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 ...
"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
"Hotel Astoria in Zagreb - Good; Miric Inn in Plitvice - Good; Hotel Mediteran in Zadar - Excellent.... other hotels - Skradinski Buk, Krka - good location but awful room. Hotel Palace Derossi - very friendly, good location, difficult parking, breakfast not so good. Hotel Croatia, Hvar - fantastic location. Hotel Kriva Cuprije I - difficult parking, great hotel and really friendly staff. Hotel Lero - comfortable and food choice very good. Fantastic choice of locations to visit in Croatia, and well organised."
J Parker, October 2014
"We are back home and suffering from post holiday withdrawal, we have thousands of photos to sort through and just as many wonderful memories. I thought while it is all still fresh that I would drop you a line to say thanks. The whole trip was amazing and everything worked without a single hitch. The hotels that you booked for us were spot on and the car hire etc all worked perfectly. Really the holiday could not have been easier so a massive thank you for all your advice and organising. The highlights were the national parks. Apart from Plitvice, we also visited Krka and Paklenica and could have spent longer at all of them. Split, Trogir and Dubrovnic were amazing but busy, I also loved the smaller villages that were less crowded.The Sail /Bike trip that we added in was an amazing way to see some of the Islands and it fitted perfectly into your itinerary. A final big thanks to you - it was so easy to arrange this trip, you were always prompt with your responses, answered all my questions and took all the stress out of planning this holiday. A pleasure to do business with. "
S Gemmel, July 2016
"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
"Just wanted to say thank you very much for arranging a fantastic holiday for us to Croatia. We had an amazing time - everything went to plan - all transfers etc went very smoothly.We really appreciate all the hard work you put into the arrangements and have already recommended you to many of of our friends. We met some lovely people, saw some beautiful places and did some fantastic activities.We are saving up for next year now!"
M Miles, August 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
"The lovely Hotel Astoria was a short walk from the tourist sites. "
A James, Sept 2016
"Walking along Dubrovnik walls & spectacular views Enjoying Plitvice waterfalls - spent hrs walking every path. Beware Hvar town is nightclub land - seeing the town is a must but think a stay at Starigrad town would have been better. Cost of walking Dubrovnik walls high but apparently needed for conservation but would think good revenue brought in by cruise ship guests. Great mixture of inland walking & coast. Had bad experience with trip to Mostar so cannot recommend that."
S Howles, September 2013
"Thank you for your assistance with our recent trip to Croatia. It was a terrific experience and one of our best trips to date. We particularly enjoyed the week sailing in the islands near Split and the coast of the south. Mostar was a bit of a tough place but worth the day. The hotel was certainly not a highlight but passable for a single night. We loved Perast. Slovenia was less enjoyable unfortunately. I would suggest that you caution people regarding the mandatory sticker required for all vehicles. It cost us 150 Euros as a fine as well as the 15 Euro fee. There are no signs nor clue of this when entering the country. The tags are available at bus stations and post offices apparently. Zagreb is also a good experience and a fine historic city to visit. Driving in Croatia is good although the towns are challenging as is parking. All in all a wonderful experience. We would visit again and perhaps rent a sailboat ourselves. We would be interested in Portugal as a future destination. We travel frequently so welcome suggestions. We have booked October and December already (Mexico) Turkey, Italy and Greece are near term destinations for us as well."
C McNabb, September 2013