Visitors will be arriving in Croatia via air at Zagreb Franjo Tudjman International Airport (Zracna luka Franjo Tudjman, IATA code ZAG), which is the busiest airport in Croatia, serving 3.36 million passengers in 2018. If you are arriving in northern Croatia by air, chances are you will be landing in Zagreb. The airport is located about six miles southeast of Zagreb Main train station, and is the hub for Croatia Airlines and Trade Air. The current three-story passenger terminal was opened in 2017 and is considered to be state-of-the-art. ZET bus route 290 and Pleso Prijevoz private coaches connect the airport with the city center.
Driving directions to Zagreb: Head west on Ulica Rudolfa Fizira for approximately 1.4 miles. Then turn left on Domovinski most, and stay on this road for about five miles. It will change names to Radnicka cesta. Exit onto Slavonska avenija and drive for about 0.8 miles until you see the exit for Avenija Marina Drzica. Staying on this road and curving right puts you on Subiceva ulica. Turning left puts you on Ulica Kneza Branimira as you drive toward the train station and Lenuci`s Horseshoe.
There are taxis that queue outside the arrivals hall but it isn`t particularly recommended to take them into the city, as they can set you back as much as 250 kunas depending on time of day, the number of people in your party, and the number of pieces of baggage handled. Uber operates from Zagreb Airport and takes people directly into the city center for a flat rate (110 kunas as of the first half of 2019, prices may increase at Uber`s discretion). Use your Uber app or one of the bus options discussed above (10 kunas for the two-tariff zone ride from the airport to Eugen Kvaternik Square, or 30 kunas each way on the Pleso Prijevoz coaches to Zagreb bus station) instead of taxis; they are much more economical. You can buy tickets for both buses as you board from the driver.How do I get from the train and bus stations to my hotel?
The bus station (autobusni kolodvor) is located on Avenija Marina Drzica, close to Ulica Kneza Branimira. There is a tram stop just across the street, and a local bus stop in the circle behind the station. There are taxis that queue outside the bus station, although for short distances you should just take the tram. The train station (glavni kolodvor) is located on King Tomislav Square, next to Ulica Grgura Ninskog and Ulica Kneza Branimira. There is a tram stop located across the street, in between the train station and the square; it is one of the city`s secondary tram hubs. Tram lines 2 and 6 go to Ilica, and line 6 goes to Ban Josip Jelacic Square. Line 4 travels toward Kaptol.How do I get around Zagreb using public transport?
While other cities have commuter rail or Metro systems, Zagreb`s best-known mass transit option is the tram, run by Zagrebacki elektricni tramvaj (ZET). Fifteen daytime lines (4:30 a.m. to midnight) and four nighttime lines (all other hours) criss-cross the city, stopping at 256 different stations. Gone are the days of the Tito-era TMK 101 tram cars; they were finally replaced in 2008 with the TMK 2200 state-of-the-art tram cars, which have since been replicated in tram systems in cities such as Helsinki, Lodz, and Sofia. The tram cars in Zagreb are blue, just like the buses.
The city`s tramway hub is Ban Josip Jelacic Square. Considering the square is pedestrianized, it is the best way to reach the square without having to walk there. Tram lines 1, 6, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 17 stop at Ban Jelacic. Here`s where some of those lines travel to:
- Line 1: Victims of Fascism Square and the Mestrovic Pavilion
- Line 6: Zagreb Main train station and Zagreb bus station
- Line 13: Loop through the Upper and Lower Town areas
- Line 14: Areas near and past the Sava River
- Line 17: The University of Zagreb and Lake Jarun
Tickets cost 6 kunas for a 30-minute ride through one tariff zone, 10 kunas for a time period of 60 minutes, and 15 kunas for a time period of 90 minutes. These tickets can be bought from the driver. A two-zone trip costs 10 kunas for 90 minutes of travel. A stored-value transport card (10 kunas) allows for discounted travel, 4 kunas for a 30-minute ride and 7 for 60 minutes. (You must buy monetary values to store on the card in multiples of 10 kunas.) For more information on the Zagreb tram and bus system as run by ZET, visit www.zet.hr/en.
