Croatian is the official language.
English, German and Italian are widely understood.
Passports & Visas
Croatia is part of the EU, therefore visas are not required for UK and EU citizens.
The small metropolis of Zagreb was made, it seems, for exploring the streets – discovering artsy back alleys where chic bars mingle with traditional bakeries and artists studios, drinking coffee in cool cafes, learning the local history in museums and tuning into the local pulse through the city’s galleries, theatres and concerts. As well as the obvious museums, the striking neo-gothic cathedral and other sites, the city has so very much to offer – amongst them are thriving live music venues, the city zoo, a 17th century convent and of course the iconic blue trams that veer from street to street.
On a culinary note, we simply must recommend the delicious Strukli – a relation of Austrian Strudel and Turkish Borek – made from rolled dough, cottage cheese and sour cream and filled with everything from spinach to salt and sugar – you should sample it at least once while in Zagreb or even make a day out of wandering the various sellers in the city. Nightlife is of course wonderful – to sample it at it’s most local head to the old street of Tkalciceva – which is Zagreb’s rowdy bar crawl locale – home to everything from pubs to stylish underground clubs and grappa bars. There are a variety of markets throughout the city too which are a great way to indulge in a little local colour – though one of our favourite is Britanski trg which during the week is a fruit and vegetable market before converting at the weekend to a bric-a-brac market which counts everything from jewellery and silverware to paintings and antique jewellery amongst its wares.
The perfect contrast to Zagreb’s cosmopolitan streets is the simply phenomenal Plitvice Lakes National Park. It is the country’s biggest single natural attraction – with an eightkilometre string of sixteen lakes, that are enshrouded by dense forested hills, and connected by the water rushing from the upper lakes via a breathtaking sequence of waterfalls. The lakes themselves are an enchanting escape – coloured a bewitching turquoise when seen from a distance and filled with fish, lizards and herons that silently stalk the shoreline of the northern part of the system. Inland from the lakes, wildlife lovers will revel in the fact that a motley collection of deer, bears, wolves and wild boar roam the woodland.
One drawback however is that swimming is forbidden, as the area is a UNESCO World Heritage site – though admiring them from the signposted walkways is all the better because of this. The best time to visit is in the mornings before the crowds arrive and as for the best season – we recommend autumn, as the weather is still pleasant enough and the lush vegetation is changing into its autumnal wardrobe of oranges and yellows – a scene that makes the deep blues of the lakes all the more beautiful.
Zagreb is perfect for a Croatia twin centre holiday – taking in the capital and perhaps a beautiful coastal destination such as Istria or even further afield to Split or Dubrovnik.
Unlike in Krka National Park, swimming is not allowed in Plitvice National Park. However, there are small lakes and rivers in nearby villages (such as Rastoke) where you can swim during the summertime.
Lake Jarun in south Zagreb is a great place to relax and swim during warm weather. In the summer the water temperature is a pleasant 24 degrees. The water quality is good and you can find around 2.5km of well-maintained pebble beaches around the lake. There are showers, toilets and plenty of restaurants and sport facilities.
Popular Sightseeing Attractions
City walking tour
Expert local guides can take you on a tour through the city, showing you all the interesting attractions while telling stories about the city’s past and its culture.
Zagreb’s museums and galleries
Zagreb offers plenty of interesting museums, such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Broken Relationships, the Archaeological Museum, the Mestrovic Atelier and many more.
Not far from the city centre you can find one of Europe’s most beautiful cemeteries; the Mirogoj cemetery. It has many large sculptures and artfully designed tombs and besides a burial ground, it is also a lovely green park and an open art gallery.
City views from the Lotrscak Tower
This defence tower from the 13th century can be climbed and offers beautiful 360-degee city views from the top. Visitors who are there at noon can witness the daily cannon firing.
Maksimir Park and Zoo
18 hectares of meadows and woods on rolling hills, romantic lakes, footpaths and cycle paths, cafes and a lovely city zoo with various animals.
Castles around Zagreb
There are plenty of medieval castles to be found around Zagreb, some of them are still intact, while from others only ruins are left. The closest castles to visit from Zagreb are Medvedgrad, Susedgrad and Zelingrad.
Plitvice National Park
The park can be visited all year round and offers a choice of walking routes that vary in length. If you enjoy walking, it is recommended to choose a route that takes around 6 to 8 hours, to ensure that you see all of the park’s best spots. Visitors who have limited time can use the free boats and tourist train that cover part of the route. This way you can save time and still be able to see all that Plitvice has to offer.
Events & Festivals
International flower and garden event.
A festival of legends, myths and stories of Zagreb County.
Dance Week Festival
A wide variety of contemporary dance performances from both Croatian and international dancers.
A three-day music event at Lake Jarun.
Park in Zagreb
A two-week summer entertainment and culture festival held in various open spaces in Zagreb.
Folklore summer in National Park Plitvice (July & August)
Local folklore bands perform in different locations in and around the park.
Zagreb Summer Festival (July & August)
Concerts and performances in the Upper Town (in galleries, churches and on city squares)
International Puppet Festival
A celebration of the art of puppetry, a great event for children.
Zagreb Air Show
Air acrobatics, flight displays and other exhibits at Lucko Airport.
A ten-day gastro event at Lake Bundek featuring Croatian cuisine and live music.
Eating & Drinking
Zagreb’s relatively cold climate means that the city has a different gastronomy than the coastal towns. Hearty dishes are often on the menu, such as meat dishes with potatoes and cabbage, bean soup, sausages, stews and goulash. The city’s favourite dessert is called Strukli, a pastry filled with sour cream and cottage cheese.
Tap water is safe to drink. Croatian mineral water is widely available and of good quality. Restaurants in Zagreb usually offer a large selection of Croatian quality wines and traditional rakija.
Shops are open on Sunday in Croatia.
There is a wide choice of supermarkets and plenty of daily markets offering fresh food, clothing and souvenirs.
Besides the large offer of shops that can be found in the city centre, there are also several large shopping centres within walking distance and that can easily be reached by bus or tram.
Tips are usually included in the bill. If not included, a tip of 10% is appropriate.