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Zagreb, Croatia: When to Go and the Reasons To Take That Trip

Zagreb is the capital of the Republic of Croatia. It is also the country’s largest city as well as its economic, cultural, sporting, cinematic, and governmental hub. Located on the Medvednica Mountain’s southern slopes along the Sava River banks, the city has played an important role in the life of the country.

Zagreb is the capital of the Republic of Croatia. It is also the country’s largest city as well as its economic, cultural, sporting, cinematic, and governmental hub. Located on the Medvednica Mountain’s southern slopes along the Sava River banks, the city has played an important role in the life of the country.

Culturally, Zagreb is a very traditional and very old European city. It has many historical monuments that tell visitors the story of its long history. For many years Zagreb has been the economic gateway that connects the Western and Central Europe through the Adriatic Sea – thanks to its favorable geographic location on the Pannonian Basin.

Geographically, the city is divided into three parts: the upper town, the lower town, and the new Zagreb. The upper town composes of the Gonji grad, which is already a thousand years old. Here, one will find the Presidential Palace, the Croatian Parliament, and many of the galleries and museums in the city. The lower town is where the 19th-century Donji grad is situated. Most of the theaters, parks, shops, restaurants, and cafes in the city are found here. The new Zagreb, also called the Novi Zagreb, is a modern post-war area where many high-rise buildings erect.

Etymology

The city’s name came from different stories and myths, but the truest interpretation was that it coming from an Italian name, “Zagabria”. This theory tells of a rich Venetian daughter who fell in love with a Hungarian who is also rich. The two got married and resided close to St. Gabriel Abbey; the saint’s Venetian dialectal name is Za Gabria, which later on became Zagreb.

Discover the riches and beauty in the marvelous city of Zagreb.

Demographics

Zagreb is Croatia’s largest city, with most people living in the city proper. In 2006, the city saw a balloon of its population from 77,145 people in its 2011 census to 804,900 (and counting!). The majority of the locals are Croats, making up 92% of its population. Ethnic minorities include Serbs, Bosniaks, Muslims, Albanians, Slovenes, Roma, Macedonians, and Montenegrins.

Climate

There is a continental climate in Zagreb, with four distinct seasons. The extreme ones happen during summers and winters, where the city gets very hot and very cold, respectively.

Top Attractions

Exploring every corner and nook of Zagreb is best done on foot! No worries of not knowing what transportation to take to get to the city’s attractions as many of its religious architectures, monuments, and park are situated in proximity with one another.

The attractions of this Croatian capital are spread around its two main areas: the Gornji Grad and the Donji Grad, or the Upper and Lower Town, respectively. Most landmarks found in the Gornji Grad are cinemas, theaters, churches, restaurants, monuments, and other historical structures; while those found in the Donji Grad are mostly parks, museums, architectural monuments, and a number of shopping centers.

Below are some landmarks not to miss in this magnificent city:

St. Mark’s Church
Trg Svetog Marka 5, Gradec, Croatia
+385 1 485 16 11

With its checkered-designed roof, it’s just hard to miss St. Mark’s church. Featuring the coats of arms of the country as well as of Savonia, Dalmatia, and the city of Zagreb, the church dates back in the 11th century. Although the church has already undergone several renovations and improvements, its Gothic doorway and Romanesque window remain to be its highlights.

Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Kaptol 31, Zagreb 10000, Croatia
+385 1 481 47 27

Locally called Katedrala Marijina Uznesenja, the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was used to be the St. Stephen’s Cathedral. It is the most visited attraction in the city mainly for its twin spires that have been attracting many tourists coming from various places.

Mirogoj Cemetery
Mirogoj bb, Zagreb 10000, Croatia

Although located a little away from the heart of the city, the Mirogoj Cemetery is easily accessible by any public transport. This Hermann Bollé-designed cemetery has often been described by many visitors to be ‘heavenly’, and thus makes it among the 10 most beautiful cemeteries in Europe. Unlike other cemeteries, Mirogoj Cemetery does not appear spooky. Instead, its look – with its walls covered with vines, chapels, and arcades – will remind you of castles during the neo-Renaissance period.

Trg Bana Jelacica
City Centre, Upper Town, Zagreb, Croatia

Known in English as the Jelacic Square, the Trg Bana Jelacica is Zagreb’s central square. It marks the intersection of many streets in the city including, Radićeva and Illica. The square is best to be for those exploring the city on foot as it also serves as a pedestrian zone – meaning, no vehicles are allowed to be inside the area.

Jarun Lake
Farther Afield

The Jarun Lake is a man-made lake stretching 4km to the southwest of the city center. A great vacation destination in the city, the lake has many facilities and amenities that everyone can enjoy. It has bars, cafes, restaurants, bike paths, and more. Every summer, the lake gets quite crowded with locals and tourists alike. During this time, the nightlife gets more alive. To get to the lake, tram #17 is to be taken from Jelacic Square.

Short Stay

Zagreb may be a relatively new travel destination but it has a wide range of offerings that would make even a short stay in the city all worthwhile. The important thing is that you prepared for your trip by doing a little research about this capital of Croatia and making a list of the things that you want to experience in the city.

For those who are spending the weekend in Zagreb, your list of activities and places-to-visit should be shorter and more compact. Avoid local attractions that are situated quite far from each other because you may just be wasting important moments on your transportation. As much as possible, wander around areas which already showcase a number of interesting sights – the Upper Town is a good option for this.

A long weekend in the city allows you to add more places to visit on your list. This is your chance to see more of Zagreb’s offerings so don’t waste any moment of it. A week in Zagreb though is even better as it will enable you to really check every corner of the city – from its upper town to lower town.

For a day trip to Zagreb, there are various options that you can choose from. Spend a whole day in a particular Zagreb spot and you will discover a lot about the kept treasures of the city.

When to visit Zagreb?

There is no specific date and time as to when to visit Zagreb the best as the city offers a relatively unsurpassed season all throughout the year. With its sensible temperatures and less chance of rain, Zagreb is an ideal destination to visit. However, your purpose in going to this capital of Croatia may just be a factor that will affect your decision in plotting a date for your tour.

For one, if you are aiming to catch a particular festival of the city, the date of this event should be your basis in scheduling your tour. Among the events to look forward to on the first quarter of the year are the Snow Queen Trophy (for ski sports enthusiasts), PBZ Zagreb Indoors (for tennis fans), International Documentary Festival (for filmmakers and enthusiasts), Zagreb Auto Show (for car lovers), and the St. Mark Festival (for those who want to get to know the city’s culture better).

Another factor to consider is your own availability. Zagreb gets more and more interesting each day, so although a weekend in the city is enough to tour you around some of its best sights, it is still better to explore it longer as there’s still more to see and discover in this magnificent place.

Sandy

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