Zagreb`s bus system, also run by ZET, is extensive, offering 143 daytime lines and four nighttime lines. Hours and prices are the same for the bus as they are for the tram, and payment can be made either to the driver or through a rechargeable transport card that can be loaded with money (in increments of 10 kunas). These buses are more popular with commuters who work in Zagreb and want to arrive in the city from the environs; you will have more use of the trams than the buses. To look at a list of bus routes, including timetables and maps, visit the ZET URL mentioned above.
Then there is Zagreb`s funicular (Zagrebacka uspinjaca), which was completed in 1890. At just 217 feet from start to finish, it is one of the shortest funicular rides in the world. The dual-carriage funicular transports 28 people in each car up from the Lower Town to the Upper Town, in a ride that lasts just 64 seconds. The funicular runs every ten minutes from approximately 6:30 a.m. to midnight daily. (Holidays may result in different operating hours.) Tickets cost 5 kunas each way and can be bought upon arrival at the Funicular stops.How do I call/hail a taxi?
Hailing a cab is cheaper than calling one, as there tends to be a surcharge for calling, but if you do your research, you can take taxis and not have them hit your pocketbook too hard. Zagreb used to have a reputation for being a very expensive taxi town. Prices used to be as expensive as other European capitals, if not more so. However, competition between various taxi companies, as well as the arrival of ride-sharing service Uber, have made taxis a bit more competitive these days. Keep in mind that unlike other cities, there is no base flagfall fare; cab companies are allowed to set their own prices, within reason. Here are a few cab companies and what their rates are:
- Taxi Cammeo (tel. +385 1 1212) charges 6 kunas for flagfall and 6 kunas per 0.6 miles afterward. Waiting time costs 40 kunas per hour. Cash and credit cards are accepted. There is a 2.50 kuna fee for dispatching a taxi via telephone. You can request a cab from this company by downloading their app at the Apple and Google Play Stores.
- Eko Taxi Zagreb (tel. +385 1 1414) charges 8.80 kunas for flagfall and 6 kunas per 0.6 miles afterward. If you download their app from the Apple or Google Play Store, you can get a discount on your first ride. This taxi company is pet-friendly should you find yourself in need of a taxi for you and your companion. Cash and credit cards are accepted and there is a 2.49 kuna fee for dispatching a taxi via telephone. Waiting time costs 43 kunas per hour.
- Radio Taxi (tel. +385 1 1717) charges 10 kunas for flagfall and 6 kunas per 0.6 miles afterward. There is a 2.50 kuna fee for dispatching a taxi via telephone; they also have apps available for download at the Apple and Google Play Stores. They are pet-friendly should you require a ride for you and your pet. They take cash only. Waiting time costs 40 kunas per hour.
Zagreb is a fairly safe destination, but as the national capital, there is perhaps more crime than in smaller cities, so there are a few things you should watch out for. We don`t recommend taking taxis from the airport, as the price getting into the city is much more expensive than other options like buses and Uber. Some taxi drivers who work the airport also try to take advantage of travelers who don`t know the proper exchange rates, so it is best to just avoid taking taxis from the airport.
Beggars can be a problem in the city center, and around some popular sights such as Lotrscak Tower, at the top of the Zagreb Funicular. Many of these beggars employ children to tug at the heartstrings and get more money for their families. Ignore them completely and keep on walking. It`s actually the children you will need to watch out for as they tend to be the ones who don`t take `no` for an answer. Keep walking and do not engage.
The best way to get a good exchange rate, apart from going to a bureau de change, is to use an international ATM. Keep in mind that you shouldn`t bring kuna into the Eurozone because those countries will not exchange kuna for Euros. Spend them or exchange them BEFORE leaving Croatia. Keep in mind that neighboring Slovenia, while part of the former Yugoslavia, does use Euros, so you will be out of luck if you want to exchange kunas even in Slovenia.
