I am home and finally (somewhat) recovered from my European travels. I’ve been eager to share with you all some travel guides / trip reviews of the various places I visited; and today I am getting started with Zagreb, Croatia and sharing what to do in Zagreb.
I met up in Zagreb with my best friend Sarah and we had a blast exploring the city for 2 days before heading to the coast. Below is a recap of what we did. Be sure to read to the end of this post for a bullet point list of my top what to do in Zagreb items!
One of the first things Sarah and I did Zagreb was explore the Upper Town and walk around to visit some of the ‘must-see’ buildings. These included St. Mark’s Church (above) which has the most beautiful roof I have ever seen, and the Cathedral of Zagreb (below).
Next up? Museum exploring. Zagreb is home to more museums than any other city I have ever been to. It is actually insane and I am not exagerating when I say in the heart of Zagreb there is a museum on every corner. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at this picture I took of a sign post indicating where the museums are. It’s bursting! Museums are definitely the #1 “what to do in Zagreb” activity.
While I am sure the traditional museums are great, given that we only had two days in Zagreb, Sarah and I opted for the unusual; something we couldn’t see elsewhere – the Museum of Broken Relationships.
*yes this photo is of Sarah & I acting out a broken relationship. We’re really, really cool like that haha*
Yes, you read that correctly. A Museum of Broken Relationships. I was immediately intrigued upon learning about this museum and honestly I went for the ‘unique’ factor / thought it would be funny and entertaining. It was; but what really surprised me was that it was also really moving. But before I delve to far into that, you’re probably still wondering what the heck a Museum of Broken Relationships is; so:
The museum is filled with artifacts big and small that people have submitted along with their story behind the object / story of their broken relationship. My personal favorite humorous one was:
The entire rest of our trip Sarah and I would periodically yell at each other “Oh Yeah?! WELL HOW ARE YOU GOING TO TOAST ANYTHING NOW?!” haha. I love this way too much.
As mentioned though, I also found the museum incredibly moving. Certain stories and objects just grab you in a way that you are not expecting and really make you think about love and heartbreak and really just the shared human condition and how across countries, across decades, in the end everyone is affected both positively and negatively by the crazy thing we call love. One item that really stuck with me was:
Another museum that is really weird and worth checking it out if you are into true crime and all things dark and twisty like I am is the torture museum. Again, I am shocked this is a museum, but it is and it is a tiny little space in Upper Town Zagreb (see picture below).
Another thing Sarah and I did was go statute hunting lol. What I mean by that is that we went walking around to find different famous statues. Zagreb is known for it’s statues and many are definitely worth checking out. The Antun Gustav Matos statue is probably the most famous- they say you’re not truly from Zagreb unless you’ve sat on the bench with him and taken a photo – but there are also a ton of other great ones including one of Nikola Tesla and, my personal favorite, one of Marija Juric Zagorka.
*me hanging out with Marija Juric Zagorka*
Marija Juric Zagorka was a Croatian advocate for women’s rights. A true feminist, she was a writer (one of the most widely-read Croatian writers ever), a political journalist, a novelist, the founder of the first women’s trade union organization in Croatia, and more. Basically she was an epic, epic bad ass.
Another place Sarah and I visited (at my request) is the old train station in Zagreb.
*the old train station*
I wanted to go there because – as you probably don’t know – my heritage is Croatian. My grandfather emigrated from Croatia when he was 11 years old – and he left from this train station. When he returned for the first time as an 80 year old man (a few years ago now) this one of the places he most wanted to go, and my mother took a photo of him at the train tracks. Sarah took a photo of me (below) in the exact same spot.
It was really cool to experience this and have this connection to my heritage. I also ended up being glad that Sarah and I went there because the train station itself is beautiful and definitely worth seeing. It also sits across from a gorgeous art gallery with picturesque grounds and a fountain – so the whole area is definitely worth a visit.
I won’t go through everything else Sarah and I did / I recommend doing in Zagreb in detail – or this post would be a novel! I’ll make sure to add everything to the list at the end of this post though.
Turning now to where to stay! The Westin Zagreb was kind enough to have us stay at their hotel. (As always though, all reviews are my honest opinion).
I would highly recommend the Westin as a place to stay in Zagreb. The location can’t be beat – you are right outside of two big museums (check out the view from the window below) and are walking distance to everything. The only taxi we took the entire time in Zagreb was from the airport!
*the view from our hotel room*
The rooms themselves are spacious & the beds are comfortable. I also loved that the hotel had buffet breakfasts in the morning – perfect to grab before you head out for a day of adventuring. There is also a gym in the hotel which is great if you are someone who wants to sneak in a quick workout while on vacation.
That’s it! I hope you liked this list of what to do in Zagreb. Let me know if you have any questions or if you want to know anything more about this city. I’ll be sharing posts on my other vacation spots (Dubrovnik, Split, etc) over the next two weeks so stay tuned for that!