Zagreb is Croatia's dynamic and bustling capital and an ideal short break destination or as the starting location for many of our recommended fly drive holidays. The city of Zagreb is located between the lower slopes of the Medvendica Mountain and the banks of the Sava river; the city centre is small enough to be covered on foot and is packed full of places of historical interest and many museums. Zagreb is one of the best examples of a mediaeval city and retains its sense of history coupled with the buzz of a modern city with a wide range of shops, stylish restaurants and cafes located throughout the pleasant squares and alleyways.
Zagreb is divided into two distinct areas; the mediaeval upper town which houses the Cathederal, St. Mark's Square, the Presidential Palace and Croatian parliament; the lower town, dating from the late 19th century, is a planned area of wide boulevards, open squares and parks with an impressive array of public buildings and museums. Visitors may have a sense of deja-vu while strolling down the cobblestone streets of Zagreb’s medieval Upper Town or sipping an espresso on the patio of a turn-of-the-century hotel. For years, movie-makers have been using the city’s classic Austro-Hungarian architecture as a stand-in for capitals like Vienna or Budapest. It is Zagreb you will have seen in many mini-series, including “The Winds of War” and in feature films.
The Upper Town’s picturesque Stone gate, the site of a popular religious shrine, and its towers and fortifications are major tourist attractions. Its churches and chapels, especially its twin-spired neo-Gothic cathedral, the lovely Church of St. Mark and the lavishly baroque Church of St. Catherine are also popular with visitors. In addition to the National Theatre, featuring opera, drama and ballet, Zagreb boasts numerous museums and art galleries, including the Klovicevi dvori in the Upper Town, a major arts and crafts museum, the Mimamra Museum, which houses an extensive and eclectic private collection, and Zagreb University, one of the region’s oldest. Visitors can experience avant-garde theatre and dance at the Zagreb Youth Theatre or attend classical and jazz concerts at the Lisinski Hall.
Croats love their food and Zagreb has many fine restaurants. Try strukle, which is a puff pastry with cottage cheese and purica with mlinci which is turkey with specially prepared pastry, washed down with a cool, crisp Croatian wine, followed by a stroll through Zrinjevac park, with its old trees, fountain and busts of Croatian cultural figures. The area around Zagreb is worth exploring too, nearby are a number of barouque towns, Croatia's most revered mediaeval fortress and Mount Medvednica.
Where to stay
In a few words: "Central, full of history" The palace hotel is located in the very heart of the city of Zagreb on the beautiful Strossmayer Square.
In a few words: "Central, friendly, good price" Located in a quiet area of central Zagreb. Dating from 1932, the recently refurbished Astoria, offers excellents levels of service and accommodation.
In a few words: "Great value, good connections" Hotel Villa Tina is situated above the beautiful Maksimir park. It is an oasis of a comfortable retreat connected to the city centre by excellent public ...
"This was our first experience of this structured holiday and we loved all of it. Very good itinerary, quality hotels if a bit quirky, distance between venues was manageable and allowed us to see a varied landscape. Loved the people who were all very friendly and helpful. Would do it again."
B Melling, December 2012
"Arrangements were superb - no problems at all. Had a great time & loved the country! If we were to repeat the holiday one less day in Bol and an extra day in Mali Ston would be better. Hotel Ostrea and Mali Ston are an absolute delight! Top marks for Miric Inn, Plitvice too. Very friendly & welcoming and HUGE dinners! Dubrovnik old town was heaving with tourists, so staying some distance away at Hotel More was perfect. Easy to get to old town by bus so distance was no problem. Hotel Palace in Zagreb was good as was Mediteran in Zadar Thanks for the recommendations - they were spot on!!"
B Wheeler, June, 2015
"Andy really guided us into good hotels. We were very pleased. The Hotel Peristil in Split and Hotel Zagreb in Dubrovnik were tremendous. We likely would have not found equivalent accommodations without your his assistance. The rental car was a bit high mileage and well worn. Planning on future trips to Germany (fall of 2016) and Scotland (spring of 2017) would certainly considering working with you again."
J Moravec, July, 2015
"The Zagreb was delightful and the lady on reception was really helpful and friendly. The garden was quiet and relaxing."
L Coomber, Sept 2016
"Really enjoyed the trip - advice on where to go was invaluable as we visited Kotor, Mostar and several other points recommended. In a week on holiday we didn't meet a grumpy, rude or unhelpful Croatian national. They should get the contract to train French waiters. Hotel was great and the staff were really, really friendly and helpful especially late one night when a bed collapsed! They were great at providing directions and general help. Major consideration was friendly, prompt and helpful responses to e-mails and questions. Already booked Morocco via Rediscover."
A Goodwin, October 2014
"Only issue we had was that the island ferry timetable had changed from the one provided (to Mljet). Fortunately the time was one hour later and not one hour earlier! All other arrangements were perfect. We spent our last morning at the town of Ston and would like to recommend it - an amazing place!"
M Eeuwens, June 2016
"All arrangements and hotels were excellent. Everything ran smoothly. However, for the benefit of future clients please note that Hotel Derossi in Trogir and Hotel Tuttorosso in Rovinj do not have car parking facilities and public car parks have to be used - this cost 18 for the two nights at Derossi and 30 approx in Rovinj! Also, finding some of the hotels was something of a challenge - even though we had a sat nav in use. Perhaps some more detailed driving directions would be advantageous. Hotel Villa Nova in Hvar is in the complex of old alleyways and a car cannot get near it. We had to do a lot of asking to find it. Anyway, these are just my thoughts, the whole holiday was terrific, and thank you very much for organising it."
J Vause, May 2013
"Our stay at the Hotel Zagreb in Dubrovnik was truly excellent. The old mansion converted to a hotel, surrounded by sweet smelling camellia trees, set back from the tourist pedestrian walkway was a quiet space in an otherwise touristy area. The old city of Dubrovnik was just one, easy bus ride away. The staff was friendly and helpful."
A James, Sept 2016
"The lovely Hotel Astoria was a short walk from the tourist sites. "
A James, Sept 2016
"A joy to stay in."
Paul C, May, 2015