Compact and easy to navigate, Zagreb contains plenty of historic sights and fascinating galleries, complemented by destination restaurants, clusters of busy bars and numerous live-music venues. The main square divides the hilly Upper Town – museums, institutions of national importance, panoramic views – from the flat, grid-patterned streets of the Lower Town, with its gastronomic landmarks, designer boutiques and art galleries. Spread out east and west are areas of bucolic greenery while south over the Sava river stretches the post-war residential blocks of Novi Zagreb.
Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList and tag @TimeOutEverywhere.
You can also find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world, or take a look at our list of the 50 best things to do in the world right now.
The best things to do in Zagreb
What is it? The final resting place for 300,000 souls of many religious backgrounds, Mirogoj is Zagreb’s Highgate, and encapsulates the city’s rich patchwork history.
Why go? A 15-minute journey from Kaptol, Mirogoj is also an architectural gem. Behind a series of green, onion-shaped cupolas, which cap ivy-covered brick walls, are tiled arcades, monuments to Croatia’s most prominent citizens.
Don't miss: The best time to visit is on All Souls’ Day, November 1, when everything is shrouded in a halo of candlelight.
What is it? The daily market or Dolac, on a raised square a set of stairs up from the main square, has been the city’s major trading place since 1926.
Why go? Farmers from surrounding villages come to sell their home-made foodstuffs and some of the freshest fruit and vegetables you’ll ever taste.
Don't miss: In the covered market downstairs are butchers, fishmongers and old ladies selling the local speciality sir i vrhnje (cheese and cream). Flowers and lace are also widely available. Alongside, the renovated fish market, ribarnica, sells fresh produce every day but Monday.
What is it? The MCA – MSU in Croatian – is the most significant museum to open in Zagreb for more than a century. Its collection includes pieces from the 1920s and gathered since 1954 when Zagreb's original MCA (in Upper Town) was founded.
Why go? Croatia's outstanding 1950s generation of abstract-geometric artists (Ivan Picelj, Aleksandar Srnec, Vjenceslav Richter, Vlado Kristl) plays a starring role in the collection, alongside photographs and films documenting the more outlandish antics of legendary performance artists like Tom Gotovac and Vlasta Delimar. The new-media and computer-art works produced by the Zagreb-based New Tendencies movement in the late '60s and early 70s reveals just how ahead-of-its-time much of Croatian art really was.
Don't miss: Of particular note are Carsten Höller's slides, similar to the 'Test Site' installation he built for Tate Modern's Turbine Hall but custom-made and site-specific for Zagreb – pieces of art patrons can ride to the parking lot.
What is it? If Zagreb has an iconic feature, it’s the twin towers of its Cathedral, created by Hermann Bollé after an earthquake struck the city in 1880.
Why go? The Cathedral is Zagreb’s most visible tourist attraction. Though much of the exterior has long been veiled behind construction sheathing, the neo-Gothic twin towers are visible over the city and are as close as Zagreb gets to a visual identity worthy of calling-card status. They were added by architect Hermann Bollé in the post-1880 rebuild, while the interior received neo-gothic altars, 19th-century stained glass, and a relief by Ivan Meštrović that marks the resting place of controversial Croatian Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac.
Don't miss: The statue of Christ by the Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović.
What is it? On Sundays the fruit and veg stalls that fill Britanski trg during the week are cleared away, and an attractive bric-a-brac and antique market is laid out.
Why go? In total, some 100 stallholders trade goods from first thing in the morning. Paintings, jewellery, old currency, badges, glass bottles, posters, crockery, silver, old farming tools and religious icons are all on display on wooden trestle tables. The morning is also a social occasion, locals gathering at nearby cafés such as Kava Tava to gossip and show off their purchases.
Don't miss: Look out for Yugoslavian film posters and original screen prints by Croatian graphic artists like Boris Bućan.
What is it? The Botanical Gardens form the east-west anchor of the ‘Green Horseshoe’, a U-shaped band of greenery laid out by Milan Lenuci in the 19th century. About 10,000 plant species come mainly from Croatia, some from as far as Asia.
Why go? Near but removed from the bustle of the train station, it offers a wonderfully relaxing way to escape with your travelling companion amid the plots, plants, footbridges, lakes and ponds.
Don't miss: The English-style arboretum, and containing rock gardens, lily-pad-covered ponds, symmetrical French-inspired flowerbeds and ten glasshouses.
