Imaginative and playful Croatian capital of art, culture, festivals and great people
Zagreb is the cultural, scientific, economic, political and administrative centre of the Republic of Croatia. With a population of nearly one million, contains almost a quarter of the entire population of Croatia. Over the centuries, the city was inhabited by people coming from all over Europe; and, in recent years, by people coming from different parts of Croatia, ensuring a rich cultural life and great atmosphere.
The best thing to do when you first arrive is to take in Zagreb’s wonderful atmosphere!
Zagreb is a safe city whose doors are always open; a city with a tumultuous history teeming with interesting personalities; a city that warmly invites all those who wish to get to know it, and a city that will surely fulfill your expectations. In this city, you can easily meet remarkable people, make new friends and enjoy special moments.
The façades of Zagreb’s buildings reflect the ebb and flow of history, while its streets and squares bear witness to the coming together of the many cultures that have shaped the identity of this playful and laid-back capital.
A city with the biggest open air lounge
Zagreb can be described as a city with the biggest lounge. The moment the sun appears in the sky in spring, restaurant, café and coffeehouse terraces open for custom. Streets become promenades, places to get a cup of coffee, relax or have a business meeting. A combination of Mediterranean cordiality and northern business sense make any visitor feel welcome. The traditional International Folklore Festival, the global festival of street performers Cest is d’Best, outdoor summer concerts on Zrinjevac, St. Martin’s Day and many other open-air events increase the feeling of communality.
Lounging in cafés has been a long tradition in this city. The Zagreb Green Horseshoe and the main square of Ban Josip Jelačić have always been hubs of social life in Zagreb. Nowadays, this has spread across the whole city centre, around the pedestrianised zone and even further. People from all walks of life can find something of interest here. Cafés around Ban Jelačić, or simply ‘Square’ as it is often referred to, attract prominent figures. Preradović, also known as Flower Square, is loved by artists and young people, as well as an older crowd. Tkalčićeva, once the border between Gradec and Kaptol, is full of pubs, great clubs and restaurants and nowadays it is a trendy destination for rendezvous and relaxation during the day and night.
In every neighbourhood there is a favourite meeting place where regulars feel welcome and where everybody knows your name.
European Best Christmas destination for 2016.
We can proudly say that Zagreb has won the title of European Best Christmas Destination 2016!
101 703 travellers voted and Zagreb received almost 30 000 votes, 29 901 to be exact, securing a landslide victory and leaving behind globally renowned destinations such as Strasbourg (2nd place) and Aachen (3rd place). Colmar was 4th, Brussels 5th, Leipzig 6th and so on.
During the time of Advent, Zagreb offers a special atmosphere which simply must be experienced. An ever growing number of travelers choose the capital of Croatia as their destination at that time of year as good fun is had by all literally every step of the way. The city streets and squares invite you to let your hair down and partake in singing, dancing, and other kinds of entertainment with family and friends. You can also sample traditional delicacies alfresco or enjoy themed programmes which take you down memory lane.
A city of festivals and international cultural events during the whole year
Zagreb’s impressive menu of cultural events includes a range of festivals that attract prestigious international participants. Here is a list of the most important festivals and events in Zagreb:
Zagrebdox – late February/early March
Impressive survey of international documentary films, with five days of screenings in venues across the city.
Festival of the European Short Story – May
Readings, panel discussions and drink-fuelled party evenings involving top authors from Croatia and abroad. Some readings are in English; others come with big-screen English translation.
Contemporary Dance Week (Tjedan suvremenog plesa) – late May/early June
Varied, often challenging programme of modern choreography from around the globe, held in various venues across the city.
Cest is de best – late May/early June
Week-long festival of street performers augmented by a big range of live music, taking place on outdoor stages positioned throughout the city centre.
Animafest – late May/early June
Zagreb was a major centre of animated film in the 1950s and Animafest helps to put the city back on the map, with a review of the year’s best animation from Croatia and abroad.
Strossmartre (Ljeto na Strosu) – late May to early September
Season of open-air concerts and events in Zagreb’s Upper Town, with nightly happenings all summer long.
Dan D (“D Day”) – June
Weekend-long design festival with stalls, shows and DJ events, held in the postindustrial splendour of the Stara Klaonica (Old Slaughterhouse).
Eurokaz Theatre Festival – late June
Challenging avant-garde drama with an impressive roster of international guests.
In-music Festival – late June
Three-day rock-and-pop fest on the shores of Lake Jarun with three stages, early-morning DJ tents and plenty of food and drink. Guests in recent years have included Kraftwerk, Franz Ferdinand, Arcade Fire and many more. Camping available.
Fantastic Zagreb – late June/early July
Fantasy, sci-fi, noir and cult trash cinema, celebrated with screenings in outdoor locations.
International Festival of Puppet Theatre – late August
A great chance to catch some of the best puppet productions from all over central and eastern Europe, with shows for both kids and adults.
World Theatre Festival – mid-September
Big names in international contemporary drama.
Perforations – October
Festival of experimental drama, contemporary dance and performance art that showcases pretty much everything that matters in the current Croatian board-treading scene.
Zagreb Film Festival – October
Initiated in 2003 and attracting outstanding documentaries and art movies from around the world.