A historic city with stunning architecture and abundance of European charms, Zagreb is a highly underrated vacation prospect.
The Croation capital is centred around a picturesque plaza that encapsulated all the things that make the city what it is: 18th-19th century landmark buildings, quaint pedestrian-only streets, terraced cafes and restaurants.
The city is all of that and so much more; all you need to do is make the trip to the city centre and get down to exploring all of it for yourself!
Unlike many of the capital cities across the world, Zagreb does not have an extensive metro/subway network.
Instead, it supplements the public transport with an extensive tram network that has been serving the city residents for decades now! With no nook and cranny being left out of, your options in terms of choosing where to stay are truly endless.
But we have managed to narrow down the options. Here, we have listed some of the best neighborhoods of Zagreb and what they might have in store for you traveller!
The bustling city centre of Lower Town is the go-to choice for many first time travellers. A quintessential city centre, it offers a good mix of cultural attractions and some great modern entertainment venues.
Chief among the top draws are the the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, home to the national opera and ballet staged at the majestic-looking 1895-built baroque hall; the Museum of Arts and Crafts, known for its stunning renaissance facade and stunning exhibits; and the Esplanade, with its accompanying mixed-use space.
Outside of the big fishes, Lower Town is also known for its numerous shopping centers. Importanne Centre remains one of the standouts for its unmatched one stop shop experience with a good mix of international brand names and homegrown businesses, restaurants and cafes.
Green spaces including Ledeni Park and Botanicki Park offer a quick change of scenery from the brick and mortar structures. While the former is the venue of an outdoor ice skating rink and a popular art gallery, the latter houses a botanical garden that showcases varied fauna and floral exhibits!
As one of the major centres for business and all activity in general, Lower Town remains one of the easiest parts of the city to access. It's also only about a 20 minute cab ride from the International Airport. Hotel and accommodation options are in plenty and among some of the finest that Zagreb has to offer!
While technically still a part of Lower Town, the Jelačić plac or Ban Josip Jelacic Square and its surrounding area definitely warrants a special mention. Situated in the northern end of Lower Town, the public square acts as the point zero for the city and has become known for its eclectic architecture and varying restaurant options.
Standing tall right at the centre is the statue of the namesake figure, the Ban of Croatia. It serves as a great meeting point and is the ideal place to start your tours of the neighborhood, which is best explored on foot or via the short tram rides.
The Croatian Museum of Naïve Art, the Museum of Broken Relationships, the Klovićevi Dvori Gallery are some of the better known landmarks of the neighborhood, but you are likely to come across an architectural wonder at just about every turn. And as mentioned up top, a number of eateries - terraces cafes and chic bistros - also crowd the vicinity so be on the lookout always!
Jelačić plac lies at the northern end of Lower Town and has straightforward access from the city centre. The Trg J. Jelačića is the central tram stop and offers connectivity to other parts of the city as well. The neighborhood will also surprise you with the number of hotels that it packs in a rather compact space!
Onto Zagreb's old-world quarters then, or the Upper Town - better known as Gradec. Centred around the iconic St. Mark's Church , which is a sight to behold with its tiled roof showcasing Croatia's coat of arms, this is the definitely place to be for the historically inclined.
The St. Mark's Square - also the venue of the eponymous church - is surrounded by other significant buildings and sites including the Banski dvori mansion, the Old City Hall, the bomb shelter of Tunel Grič, the Lotrščak Tower and part of the country's Parliament complex.
Art galleries and museums dot the other neighborhood streets, ensuring that you have plenty that you can do away from the city tours. Some of these establishments, such as Meštrović Atelier - run out of former workshops and houses of prominent Croation artists and present a unique opportunity at connecting with culture at a different level altogether.
Upper Town has no dedicated tram stop as such, but the neighborhood's prime location ensures easy access, as major streets including Mesnicka ul. and Vranyczanyeva ul. run through it. Hotels can be slightly expensive but are among some of the most luxurious options that will your way in Zagreb.
Slightly west of Gradec lies the neighborhood of Kaptol, which borrows a lot of the historic charm from its predecessor on the list. It is particularly well known for church complexes that dot the central thoroughfares; even outside of the central Cathedral of Zagreb, the likes of Alagovićev ljetnikovac and St. Francis Church will keep you interested all day long.
Mansions built in 18th and 19th century architectural style dominate the cityscape and only add to the neighbourhood's appeal.
Many of the buildings here have also been repurposed into up-market restaurants, cocktail lounges and chic cafes, where you can enjoy some of the city's finest gourmet offerings.
And that's not all because the beauty of Kaptol transcends its buildings and landmarks. Even the most ordinary looking streets in the vicinity are elevated to a different level by the gas lamps and cobblestones; make so sure that you keep aside some time for leisurely walks around the neighbourhood.
Kaptol ul. run north-south connecting the neighborhood with Lower Town, which lies directly South of the historic quarters. Tram stations including Grškovićeva and Belostenčeva make travel even more hassle free. Kaptol is home to a large number of chic hotels homestays running out of the old-world mansions!
Next up on the list of neighbourhoods is the outdoorsy Jarun. Although it might come across as one of the places that's located outside of the conventional city centre, this part of Zagreb manages to impress with the sheer abundance of natural beauty that it offers.
Jarun sits atop the Sava river and the small natural lake from which the neighborhood borrows its name. Resultingly there's plenty to do near the waterfront. You can choose to spend a lazy day sunbathing by the lakeside, go swimming, or try out some of the water sports available with the local service providers
Lake Jarun is also surrounded by cycling tracks and walking trails that serve as the perfect getaway spots, away from the bustling city crowds. The wilderness expands into the outdoors and there's a few great hikes that you can challenge yourself to undertake both in and around the neighborhood as well.
In short, if you're looking to explore the lesser talked about side of Zagreb - one that is more rustic than others - Jarun is the place for you!
Jarun might feel a little farther out than some of the other neighborhoods on the list, but the quaint setting and plenty of lush spaces more than male up for the trip. The neighborhood can be reached by taking a short tram 15-20 ride as it has a dedicated station at Jarun, among others.
While in Jarun, you might want to look for a room in a homestay/hotel with a view of the lake or a cabin near the hillside to experience the neighborhood at its intimate best!
And for the last neighborhood on the list, we bring to you the hip Britanski. Situated a little North of Upper Town, this is the preferred choice of a large majority of Zagreb's Gen Z crowds. And that's largely owing to the neighborhood's proximity to some of the University of Zagreb campuses.
The Britanski trg or Britain Square is at the heart of activity; the public square is not only known for its many home-grown businesses, but also for hosting separate farmer's and a Sunday flea market, street fairs and other live events that draw in huge number of people from across the city.
The young college-going crowds also throng the trendy bars and terraced cafes that can be found at the adjacent streets. You will definitely enjoy sipping a cup of coffee or grabbing evening drinks with your friends sitting at one of these casual eateries, which are in plenty around Britanski.
Britanski is home to many budget accommodation options, including hostels and inexpensive homestays making it perfect for both backpackers. It can be easily reached from all parts of the city, as it lies just west of the city centre; Ilica is the major street that will lead you right into the heart of the neighborhood.
That's our complete list of neighbourhoods from Zagreb traveller. Take your pick and get packing for your next vacation; the Croatian capital awaits!