What is it? Opened as a tourist attraction in 2016, the 350-metre-long Grič tunnel once served the city in extremely different ways. Created as an air-raid shelter during World War II, it lay empty for decades until the earliest days of techno when hosted the seminal Under City Raves. Also in the 1990s, it again saw use as an air-raid shelter.
Why go? Accessed from Mesnička, the Grič tunnel has already put on fashion shows and exhibitions, and plans call for a Museum of the Senses to beset up here. For the time being, it provides an atmospheric but well lit five-minute walk far below the most historic part of Zagreb.
Don't miss: The tunnel forms a part of the Advent festival when it's illuminated with swirls of sparkling Christmas lights.
What is it? This former 17th-century Convent of the Clares in the Upper Town has a permanent collection of 4,500 objects illustrating Zagreb’s history from prehistoric times, laid out in themed sections.
Why go? Perhaps the biggest attractions at the Zagreb City Museum are the old packaging, automatic music machines and propaganda posters from the last century, offering a personal, human touch and a real feel for what life might have been like here in 1955.
Don't miss: Order tapas and Croatian wine at the courtyard bar. The sundial in the courtyard is the city’s oldest and is still showing the right time.
What is it? The highest peak of Medvednica Nature Park near Zagreb, Sljeme is also the name used to define a series of accessible slopes that welcome hikers and ramblers all year round.
Why go? They’re best known for their climbing and skiing – the hills are dotted with mountain lodges and Sljeme has been developed as a major international skiing centre, a fixture on the sport’s winter calendar. It provides training slopes for amateurs, night skiing, sledging and snowboarding for enthusiasts of all ages and abilities.
Don't miss: Wooden taverns at the peak of the summit provide nourishing Central European fare such as veal, bean stew and sarma.
What is it? Housed in one of the Upper Town's finest Baroque mansions, the thematic display takes visitors through a series of different emotions associated with a break-up, illustrated by objects donated by members of the public
Why go? By collecting mementoes that sum up the experience of a break-up, the museum has assembled a poignant and unique series of insights into the mysteries of the human heart.
Don't miss: The gallery café has an excellent range of ice-creams and cakes, providing temporary salvation to the broken-hearted. The adjoining restaurant, Brokenships, offers adventurous takes on traditional Croatian cuisine.
What is it? This distant relation of Austrian Strudel and Turkish borek is made from rolled dough, delicious when filled with the traditional cottage cheese and sour cream. Whether cooked or baked, sweet or salty, in a soup or with added poppy, pumpkin or spinach, all versions deserve attention.
Why go? Many venues pride themselves on their štrukli, although the kitchen at the landmark Esplanade Hotel provides some of the best - if not the best - in town.
Don’t miss: The more contemporary La Štruk specialises in this local pastry, providing more unusual choices such as cheese-and-nettle and cheese-and-paprika varieties.
What is it? Two coats of arms grace the red-white-and-blue chequered roof of this emblematic church: Zagreb's and Croatia's.
Why go? Since the 1200s when the Romanesque original was built, the church has gone through many architectural styles – note the Gothic south portal and baroque, copper-covered belltower. The square outside, housing the Ban's Palace and the Croatian Parliament, has been the hub of political activity since the 1500s.
Don't miss: Inside are hand-painted walls by Jozo Kljaković and a crucifix by Ivan Meštrović.
What is it? The local custom of špica is the Saturday-morning habit of having coffee in Zagreb’s city centre. It takes place where Gajeva meets Bogovićeva and Preradovićeva by the flower market on Cvjetni trg between 11am and 2pm.
Why go? Though nominally about drinking kava and enjoying a morning off from the hassles of the work, this ritual is more about looking sharp, of seeing and being seen. It’s an impromptu stage for fashionistas, wannabe glamourites, local paparazzi and hush-toned trend mongers.
Don't miss: To mingle, grab a seat at the Charlie café or a stand-up table at Crêpes de Paris.
What is it? Housed on the second floor of the 18th-century Raffay Palace, this collection is a solid introduction to Croatian Naive Art, mostly the work of self-taught peasant painters from the villages of the east.
Why go? This is the oldest collection of Naive Art is the world. Fantastically bizarre rural scenes and intricately dotted landscapes that verge on the psychedelic, the Croatian Museum of Naïve Art is unlike anything else.
