After our rave reviews about Zagreb (here), we thought a bit more detail about our favorite attractions was needed. If you’re like us and foolishly allocated only one day in your trip to Zagreb here are our top five, must-see, miss-at-your-peril, attractions.
Yes the entire church is nice, however the hand painted ceilings in the Franciscan Church stole our attention. Painted a deep cobalt blue, speckled with golden stars, and framed by looming white stone pillars, we couldn’t look away. Need another reason to visit? Rumour has it that St. Francis of Assisi himself lived at the monastery right next door for a significant period of time.
In the Kaptol neighbourhood of Upper Town, the Franciscan Church and Monastery are just down from the Cathedral on Kaptol Street – look for the spire (visible from the Cathedral) and head around the corner for the main entrance.
Just a short walk from the crowded pews of the Cathedral is Zagreb’s most famous open air market. Affectionately known as the “belly of Zagreb”, the market features fresh produce, cured meats, and a fish market, and is a great opportunity to shop amongst the locals or try something new. We couldn’t resist buying some fresh peaches, a pomegranate, and some Croatian mandarin oranges.
Look for the red umbrellas, it’s impossible to miss. The main food market is on Dolac Street, however there are stalls selling crafts, clothes, and home goods stretching up Opatovina as well. The market is open everyday (with the exception of public holidays) and closes by 4 pm (2pm on Sunday).
Museum of Broken Relationships
We first stumbled upon this museum in a travel magazine (while waiting for clean clothes in Dubrovnik’s adorable Launderette), and upon researching a bit further we realized it was ranked as the third best attraction in Zagreb on Trip Advisor. The premise is simple, emotionally overcome a failed relationship through creation by contributing to the museum’s collection. In a little under an hour, we browsed the collection of personal belongings donated to the museum from individuals around the world – each holding meaning of a previous relationship. The displays include write-ups from the specific donor, sometimes a few words and sometimes many, some clearly explaining the item’s meaning, others a more interpretive poem or prose, and we found it extremely interesting and touching. Some of the exhibits are funny, others extremely moving and heartbreaking; one we both liked is the “Mira Furlan” bowl…
The museum has toured internationally and now has a permanent collection in Kulmer palace in Upper Town next to St. Mark’s Square. Admission is 25 Kuna per person, operating hours can be found on their website here.
The Art Pavilion
Although choosing a favorite building in Zagreb is difficult, the history surrounding the Art Pavilion made it stand out for us. Located in King Tomislav square, near the train station, the building was originally built to serve as the Croatia Pavilion at the Budapest Millennial Exhibition in 1896. Afterwards, the building was disassembled and transported to its current location in Zagreb. Opened in 1898, it currently houses contemporary art exhibits. Looking up at the building’s intricate details and grander, it’s unfathomable to picture how it was transported and reassembled. The bright yellow facade is definitely eye catching as well.
At the far end of Nikola Subic Zrinski Square sits a unique concrete post, easily overshadowed by the flowerbeds, elegant tree lined promenade, wrought iron bandstand, fountains, and statues. However, upon closer inspection, the intricacies of the Meteorological Post become more evident and tremendously fascinating. Recording the weather since 1884, it’s possible to check not only the temperature here but also the air pressure, time of day, and many other meteorological measurements.
There’s lots to see and lots to explore in the beautiful city of Zagreb, and we would recommend a stop there to anyone in the region.