2 Days In Zagreb Itinerary: Weekend In Zagreb (2023)
Are you visiting Croatia and want to know how to spend 2 days in Zagreb? You came to the right place!
In this Zagreb 2-day itinerary, I will show you what to do in Zagreb in 2 days so you have the best time in Croatia’s capital!
Most people skip Zagreb when travelling to Croatia, as Croatia is best known for its coast. That makes Zagreb one of the most underrated European capitals!
While Zagreb might not have Pula beaches, it is a city full of culture, history and architecture reminiscent of Vienna and other great European capitals.
Hence, Zagreb deserves to be on your Croatia backpacking itinerary, and it is a perfect city break destination for a weekend trip.
I lived in Zagreb for 5 years while I was at University. During that time, I had many people visit and spend a weekend in Zagreb. So, I became a pro at making a perfect two day in Zagreb itinerary, and I am thrilled to share it with you!
Keep reading to discover what to see in Zagreb in 2 days!
- Are two days enough for Zagreb?
- What to see in Zagreb in 2 days?
- 2 days in Zagreb itinerary – Day 1
- 2 days in Zagreb itinerary – Day 2
- What to do if you have more time for backpacking Zagreb?
- How to add Zagreb to a Croatia itinerary?
- When is the best time to visit Zagreb?
- How to get to Zagreb?
- How to get around Zagreb?
- Where to stay in Zagreb as a backpacker?
- Vegan options in Zagreb?
- Suggested budget for backpacking Zagreb?
- Is Zagreb safe for solo female travellers?
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and I may earn a commission if you make a purchase using my link, at no extra cost to you. I hope you find the information here useful!
Are two days enough for Zagreb?
Firstly, how many days do you need in Zagreb?
Zagreb is the Croatian capital and the biggest city in the country. Yet, you can visit all the main sights in Zagreb in 2 days.
That is because most tourist attractions in Zagreb are in the city centre, and the city centre of Zagreb is relatively small.
Therefore, yes, 2 days are enough to see the main attractions in Zagreb and get a taste of the city.
What to see in Zagreb in 2 days?
- Ban Josip Jelačić Square
- Dolac market
- Zagreb Cathedral
- A funicular to the Upper Town
- Lotrščak tower and Grič Canon
- Strossmayer Promenade and Matoš statue
- Zagreb Cathedral view from Plato Gradec
- Cobblestone streets of Upper town
- St. Mark’s church and square
- Stone Gate
- Zrinjevac park
- Botanical garden
- Maksimir park
- Mirogoj Cemetery
- Day trip to Sljeme mountain
- Day trip to Samobor
2 days in Zagreb itinerary – Day 1
You will spend your first day in Zagreb in the city centre. The best way to discover the city centre of Zagreb is by walking.
You can visit all the must-see attractions on the first day. So if you only have one day in Zagreb, follow the Day 1 itinerary.
If you are on a tight schedule, this 2.5-Hour Zagreb Walking Tour with Funicular Ride covers all the must-visit spots and includes a funicular ride exactly at noon so you don’t miss the iconic cannon firing. It is highly rated, very affordable and well worth the price!
Start exploring Zagreb from Ban Jelačić Square
Ban Jelačić square is the biggest and the main square in Zagreb. The central point of the square is the statue of Ban Jelačić himself on the horse.
Another landmark on the square is the Manduševac fountain. According to the legends, Zagreb was named after this Manduševac spring.
It is a popular meeting spot, so if you wait and observe, you will see many meetings in front of the horse or the clock on the left side of the square!
Grab some fresh fruit at Dolac Market
Even if you are not hungry, a morning at Dolac Market is an authentic Zagreb experience you should add to your Zagreb itinerary.
It is a daily farmer’s market, just a few meters away from Ban Jelačić square, very popular among locals.
The market is divided into two levels. The upper, outside level, is more interesting, as it offers a quintessential Croatian experience, with vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables under colourful sun umbrellas.
Visit the Zagreb Cathedral
Zagreb Cathedral on Kaptol is the second highest building in Croatia (Zagreb TV tower is the tallest! Even though some would argue it is not a building, just a construction.).
The Cathedral has been in the same spot on Kaptol since the 11th century. However, the Cathedral today is not the original 11th-century cathedral. The original Cathedral was destroyed in the 13th century, and the cathedral built afterwards was badly damaged in the 1880 earthquake.
The magnificent cathedral we see today was built in the Neo-Gothic style and designed by architect Herman Bolle.
Inside the Cathedral, you can find a treasury that includes various liturgical items collected throughout its history.
Go for a coffee!
The coffee culture in Croatia is unlike anything you’ve experienced before. It is always a good time for coffee, and Croats love to take their time enjoying it.