Don't miss: The collection is frequently rotated but there are usually plenty of representations of rural life executed by the big names of the genre: Ivan Generalić, Mirko Virius and Ivan Rabuzin. Also included are international primitives such as the self-taught Polish-Ukrainian artist Nikifor.
What is it? Maksimir Park comprises an attractive 18 hectares (45 acres) of welcome greenery opened to an appreciative public in 1794. Its woods, meadows and lakes were landscaped in what was then considered the English style.
Why go? Today rolling hills cradle footpaths and cafés, providing ample room for jogging, romancing and relaxation. At one end you’ll find the City Zoo, with the daily feeding times posted up for the seals, sea lions and otters, so that you can time a family visit around them. On the other side of the road stands Croatia’s national football stadium, also called the Maksimir, base of home-town club Dinamo Zagreb.
Don't miss: A cluster of great restaurants have settled around Maksimir, including Pizzeria Duksa and AbOvo Bistro.
What is it? One of the oldest café-patisseries in the city and recently renovated to convey an almost lounge-bar feel, Zagreb has always been held in high regard by locals who value a good ice cream or elegant slice of fine cake.
Why go? Pretty much everything in the display counter is worth a try.
Don't miss: Reserve space in your stomach for the Zagreb Torta, a chocolate sponge cake layered with hazelnut cream and apricot jam that was dreamt up in 1987 in culinary celebration of the Zagreb World Student Games. A whole Zagreb Torta in a presentation box is not a bad option if you’re desperate for souvenir ideas.
What is it? The fairytale street of Tkalčićeva, which snakes up from focal Jelačić trg, was once the flowing stream of Medveščak. The little sidestreets leading off it, Splavnica (from splav, raft) and Krvavi most ('Bloody Bridge'), link to its watery origins and colourful past as the flashpoint in local disputes over the centuries.
Why go? For two decades, this atmospheric thoroughfare has provided Zagreb with its prime bar crawl, a constant current of revellers moving from spot to spot.
Don’t miss: Venues move in and out of fashion, but you're pretty much guaranteed a good time at the Funk Club, a regular café by day, a lively DJ basement by night. The buzz around the horseshoe bar, as thumping beats come up from the cellar, is as sassy as anywhere on Tkalčićeva. The gargantuan Medvedgrad, one of Zagreb's oldest breweries, spreads across several venues, offering independently produced beer and pub grub. Rakhia Bar specialises in rakija grappas.
What is it? Boundary-breaking art collective Pimp my Pump teamed up with street art studio Lapo Lapo to turn a run-down urban park into a vibrant open-air museum and green event space. An array of fun events, workshops and open-air exhibitions take place throughout the summer.
Why go? You can peruse the make-shift sculptures, watch the artists at work, or even get involved yourself. Entrance to this creative oasis and all events, talks and workshops are totally free.
Don't miss: Keep an eye on their Facebook page for special one-off events.
What is it? Croatia's most internationally renowned sculptor, Ivan Meštrović, lived and worked in this restored trio of adjoining 17th-century mansions in Gornji Grad between the years 1923 and 1942.
Why go? The collection here is spectacular, representing major works from the artist's prolific first four decades. As well as marble, there are stone, wood and bronze sculptures. There are also reliefs, drawings and graphics gracing the two floors of the house, the front atrium and his atelier just off the ivy-covered courtyard.
Don't miss: The Woman by the Sea sculpture in Carrara marble greets you as you enter the actual atelier.
What is it? One of Zagreb's top addresses for seafood. Located in a wooded dell between the Upper Town and the Tuškanac woods, it features a cool minimalist interior full of dark-brown furniture tones and low-key lighting.
Why go? Seafood remains the kitchen's strong point, and both the baked fish (420kn/kg) and a 12-course tasting menu (465kn per person) are well worth the splash-out. Otherwise choose between exquisitely prepared and presented mains such as monkfish in black-olive paste, rack of lamb or oxtail, all in the 130kn range.
Don't miss: It's also a stylish venue for an intimate drink, with hundreds of wines to choose from and a tempting menu of nibble-snacks chalked up on a board beside the bar.
What is it? Carpaccio delivers stylish Italian-themed dining in a wonderfully convenient bang-in-the centre location. Chic black furnishings, reproduction Art Nouveau posters, and a soundtrack of Italian pop provide the backdrop.
Why go? For starters, there's a generous list of carpaccios, with marinated Adriatic fish or salmon among the most succulent choices. There is a lengthy list of quality Croatian and Italian wines, a reasonable number of which are available by the glass.
