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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Zagreb

Zagreb Holidays

Cosmopolitan by nature, Croatia's capital city also knows how to slow things down. River days, peaceful parks, a handful of unique museums and alfresco meals along cobbled lanes are just a few of this destination's easy-going amenities.

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A cosmopolitan capital

Zagreb is Croatia's best-kept secret, which is strange, since it's also the country's capital. Expect a striking blend of old school central Europe and a quirky, modern edge that's only getting trendier.

In and around this Croatian capital, you can spend a morning by the beach and an afternoon on the ski slopes. While days are best spent marvelling at ancient Roman relics and late nights dancing to techno beats in airy warehouses. Cosmopolitan to its core, on Zagreb getaways no two days are the same.

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Gornji Grad vs Donji Grad

Zagreb is divided into two districts, Gornji Grad, which means 'upper town' and Donji Grad, which means 'lower town'. The former is where you'll want to head for the Presidential Palace and St Mark's Church, made iconic by its red- and blue-flecked roof. For old school vibes like cobbled streets and gas lamps, Gornji Grad is the place to be. It's also the home of the first and famous Museum of Broken Relationships – it's as wonderfully bleak as it sounds. Then there's the Croatian Museum of Naïve Art, another spot worth a visit.

Down in Donji Grad, shops, cafes and parks abound. It's much greener down here, and home to what's known as Lenuci's Horseshoe – otherwise named the 'Green Horseshoe' – in which eight parks and gardens are strung together to make a pretty picturesque stroll. Here, you'll also find the Zagreb Archaeological Museum and the Mimara Museum, which features thousands of works of art in a stunning palatial setting.

Sun or snow

Zagreb isn't a one trick pony as far as seasonal activities go. By summer, the Sava River comes to life, especially down at Lake Jarun. There's a decent-sized beach here and walking trails, plus a sports and recreation centre that'll get you geared up for rowing or sailing on your Croatia holiday.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Mt Medvednica, a peak located just north of Zagreb. There's a winter sports centre here where you can ski, and if the snow isn't looking great, they keep the terrain extra white with artificial snow. Mt Medvednica is part of a nature park, too, so if you come in the off-snow seasons, you can hike around the trails instead.

Tkalciceva Street

Cuisine in Croatia is largely categorised by what region you're in, so no two areas will serve up the exact same dish. Zagreb is in mainland Croatia, which means it's influenced by nearby countries like Slovenia and Italy so traditionally features dishes that include meat, pasta, vegetables and cheeses.

Recently Zagreb has fallen head over heels for bistro fare and fusion cuisine, along with on-the-go eats. However, unflinching staples like the wonderfully vibrant Tkalciceva will never lose their lustre on a foodie's radar. Tkalciceva is a cafe-and-restaurant-lined street that was once covered by the Medvescak creek, and is now one of Gornji Grad's most-walked avenues.

Warehouse nights

Nightlife in Croatia is especially loved for its live music scene, simply because there are so many venues with this kind of entertainment. From neon-lit warehouses to intimate lofts, the nightlife offerings here are surprisingly versatile. There's a definite focus on electronic and techno music, but you'll find everything from alternative sounds to reggae too. And let's not forget the clubs down by Lake Jarun, either – here the waterfront is peppered with good-sized night spots, so you can expect a host of late-closing parties.

Market days

There aren't heaps of shopping opportunities in Zagreb, but those on offer are worth your time. Take Dolac Market, for example, Zagreb's finest and longest-running outdoor market. It's part-covered, part-open-air, featuring stalls hocking local fruits, vegetables and gifts. This is the place to go if you're after a truly authentic Croatian experience, plus it will help satisfy any hunger for retail you might have.