You will notice cafes are constantly full, so find a nice cafe with vegan milk options on the Happy Cow app and take a break the Croatian way!
Take a funicular to the Upper Town
When you’ve had your coffee and breakfast, make your way towards the Upper Town. It is the most picturesque area of Zagreb and is home to many landmarks.
You can easily climb the stairs to the Upper town, but why not use the opportunity to take a funicular that has been connecting the Lower and Upper Town since 1890?
The ride takes about one minute, and it saves you from climbing 165 stairs. It offers the most unique view of the city, so it is worth paying for it!
- Opening hours: 6:30 -22:00
- Tickets: 5 kunas for one way ticket
Walk Strossmayer Promenade and enjoy the view
Strossmayer Promenade offers the best free view of the city. On a clear day, you can see the whole city extending in front of you.
It is also a great spot to watch the sunset if you come in the late afternoon.
Get to Lotrščak tower and Grič Canon before noon
The funicular leaves you right in front of the Lotrščak tower. This old tower is home to the Grič Canon.
Grič canon fires every day, since 1877, exactly at noon. Be prepared that it is loud.
You can climb the Lotrščak tower for a spectacular panoramic view of the city.
- Opening hours and tickets: For up-to-date opening hours and ticket prices, check the Lotrščak tower website.
Admire Zagreb Cathedral view from Plato Gradec
The view of the Zagreb Cathedral from Plato Gradec is one of the cult pictures of Zagreb. If you are looking for the most instagramable spots in town, this is the place to go.
St. Mark’s church and square
St. Mark’s Church, located on St. Mark’s square, is one of the oldest architectural monuments in Zagreb, dating as early as the 13th century.
However, the signature tiled roof was constructed in 1880. It features the medieval coat of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia on the left side and the emblem of Zagreb on the right.
The square is nowadays also known as the political square, as it is home to the Croatian parliament and government.
Pass through the Stone Gate
The Old Stone Gate is a religious site and shrine to Virgin Mary. The gate was built in the 13th century and is the only remaining entrance to Zagreb’s old fortifications.
You will see a lot of candles and people praying. It is interesting to check out even if you are not religious.
Relax in Zrinjevac park or a Botanical garden
If you visit Zagreb in the warmer months, take a break from the sun in the shade of lush green trees in Zrinjevac park or the Botanical garden.
Zrinjevac is the most popular park in the city centre of Zagreb. It is a part of the Lenuci Horseshoe or the Green Horseshoe, a U-shaped system of city squares with parks in downtown Zagreb.
Grab a drink in Tkalča
End your first day with a drink on the most popular walking street in Zagreb – Tkalčićeva street. Every night the street gets busy with locals meeting up after work or for weekend drinks.
There are many bars to choose from, including a cult History bar, but if you are looking for something authentically Zagreb, go for Mali Medo.
Mali Medo is one of the bars of Medvedgrad Brewery, Zagreb’s local microbrewery. It’s been operating since 1994 and is a place to go if you want to try some cult Zagreb beer.
2 days in Zagreb itinerary – Day 2
The second day in Zagreb will be spent outside the city centre, enjoying the calming nature or on a day trip!
Visit Mirogoj Cemetery
A cemetery might sound like a rather unusual place to add to your itinerary. Yet, Mirogoj cemetery is one of the most beautiful and calming places in Zagreb.
You might have seen photos of the main building with arcades and walls covered in ivy on Instagram. If you didn’t know it was a cemetery, you would’ve never guessed!
It is easy to see why Mirogoj is one of the most noteworthy landmarks in Zagreb. Mirogoj was designed by architect Hermann Bollé, the same man who designed the Zagreb Cathedral.
- Get there: Take a bus 106 or 226 from Kaptol.
Relax in Maksimir park
Zagreb is a lush green capital, and Maksimir Park is the oldest and the most beautiful public park in Zagreb. The park opened in the 18th century!
It is extremely popular with locals, and you will find it very busy on the weekends.
Maksimir park is bigger than it might appear, and it is possible to spend a whole day there. There are several large meadows, numerous little forest trails and five lakes for you to discover.
There is more than just nature in the park. Some landmarks include the Echo pavilion, an Obelisk, a Belvedere viewpoint and more! Maksimir zoo is next to the park, but you enter it separately.
- Opening hours: The park is open 24/7
- Tickets: It is free to enter the park
Day trip to Sljeme mountain
Hiking Sljeme mountain is one of the most popular weekend activities in active Zagreb households. If you head to the trail on Saturday or Sunday morning, you will find it busy and lively!
Day trip to Samobor
Samobor is a small town approximately 25 km from Zagreb. It is a great spot for a day trip to discover life in Northern Croatia.
Is Zagreb worth visiting?
