I loved Zagreb far more than I thought I would and I loved that we got to do some really unusual things while we were there. It’s a modern city with the usual restaurants and shops you would find in a modern European city but also with an old town with tiny streets and shops to explore.
What we did:
We started our time in Zagreb with a football match. We stopped off at the ground o our way in to Zagreb and bought tickets for that night’s match. After dropping everything off at the hotel we took the tram back watch the match. We weren’t entirely sure where we were going so found a friendly looking person in a Dinamo Zagreb shirt and asked if we could follow her.
There was a real party atmosphere outside the grounds with music and pop up bars selling drinks and hotdogs. Inside we met the Dinamo Zagreb mascot and found our seats in the main family stand. The match was definitely an experience and a lot of fun. The stand to our left behind the goal was full of Zagreb fans, waving flags, chanting and singing through the entire match, the stand to our right was Hadjuk Split fans doing the same. They never stopped singing for the entire match and at several points lit flares and chucked them towards the pitch where they were expertly put out. Due to the rivalry between Zagreb and Split there were a lot of riot police in the stadium, having said that the match was completely peaceful. Interestingly the stand opposite us wasn’t in use due to being damaged in an earthquake! We were sat amongst other families and although I am sure, if we had spoken Croatian, we would have learned some new swear words we felt completely safe and enjoyed watching goal after goal. It was a little like watching a UK match in the 1980s.
Just outside Zagreb there is a ski resort. In the summer you can still take the cable cars up and then enjoy the views at the top and walk or mountain bike down, or just get the cable car back down to the bottom.
We parked in the spotless underground car park and bought our cable car tickets. The views from the cable car were amazing and we rode right up to the top station. At the top of the mountain is was much cooler and the various restaurants and bars were open. We spent quite a long time having a drink and watching the para-gliders taking off from the top of the mountain. We then started off down the mountain following one of the trails, decided we’d got lost, walked all the way back again and then on the way down realised we’d not actually been far from the next station where we could have hopped on the cable car!
The top of the mountains was fairly busy with families enjoying the outdoors and if you have a free day I would definitely recommend walking back down.
Free Walking tour:
We signed up for a free walking tour with Free Spirit Tours, it was definitely the best way to see the city and learn a bit about it’s history. The tour is free although you are expected to tip your guide at the end of the walk.
The group was large but our tour guide had the loudest voice I have ever heard so we had no problems hearing her. The tour took in all the major places in the city including some great photo spots. We did the 5pm tour which we were very glad about as it would have been far too hot earlier in the day. It was a great way to get an overview of the city.
The Museum of Broken Relationships:
This was place I had most wanted to visit in Zagreb. We ditched the kids for this one and while it would have been fine to take them, I don’t think they would have appreciated the heartbreak in some of the exhibitions and there were some things that I was glad I didn’t have to explain.
The exhibitions in the museum have been sent in from all over the world to commemorate broken relationships of all types. There were lost loves, family members and work relationships and also some items to reflect loss due to illness.
The museum also has a small cafe and gift shop.
The Museum of Illusions:
The kids and Dads did this while we were in the Museum of Broken Relationships. It was similar to the museum that we did in Thessaloniki, a set of rooms with various interactive illusions to play with or try out. It was fun to try and get your head round how some of the illusions worked and also has some great photo opportunities.
We visited Zagreb in August 2022 when Pip was 10. We stayed at the Esplanade Hotel, you can find our hotel blog post here.