Once just a stop-off for tourists on their way to the Adriatic coast, nowadays Croatia’s capital is a destination in its own right. An internet search will throw up photos of its pretty historic centre, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find a vibrant alternative scene with a generous smattering of cultural venues, cool bars and street-art-emblazoned walls. Here are half-a-dozen totally unique things to do in Zagreb you can’t do at home.
Find more things to do in Zagrab at Time Out Croatia.
Climb a mountain
London’s beloved parks and green spots can’t compete with Zagreb’s slice of nature: a real, actual mountain. The 1,033m-high Sljeme is just 20 minutes from the city centre and can be reached on foot, or by car or tram. Climb to the top and tuck into a beer and a hearty bean stew from one of the wooden huts near the summit. Watch it, though: after a boozy meal, climbing down can be just as gruelling as going up.
Buy a pint for a quid
Let's be honest, finding a fairly priced pint in London isn't easy. These days, drinking on a budget essentially means a warm Foster’s in a sticky chain-pub. In Zagreb, though, there are plenty of reasons to be beerful, with a lot more booze for your buck. A beer costs a pound. A shot? Less than a bag of artisanal crisps.
Visit the break-up museum
What do an axe, a toaster, a garden gnome and a bag of ecstasy have in common? Not much, you might think (unless you live in Thanet). But they’re all artefacts donated to Zagreb’s most unusual attraction, the Museum of Broken Relationships. With its mementos of love that didn’t last, it’s an enlightening journey through human emotions. And if you’re recently heartbroken cheer yourself up by reflecting on how it all went wrong for other people, too.
Catch a gig in a drug factory
Zagreb punches well above its weight when it comes to late-night action. One of the city’s best spots is Medika, a squatted former pharmaceutical factory run by artists, punks and musicians. At the weekend, it goes big on Balkan fun, when its cavernous rooms attract revelers of every stripe. But with a curated programme that includes films, gigs and exhibitions, there’s more to it than just pills ’n’ thrills.
Zagrab is a city of serious breadheads. So, when all that bargain booze kicks in, make a beeline for the nearest bakery and order štrukli. The deliciously doughy love child of the Austrian strudel and Turkish borek, štrukli tastes great sweet or savoury, filled with cottage cheese and sour cream, spinach, pumpkin or cherries. La Struk is very much the upper crust when it comes to baked goods, with some mind-blowing variations on the classic, including cheese-and-nettle and sour cherry.
Rakia is grappa’s sexier, fruitier cousin and is the traditional drink of the Balkans. At 40-80 percent proof, it’s highly alcoholic, and comes in an insanely long list of flavours including blueberry and aniseed, alongside the ubiquitous šljivovica (plum) and tavarica (mixed herb). Medica, the honey variety, is probably the nicest. Be warned: it’s sweet as nectar, and slips down just as nicely.