Yes, as one of the most underrated European capitals, Zagreb is well worth a visit. It is a city full of culture and history, with the same historical charm as Vienna or Budapest.
With numerous things to do, a weekend in Zagreb is the perfect time to discover the best of Zagreb.
Zagreb is a magical Christmas market destination. It was named the best Christmas Market in Europe a few years in a row!
What to do if you have more time for backpacking Zagreb?
- If you have more than 2 days in Zagreb, check out this list of over 30 best things to do in Zagreb.
Zagreb is home to numerous museums. It has more museums per square meter than any other city in the world! Add some to your itinerary like a fun Musem of Illusions.
Many people rave about the Museum of Broken Relationships. In all honesty, I visited and I wasn’t really blown away. However, I see the appeal and why people could like it.
It is truly a unique take on museums and with so many people recommending it, it is a fun activity to add to your itinerary on a rainy day in Zagreb.
Zagreb is also the shopping capital of Croatia. I’m talking about more than ten big shopping centres in the city. You can spend a day browsing or shopping if you have room in your luggage.
The most popular day trip from Zagreb is to the magical Plitvice lakes. If you don’t have a car, the best way to get there is on an organized tour. This Plitvice Lakes and Rastoke Day Trip is the best-rated day trip from Zagreb, it includes transportation and entry tickets.
You could use Zagreb as a base to take a day trip to Zadar and discover the Croatian coastline. The bus takes about 3h in one direction.
How to add Zagreb to a Croatia itinerary?
Zagreb is the capital of Croatia and is well-connected to the rest of the country. You can take a bus, a train or a flight to every part of the country.
If you want to continue your trip backpacking Croatia, the most popular way to travel in Croatia is by bus.
You can check the Flixbus lines, but there are many operators in Croatia if Flixbus is not going to your destination.
Zagreb bus station website shows every available line, and you can buy a ticket on their website as well!
If you are travelling to the North or East of the country, you might consider a train. Check the schedule and lines on the official railway website.
Be aware that trains in Croatia tend to be late, and sometimes you will have to transfer to a bus along the way.
For example, I took a train from Pula to Ljubljana, little did I know that half of the trip will be by bus! However, they work fine for shorter trips!
When is the best time to visit Zagreb?
Most activities in Zagreb are not weather-specific, so it is possible to visit any time of the year and have a great time.
The best time to visit Zagreb weatherwise is in the Spring or Autumn as the weather is perfect for exploring the city. Days get longer and warmer, and you enjoy strolling around the city.
Winters in Zagreb are cold. Despite the weather, it is a lively winter destination, especially in December, to add to your winter backpacking itinerary.
Summer is the off-season in Zagreb. The city feels somewhat empty, as all the students return home for the holidays, and Zagreb citizens take their summer vacation and go to the coast.
At the same time, Zagreb gets very hot in the summer. However, 2 days is a perfect time to explore Zagreb, even in the summer heat!
How to get to Zagreb?
You can easily reach Zagreb by air or land!
It is very well connected to the neighbouring European countries by an extensive bus and railway network. Zagreb airport is the biggest airport in Croatia, connecting Zagreb to over 40 destinations worldwide!
Travelling to Zagreb by bus
The best way to look for bus tickets if you’re coming from abroad is through Flixbus.
Flixbus has frequent lines connecting Zagreb to Ljubljana, Budapest, Graz and many more! The best part about travelling with Flixbus is the price. Prices are unbeatable, and it is the cheapest way to travel to Zagreb.
Travelling to Zagreb by train
The Railway system in Croatia is not as advanced as in other Western European countries. But, you can still reach Zagreb by direct train from Budapest or Vienna.
The best way to book international train tickets to Zagreb is through Trainline. It shows you all the available lines and operators so you can pick the best option. It is my favourite app for international train travel.
Flying into Zagreb
Zagreb has a large international airport, and since September 2021, Ryanair flies to Zagreb! It is the first budget airline to fly to Zagreb, making the Croatian capital more accessible than ever.
- To keep the ticket price low, consider packing in a personal item only so you don’t pay baggage fees!
How to get around Zagreb?
The city centre of Zagreb is walkable, and if you stay in that area, you can simply walk everywhere. However, for greater distances, Zagreb has an extensive public transport network.
Public transport in Zagreb
You don’t need a car to visit Zagreb for two days. On the contrary, a car would just make it more complicated. Therefore, even if you arrived in Zagreb by car, park it for a day and take advantage of Zagreb’s public transport.
The public transport operator in Zagreb is ZET.
ZET network has 14 tram lines and over 140 bus lines linking virtually every part of the city.
There is a wide variety of tickets and fares for Zagreb public transport. From 4kn 30-minute to a multiple-day pass ticket. Check out all the fares here, and pick the one that works best for you.
