There's plenty of things to do in Zagreb in July. The city basks in the heat of this mid-summer month, with festivals, concerts and culture blooming at every crossroad. You’ll find promenades to stroll down on balmy nights, and park festivals for entertainment on dazzling afternoons. While many succumb to the calling of the coast, the Croatian capital has its own magnetic pull - here are just a few great things going on this July.
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From Spring until early Autumn, history consumes Zagreb. Zagreb Time Machine sees the city celebrate its heritage, with droves of enthusiasts donning fancy dress and performing in the street. Walking through the Upper Town, you might encounter Marija Juric Zagorka – the first female journalist in Croatia – or the poet Antun Gustav Matos. A newsboy will update you on local events, while the city guard will oversee your security. In the Zrinjevac park pavilion, in the centre of town, you’ll hear the strains of waltzes and tangos. A brilliantly, quirky way of bringing history to life.
Summer isn't for eveyone – for those of you who get grumpy when the pavement gets infernal and your brow begins to melt, there is some indoor fun to be had. Zagreb’s charmingly creaky Cinema Europa has a stellar summer bill, featuring the biggest international hits from the last year. And on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they’re rolling the best recent Croatian releases with English subtitles. Perfect for international film-buffs (especially those prone to sunburn).
This summer-long series of outdoor events offers an outstandingly varied programme of concerts, art-and-craft stalls and downright unusual happenings (the best mongrel dog show, finest wine-and-soda spritzer competition) in the lovely, leafy setting of the Upper Town’s Strossmayer Promenade. There’s usually a local band playing every night, and a couple of al-fresco bars at the scene make this a great place to hang out on balmy evenings.
Boundary-breaking art collective Pimp my Pump have teamed up with street art studio Lapo Lapo to turn a run-down urban park, located between Tomić street and Strossmayer promenade in the heart of Zagreb, into a vibrant open air museum. You can peruse the make-shift sculptures, watch the artists at work, or even get involved yourself.
This popular ceremonial parade takes place every Saturday and during bank holidays. Croatian soldiers in historical regalia set off from Banski dvori with another regiment departing from Kuševićeva ulica and along Cirilometodska accompanied by a military band. Kicking off at noon with the firing of the Grič cannon from Lotrščak Tower, the ceremony lasts around 10-15 minutes. The event forms a key part of the ‘Zagreb Time Machine’ season of historical recreations.
For those who can't get enough of Zagreb's fresh food markets, The Loft has weekly markets events (Mali plac s tavana). At these happenings, you can buy your fresh fruit and veg, sample food and drink, and chat with fellow food lovers over a smoothie. Little Market, run by the Loft, is a mobile organic market, which gives food producers from all over Croatia a platform to sell to the public. Check the website for updates.
Zagreb may not be on the coast, but it does boast the stunning Lake Jarun - whose pebbly beaches and vibrant cafe culture are enough to convince you you're at the seaside. A short tram ride from the city centre, the lake (also, tellingly, called 'Zagreb sea') is the perfect spot for a hot summer's day. Here, you can sunbathe, splash around or make use of the ample sporting facilities.
Annual event with a 86-year tradition featuring parades, concerts and dances by local and international folklore societies. This year’s focus will be on the Dubrovnik region, with a strong selection of performers not just from the city itself but also representing the diverse traditions of the southernmost Croatian islands and inland villages of Konavle. Performances take place on the main square and elsewhere around town.