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Zagreb Travel Guide

About Zagreb

Central European in appearance and spirit, Zagreb bears the hallmark of centuries spent under Vienna and Budapest but remains staunchly Croatian.

Visitors to the capital of one of the newer members of the European Union will find an ever-increasing choice of plush accommodation and chic bars and restaurants, as well as the chance to see some of Croatia's most important cultural sights.

Mount Medvednica rears up to the north of the city, which sits on a plain overlooking the Sava River. Picturesque Gornji grad (Upper Town) is made up of higgledy-piggledy cobbled streets and buildings dating from medieval times up to the 19th century.

In contrast, Donji grad (Lower Town) follows a geometrical grid-plan, with a series of green squares rimmed by Austro-Hungarian buildings erected from the late 19th century onwards.

The city is fuelled by caffeine: indeed, Zagreb’s café culture rivals that of Vienna. It’s not a place of Starbucks and people huddling behind their laptops nursing large lattes. Cafés are Zagreb’s pulse - they’re where people go to chat, get powered up on espresso and dress for the occasion.

On Saturday mornings, you can witness the Zagreb ritual of špica, when style-conscious people put on their smartest clothes and saunter from café to café in the streets of Trg Petra Preradovića and Bogovićeva.

On warm evenings, everyone (locals and tourists alike) head for the dozen or so cafés that line pedestrianised Tkalčićeva street in Gornji grad. Café terraces are squeezed into every available space in front of low pastel-coloured neoclassical houses. It’s reminiscent of the historic centres of Prague and Budapest – but with only a fraction of the crowds.

As more low-cost flights come to Croatia’s capital, visitors are realising that Zagreb is an appealing destination in its own right, and that there’s much more to this friendly and hospitable country than its coastal resorts.

Key facts

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Featured Hotels


Hotel Antunović

Hotel Antunović is 8km (5 miles) from Zagreb’s city centre and has 210 rooms and suites, with rates to suit a variety of budgets. Dining options are equally diverse with a self-service restaurant, Mediterranean eatery and pastry shop all on site. The eighth-floor spa and pool command panoramic views over Zagreb.

Hotel Dubrovnik

With a hard-to-beat location - off the main Bana Jelačića square - this 266-room Zagreb hotel also boasts a small fitness centre and an Italian restaurant. The glass building is a city landmark and the meeting place for businessmen and business travellers.

Palace Hotel

The old dame of hotels in Zagreb, Palace Hotel still oozes the old-fashioned charm that once made it the city’s best. Opened in 1891, it’s Zagreb’s first luxury hotel, and the decadent elegance of the Habsburg Empire still reigns in the plush rooms. Front rooms have fabulous views of the park, so try to get one of those for beauty in and outside.

Esplanade Zagreb

This grand 1920s hotel in Zagreb was originally built for travellers on the Orient Express and has hosted royalty, artists and politicians in its many years. It remains the epitome of old-fashioned luxury and Art Deco elegance, with 209 plush rooms, fine-dining restaurant (one of the city’s best), health club and business centre.

Hotel Ilica

With a good, central location and rooms decorated in a rich (sometimes kitsch) style, complete with red drapes, gilded details and large paintings, Hotel Ilica is great if you like to have peace and quiet, but still be in the middle of things. It’s a small hotel in Zagreb, which means the service is friendly and personal.

Hotel Jagerhorn

Founded in 1827, Jagerhorn is the city’s oldest standing hotel. After the full refurbishment in 2015 it has become one of the most luxurious places to stay in Zagreb. Whether you like to enjoy a drink by the fountain or relax in spacious rooms, Jagerhorn is an oasis of style and comfort.