HI Hostels Blog

I love my city: Zagreb, Croatia

Lora tells us what she loves about her home town, Croatia’s vibrant capital.  

Book a room in Zagreb

Sum up your city in a tweet:

The charm of the Balkans meets the heritage of the Habsburgs, with the air of the trends roaming Europe’s biggest capitals.

The first place I would take a visitor would be the city centre – a coffee on Flower Square, sightseeing on the main square – Ban Jelačić Square, followed by a walk to the Upper Town.

When I crave a beer/wine, I always go to Beertija, which is a word play on the Zagreb-slang word for pub (birtija). It’s a pub offering a wide selection of beers with a nice summer garden and the best music chosen by their own DJs.

If you want to try local beer, wine and spirits, go to Pivnica Medvedgrad, which is a local brewery and pub. They have cheap and fantastic beer and food!

To escape the city, I… either go to two of Zagreb’s lakes – Jarun and Bundek – both of which are a 15-minute bus/tram ride from the city centre. Another option is going hiking up the Medvednica Mountain, which is also easily reached by bus and tram lines from the city centre.


The perfect photo spot is when you head over to Upper Town (using the funicular) and enjoy ample selfie opportunities with Zagreb’s panorama in the background.

In a restaurant, you have to order… a traditional Zagreb dish is “purica s mlincima”, which is turkey roast served with boiled and then fried flat bread. Another typical dish from this region is “kuhani štrukli”, a type of cooked or baked pastry with a cheese filling.

The one shop you need to visit is… Bookworms will definitely want to check out two bookstores: Algoritam and Profil Megastore right near the main square. Book prices in Croatia are really low compared to the rest of Europe and there is probably as many titles in English as there is in Croatian.

Also make sure to check out the Dolac market for locally grown fresh produce!

Locals know to skip… a taxi in Zagreb! The prices are sky high and the service is terrible. Good alternatives are trams and buses, but make sure to check how they operate during the night.

When I’m on a tight budget… you’re at the right place. Croatia is known for cheap food and drink prices, and most (average) night clubs don’t have entrance fees. So, go to a local pub for an affordable drink and go to a “pekara” for cheap and delicious food that most Croatian students live off. 

Medvednica Mountain. Credit: Miroslav Vajdic

Weirdest fact about my city: We have the world’s first Museum of Broken Relationships, situated in the Upper Town. Don’t miss it!

My city is the best for… a cheap fun-filled holiday.

For the best night out, I go to… Alternative folks such as myself will prefer to go to clubs such as Klub, Tvornica, Katran, Močvara or Vintage Industrial Bar. For a posher night out I’d recommend visiting the many clubs surrounding the Jarun Lake.

And then for late night eats, head to the fast food shop on the Dolac market, which makes the best “burek” (make sure not to miss out on the magic of burek), and the kebab shop in Tkalčićeva Street.

For live music, check out Inmusic festival in the second half of June. It’s a three-day music festival where you can catch a lot of big names.

You can tell someone is from my city by the fact that they support our football club Dinamo Zagreb and for that reason, they wear blue a lot.

In the summer most people prefer to visit the Croatian coast, but Zagreb can be equally interesting. Cool off in “Zagreb’s sea” – Lake Jarun or Bundek and party till early hours of the morning in Zagreb’s night clubs.

Burek heaven. Photo credit: Tom Anderson

In the autumn: a bizarre suggestion, the arcades on the main building of Mirogoj Cemetery are a spectacular sight in autumn. It also makes for a nice peaceful walk around one of the loveliest cemeteries in Europe.

In the winter: word is slowly spreading around Europe about Zagreb’s winter market because, frankly, it has never been more amazing. There is a massive tent on the main square, a new square with all sorts of events and attractions just a few steps away, an outdoor ice-skate rink a short walk away, stalls with tempting and cheap food and drinks on literally every step, and the Christmas decorations make the nights in Zagreb simply magical. I can’t recommend it enough!

The best stop for brunch is Kava Tava on Tkalčićeva Street. They are famous for their own version of American pancakes called “činkice” and amazing breakfast sandwiches. Coffee lovers have come to the right place, you can hardly get a bad cup of coffee in Zagreb.

My favourite way to see my city is the Croatian way, a relaxed stroll around the city centre with obligatory stops to relax and drink coffee in the sun (we take our coffee culture seriously).

The best book/ film about my city is… Some famous classic films were filmed in Zagreb, such as Sophie’s Choice, Winnetou and The Trial. August Šenoa’s poetry about Zagreb is definitely worthy of mention.

When I think about my city, the first song that comes to mind is… several come to mind, but if I have to pick just one, it’s: Prljavo Kazalište – Zagreb

If you want to meet locals, head to any local neighbourhood bar around midnight or to any of the mentioned night clubs.

Getting stopped by strangers every five minutes asking for a cigarette… could only happen in my city.

The best festivals in my city are Inmusic festival – three days of outdoorsy lakeside fun and amazing music. Zagreb film festival – A great film festival featuring local and international films. Subversive festival – A “lefty” festival with film showings, lectures and debates.

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