TOP THINGS TO DO IN ZAGREB IN 2 DAYS
Are you planning your Zagreb itinerary and wondering about the best things to do in Zagreb in 2 days (or 1 day)? Then this post is for you. Find out about what to do in Zagreb – where to go and what to see, plus some travel tips.
Croatia´s capital is a fun and lively city that offers quite a few attractions. Zagreb might surprise you. It is different from the rest of Croatia. Actually, it reminded me more of Austria or Hungary (no surprise, given its history) with its beautiful buildings and architecture.
I would lie if I said that Zagreb was my favorite place in Croatia. No, it is not, but I still really liked it and definitely think it should be on your Croatia itinerary.
So, enough talking – let’s dive in and find out about how to spend 2 days in Zagreb.
Let´s start with attractions in the Upper Town and what you will find there.
The oldest part of the city is a little city dream, with its many cobblestone streets stretching between two hills – Kaptol and Gradec.
First of all, how do you get to the Upper Town? It might sound like you would need to do a tedious hike/ride up, but it is quite easy to get from the Lower Town to the Upper Town. You can either walk up or take a funicular ride up.
Ride the Shortest Funicular in the World
To get up to the Upper Town, you could take the funicular. Apparently, it is the shortest funicular ride in the world. The funicular runs frequently. I walked up, but many people use the funicular for a quicker ride, and it has become the main tourist attraction itself.
- It takes less than one minute and costs less than $1 to get up.
Visit Lotrščak Tower
If you get up via the funicular (or climb the stairs), you’ll see one of the oldest buildings in Zagreb: Lotrščak Tower.
It was a part of the southern gate and town defenses, dating back to the 13th century. I admit that I just passed it even though it is one of the last remaining fortifications in the city and one of the main attractions in the city. Maybe I did not pay much attention to it, because I wasn’t around at noon.
At noon every day, there is a cannon fire. That tradition started more than a hundred years ago as a victory sign against the Ottomans in the 13th century.
I was somehow unaware that you could climb the (narrow) stairs and enjoy even more elaborate views of Zagreb from the tower.
- The entrance fee is around $3 for the tower.
Stroll the Strossmeyer Promenade
If you get up via the funicular, you arrive at the Strossmeyer Promenade which is one of the most romantic promenades in Zagreb – according to the locals.
It is also known as Zagreb Stross and it is filled with many chestnut trees, and you’ll also find benches to just sit down and enjoy the place!
It runs along the remains of Zagreb’s medieval defensive walls and offers beautiful panorama. Make sure to walk all the way to the end to have a great view of the Zagreb Cathedral.
Admire St. Mark´s Church
In Croatia, you’ll find many churches! So what makes St. Mark´s Church stand out? Well, let me show you this picture.
Such a colorful, tiled roof is surely unique. I have not seen any other church roof similar to this, so it does not surprise me that it has become an icon in Croatia.
The church dates back to the 13th century! The roof was constructed in the 1880s, though it is also one of the oldest churches in the country. On the left, you’ll see the medieval coat of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia, and Slovenia, while on the right is the coat of arms of Zagreb.
If you visit between late April and October – and on the weekend – you can watch the guard changing ceremony that takes place at noon.
- You can visit for free if you attend the daily mass. It is closed most of the time, so check out mass times.
Walk Grič Tunnel
Grič Tunnel was built during World War II, with its primary purpose to shelter civilians from bombings during WWII and the Croatian War of Independence towards the end of the 20th century.
But that aside, this has become a major tourist attraction. You can walk the 350-meter-long tunnel now, and once in a while, even events take place there.
- There is no entrance fee – and best of all, you’ll also find toilets there.
There are several entrances:
- Mesnička Entrance
- Radićeva 19 Entrance
- Art Park Entrances 1 and 2
- Ilica Entrance
Rest at Art Park
If you walk the tunnel, you can get out at Art Park.If you are into quirky art or need a little park to rest in, then the Art Park might be the perfect place for you.
I admit, though it was listed in many posts as a top place to visit in Zagreb, I would skip it on my next visit.
