The capital of the Republic of Croatia, Zagreb is also the largest city and is located in the northwest along the Sava River. Zagreb is filled with culture and art, and is known for its music, architecture, restaurants, and entertainment scene. It is often referred to as a “city of museums” due to the fact that it has more museums per square foot than any other city in the world.
One of the first stops during your trip to Zagreb should be the Ban Jelacic Square, which is the main square in the city and within close proximity to other major attractions. The square is surrounded by beautiful buildings and monuments, including a statue of Ban Jelacic, who defeated the Hungarians in an uprising in 1848. The Zagreb Cathedral dates all the way back to the 13th century, and is where the tomb of Cardinal Stepinac is located. The baroque Archbishops Palace is also attached to the cathedral. Next to the cathedral is Dolac Market, which sells lots of food items and is the main market in Zagreb. Other points of interest include Lotrscak Tower (built in the 13th century with great views of the town) as well as the Funicular Railway located just below the Tower (the oldest public transport system in Zagreb that was built in 1888.)
If you’re looking to get out of the city, some nearby towns that you can visit are Samobor and Varazdin. Samobor is a quiet little town that is a 36-minute drive from Zagreb and is known for its popular custard cake, which can be found at numerous bakeries and cafes. You should also visit the town’s main square, St. Anastasia Church, St. Anne Church, the City Museum and the Stari Grad castle located in the town’s western part. Varazdin is just over an hour away and is a beautifully-preserved Baroque town that is home to Spancirfest, one of Croatia’s largest open-air festivals that runs for 10 days every August.
Zagreb is divided into three parts: Upper Town, Lower Town, and New Zagreb. Upper Town has charming cobblestone streets lit by gas lamps and is where the Presidential Palace, St. Mark’s Church, Sabor (Croatian Parliament), and museums and galleries are located. Lower Town is home to plenty of shops, restaurants, cafes, theatres and parks, and the New Zagreb area is completely modern with lots of high-rise buildings. A majority of accommodation tends to be concentrated in the city center, near the bus routes and train station. Apartments are the most popular form of accommodation and are located throughout the city.
Trams are the best way to get around Zagreb, and there are 15 different routes in the city with a reduced service that also runs at night. Many of the tram routes stop at the main square or the main train station. To purchase your tram ticket, ask for one at a newspaper kiosk (they are sold in singles and in packs of ten). The city also has two tourist bus routes (the red route operates in the city, while the green route operates on a longer route). Other ways to get around include a tourist train that runs on a small route in the city center, taxicabs, and bike rentals.
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