Where to stay in Zagreb: best areas to sleep

If you are going to visit the capital of Croatia, it is better to know in advance what the city and its different areas is like. This will help you know which are the best areas to stay in Zagreb.

Located in the north of Croatia, on the slopes of the Medvednica massif and along the banks of the Sava River, Zagreb is, like Budapest, a link between Eastern Europe and the European Union. Each neighborhood has its own soul and atmosphere. Here is a small guide to finding a neighborhood that suits your needs to stay in Zagreb.

The best areas to stay in Zagreb

Where to stay in Zagreb: best areas to sleep
Main square of Zagrabia (Croatia) - Photo from Istock

The city is crossed to the south by the Sava River, to the north of which most of the city's attractions and the best places to stay in Zagreb are concentrated.

The Croatian capital has 17 districts, an extensive tram network connecting the most central areas and bus lines to reach the suburbs. There are also funiculars in tourist areas to climb steep areas and access main attractions of the city.

The offer of accommodation in Zagreb is higher than that available at Split e Dubrovnik. There is a huge amount of accommodations. Most are apartments but there are also hostels, hotels and guesthouses.

Most of them are located in the northern part of the Sava River, which surrounds the historic city center. Right in the oldest area there is the first district we want to talk about.

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Gornji Grad, Zagabria storica

Developed on the hill of Gornji Grad, there is the historical part of Zagreb, the “upper town”, which actually consists of two parts: Gradec and Kaptol.

Today it is a residential area with more than 3500 inhabitants, which attracts a strong flow of tourists due to its antiquity and its attractions. Access to road traffic is only allowed for residents, so you can only reach it by funicular.

The first place to visit and the heart of the neighborhood is there St Mark's Square. In it there is the church of the same name and the Croatian parliament.

Another point to visit is there lotrscak tower, from the 13th century, and part of the old fortress. From the top you get the best views of the city. Only the old wall remains Stone Gate, from the same period as the tower.

In addition to the architectural heritage in Gornji Grad there are other places of interest, such as the open-air cinema Summer Cinema, the big one Zagreb cathedral and Ban Jelacic Square in Kaptol, as well as numerous museums.

For shopping, right next to the cathedral is the Dolac open-air market, not to be missed. For those who love shopping, south of Gornji Grad, on Ilica Street, there is an important variety of fashion shops. Also to the east, on the narrow semi-pedestrian street Radiceva, you will find numerous clothing shops.

The streets of old Zagreb are lined with several typical palaces, bars and cafes. Here we perceive a unique blend of past and modernity which makes it a romantic area.

It is a good area to stay in Zagreb to enjoy peaceful and cultural visits in the cobbled streets of the city center.

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Donji Grad, the lower town

You can reach the lower city by funicular to enjoy a splendid view of the city.

It is located south of Gornji Grad and is called the "lower city", although the local population defines it as the "center" precisely because it occupies a large part of the center. It extends just south of the high district hill to the north bank of the Sava River.

Half of the district is separated by the railway line that connects the city with the rest of the country. Residential and with over 37.000 inhabitants, it also hosts the largest number of accommodation facilities in Zagreb.

Where to stay in Zagreb: best areas to sleep
Public transport in the center of Zagreb -

The district is quite diverse in terms of attractions to visit. There are several buildings of public bodies such as the town hall, but the most notable thing is the cultural offer.

In the area north of the railway line it is possible to visit the Croatian National Theater, the Archaeological Museums Modern Gallery and Ethnographic Museum, or the Kralja Tomislava Fountain. Donji Grad also has several parks, including the one that houses theBotanical Garden of the city.

A few kilometers from the city center, you can go swimming and relax in the lake Jarun, where festivals and concerts are held in the summer.

The area is also a place to shop in places like Oktogon, or in the big Importanne Centar, one of the most important shopping centers in Zagreb.

The gastronomic offer is greater compared to Gornji Grad, especially in the north of the district. The northern part of the district is the most popular for night outings and where you can find the most important nightclubs in the city.

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Novi Zagreb

Exactly south of Donji Grad, with the Sava River to the north and the E65 motorway to the south, is this large residential district with great socialist references in its architecture.

In addition to the urban area, to the east and southwest of Novi Zagreb there is an almost rural area with large lakes. The area is crisscrossed by large boulevards, there aren't too many hotels to stay in Zagreb, and tourist resources vary depending on the area.

Although it is not the most luxurious and attractive tourist area, thanks to good communications and the major renovation started in 2000, Novi Zagreb is starting to offer an interesting tourist offer.

Here you will find the sports complex Arena Zagreb next to the large shopping mall Arena Center, Museum of Modern Art, a racecourse and a large park Gradski Park Bundek. Given the large size of the district, the variety of restaurants is also excellent.

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Staying in Zagreb - Maksimir

This district is located north-east of Gornji Grad and is very extensive. Its main artery is via Maksimirska, which runs from west to east. Several bus lines and the tram run through the entire district.

Residential, it also has large wooded areas such as the Maksimir Park, practically a forest and with several lakes, where there is a zoo and large spaces for hiking. In front of the park, we also recommend that you visit the surroundings of the large Maksimir stadium, home of Dinamo Zagreb.

As far as accommodation is concerned, there is not much on offer but it is possible to find very interesting apartments with an excellent quality-price ratio. It is also a good option to sleep in Zagreb if you arrive by car as it is located outside the center of the capital. To reach the center, it will only take 25 minutes by public transport.

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Where to stay in Zagreb: best areas to sleep
Zagreb Cathedral -
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