Going to Croatia is not a reason to go Zagrzeb for most people. “You are going to Croatia, and you go to Zagreb?” That’s what my Uber guy stated about Zagreb. Everybody that goes to Croatia goes to the seaside. So what? Should you not visit Zagreb? Well actually, Zagreb is quite unique. Especially when it comes to things to do in Zagreb. But it’s also a completely different world compared to the Croatian seaside.
The Main Difference Between the Seaside and Zagreb
One of the things to do in Zagreb is certainly not to swim. That’s for sure.
The main difference though?
Let me give you some context.
I went to Split & island of Brac in 2015 just around the date I went to Zagreb this year.
And it was enormously different. In fact, being in Zagreb got me slightly disappointed initially as I was expecting the same kinds of vibes as the likes of Split and Brac offered. But then I discovered the great things about Zagreb, and my perspective changed. See, It’s not about what the location lacks compared to other places but what it offers instead.
I don’t want every city to be the same. Heck no!
The disappointing thing about Zagreb though? It’s filled with too many Eastern Europen vibes, unlike the Croatian coast. And don’t get me wrong, Eastern Europe is great, better the West in many ways, but the Soviet architects sucked. Their architecture was pathetic. It looks depressing.
And while it is unique and it is great to look at history, if there’s too much of it, you get depressed.
And I have traveled to too many Eastern Europen countries in the few months to get fascinated by it.
However, Zagreb is under constant construction, and there is also a big show of modern architecture all over the city.
And just that fact alone gives plenty of things to do in Zagreb if you love sightseeing.
How Long to Stay in Zagreb
This is something I’ve been experimenting a lot with.
How long to spend in Zagreb? It depends on who you are.
I work on the internet meaning that I can work from anywhere. You, you most likely are on vacation and aren’t doing any work at all.
When it comes to travel, there are two types of people. Those who work, and those who just explore.
If you also work, visiting a city for less than 3 days if you want to get enough done is not a great idea. I have done that in Greece with 3 different locations. It doesn’t work. You either go out and explore, or you work. You can’t do enough of both.
If you want to get, all your work done while exploring, go for 7 days. That’s how you balance your day just right to get enough of exploring and work done. That’s what I did in Zagreb and because of that, I did not end up overwhelmed by the work I had to do nor did I have to work very late and thus miss out on sleep and produce work of poor quality.
I went out. I explored. I watched the World Cup. I had fun.
My only regret is that I did not stay in Zagreb a few hours later. I left on the day when Croatia bet England. What a feast that would have been to be in Zagreb!
An important thing to do is to work in the morning until about 2 PM. That way you avoid the sun and its heat when it’s at its strongest. This is also the time sweet spot between getting enough work done and exploring enough.
Getting Around Zagreb & Prices
Unlike the coast, Zagreb is a very lucrative package when you consider what you get for what you pay.
Firstly, Croatia does not have Starbucks which means that if you want coffee, you gotta get out of your comfort zone meaning you save plenty and often discover that a lot of unknown cafes also have great coffee! And it’s cheaper! I paid €1.35 for my coffee. Extremely cheap.
Uber? Just around the price of your coffee. It will cost you around €2 to max €4 for a long distance trip during peak hour.
Places? 1/3rd of the price in Split. And that’s why we aren’t showing any prices
Things to Do in Zagreb
Not the sea but museums. That’s what is so unique about Zagreb. Of course, all cities have them, but Zagreb offers the most unique ones I ever saw. And I’ve been to museums in 12 different countries. Visting a museum is one of the best things to do in Zagreb if you are visiting.
A historian or not, you will find something for yourself. The city is full of many different museums. Yes, there’s even a museum of torture there.
Here are my 3 picks:
Archaeological Museum in Zagreb
Opened in 1939, this museum is my favorite historic museum I ever had the pleasure to visit. It was so good that my photographer on this trip, Victor, even liked it, and he is the biggest critic of them all.
