How to Spend 3 Days in Zagreb
From its museums and monuments to its wealth of drinking and dining establishments, Zagreb has plenty to keep visitors entertained—but the city’s proximity to Croatia’s top national parks as well as other Balkan highlights makes day-tripping a must. Here’s how to nail your itinerary for three days in Zagreb.
Day 1: Historical Zagreb
Spend your first day getting acquainted with the city’s top landmarks. Take an introductory tour in the morning, either a hop-on hop-off bus itinerary that provides an overview of Lower Town landmarks—from the Lenuci Horseshoe (a series of verdant parks) to the city’s Art Pavilion—or a small-group bike tour for a closer look at the scenery. Head to one of the Lower Town’s elegant coffee shops for a light lunch before taking a funicular (or embarking on a climb) up to the landmarks of the historical Upper Town. On a walking tour, you can spot St. Mark’s Church and the Zagreb Cathedral, wander the picturesque streets, and learn about the history of the Croatian capital’s oldest quarter. As darkness descends, capture panoramic photos of the sun setting over the city before returning to the Lower Town for a hearty meal.
Day 2: Alternative Zagreb
There’s more to Zagreb than grand monuments and elegant parks, so devote your second day to exploring the city’s alternative side. Begin with a visit to one of the city’s unusual museums: the Museum of Illusions provides plenty of wacky backdrops for photos, while the Museum of Broken Relationships displays breakup letters and mementos sourced from the public. In the afternoon, sign up for an arts-and-crafts bike ride to visit coffee roasters, artisan-jewelry makers, and other local craftspeople. Alternatively, head out to discover the capital’s wealth of brutalist architecture (and vibrant street art). In the evening, join a wine-tasting tour to enjoy numerous Croatian varietals or drop by one of the city’s new craft-beer bars.
Day 3: Day Trip Adventures
Spend your last day exploring the countryside outside Zagreb. Explore emerald-hued lakes, unspoiled nature, and a wealth of waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes National Park, just a 2-hour drive from the capital. The only national park in Croatia that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s one of the country’s most beautiful attractions. Zagreb is also within easy commuting distance of Slovenia. For a day trip of another stripe, Head to the scenic capital city of Ljubljana, admire Lake Bled, and otherwise enjoy the opportunity to country-hop.