Don't miss: Leave room for dessert: the house semifreddo and tiramisu are difficult to choose between.
What is it? A museum with mirror mazes, gravity-defying rooms, bottomless pits, holograms and mirages.
Why go? It's an incredibly fun way to spend an afternoon. The interactive exhibits provide explanations in English so you can understand the science behind the mind-trickery.
Don't miss: The museum gift shop is full of puzzles, baffling accessories and science books.
What is it? Kino Kinoteka is a charming independent cinema, located near Franjo Tuđman park, just to the west of Zagreb city centre. The building it inhabits was constructed in 1941 and has been a cinema ever since.
Why go? The cinema itself has a long tradition of holding a very diverse programme and supports independent filmmakers, world cinema and takes part in city-wide cultural programmes and film festivals.
Don't miss: The building also holds a great and incredibly popular bar area.
What is it? The intimate Masters is located next the clay courts of the Maksimir Tennis Centre and in a loft bedecked with wooden floors and a tree-house-style bar.
Why go? The DJ presides over a relaxed vibe and offers music from deep house to dub, techno to reggae. International names make appearances here in this relatively secret dance enclave.
Don't miss: Master's promoter and resident DJ Pepi Jogarde's sets are epically danceable.
What is it? Opened in 1973, this 2,000-seater is the main classical venue in town, located just over the Sava.
Why go? Opera, ballet and theatre are staged here, and the Lisinski, named after the 19th-century Croatian composer, also serves as a convention centre. There's a 300-capacity smaller hall here too.
Don't miss: Unlike some major concert halls in European cities, events are reasonably priced - meaning you can see world-class ballet without applying for a bank loan. Be warned - Croatians take the tradition of dressing up for classical events seriously.
What is it? Zagreb’s seminal city festival INmusic promises three days of big indie fun on the fields around Lake Jarun.
Why go? One of the most popular rock festivals in the region, INmusic has put Zagreb definitively on the music map: each year organisers coax the best modern rock bands, cult heroes and world musicians to Lake Jarun, a beautiful venue on the outskirts of the capital.
Don't miss: There are plenty of afterparties and activities happening in and around the city.
What is it? The biggest event on the Croatian film calendar is Autumn's Zagreb Film Festival, which attracts some 35,000 visitors to watch features, shorts and documentaries, many screened in English or with subtitles.
Why go? The programming is interesting enough without being too obscure.
Don't miss: The Checkers national competition champions domestic productions.
What is it? Lotrščak is a look-out tower built in the 13th century, reached by climbing a winding wooden staircase.
Why go? Every day since 1877, a couple of loud cannon blasts from here signal noon sharp.
Don't miss: Leafy Strossmayer runs by the tower giving a lovely view of the rooftops.
What is it? The best Bosnian restaurant in town is hugely popular despite its hidden location in a residential quarter - take a taxi.
Why go? Grilled meats are the order of the day here, pljeskavica and ćevapi, served with traditional bread, although a 120kn plate for two might be the way to go. Dishes are designed to be shared and enjoyed slowly - allow a good two hours for your meal.
Don't miss: Order the ćevapi.
What is it? A mammoth Sunday flea market on the outskirts of Zagreb's city centre.
Why go? Many of the goods here are cheap – clothes, CDs, sports shoes – but you’ll also find piles of oddities and rarities from all over the Balkans.
Don't miss: A Balkan-brass band are often seen rambling around the market. Meatheads will also be delighted by the range of grilled meats on offer at the shacks surrounding the morning bustle.
What is it? Known by all as 'Krolo' after the writer Miroslav Krleža who lived here, this beautiful old wooden bar near the main square gives its many patrons a flavour of pre-1991 Zagreb.
Why go? The bar staff are easy-going, the inviting older clientele religiously scan the day's newspapers and the younger regulars gather round the semicircular bar. No DJs, no hipster-attracting tricks, but still crowded and raucous at weekends. Timeless is the word you're looking for.
Don't miss: Upstairs, the cigarette-yellowed artwork on the walls feature striking examples of Yugoslavian graphic design.
What is it? A gallery in a former clothes shop that opens a new exhibition every Monday night.
Why go? Greta doesn’t follow too strict a curatorial framework, ensuring the widest possible variety of artistic approaches. It regularly receives more visitors than many of the more established galleries, with opening-night celebrants spilling out onto the pavement outside.
