Even after all this time traveling together, getting to a new country is still exciting for us. And while we’ve come to appreciate spending longer stints of time in the places we visit, if a new country is close, we’ll try to go there, even if it’s only for a day. So that’s pretty much why we took a day trip to Zagreb, Croatia from Ljubljana, Slovenia. Croatia was also Sarah’s 50th country so it was quite a milestone! It was an awesome day and so we’re sharing things to do in Zagreb in one day.
How to get from Ljubljana to Zagreb
We took the train from Ljubljana to Zagreb. Tickets weren’t cheap, but they were easy to buy the morning we left from the ticket counter at the Ljubljana train station. The trip is quite pretty, especially along the Sava River. It’s supposed to take 2 hours and 20 minutes, but our train ended up sitting a little longer than normal at border control. Speaking of which… bring your passport on your day trip from Ljubljana to Zagreb! Since Croatia isn’t in the Schengen Zone like Slovenia, you’ll get stamped in and out.
Getting situated in Zagreb
Zagreb is not on the Euro. Its currency is the Croatian Kuna and some places we encountered didn’t take credit cards. So we took cash out at an ATM upon arrival.
The main parts of Zagreb are separated into Upper Town and Lower Town. Arriving, you are in the Lower Town. Immediately you are faced with the beautiful Ledeni Park and Art Pavillion. It’s a grand welcome. This great yellow building is representative of the style of architecture throughout the city.
Dolac Market in Zagreb
One of the coolest spots in Zagreb is Dolac Market. Located between the Upper and Lower Towns, it has both indoor and outdoor stalls (but the outdoor part is much more photogenic!). If we were staying longer than a day we definitely would have done some food shopping at the market.
Zagreb’s Upper Town
The streets in Upper Town are small and winding. We wandered through them, just taking it all in as we do. We tried to go to the popular Museum of Broken Relationships, but were broken-hearted ourselves to find that it was closed.
Soon, though, we stumbled onto the super cool looking St. Mark’s Church. Its colorful tiled roof was incredible especially against the backdrop of the bright blue sky (we got quite lucky with the weather on our Zagreb day trip!).
We descended back to Lower Town via the Stone Gate, which also serves as a chapel. There were shrines and candles lit throughout. Upon exiting, we walked past the Statue of St. George and the Dragon, set among flowers and against a wall crawling with vines. It was all quite beautiful.
Back in Lower Town in Zagreb
Lower Town is more sprawling than Upper Town. Its streets and buildings are bigger and it’s where the major museums and cultural attractions are. We thought about going to the Mimara Museum or the Modern Gallery, but it was such an incredibly nice day, we really just wanted to stay outside. So we did what we do best… we walked and wandered, looking at buildings, stopping to sit in parks, and just enjoying the city.
Where to eat lunch in Zagreb
We had a delicious lunch at Vallis Aurea. It is located in the Lower Town, on the same street as the funicular to the Upper Town, but isn’t touristy at all. They offer a really great, inexpensive lunch special with a few options. We were happy to have hearty Croatian food during our one day there.
Even though it was a lot for one day (even the border control guards looked at us funny), we are glad we made our day trip from Ljubljana to Zagreb. Zagreb is a great city with so much to see and do. We’ll definitely be back for another visit there and to see more of Croatia.