then my husband and daughter went off to another lively square to enjoy street performances and ice-cream while I headed to Upper town.

Explore Upper town

Upper Town is the most charming part of Zagreb, in my opinion. It is definitely a must-do if you have just a day in Zagreb. It’s not overcrowded, traffic here is limited, and is full of interesting landmarks, museums and small cafes.

To reach this part, I had taken a right turn on Tomićeva Street and saw an adorable funicular. I discovered that this is the shortest cable car in the world. It has been transporting people between the Upper and Lower towns for about 120 years. Seemed like something that my daughter would have enjoyed!

what to do in zagreb one day, what to see in zagreb
I took the stairs and then crossed an underpass to reach the Upper town. Street art all over that underpass.
what to do in zagreb one day, what to see in zagreb
St. Marks Church in the Upper town. This is a picturesque area to stroll around.

Just before the St. Marks Church in the Upper Town, is the Museum of Broken Relationships. This is a quirky museum – all items here are relics of broken relationships. Each item is accompanied by a story: some funny, others sad.

The Museum of Broken Relationships grew from a travelling exhibition. It offers a chance to overcome an emotional collapse through creation: by contributing to the Museum’s collection. People embraced the idea of exhibiting their emotional legacy as a sort of ritual, a solemn ceremony.

Fun Facts

Total number of exhibits in the collection: Between 1619 to 1700

The country most represented in the collection: USA

Donors’ Male- Female ratio: 35: 65%

The only replica exhibited: A mould of an ecstasy pill donated in Amsterdam (the original couldn’t be exhibited due to strict Croatian laws)

Zagreb is full of small museums – some of the more popular ones being Museum of Illusions, Croatian Museum of Native Art, Technical Museum – we didn’t have time to explore any of these.

During summer time, Zagreb and many places in Croatia host music festivals. Check out the best music festivals in Croatia to add to your itinerary.

Have a meal at Tkalčićeva Street

Another area to explore is the pedestrian-only Tkalčićeva Street, a beautiful street lined with restaurants, cafes and small boutiques. A river flowed here that separated the districts of Kaptol and Gradec. At the end of the 19th century, because of the pollution, the river was filled in and converted into streets.

We had a delicious breakfast at Otto & Frank on Tkalčićeva Street. This sumptuous breakfast served us well before we got on driving to the Plitvice national park.

Another restaurant elsewhere, worth mentioning for food is Mali Bar, it serves good fusion food. Check this post for a preview of local & traditional Croatian food dishes to try.

Pin it for later!

Zagreb Things To Do

Have you had any unusual experience wandering around a new city?

Subscribe to Zest In A Tote Digest, my monthly newsletter, for travel tips and inspiration.

Join me on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook as I share my travel experiences.

Author: Shweta Singhal

Hi! I am Shweta, the zest behind this blog . I play several roles – parent to a 6-year old, adventure enthusiast, travel blogger, generally open to trying out new things in life. Besides travel, I love books and theatre and art. I would love to hear from you; do drop a comment. Join me on Instagram / Twitter @zestinatote.

2 thoughts

    1. Thanks Mridula. I felt a teeny weeny bad about abandoning the family, but loved this solo experience. Your comment made me relive the evening!

Join the discussion! I'd love to hear from you.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.