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Zagreb advice

Hello Friends -

My trip centers upon Slovenia and Austria and Hungary. We won't have time to make a trip to the Croatian seaside during our trip. What about Zagreb? Do you think it's a must, if we will also be seeing other cities in the region like Ljubljana and Budapest? I may ask this question again in the Slovenia forum and just see if I get wildly different answers! ;)

Cheers -

Posted by
2119 posts

This question comes up periodically. You'll get a range of answers, including plenty of people who think it's a ho-hum city not worth a tourist stop. I guess it's not a must, but I really liked it. I haven't been to Budapest so I can weigh in on that. I've been to Ljubljana (on the same trip as Zagreb) and they were very different cities. Ljubljana has great Disney-esque architecture that I loved, but Zagreb felt like a real, working city. It's not a tourist hot-spot and it doesn't try to be, but there's a lot of positive in that. It felt like a slice of history. Great prices on food and lodging, cool old buildings, some clean and shiny and some still covered with Soviet-era grime. It's walkable, with great outdoor markets and the largest outdoor cafe culture I've come across yet.

Is Zagreb out of the way for you? Then maybe it's not worth it. What's the rest of your routing look like? For my trip, I had to fly into there from Dubrovnik and so I stayed for 2 nights. I liked it very much. Check out the Museum of Broken Relationships on Tripavdisor...very interesting.

Posted by
2526 posts

Valerie's opinion fairly well matches mine. Would I go out of the way to visit? No, but it was a convenient transit point and rather enjoyed more time than minimally required. Loved Ljubljana.

Posted by
498 posts

Thanks both of you. I think we'll consider it for a stop over, and I do like a real working city as a contrast to tourist spots. Our agenda is Fly to venice, stay in Trieste, then Ljubljana, (zagreb?) (maribor?) Graz, Vienna, Budapest, home.

Posted by
4881 posts

I'm one of the ones who considered Zagreb kind of "ho-hum." I spent a few nights there back in 2009 at the beginning of my first Croatia trip, and I was done with the main sites in about half a day (I was picking up a car there - it's a convenient place to do that or return one). I like cities, too, but for some reason I didn't find Zagreb very enchanting. I would not go out of my way to see Zagreb myself unless passing through. On my last trip to Croatia in 2015, I flew home via Zagreb (dropping off my car there) and chose not to spend any time there, even though I like to revisit places I've enjoyed (I've been to Ljubljana three times now - love it!) If I had extra time, I'd probably push on to Plitvice Lakes National Park (which I found amazing) about two hours from Zagreb. Or, I'd see other spots in Slovenia. But again, who knows? You might wind up liking it more than I did.

As a compromise, if you have two nights, you could spend them in Zagreb and do a day trip to Plitvice (if that interests you at all) and spend your evenings in Zagreb. There is bus service from the park to/from Zagreb. Plitvice can easily be seen in 5-6 hours.

Most of Slovenia is not very touristy by the way, at least by English native-speaking tourists like Americans. That's one reason I have found it so delightful compared to, say, Italy, which is great in parts but also overrun with tourists in too many places. (Plitvice is quite touristy however.)

Posted by
4881 posts

I also have been to Maribor (and Ptuj) as well as Graz. Graz and Maribor are close, and if you are training to Graz from Ljubljana you will probably pass through Maribor anyway. It's a nice town, not touristy at all but not the huge capitol city that Zagreb is (so lacking in national museums, etc.) On the other hand, Maribor is probably on your way so not a detour like Zagreb probably would be.