We have researched a number of complaints about a specific bar that caters to tourists, the Bulldog Pub located at Bogoviceva ulica 6. It overcharges for drinks served to tourists while not doing the same to locals. The complaints have become so numerous that we feel like we should mention it specifically.
While Zagreb is safe at night, we strongly advise against walking at night in areas that are not well-lit. We also advise against walking in parks at night, whether it is well-lit or not. Here are some other tips: 1) Carry small amounts of cash with you. Do not pull out all the money you will be spending on your trip. 2) Even though you are carrying small amounts, break up the amounts and store them in different areas on your person. 3) Keep your documents in a separate place on your person. Don`t take your passport out sightseeing with you, unless you absolutely need it. 4) Use common sense, like you would in the U.S., when visiting an ATM. `Skimmers` are also an issue in Croatia, so study the ATM before using it, and if you feel like it looks suspect, find another ATM to use. Be mindful of your surroundings while withdrawing money.Can I pay/tip in U.S. dollars?
The currency of Croatia is the kuna (divided into 100 lipa) and U.S. dollars are not an acceptable form of payment. Croatia is part of the European Union, but as of 2019 it is not part of the Eurozone, meaning that Euros (legal tender in neighboring Slovenia and Italy) are not universally accepted in Croatia. You will find a few shops that will accept Euros, but the exchange rate will be determined by the shop owner and it most likely will not be in your favor. You will be better off paying in Croatian kunas.
Credit and debit cards are widely used in Croatia and you will find most businesses accept them. Bank and currency bureau hours are usually 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, with an hour break for lunch typically taken at noon or 1 p.m. ATMs are widely available in Croatia; many of them do not charge fees themselves, but note that your home banking institution may charge a fee for withdrawing money abroad.I don't speak Croatian. Will many people speak English?
Croatians are some of the most multilingual people in Europe. It is estimated that 81% of adults can speak English at least conversationally, by far the most popular foreign language. Zagreb is a very popular tourist destination, so you should be able to get by with English in most areas, especially in Kaptol, the Upper Town, and around the University of Zagreb. If you cannot communicate with someone, show them this sentence and they will most likely happily assist you: Da li itko ovdje govori Engelski? (Does anyone here speak English?)Are there any basic Croatian customs or etiquette tips I should be aware of before arriving?
If you are going into an area that isn`t primarily geared toward tourists, try not to dress too skimpy or revealing. Croatians will consider this inappropriate. Casual dress is fine, but not too casual. If you pass someone on the street, nod, smile, or say a quick hello. Croatians respond very favorably to greetings, even from strangers. Croatians love coffee (kava), so if you make friends here, you will most likely be called to someone`s house or a cafe for a coffee date. Please be on time, though; Croatians value promptness!
If visiting a home, bring a bottle of wine or spirits, or possibly a bouquet of flowers. (Note: A bouquet with an even number of flowers is considered taboo, as even-numbered flower bouquets are reserved for presenting to the dead at the cemetery. Make sure the bouquet has an odd number of flowers.) Even if you are not feeling hungry or thirsty, happily accept any refreshments offered by the host; it is rude not to. Croatians will fill plates and glasses once they are emptied, so if you are full, tell your host `nema vise`. It means `no more`.
With Croatia being a very Catholic country, you will find that many people say grace before beginning a meal. As a foreigner, you aren`t expected to know how to say prayers in Croatian, but a nice bow of the head is respectful, even if you are not personally Catholic or Christian yourself. Finally, keep your hands on the dinner table; it is considered indecent to keep them folded in your lap. (This rule is not as stringent when seated around a coffee table.)