Don't miss: Keep an eye on their Facebook page for fresh exhibition openings.
What is it? This cult bar is a real locals' hang-out. The interior of Alcatraz is crowded with American number plates, beer flags, and mannequins – one of which wears a Mick Jagger mask and seems to be a part of the party.
Why go? The weekends see it packed with locals, who stop by for a myriad of bottled beers – loads of Belgian speciality brews and craft - and the DJs jamming rock and dance tunes.
Don't miss: The slew of home-made rakijas (grappas) such as honey, cherry or blackcurrant.
What is it? Croatia's oldest professional puppet theatre.
Why go? The puppet theatre has been in operation for over sixty-five years and benefits from a 200-seater arena with the technical facilities to stage live actors and chamber orchestras along with award-winning puppetry.
Don't miss: The International Puppet Festival brings its diminutive magic here every September.
What is it? The flagship city-centre bar of the Cogito bean-roasting outfit, this is a clinic for unrepentant caffeine-a-holics.
Why go? Minimally decorated save for some salvaged furniture and a few pictures, it serves a hard-to-beat brew, plus leaf teas, and some freshly-squeezed juices.
Don't miss: A bag of Cogito's special blend is worth buying and taking home.
What is it? The Moderna Galerija holds one of the most precious collections of modern Croatian art, the heart of which are the paintings of the generation of cosmopolitan young artists active around 1900. It kicks off in spectacular fashion with huge canvases by late-19th-century painters Vlaho Bukovac and Celestin Medović dominating the sublimely proportioned hexagonal entrance hall. From here the collection works its way chronologically through the history of Croatian painting, taking in Ljubo Babić's entrancing 1920s landscapes and Edo Murtić's jazzy exercises in 1950's abstract art.
Why go? The gallery is unique in attempting to bridge the artistic eras of the modern and the contemporary, including conceptual and video works beside painterly classics.
Don't miss: The Moderna Galerija's most innovative feature is the tactile gallery, a room containing versions of famous paintings in relief form (together with Braille captions) for unsighted visitors to explore.
What is it? Known locally as the 'mosque', visit for the building alone, a circular pavilion standing in the middle of Victims of Fascism Square a ten-minute walk south-east of the main square. The handsome gardens have recently been updated with new grass and a water fountain.
Why go? The building was designed by sculptor Ivan Meštrović just before World War II as an exhibition space in honour of the then Yugoslav King Peter I.
Don't miss: Inside, the circular walls contain three galleries, which span two floors and provide an outstanding venue for a dynamic program of contemporary art exhibitions and events organized by the Croatian Association of Artists (HDLU). The circular central hall features natural light through the cupola.
What is it? Zagreb's annual celebration of all things yuletide has won the award for the best Christmas market in Europe in the last two years. The whole thing kicks off in the last week of November and carries on right into the New Year.
Why go? The programme features a month-long season of outdoor gigs and DJ high-jinks. Stalls on the pedestrianised streets around Cvijetni Trg sell everything from craft toys to traditional sweets, fruit preserves, speciality biscuits and gingerbread hearts.
Don't miss: The music programme at Europski trg spans garage bands, live dub acts and DJ sets.
What is it? Set in a neo-Renaissance former school on Rooseveltov trg, the Mimara Museum contains the most impressive art collection in town: 42 rooms house 1,700 paintings, statues and archaeological finds, set up chronologically and thematically.
Why go? When it comes to historical art collections, the Mimara is certainly Zagreb's biggest in terms of quantity. Donated to the city by wealthy patron Ante Topić Mimara, the collection includes paintings, statues and archaeological finds, organised chronologically and thematically but with little by way of English explanation.
Don't miss: Highlights on the ground floor include oriental carpets, south-east Asian sculpture and Chinese porcelain, while the picture galleries upstairs display works from every era from the Gothic period onwards, with artists like Velázquez, Rubens, Rembrandt and Manet each putting in an appearance. It's also an important venue for temporary exhibitions with an art or archaeological theme.
What is it? This first-floor flat in a charming old Tkalčićeva building has been transformed into an agreeable warren of quirkily decorated sitting rooms, with mix-and-match furnishings, paintings on the walls, and agreeably low-key lighting.
Why go? Rakijas are the stars of the show: if there’s a fruit or vegetable that you can make brandy out of then rest assured that it will be on the menu here somewhere.