Google maps work perfectly in sync with the ZET network, so you can trust they will suggest the best route.
Is there an Uber in Zagreb?
Yes, there is an Uber and Bolt taxi in Zagreb.
In the unlikely case that you need a taxi, they are the cheapest option! Especially if you need transport from the airport, as taxis around the airport are notorious for being overpriced.
Where to stay in Zagreb as a backpacker?
There is no shortage of budget-friendly accommodation in Zagreb.
The best area of Zagreb to stay as a backpacker is the city centre. Most hostels are in the city centre, and as long as you’re within 2 km of Ban Jelačić square, you are in the walking zone.
A bed in a hostel dorm room will cost you on average 15-20€.
Check out my guide for staying in hotels if you’ve never stayed in a hostel before!
The best-rated hostels in Zagreb are:
- Swanky Mint – the best-rated hostel in Zagreb. It is in the city centre, and they even have a rooftop pool!
- Whole Wide World Hostel – this is a party hostel. It is the best-rated atmosphere as they organise activities every night. Plus, offer a free breakfast!
- Mali Mrak – finally, the Mali Mrak hostel is one of the most unique hostels in the city. They take pride in not being a commercial hostel, and you can rent a bike in the hostel as well!
All of the aforementioned hostels also offer private rooms! So, even if you don’t want to share a room with strangers, you can enjoy the benefits of staying in a hostel.
Hostels are the best place to make friends as a solo traveller.
Alternatively, if hostels aren’t your thing, you will find a great choice of private rooms and even whole apartments on Booking.com, starting at around 35€ per night!
Best vegan restaurants in Zagreb
If you are vegan, you will love Zagreb! You can choose among 10 fully vegan restaurants in the city and over 50 restaurants with vegan options.
The best vegan restaurants in Zagreb:
- Veganko – vegan junk food in its best form. You will love everything you get in Veganok, from burgers to wraps and desserts. They have Beyond meat burgers! The only downside is that it is a take-out place, so no seating is available.
- Zrno Bio Bistro – Zrno is a proper vegan restaurant. They have an extensive menu, meals are nicely presented, and a couple of desserts to choose from. If you are looking for vegan fine dining in Zagreb, Zrno is the closest you’ll get to it!
- Simple Green – a vegan restaurant offering a daily menu. It is a place to go if you want to try a vegan version of Croatian specialities.
- Caruso pizza – one honourable mention, since it is a bit outside the city centre, is Caruso pizza, which offers the best vegan pizza in town! It is a pizza delivery with 10 different vegan pizza options!
Check out my full Vegan guide to Croatia for everything you need to know about vegan food in Croatia!
Is Zagreb expensive to visit?
Croatia is one of the most affordable EU countries. However, it is certainly not eastern Europe cheap, and it is getting more and more expensive every year. Especially the coast!
Accommodation will vary greatly depending on when you visit and what kind of accommodation you’re after. A bed in a hostel dorm in Zagreb is on average 20€ per night, while hotel rooms start at 35€ and upwards.
The accommodation prices are slightly higher in the summer. However, the high season in Zagreb is also December for the Christmas market.
Your transportation budget can be 0€ if you choose to walk. The city is walkable, so it is achievable! Otherwise, budget anywhere from 0,60€ per ticket to 5€ 24-hour pass.
You should expect to spend 10-25€ on food and drinks. It will depend on whether you are having all your meals in a restaurant, or buying your lunch in a supermarket and cooking in your accommodation.
A meal in a vegan restaurant will take you back around 10€ per person. Coffee or matcha with soy milk is 3€.
Cocktails and other alcoholic beverages in bars are on average 8€. Beer is the cheapest alcoholic drink to go for at around 4€.
Is Zagreb safe for solo female travellers?
Yes! Zagreb, and Croatia, in general, are safe destinations for solo female travellers.
I did not feel unsafe at any moment walking alone, and I’ve lived there for over 5 years. There are no dangerous neighbourhoods, and it is generally safe to walk alone at night. Still, don’t walk in unlit parks at night, and avoid dark backstreets if possible.
As a solo female traveller, the same advice always applies. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye on your belongings, as pickpocketing happens.
If you want to go clubbing in Zagreb, check out my Guide on how to enjoy nightlife as a solo female traveller.
General advice is, do not do anything you would not do at home. Use your common sense and avoid unnecessarily risky situations.
Final Thoughts: 2 Days In Zagreb: A Perfect Weekend In Zagreb Itinerary
And that is everything you need to know about how to spend 2 days in Zagreb! Hopefully, your Zagreb itinerary is now complete as you know what to see in Zagreb in 2 days.
Have you visited Zagreb before? Is there something I missed that should be on the list? Let me know in the comments!
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