Photograph by Anna Gorin, Getty Images
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The Zagreb Cathedral was originally constructed in the 13th century and is the tallest building in the country.

Photograph by Anna Gorin, Getty Images

Discover the Best of Zagreb

Ten things to do in Croatia's capital city.

Natural Wonder

Medvednica is a mountain that is located close to Zagreb and is a natural space as well as preservation. The tallest peak is Sljeme and it overlooks the city of Zagreb to its north. Medvednica is 63 percent forest and the perfect weekend refuge from Zagreb and city life. If you're looking for an alternative to the majestic mountains, take a day trip to Lonjsko Polje, the largest wetland in Croatia and the Danube Basin.

Archeological Site

The Archaeological Museum in Zagreb is a renowned museum in the Croatian capital where the curious can explore artifacts and monuments from Croatia, but in particular from around the Zagreb region. There are currently more than 450,000 artifacts housed inside of the Archaeological Museum. When you are done scouring the museum, head to the nearby village of Scitarjevo where you can explore the ruins of the Roman Andautonia, a settlement located on the southern bank of the Sava River.

UNESCO Site

Escape the chaos of the city for a day and head to Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO recognized park with hanging waterfalls that make nature lovers swoon at even the thought of seeing them in person. While there are no UNESCO sites in Zagreb itself, you can also take a quick jaunt the coastline where you will find plenty of historical UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Cultural Experience

The Dolac Market is a farmer's market located in the Upper Town (Old Town) of Zagreb that is a must-visit. At the market, you will find an abundance of local farmers and distributors selling local fruits and vegetables. This is a prime time to learn more about the fresh produce the region has to offer and the work that goes into getting these products to hungry consumers. Croatia is the supplier for a large number of organic produce offerings in the European Union and that plays into its agricultural stance and importance.

Best Day Trip

Zagreb offers travelers several day trip options but the most popular is inevitably Plitvice Lakes National Park, known for its teal-green waterfalls and nature. Plitvice can become a hub for mass tourism during the summers so it is best to visit it slightly outside of its high season. Autumn is particularly beautiful at Plitvice as the foliage against the water makes for an unforgettable photo opportunity. If you're looking for something a bit lesser known head to Rastoke, a watermill village where the Slunjčica River flows into the Korana River by means of cascading waterfalls. It may not be as famous or as impressive as Plitvice, but you're almost guaranteed to be surrounded by fewer tourists.

Off the Beaten Path

Sometimes off the path and sometimes completely on someone's radar is Zagreb's Design District. This area of Zagreb on Marticeva Street is brimming with local artists, creatives, and the city's most unique residents. Events are constantly taking place and the scene is thriving and expanding by the day. This is a great place to see a different side of the city as it stands out compared to the homogenous architecture and businesses in other parts of Zagreb.

Most Iconic Place

Saint Mark's Church, located aptly in Saint Mark's Square, is easily Zagreb's most recognizable attraction. The 13th-century church displays the medieval coat of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia, and Slavonia on the left side of the roof. On the right side, you will find the emblem of Zagreb. The Saint Mark's Church is located in the city's Upper Town, or Old Town.

Historic Site

The Zagreb Cathedral, one of the city's more prominent sights, is a Roman Catholic church that survived an earthquake yet still stands proudly in the city, always ready to show off to tourists. You can view it from the outside—its spires are visible from almost anywhere in the city—or step inside to explore the ornate, decor. The Zagreb Cathedral is still in use today.

Local Quirk

In the areas around Ban Jelačić Square, Zagreb turns into a fashion show on Saturdays when locals get dressed to the nines for the social gathering referred to as 'špica." To witness this weekly event, be sure to be in the square around 10 a.m. where you will see long, glitzy gowns and fashionistas taking over Zagreb. If you happen to be in Zagreb during the time of secondary school graduation, you may have the chance to witness Norijada, a major street party of teens drinking, dancing, blowing whistles, and celebrating the end of their school year and beginning of the summer.

People-Watching Spot

There are several areas of Zagreb to witness the everyday lives of the locals but perhaps the most famous is around Ban Jelačić Square, especially on Saturdays, and King Tomislav Square—a popular square in Zagreb that is also home to the Art Pavilion on the northern side of the park and the railway station on the other side. During the spring, King Tomislav Square comes alive with flowers blooming and anxious teens waiting for the end of the school year.