Don't miss: Try the honey-based medica, orahovica from walnuts and biska from mistletoe leaves (not its poisonous berries).
What is it? Cheap and satisfying, gableci are cut-price lunches sold at outlets around town where à la carte dishes may be twice as dear. You’ll see boards up, usually during the working week, suggesting the three or four gableci for that day. You will find vendors of gableci around the Dolac market, for example, neighbourhood spots serving bean stew (grah), turkey with Zagorje pasta (purica s mlincima), and squared pasta with roasted cabbage (krautflekerli).
Why go? One place to try them Gostionica Purger (Petrinjska 37), titled after the local name for someone from Zagreb. The food is sturdy and the dishes traditional.
Don't miss: In the no-frills, three-room dining interior, you can expect classics such as sarma (sauerkraut stuffed with minced meat), lamb, veal and seafood.
What is it? Jarun is Zagreb’s great getaway, a man-made lake centrepieced by a string of verdant islands, ideal for all kinds of outdoor activities and setting for June’s INmusic festival.
Why go? Jarun is a popular public park, a place for picnics and pedal boats, swimming and jogging.
Don't miss: INmusic, June’s high-profile, three-day festival, the best of both worlds, an event that’s urban – 15 minutes by tram from the centre of the capital – yet rural.
What is it? A craft brewery run by the team behind the legendary Garden Festival and its various offshoots.
Why go? Housed in a red brick factory in Zagreb's industrial east, it's a characterful venue for after-work drinks and high-octane club nights.
Don't miss: The fruity Citrus IPA, and seasonal specials - the porter is award-winning.
What is it? A Zagreb institution. Vincek has been producing sweet treats for years now and claims a loyal following with locals.
Why go? Arguably the best ice-cream in the city centre, the display counter seduces passers-by with its bounty of glazed treats and homemade cakes.
Don't miss: The gelato is some of the best outside of Italy.
What is it? Get to grips with the layout of central Zagreb with a visit to the panoramic terrace on top of the 16-storey ‘Neboder’ (Skyscraper), an icon of Croatian modernism that has dominated the main square ever since its construction in 1959.
Why go? Zagreb Eye viewpoint offers a spectacular bird’s eye view of downtown Zagreb, the most beautiful way to see the city 360°.
Don't miss: It's also a great place for a relaxing drink, day or night.
What is it? This neo-baroque landmark, opened by Habsburg Emperor Franz Josef in 1895, played a vital role in the establishment of a Croatian national identity.
Why go? What you find today is a sumptuous interior – a suitably ornate backdrop for local-language theatre, ballet and opera.
Don't miss: Tchaikovsky's 'Nutcracker' has become something of an institution. The sell-out production takes place throughout November and December.
What is it? The grande dame of Zagreb restaurants attracts old money and new jet set, munching and mingling in the two high-ceilinged wooden-clad halls in a suburb below Sljeme. Reservations at weekends a must.
Why go? Top-rated international and traditional dishes from the continent and the coast are prepared with special care – from juicy barbecue meats and uplifting blood sausages to super-fresh tuna fillets and delectable swordfish carpaccios.
Don't miss: Expect to see fresh lamb roasting away on spits in the yard on spring weekends. The pasta is made on the premises.
What is it? Zagreb’s prime literary club also doubles as a café.
Why go? There is a symbolic membership fee of 10kn/year, but members can then enjoy carefully chosen music, a laid-back atmosphere and regular events that include readings by the big beasts of the local literary scene – with occasional ones by visiting English speakers.
Don't miss: Good coffee and several varieties of leaf tea help to make Booksa well worth the quick tram ride or ten-minute walk from the centre.
What is it? An exemplary little souvenir shop near the lower station of Zagreb’s funicular.
Why go? Their aim is to stock all those quality products made by Croatian designers that also work well as souvenirs – in the sense that they’re small enough to fit in your luggage and might also be useful once you actually get them home
Don't miss: Lidia Bosevski’s ceramics convey arty elegance; while Filip Gordon Frank’s Mini Me desk lamp is already something of a Croatian design icon.
What is it? Subject of a major cult in the former Yugoslavia, Borovo stock the Croatian-made Startas shoes, a brand of slinky canvas tennis shoes reinvented with a funky range of patterns and classics.
Why go? The wacky pattern work-shoes have been touted by international fashion media including Vogue USA.
