VLOGS AND BLOGS
ONE DAY IN ZAGREB, CROATIA
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH ONE DAY IN ZAGREB?
If you only have one day in Zagreb, there are so many amazing things you can do. We spent a month living in Croatia’s capital (see more about travelling full-time here) and we can say from experience it is a seriously underrated travel destination. Zagreb might not have the blue water, sandy beaches and beautiful coastline that’s usually associated with Croatia, but it makes up for it with it’s incredible architecture, delicious food and friendly local faces. It’s a city that’s so full of surprises and one we don’t recommend you miss. Even if you only have a mere 24 hours, we’ve covered off our top reasons why you should visit Zagreb and the top things you should do while you’re there.
There’s a special dish specific to this part of Croatia – it’s called štrukli, and it’s a type of a filled pastry made with dough that can be served sweet as a desert, savoury baked in the oven, boiled, dipped in cream, and some are even put it in soups! We went to a café recommended by our local Airbnb hosts called La Struk and ordered the traditional baked salty cheese štrukli filled with fresh cottage cheese which we loved because of the creamy saltiness. We also tried an apple and cinnamon štrukli which wasn’t as good. You can’t leave Zagreb without trying štrukli because we struggled to find it as good anywhere on the coast. Watch our full video here to see more.
DO A DIY CITY WALKING TOUR
Zagreb is possibly one of the easiest cities to explore that we’ve found — by foot mainly, but the trams were efficient, cheap, regular and fast as well. There are multiple walking streets, squares and parks to stumble across that make it feel so varied and like it fits any style of travel. It’s easy to go full blown tourist mode and create your own DIY city walking tour by mapping your way around the sights. Zagreb Cathedral, Ban Jelačić Square, Grič Tunnel, St Marks Cathedral, taking the teeny tiny funicular from lower to upper town are just some of the things you can’t miss. For something different, you can even check out the Museum of Broken Relationships. The city is so easily walkable you can tick these off in one day in extreme mode or take your time over multiple and learn the history.
CATCH A DINAMO FOOTBALL MATCH
Logistically, this one might be tough to organise but if you can make the timing work we highly recommend catching a local Dinamo football game in Zagreb. Going to the football was one of our craziest, most random and memorable experiences of late. Zagreb Dinamo are the local football side and are currently top of the table. Getting to the stadium was super easy to catch the tram so we went for it! Don’t make the mistake of not printing out your tickets like we did and be prepared for the real show… which isn’t the football itself but the Bad Blue Boys supporters. Fire and flares are a common thing here and it’s crazy for outsiders to witness, watch our video here to prepare yourself before you go!
DRINK LOCAL CRAFT BEER
The craft beer in Zagreb is possibly the best we’ve ever tasted, or maybe the most unique, which we loved. One in particular was red in colour but had a creamy taste — not our normal pick off a menu but the addiction was strong. It was called Medvegrad, and it’s available in different bars all over the city. Don’t forget to order a cheeky salted cheese croissant too! Again, we found this a difficult one to find down the coast so if you only have one day in Zagreb, slide this one up to the top of your list and thank us later.
VISIT DOLAC MARKETS
Zagreb is full of local farmer’s markets but the best and most popular is the Dolac Markets. Located right next to the main square, it’s super easy to find and well worth a visit. Here you’ll find everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to meats, cheeses and flowers. Be warned, you will see A LOT of wasps — after spending so long in Asia we assumed at first they were flies. Upon closer inspection and a few matrix style moves later we discovered that they were in fact wasps. The reason there are so many here is down to the fact that the produce is super fresh. We’re told it’s generally a sign that there are no pesticides in use and the wasps make themselves at home when the fruit is sweet and ripe.
GET AMONGST THE COFFEE CULTURE
Coffee in Zagreb was on a different level from other places in Croatia (trust us, we did a lot of research on this one) The coffee culture here is different from anything we’ve ever seen. Almost every street is lined with chairs and tables filled with locals sipping on espressos and smoking cigarettes. Apart from the smoke, we love this vibe and we loved their lattes and flat whites even more. You can embrace this café culture anywhere in town, but for something different we recommend trying Turkish coffee at Quahwa. Here, they heat their Turkish coffee in ridiculously hot sand and you can watch it bubble right in front of you. Confused? Check out our video here.
BEFORE YOU VISIT ZAGREB FOR A DAY
Croatian Kuna (credit card is also widely accepted).
Super friendly and helpful, great level of English spoken.
Our most commonly used Croatian word was ‘Hvala’ which means thank you.
Trams are super easy and cheap, buy your paper tickets from a local Tisak (we just bought the 30min tickets for 4 Kuna each) and make sure you validate them in the little yellow boxes at the back of the tram. They have Uber & taxis in Zagreb too.
Where to Stay
We recommend staying in the old part of town close to Ban Jelačić Square. There are plenty of hotels and Airbnb’s to choose from. Sign up to Airbnb here and receive $40 USD off your first stay, we use these guys all over the world and highly recommend the service. Or if you’re more of a hotel person you can get $25 USD off your hotel stay here.
Whether you’re spending one day in Zagreb or one month, don’t leave home without travel insurance. We wrote an entire post on the importance of travel insurance (check it out here) but if you just want to jump in and get an instant online quote you can do so here.
Travel safe and enjoy your trip!
Dane & Stacey