If you are with children, you might want to check out this little park that hosts some interesting outdoor art pieces. If you are short on time or aren’t overly into art, it is probably not a must-see.
Then head back to the city center and see what the Dolac Market has to offer. It is the city´s main, open-air farmers’ market and is popular amongst locals and visitors.
You can shop for some fresh fruits or bread (and many more things) every day from 7 am. On Sundays, it is open until 1 pm; on the other days, it is held until 3 pm.
Visit the Cathedral
Close to the Colac Market is the Zagreb Cathedral – officially named Zagreb Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Assumption – a must-see.
It is the tallest building in Croatia and is located on Kaptol Square. But you can see it from afar because of its twin, 108-meter-high (354 ft) spires. The Cathedral has been there since the 11th century, though it was severely damaged a few times – the last big restoration took place in the late 19th century.
- You can visit the church during the day, and visitors are more than welcome to attend the daily masses.
Stroll Tkalčićeva Street
This pretty street is vibrant and full of restaurants and small shops and it is popular amongst visitors. But don’t just sit down in one of the restaurants – make sure to look at the colorful houses behind the bars and shops. Here you’ll also find the statue of Mary Juric Zagorka, a famous Zagreb journalist.
- Fun fact: This street used to be the first real red-light street in all of Europe, and almost every house here used to be a brothel.
Visit the Museum of Broken Relationships
The Museum of Broken Relationships is probably the most famous museum in the city. However, I still did not go, but it seems to be one of the best places to add to your itinerary.
The museum is actually about failed love relationships, and so it exhibits personal objects left over from former owners, accompanied by their stories and emotions.
I haven’t mentioned yet that Zagreb is also known as the City of a Million Hearts – it is all about love here.
- The entry fee is around $5.
Walk Through Stone Gate
You could either take the funicular to get to the Upper Town but there are actually several ways to get up – one is via the Stone Gate (Porta di Pietra).
It is the only remaining entrance of Zagreb’s old fortifications and the eastern gate to the old town.
It also dates back to the 13th century, and if you go through the gate nowadays, you will find a shrine and stone slabs praising the Mother of God. I saw quite a few people lighting candles and thanking the Lady for protection.
Apparently, on Tuesdays at 8 pm, locals pray and sing here, and visitors are welcome to join.
From there, you are within minutes of the lower town of the city.
Of course, it really depends on your speed and if you visit the churches and the museum, but you can easily spend one day in the city’s upper town. Then, you will have one full day to spend in other parts of the city.
Day 2 in Zagreb
Visit Mirogoj Cemetery
There used to be a time when I thought doing cemetery sightseeing was weird – and then I started traveling more in Austria, where cemeteries are often the main tourist attractions, like in Hallstatt or Salzburg.
And it seems that the Austrian influence is strong here, as one of the most beautiful cemeteries is here in Zagreb: Mirogoj Cemetery.
It is a cemetery, but also a beautiful park and an open art gallery. The beautiful buildings are mostly covered by greenery, and it is really a very photogenic place (or as it is called nowadays, “Instagramable”).
You can freely walk around. If it were not for the graves and statues, I would have a hard time believing it is a cemetery. Many famous people are buried here, including many of the country´s politicians, nobles, poets, and artists.
- Free to visit
End Your Day at Zagreb 360
Zagreb Eye is an observation deck and a Viewpoint Bar. It is situated on the top floor of the iconic Zagreb Ilica Skyscraper, and you can have great views from there.
Due to bad weather, I skipped this – though I am normally totally into views like these. But with rain and bad weather, I had to skip it.
However, I think it is a perfect place to end your itinerary – right at the bar with a drink and a view that is probably the best in the city.
CONCLUSION: 2 DAY ZAGREB ITINERARY
Hopefully, this post will help you plan your 2 days in Zagreb. As you can see, it is a quite relaxed itinerary with not too many activities, and you might need less than 2 full days, but after all my busy time in Croatia, this stop was perfect for taking it easy. If taking it easy while still seeing quite a lot, this Zagreb itinerary is perfect for you, too (so I hope).