Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, is a city rich of history with friendly locals and delicious food. It is often overlooked by tourists who come to Croatia to travel the popular Dalmatian Coast, but provides a great addition to any Croatia trip to see a different side of Croatia. While Zagreb is an easy city to visit and enjoy, you don’t need more than a couple days here to see the highlights and gain appreciation for this city.
Where to stay
When it comes to staying at the best of the best in Zagreb, Hotel Esplanade is the obvious choice. Not only is it an luxurious, 5-star experience , it is also one of the most notable buildings in the historic city of Zagreb. Originally built for the Orient Express (how cool), it has since had an impressive list of celebrity and presidential visitors.
If the beautiful rooms and comfortable amenities aren’t enough – we found other great benefits to staying here:
- The proximity to the main train station. Many traveling to Zagreb are often headed further down the coast after. This made it so easy for us to hop across the street to catch our train to Split.
- The onsite dining. Esplanade houses Zinfandel’s Restuarant, is said to be the best restaurant in Zagreb. I can attest it was a truly incredible dining experience. There are three other restaurants to enjoy as well: Le Bistro, Oleander Terrace and Esplanade 1925 Lounge & Cocktail Bar.
- The central location. Since we were only in Zagreb a few nights, we wanted to stay somewhere that was walkable to many of Zagreb’s bars, parks, restaurants, and historical sights.
Whether Zagreb is the first stop in your Croatia travels, or the last, treat yourself by staying here. Book your stay at Esplanade here.
What to do
Eat out on Tkalčića Street
This charming street is the place to wander to find some delicious Croatian food, have some drinks at an outside cafe and people watch. It’s central location makes it accessible from many city landmarks and museums. Scroll down to see some of our favorite restaurants on this street.
Take a walk through King Tomislav Square
Between the landscaping, monuments, fountains and of course the beautiful Art Pavilion, King Tomislav Square is a must see in Zagreb. Staying at the Esplanade is right next to this park which is a huge plus! Once you’ve walked through, continue on north to Park Josipa Jurja Strossmayera and Fontane Blizanci.
Check out what is happening at the main square, Ban Jelačić
Whether it be a concert, event, or a bustling weekend night, it is always worth checking out what is going on at Zagrebs main square. When we were visiting, it was the night of the Euro Cup Finals which was a blast to watch here!
Visit the Zagreb Cathedral
Built in the 13th century, the Zagreb Cathedral is the second tallest building in all of Croatia and a stunning staple of the Zagreb skyline. Be sure to take some time to visit this monumental gothic style cathedral.
Visit St. Marks Church
This iconic church is one of the oldest buildings in Zagreb, also built in the 13th century. It is located on a quaint cobblestone street in St. Marks Square. On Saturdays and Sundays at noon, you’ll also be able to watch the changing of the guards here.
Take a day trip
From Zagreb there are many great day trips available. A few popular options are Plitvice Lakes, a stunning Croatian national park, or Lake Bled in Slovenia (what we opted for and loved).
Where to Eat
As mentioned before, this is said to be the best restaurant in Zagreb and it is clear why. Visit for any meal, but in particular, breakfast is truly special here out on the terrace.
Cheese lovers, this one is for you. This restaurant serves a famous Croatian dish, struckli. With baked cheese and dough in sweet or savory options you will enjoy every last bite. I highly recommend the truffle.
Mali Medo is a great place to sit outside with a beer or wine and enjoy Croatian pizza (did I mention Croatia has the BEST pizza?!). For major sporting events, Mali Medo will have them projected outside for all to watch (as pictured).
This traditional Croatian restaurant was recommended to us by a local and was one of the best meals we had while in Zagreb. We tried the traditional donuts with cheese and shared the grill for two. You may need a reservation here.
We were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed our stay in Zagreb. If you are looking for a non-touristy, historic European city, this is a great place to visit, or great starting point to a longer Croatia trip.
*This post is sponsored by Esplanade but all opinions are our own.*