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Where to stay and what to do in Zagreb?

Our RS Best of the Adriatic Tour ends in June and we have an afternoon, evening, plus the next day in Zagreb before we catch our flight home the following day. Looking for suggestions on where to stay and what to see in the day and a half we have in Zagreb.

Posted by
2173 posts

This past summer we stayed at the Palace Hotel. Great location and lovely breakfast. We alwasy go to the enthnographic museum in most cities to get a feel for the people and country. They have a lovely one in zagreb, (visitzagreb.hr) You can also walk from the lower town to the upper town then take the funicluar back down. The upper town has few museums and Churches worth visiting, especially St. Mark’s with the tiled roof.

Posted by
19375 posts

As Barbara said, the bi-level historic district is very picturesque and great for wandering. Zagreb has an active café culture, so just being in that area is enjoyable.

The city also has a large number of museums. Some are quite small, including a few that are single-artist spots. Those tend to be located in the historic district. The larger museums are mostly positioned between the historic area and the train station. A look at your guidebook or a skim through TripAdvisor's Things to Do list will allow you to identify places that might appeal to your traveling party. When I visited Zagreb in 2015, the tourist office had a very useful brochure about the local museums. I had to ask for it specifically.

Of the smaller museums I especially liked the Naïve Art Museum (second floor, I think no elevator) and the Museum of Broken Relationships, both in the historic area. There aren't that many naïve-art museums in the world, and this is a really, really good one. The MBR sounds strange, and I had my doubts, but it was a lot of fun. But as I said, these are just two examples of the possibilities. I'd just put together a list of potential stops and see where my walk around the historic center took me.

I'd want to stay near the historic area, which means north of the railroad station. The station itself is rather underutilized (the bus station is far busier), so there aren't a lot of services in the immediate area. Your hotel choice will probably put you fairly near the larger, mainstream museums.

Posted by
8 posts

Above all, it is a must to visit the old city center core. Naturally, the hotels in that area are pricier, but it shouldn't pose too much of a problem if it's just a night or two.

Just by walking through the "Upper City" you will discover lots of historical and cultural monuments, as well as several museums, ancient churches (as the aforementioned St. Mark's church), and other beautiful sights. A walk from the main square to the main train station is (right through those green parks) is also one of my favorite parts of Zagreb.

If you can make it, apart from the inner city, I would also suggest visiting at least one "green" sight as well - Jarun lake, Bundek lake, Maksimir park, etc.

Posted by
12 posts

Thank you all. We always enjoy walking & exploring and it sounds like that’s a great way to experience Zagreb.

We are debating renting a car to see the area outside of Zagreb and possibly stay at a castle hotel in Slovenia. We would then need to park the car somewhere in Zagreb for our day of touring there. Any suggestions for that?

Also, we would be crossing the border from Croatia to Slovenia one day and back the next. Any issues we should be aware of for border crossings in this area?

Posted by
8 posts

If you plan on visiting Slovenia, then yes you would need a car. If you decide otherwise, my suggestion would be to even rent a bike instead, as Zagreb is not that big of a city, so you can pedal your way to the other places with just a bit of effort, if that's your cup of tea. Also, the weather around June tends to be really nice.

Should you get a car, finding parking can be a bit of trouble only in the strict inner city, although there are a few parking garages as well to help you if need be (Tuskanac, Cvjetni, Petrinjska...)

As for crossing the border, it's a minimal hassle since both Croatia and Slovenia are part of the EU. I'm not 100% sure how it is for people outside of EU, but I really think it's not a problem at all.

Posted by
12 posts

We are regular casual bikers (30-40km is our typical ride) so that sounds like a wonderful suggestion. Where can we rent bikes and what routes or areas would you suggest for a 2 or 4 hour bike ride? We prefer biking on trails rather than streets, but don’t know if that’s an option.

Here are our plans so far:
Monday, arrive Zagreb airport, rent car, drive to Slovenia, stay at Otocek castle overnight.

Tuesday: either drive to Zagreb, park the rental car where we can bike/walk in & around Zagreb, drive to an airport hotel (need recommendations) after dinner. Or stay in old city and drive ourselves to airport in the morning for our 10am flight home. Or since we don’t need a car in Zagreb we could ditch the car & our bags at the airport (are there lockers?) in the morning and shuttle to/from the airport for our day in Zagreb.

PS. Our guidebook has been ordered. Sorry if I am asking questions that could be answered if we just read the book!

Posted by
20 posts

Upon your return to Zagreb, stay in center city near Ban Jelačić Square.

The airport is close to the city (20 minutes), and there is not a hotel right at the terminal, so you will be taking a shuttle or short taxi ride to the terminal in the morning anyway. So, at best, you are saving 15 minutes by staying near the airport. Central Zagreb is excellent for an evening stroll, and no matter what you fancy (restaurants, cafe, bar, people watching, quieter stroll through old town, etc.), it's all within a 5 minute walk. Enjoy that last night in the city!

Oh, and for your early morning flight, Zagreb's new terminal is beautiful and efficient. There is a nice cafe airside to grab a bite before your flight.

Posted by
12 posts

Don’t know what we are going to do or see in Zagreb yet. Still waiting for our RS guidebook to arrive.

We booked our hotels: Otocec castle hotel for our first night in Slovenia and Jagerhorn in Zagreb for our second night. We will have a rental car to get from Zagreb airport to Otocec. The next morning we plan to drop the car off at the airport and shuttle into Zagreb. We will also need a shuttle to the airport the next morning to catch a 10am flight back to Canada. Any recommendations for a shuttle service?

Posted by
2145 posts

To get back and forth from the airport, there is a bus. You pick up the bus at the bus station. The bus station is right on the tram line. It all works together - easy and simple.