A quick stopover in Zagreb: Things to do in a day

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Zagreb is nothing like the medieval towns of Split and Dubrovnik, and yet, warrants a day or two. There is interesting architecture, small museums, good restaurants and beautiful parks to be enjoyed. We explored the city by walking around everywhere. Here are some of the places I would recommend for a day in Zagreb.

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.

Zagreb: Things to do in a day
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.

Do read – Ljubljana: Foodwalk in the cutest European city I have visited

Explore Upper town

Upper Town is the most charming part of Zagreb, in my opinion. 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!

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

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.

Do read – The road less travelled in Plitvice Lakes National Park

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.

Zagreb Things To Do

Headed to Croatian islands? Do read:

Hvar: one of the 10 most beautiful islands in the world

Vis: an interesting history to boot

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

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Author: zestinatote

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.

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