Note: Do not refer to the Croatian language as `Serbo-Croatian`, don`t refer to Croatians as `Yugoslavians`, and don`t call Croatia `Yugoslavia`. Many reminders of the former Yugoslavia are evident all over Croatia, which is not surprising considering Marshal Josip Broz Tito was a Croat. However, the Croatian culture and identity have undergone their latest resurgences in the years since independence in 1991, and reminders about `the time before` could sit quite awkwardly with people to whom you have just become acquainted (especially older people). Unlike in Slovenia, where their war of independence lasted a handful of days, Croatia`s was protracted and lasted four-and-a-half years. If a newly-acquainted person brings the topic of Yugoslavia first, be respectful, listen, and ask questions but not rude or prying questions. Some people miss the life in Yugoslavia, some do not, and many are now not even old enough to remember it. It is a sensitive topic.Which museums are there in Zagreb? Does it make sense to purchase a Zagreb Card?
Zagreb is known as the `City of Museums`, and many of the museums that are open to the public here were some of the first of their kinds in Southeastern Europe. The Archaeological Museum in Zagreb (Arheološki muzej u Zagrebu) has been open since 1836, and includes a collection from Ancient Egypt, which is the only one like it in the former Yugoslavia. Opening its doors to large-scale temporary art exhibitions is the Neoclassical-inspired Art Pavilion (Umjetnicki paviljon). Other art museums include the Klovicevi Dvori Gallery, Lotrscak Tower (Kula Lotršcak), the Mimara Museum (Muzej Mimara), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Muzej suvremene umjetnosti), and the Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters (Strossmayerova galerija starih majstora). Other museums in the city include the Croatian State Archives (Hrvatski državni arhiv), the Museum of Arts and Crafts (Muzej za umjetnost i obrt), and the Zagreb Ethnographic Museum (Etnografski muzej Zagreb), and all of that`s just for starters!
The Zagreb Card (www.zagrebcard.com/?lang=en) entitles cardholders to free city transport within one zone, either on ZET buses or trams, for the length of the card. There`s also free admission to the Broken Relationships Museum, the Museum of Arts and Crafts, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Zagreb 360 Observation Deck, the Zagreb Zoo, and the Zagreb City Museum. There are also discounts available for other museums, which are as follows: To name just a few, 50% off the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb, 50% off the Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters, and a discounted ticket to the Mimara Museum for 20 kunas. (Those discounts are just to name a few.) All in all, it is a decent investment: a 24-hour Zagreb Card costs 98 kunas, but a 72-hour card costs 135 kunas, the rough equivalent of $20, which is decent for limitless single-zone tram rides plus free admission to many museums. To purchase the card, and to find out more about its benefits, visit the URL linked above.What is nightlife like in Zagreb?
The nightlife in Zagreb is perhaps some of the most varied you will find in Croatia, ranging from bars and pubs along Tkalciceva ulica and Ilica, live music spots along Bogoviceva ulica and around Ban Josip Jelacic Square, and large nightclubs such as Opera, northeast of Nikola Subic Zrinski Square, and Gallery, on Lake Jarun. Hotpot is the only LGBT-owned and operated bar/club in the city, located at Petrinjska ulica 31, one street east of Zrinski Square. It is open on Friday and Saturday nights only.
Note: Smoking is forbidden in restaurants in Croatia, but in bars and cafes, smoking is permitted as long as the establishment has met ventilation guidelines with regard to cigarette and cigar smoke. In Dubrovnik, like the rest of Croatia, cafe windows will have a green sign if you can smoke inside; red signs mean that smoking is not allowed.Where are the best areas for shopping?
Zagreb has no shortage of modern shopping centers and luxury storefronts. You will find many of them on Ilica, and a smaller number along Tkalciceva ulica. Radiceva ulica and Masarykova ulica are great places to stop for local gift shops and small businesses selling everything from handicrafts to jewelry. Many large shopping centers are located in and around the city, such as Arena Centar (the largest shopping center in the country), Branimir Center, Cvjetni Prolaz, Importanne Center, and Kaptol Centar. For unique Croatian souvenirs, visit Take Me Home Croatian Design Shop, located at Tomiceva ulica 4.