Don't miss: Special edition releases, including collabs with local artists.
What is it? A newish addition to Zagreb's ever-evolving bistro scene, everything about Beštija screams fresh.
Why go? The menu is reassuringly small and changes daily, but you can expect a cast of Adriatic classics (grilled fish, Pag lamb) prepared with flavourful, fruity embellishments
Don't miss: The pannacotta, if available, is heavenly.
What is it? This delightfully twee, Frenchy-flavoured little place is the ideal spot to sip tea and munch your way through some of the Croatian capital's best lemon-meringue pies, cheesecakes and quiches.
Why go? There's invariably a strong showing of different cakes in the glass display cabinet, rendering the selection process tantalizingly difficult.
Don't miss: The rainbow-coloured spread of macaroons are devastatingly good.
What is it? Bright and beautiful murals that add flourishes of colour to the city.
Why go? Local street artists like OKO and Lonac developed distinctive styles, and the popularity of their work has exploded internationally.
Don't miss: Although it's in crumbling disrepair, the wall that runs parallel to Branimir is a good place to start. Etien's whale in the Upper Town is a symbolic piece, as are works by OKO and Lonac.
What is it? A museum collection featuring aircraft, vintage cars, an 80-year-old snowmobile, a World War II mini-submarine, 19th-century fire engines, a Dubrovnik tram from 1912 and a small planetarium.
Why go? A collection of historic vehicles and interactive exhibits provides inducement to visit this just-out-of-town museum.
Don't miss: The section dedicated to Nikola Tesla illustrates just how advanced this turn-of-the-century pioneer of electricity generation and radio transmission actually was. Daily demonstrations in his laboratory involve a short lecture during which some of his inventions are put through their paces.
What is it? Bacchus Jazz Bar is an ideal place to meet friends, listen to jazz and either have a civilised party evening or get revved up for what's to come.
Why go? The bar exudes a homely Dalmatian feel: the owner is from Split, and there's a fig tree next to the terrace, which is tucked into a passage off the street. Inside you'll find a hodgepodge of wooden furniture: a 1960s-era television and telephone, and wooden-plank floors under a brick ceiling.
Don't miss: Live poetry or spoken-word on Wednesday nights, live jazz or soul on Friday and Saturday.
What is it? An expansive outdoor bar with a buzzing, thanks to its mix of backpackers and locals, and if you like cocktails, it's a good place to drink them casually without breaking the bank.
Why go? The team behind this place are big music enthusiasts and are attached to several major events in the city's calendar. There are DJ-led parties here on some evenings, especially towards the weekend.
What is it? Established in 1846, the Archaeological Museum's extensive and well-labelled collection covers three floors, beginning with the Early Stone Age.
Why go? The section on ancient Egypt includes sarcophagi, statues and jewellery: the 4th-century-BC Zagreb Mummy, wrapped in a shroud bearing rare Etruscan texts, is the museum's coup de grâce and shouldn't be missed.
Don't miss: Other highlights include the Vučedol Dove, a 4,000-year-old ceramic vessel found near Vukovar and a symbol of peace in recent times; Greek and Roman artefacts; and coins through the ages.
What is it? Pločnik is as much a bar as it is an essential hub for alternative culture.
Why go? The music programme is dizzyingly diverse and there's usually something happening in the bar's basement. It's also one of the few places in the city where you can hear afrobeat, dancehall or grime music.
Don't miss: Craft beer by Nova Runda and The Garden on tap.
What is it? An achingly cool restaurant dedicated to the flux of contemporary trends in cooking.
Why go? The menu mixes the best of Croatian cuisine with European experimentation, such as the pork belly with shrimp, parsley and passion fruit. Portions are small but well garnished.
Don't miss: Extravagant diners can opt for the taster menu - options include four, six or nine courses costing between 220 and 450kn.
What is it? The boutique-brewery phenomenon is not entirely new - Zagreb’s Medvedgrad brewery has been brewing its own lagers, wheat beers and porters for over 20 years.
Why go? The Mali Medo branch on Tkalčićeva spreads across several buildings with an extensive outdoor terrace - it's one of the buzziest bars in the city.
Don't miss: You can sample a miniature selection of different beers to get a taste for what you like. The Fakin' IPA on draught is a reliable choice.
What is it? This neo-Renaissance palace, built in 1884 to accommodate Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer's private collection of European paintings, is Zagreb's foremost collection of old masters.
