Zagreb – Europe's Hidden Gem

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It could take a lifetime to sift through the history of Zagreb, a city that in the past 100 years has belonged to 4 separate nations. Today we introduce one of our Croatian guides, Hrvoje. He’s here to tell us a bit about how to spend your time in Zagreb, from sightseeing at historical monuments to finding the best place to sample a tasty Gulaš.

Hi there, my name is Hrvoje (pronounced Hur-vo-ye). I became a tour guide over six years ago and I must say that out of all the jobs I had thus far, this one is by far the one I enjoy the most. That’s partly because I’m an outdoorsy type of person who likes to travel and visit different places, however another equally strong reason is the enrichment one gets when meeting new people and cultures.

Tell us a bit about Zagreb, and what we should see there.
There is lots to say about the city of Zagreb where I work most of time. A city of 800,000 people, Zagreb is a relaxing place, yet at the same time you feel the vibrancy of a European capital. There are many events happening every week, and there are lots of green areas both in and the surroundings of Zagreb where people like to go.

The historical center of Zagreb is divided into two parts, known as the Upper and Lower Zagreb. Upper Zagreb consists of two hills, which in the past were two separate towns - Gradec and Kaptol. The former was a home of craftsmen and nobility, whereas the latter was a religious center. The Upper Zagreb exists for over a thousand years, and today here one can see some of the most essential sights of Zagreb, such as the Cathedral, the Parliament, the Stone Gate, the Lotrscak tower, and much more.

Lower Zagreb was built later on, in the 19th and early 20th century. Not to miss here is Jelacic square (the main square of Zagreb), Ilica street (the longest street in Zagreb), Tito’s Square (the most monumental square of Zagreb), Preradovic/Flower square, etc. If you have time you can walk down the street where Zrinjevac Park is and visit King Tomislav Square where you would see the Railway station, Art Pavilion, the Library, and former Orient Express Hotel.

What about more “off the beaten track” experiences?
If you have more than a couple hours for sightseeing in Zagreb, I recommend taking one of the many trams and explore some neighbourhoods outside of the city center, such as Tresnjevka, New Zagreb, and Jarun Park, like a real local. Zagreb is a safe city, as is Croatia as a whole, so exploring it in a tram would be a safe and exciting experience.

Where would you recommend people go to get a great photo in Zagreb?
Some of the best photo landscapes of Zagreb are at Lotrscak tower, the terrace behind Katarina square, from Jelacic Square and King Tomislav Square.

Tell us where and what we should eat when we visit!
There are many great restaurants in Zagreb where you can try typical local cuisine, such as Katedralis, Kaptolska Klet, and Vinodol. Gulaš and stew-based food is very popular here, as are “mlinci” – a thin dried flatbread that is usually served with chicken or turkey.

Zagreb is a great city to explore, with many stories and legends. One can easily spend several days here. It’s also a great hub from where you can do daytrips to places such as Plitvice Lakes, Varazdin. Trakoscan Castle, Bukovnisko Lake, Lendava, Maribor, Ljubljana etc.

If you would like to explore Zagreb with a tour guide, feel free to get in touch with Hrvoje. You can read more about him and his tours on his guide profile page.
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