Zagreb's Upper Town (Gornji Grad) is a network of little streets that stretch between two hills: Kaptol and Gradec. First settled in the 11th century, it is the oldest part of Zagreb with 17th and 18th-century buildings lining narrow, winding streets. In contrast to the wide boulevards and parks of Zagreb's Lower Town (Donji Grad), the atmosphere here is intimate and old-fashioned. The Upper Town is a delightful place to explore and hosts some of Zagreb's most interesting museums, restaurants, bars and cafes.
The best hotel is the four-star Hotel Academia. In fact it's the only hotel in the Upper Town! There is a smattering of private accommodation and some wonderful guesthouses and boutique hostels.
[See more recommendations for staying in the Upper Town]
Before embarking on this walk, check this map:
Start in Zagreb's central square, Trg Jelacica, and walk uphill to Kaptol, stopping at Dolac, the fruit and vegetable market. Open daily from 7am to 1pm, Dolac express the soul of food-loving Zagreb.
A little further is Zagreb's Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary whose twin spires are visible from afar. Begun in the 13th century, it was reconstructed in the 20th after an earthquake damaged it.
Head east to Gradec and Tkalciceva, Zagreb's most colourful street, filled with little cafes that could only be described as "bohemian".
The Gric tunnel is Zagreb's newest attraction. Running between Radiceva and Mesnica streets, this was used as a bomb shelter in WWII and later was used to store produce. Admission is free and the tunnel is open from 9am to 9pm.
Nearby is the Stone Gate containing a shrine to the Virgin Mary that is believed to possess magical powers.
On the quirky side is the Museum of Broken Relationships, an innovative concept that displays mementos of failed relationships and the stories that surround them.
Croatia's most famous sculptor, Ivan Mestrovic, once maintained a studio in the Upper Town. Now the Mestrovic Studio is a major attraction for fans of his art who come to see sculptures, drawings and lithographs from the artist's early years.
Zagreb's most photographed site is St Marks Church, on St Mark Square, which sports a multi-coloured tile roof constructed in 1880. The rest of the church dates from the 13th century.
Historic St Mark Square is also the site of the Croatian Sabor or Parliament and the Ban's Palace, now the presidential palace.
Art lovers won't want to miss the Gallery of Naive Art nearby. Croatia has a long tradition of Naive Art and all the greats are represented here.
Before leaving the Upper Town, stop at Lotrscak Tower where a cannon is fired every day at noon, allegedly to commemorate Zagreb's victory over the Turks. Then take the funicular down to the Lower Town.
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