This city is beautiful and offers activities for all travellers, from hiking to kayaking, island-hopping to shopping and everything in between. However, it can be expensive, so if you are on a budget, there is plenty on offer which are free – check out the 7 listed below:
Take a walking tour
A classic way to explore the city for free: pick up a map of the city’s Old Town from the main Tourist Information Centre (Trg Jelačića 11) and make a round trip. Start from Ban Jelačić Square – making time to spot the elegant equestrian statue – and loop your way through cobbled streets and narrow alleyways, around the heart of the city. It may not look as impressive as other old towns (especially compared to a city like Dubrovnik) but the atmosphere, architecture and friendly locals make for a good mix.
Climb a mountain
Located a 30-minute drive outside of Zagreb, Medvednica Mountain is the perfect country escape. Suitable for visitors in all weathers, the area offers trails, forests and challenging hills to climb. In summer, it makes for a cooler break as temperatures at the top are, on average, five degrees lower than in the city.
Stalk out street art
Street Art Museum (MUU) is a project aiming to raise awareness of Croatia’s street art scene, wherever in the country you’re heading. In Zagreb, the street art vibe is big and there are sights and murals to seek out across the city. Walk the length of the Branimirova Ulica, a street littered with creative and often intriguing artwork.
Take a tram from 1942
The Technical Museum (18 Savska Street) is a great budget stop. Founded in 1954, the museum hosts a grand collection of scientific and technological displays. However, it is not free: admission is from 15kn (around £1.70). For those on the tightest of budgets, every Sunday, the Technical Museum offers a free ride in a pre-war tram.
Observe more modern art
On the first Wednesday of every month Zagreb’s impressive Museum of Contemporary Art (Av. Dubrovnik 17) is free. On show is a range of Croatian and international artists with works from the last half-century.
Window-shop around Dolac Market
Browse through one of Zagreb’s most colourful and interesting markets. Popular since the 1930s, when city officials designated this area on the ‘border’ between the Old and New Towns a suitable market space, Croatians from the city and nearby villages still flock here to buy and sell their wares. You will see fruit and vegetable stalls, fishmongers, butchers and more. Don’t miss the nearby flower stalls or the locally-produced honey and handmade ornaments at the northern end of the market.
Enjoy park life
Visit the Zagreb Botanical Garden, a short ten-minute walk from the main square. The 4.7 hectares are filled with an English-style arboretum, flower parterre, indigenous plant species and greenhouses – home to tropical and subtropical plants. Marsh plants are also found around the garden’s artificial lakes. Spot plant species endemic to Croatia, such as the Velebit degenia – a pretty rock-garden plant with small yellow flowers – while exploring the grounds. Please note: the gardens are closed from 1 November to 1 April each year for the winter.