Now, this isn’t a museum where you should just look at the objects. It’s important to read all of the writing if you want to fully experience this museum. It’s important to know what you are looking at, and well, you will be looking at a lot.
The museum starts on the third floor, and for some might not seem interesting due to the fact it is in chronological order meaning it starts with the pretty boring era. If you love history like me though, it won’t be a problem.
Oh, and by the way, on that third floor, you will have to read from the sheets for the first half of it for some weird reason as that is only in Croatian initially.
This museum is full of artifacts ranging from axes from the bronze age to artifacts in the Egyptian section which was, by the way, the most interesting.
And for the people that get bored easily, yes, there is a real mummy present.
We won’t show the mummy, but we will show the cloth it was wrapped with. I guess you have to visit to see the mummy.
After the Egyptian times, you got a full second floor dedicated to the Roman empire. No dead bodies here but plenty of artifacts whether stones, sculptures, or armor.
The first floor? That’s dedicated to religion. Not something that caught my interest.
This museum, if you read everything, will take you around 2 to 3 hours to go around. And damn, this is most likely my favorite historic museum.
Museum of Broken Relationships
This isn’t my favorite historic museum but if for sure is the most unique museum I ever saw.
Imagine a museum dedicated to heartbreaks? This is what this museum is about. People from all around the world send in their story along with an item that represents it. Some of the stories are truly crazy. Somebody changed gender and stole the name of one’s parent. Somebody else cut their girlfriends furniture in half with the use of an ax, and yes, that ax is there.
From writers to athletes to just individuals, this is the museum that fits what most of us go through in our life, heartbreaks. If you are looking for a unique experience that you will never see, this is one of the things to do in Zagreb!
Museum Of Illusions
This wasn’t a museum that I was fully impressed with, most likely due to the fact that it was overcrowded and that there wasn’t actually that many items there. But what was shown there, it was interesting and unique, and I do know some people reading have a family. This one, this one the kids will find very interesting!
And it doesn’t cost a fortune either, just like pretty much anything in Zagreb.
Finishing the Night
Museums? I would save them for the day, well, you have to mostly due to open times, but also because it’s too hot to explore the city for most of the day during summer.
Walk in the Center
This is one of the things to do in Zagreb but pretty much in any city. Except, it feels different in every city.
Zagreb offers a very nice cozy atmosphere. The last time I felt one like that was in Paris when I met my now girlfriend in December. You just want to walk with your partner there.
I visited during the World Cup so of course there was a section for fans with a massive screen but I do think that plenty of other events happen there even without the World Cup. For instance, I saw the opera in a different area for free which attracted many many people.
Visit the Cinema
This is a thing to do after you already enjoy yourself in the city center or perhaps if it’s raining.
The reason for visiting a cinema is one of the things to do in Zagreb? As cinemas are extremely cheap here. 1/3 of the price in Ireland.
And there’s one cinema in particular that really standouts and will provide you with a unique experience. It’s called the CineStar Kaptol Boutique Cinema, and it’s the best cinema I ever visited at the best price ever.
Boutique? You know what that means. And that’s what you get. It’s an amazing experience being able to actually enjoy how the cinema looks.
That’s not it though. You know how cinemas seats aren’t too comfortable? Like your ass will be sore by the end of the movie kind of way? Yeah, this cinema doesn’t do that to you. It’s the most comfortable cinema I ever visited, and damn, look at the thickness of the armrest! Beautiful!
Oh, and did I mention that this cinema is just a few minutes walk from the center?
Is 3D not enough? How about having 4D? CineStar offers another cinema which will require an Uber as it’s on the other side of the city, called CineStar Arena IMAX. 4D isn’t applied that widely yet but let me tell you, 4D can make a boring movie interesting. The fact you can feel the rain, wind, movement, and sometimes smell makes a massive difference in your experience and is worth checking out!
And in Zagreb, it will probably be the cheapest you will ever get in Europe.
Some Things to Do in Zagreb
This isn’t everything to do in Zagreb. You don’t need to have everything in front of you. These are worth doing, and the rest? Just explore!