Why go? pieces are hung in nine intimate rooms on the second floor. Italians fill the first six, with Fra Beato Angelico's 'Martyrdom of St Peter' in room 1, Bellini's newly restored 'Saints Augustine and Benedict' in room 3, and Carpaccio's 'Martyrdom of St Sebastian' right next to it. The collection continues with Flemish (Brueghel), Dutch and German painters, with a final room devoted to the French – 'Portrait of Madame Récamier' by Jean Antoine Gros is the stand-out picture here.
What is it? Tvornica kulture (‘The Culture Factory’) has established itself as Zagreb‘s leading medium-sized venue for live rock and pop.
Why go? Concerts take place several times a week, with club nights featuring DJs and visuals at weekends.
Don't miss: The price of a drink is unusually low for a concert hall: a draught beer will cost you 15kn (€2).
What is it? This shrine to all things alternative grew out of Zagreb’s anarchist movement and is still run as a non-profit-making collective. A courtyard decorated by some of Zagreb’s best street artists has a café-bar on one side, and a concert venue-cum-club space on the other.
Why go? Events range from anarcho-punk gigs to dub reggae DJs and cutting-edge dance music, with all kinds of other styles thrown in for good measure. Popular with a broad spectrum of Zagreb’s club-hungry youth, Medika is much more than just a gathering point for the grungey underground.
Don't miss: Follow the Facebook page for special events and exhibitions. Visual arts association Otomptom throw impromptu film evenings screening animation and shorts.
What is it? Zagreb boasts fantastic examples of Zagreb's socialist realist architecture, mostly clustered around Novi Zagreb, south of the river Sava.
Why go? Brutalist structures pierce the skyline, it feels like a different city compared to central Zagreb.
Don't miss: The 'Rakete', three rocket shaped towers that were modified after the 1963 Skopje earthquake to withstand further tremors. The nickname comes from the angled appendages on the sides of the buildings, which points them up towards the sky like rockets.
What is it? Pod Zidom offers an affordable-to-expensive mixture of great Croatian wines and a range of Mediterranean-style dishes.
Why go? The wine list allows you to sample great Croatian wines by the glass. The wonderful outdoor terrace overlooks a street that’s very central but also slightly hidden from the hubbub of the main square.
Don't miss: Syrah by Krauthaker is a fantastic dry red, produced by a winery in Kutjevo, eastern Croatia.
What is it? The home stadium of Zagreb's Dinamo football team is set in the leafy surroundings of Maksimir Park.
Why go? To bask in Croatia's second-place World Cup glory. Over the last year, the stadium has recorded an uptick in attendances and experienced its best atmosphere of the last decade. Stadium concerts are also held here.
Don't miss: International games with Dinamo or the Croatian national team.
What is it? Tortoreum is a small museum themed around historical violence and torture with a raft of brutal instruments.
Why go? It's fun and a relatively cheap way to spend a few hours browsing a highly unusual artillery of torture instruments and exhibits.
Don't miss: The real-life 'Iron Maiden', a reproduction of the fabled medieval execution device.
What is it? The one club on the Jarun lakeside to be open 12 months a year, this 2,000-capacity, two-floor venue, which opened in 1992, is still ahead of the field.
Why go? It's regular agenda of live music (with international rock and world music predominating) and DJ sets by international big names. The two floors – Aquarius 1 and 2 – pump different sounds but do, on occasion, come together.
Don't miss: Saturdays usually see an eclectic mixture of cutting-edge house and electro.
What is it? A mellow café hidden in an off-street courtyard.
Why go? They take their (free-trade, Ethiopian) coffee very seriously, and serious caffeine addicts will trek halfway across the city to get their regular fix.
Don't miss: With poetry readings, jazz in the evenings and art on the walls, it's something of a cult cultural hub into the bargain.
What is it? Gradec is best accessed from a funicular by Ilica, the main commercial street running west from Ban Jelačić square.
Why go? The short ride takes you to the Lotrščak Tower a look-out tower built in the 13th century.
Don't miss: The view over downtown's rooftops as you ascend very quickly to Gradec.
What is it? A brunch spot devoted entirely to eggs.
Why go? For its world-spanning selection of egg dishes - and groan-inducing egg puns. Their English breakfast is listed on the menu as 'Breggxit'.
Don't miss: Fresh orange juice Mimosas provide speedy replenishment for your hangover.