24 hours in Zagreb

For this instalment of our 24 hours in a city series, one writer explores Zagreb in Croatia

Elizabeth Meade
16th March 2022
Image credit: Pixabay

Split, Croatia is a popular tourist destination due to its picturesque seashore and ‘Game of Thrones’ fame. However, I believe the capital, Zagreb, is also worth a look.

One of the main attractions if you like museums, is the Museum of Contemporary Art. While it’s a bit outside of the city centre, it’s home to multiple stories of interesting art pieces, many with a connection to historical events of the 20th century. (If you’re interested in older art pieces, there is a museum in the city centre called the Modern Gallery with more famous pieces from the 19th and 20th centuries. I haven’t seen this one though so I don’t have much to say on it.)

The Croatian Museum of Naïve Art features works that are lesser-known but nonetheless interesting. The definition of ‘naïve art’ is contentious, but the term typically implies that the creator is not a trained artist contributing to the mainstream art world. While I’ve written about this place before, I really think it’s worth a look because some iconic artists are featured. Many whose works are in the gallery were part of a small movement built around a certain style, which I’ve written about here.

Of course, if you’re anything like me, you probably want to take a break from art and culture and wander around some. Zagreb is one of the perfect European cities for wandering around. The architectural styles are similar to, but not quite the same as, those seen in Italy and Germany. There are a lot of winding streets to walk down, and it’s a big city with a lot to see, but not as big as Paris, Rome or London.

There’s also a lot of good food. When I visited, I didn’t try many of the traditional foods since I was a vegetarian at the time, but one vegetarian-friendly dish I enjoyed was struklje. It’s made of dough layered with sweet cheese. If you like desserts, Zagreb is full of small cafes with outdoor seating where you can get pancakes, crepes, gelato and the like.

While there are plenty of other interesting things to see (especially those with historical significance), this is, after all, a 24 hours in a city article, so I wouldn’t recommend trying to squeeze too much in. Instead, I’d recommend going to one or both museums, and then simply taking the time to enjoy one of the more relaxed, less-visited European cities.

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AUTHOR: Elizabeth Meade
(she/her) Head of Current Affairs (News, Campus Comment, Comment, Science). Chemistry major. Avid reader. Chaos theorist. Amateur batrachologist and historian. Rock fan. Likes cybersecurity and cooking. Wrote the first article for Puzzles. Probably the first Courier writer to have work featured in one of Justin Whang's videos.

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