A Perfect 24 Hours in Zagreb Itinerary 2024 1
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A Perfect 24 Hours in Zagreb Itinerary 2024

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Greetings Internet Stranger! I’m Stella Jane, author of the travel guide Get Lost, and welcome to a 24 hours in Zagreb itinerary! Zagreb is the capital of Croatia, but it’s not as popular with tourists as the smaller cities like Dubrovnik and Split. I guess that’s because Zagreb isn’t “on the water” and “isn’t gorgeous” and “wasn’t featured on Game of Thrones“. People can be so shallow sometimes.

You might want to know more and are asking yourself is Zagreb worth visiting? But even if you won’t find the Mother of Dragons in Zagreb, you’ll find delicious food, witches, Giant Nerd Murals, and so much more!

Join me for a 24 hours in Zagreb itinerary and let’s discover it together.

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: 24 Hours in Zagreb Itinerary

#1 TOP PICK

boar goulash

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
ZAGREB FOOD TOUR
✔️ Taste authentic local treats
✔️Five star reviews

#2 PICK

zagreb

ZAGREB WALKING TOUR
✔️ Expert local guide
✔️ Surprisingly affordable

#3 PICK

A Perfect 24 Hours in Zagreb Itinerary 2024 2

ALL OTHER ZAGREB TOURS
✔️ Find your favorite!
✔️ Get the best deals

24 hours in zagreb itinerary

Morning: Food Tour

As you will hear me mention many times, one great reason to travel to Zagreb is that it’s off the beaten track and home to tons of unique foods that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. Who wants to live like everyone else? Not us, right?

So let’s combine travel and eating with this delicious food tour.

You can book this tour for yourself by going here.

Then get ready for…

Three Fun Facts: Zagreb Food

24 hours in zagreb itinerary
1) What’s the Best Thing to Buy For Lunch?

I know this feast above doesn’t look extremely beautiful, but trust me, it is extremely delicious. This is a burek, which is a stuffed hand pie you can find all over the Balkans. We got ours at the local market which is really a can’t miss destination.

And seriously, you cannot miss it. The market is notable for its giant red umbrellas that cover the stalls. Just ask someone to point you to the giant red umbrellas and you are there.

Traditionally burek is filled with meat, but you can also get it stuffed with apple or cheese. I had already eaten meat and cheese burek in other Balkan countries, so I was excited to attempt a bit of a twist, which my Croatian guide was happy to help me out with.

That’s why we tried the cheese and sprinkled it with sugar, which gave it a fun sweet-salty combo, like caramel-and-cheese popcorn.

24 hours in zagreb itinerary
2) What’s the Best Souvenir in Zagreb?

Well, YMMV, but I think it’s also food. During our 24 hours in Zagreb itinerary, we stopped at a gourmet food and souvenir store to snack on two of Croatia’s most famous food products: truffles and olive oil.

Everyone likes truffles and olive oil, right? So why not combine them by trying some truffle olive oil? It was much more affordable than the equivalent stuff would be in my hometown of NYC, and it really jazzes up any bland weekday meal. One bite of this stuff, and I feel like I’m back in Croatia!

24 hours in zagreb itinerary

Of course it’s wrong to only eat the olive oil and not try the succulent olives themselves. That’s just science. So we feasted on olive paste and washed it down with two famous Croatian wines: Plavac and Dingac.

The perfect snack for any 24 hours in Zagreb itinerary! Again, these wines are much harder to find back home and would definitely be pricier even if you could find them.

Also, fun fact! Plavac Mali means “little blue”. I was curious if that meant that the grapes are little and blue, or do people think that the wine is a little blue? Or is it that if you drink too much of the wine, it will make you feel a little blue? Yes, I’m sure that last one is it.

24 hours in zagreb itinerary
3) What About Some Zagreb History?

What a funny question! But we aim to please. In fact, there is some history of Croatian inventors included on the tour. During our 24 hours in Zagreb itinerary, we stopped at this giant mural of legendary inventor Nikola Tesla.

Tesla is most famous for designing the alternating current electrical system. But my guide also insisted that Tesla invented the radio, only he doesn’t get enough credit for it. I gather that defending Tesla’s honor is a popular sport in Croatia.

On top of that, apparently Thomas Edison cheated Tesla when Tesla was a young inventor. He told Tesla that he would pay him a very large amount of money to help him design something.

Tesla did it and then asked for the money, at which point Edison insisted that Tesla just didn’t understand he was joking. Oh, Thomas Edison! You were fantastically intelligent, but you were not very nice.

24 hours in zagreb itinerary

24 Hour Treasure: Tolkien’s House

As a certified nerd, I was SO EXCITED when my Croatian guide told me that Tolkien’s House was in Zagreb. I mean sure, I was a little confused because I thought Tolkien was English and never realized that he had been to Croatia but you learn something new every day.

But it turns out that Tolkien’s House in Croatia is just an adorable pub that serves yummy beers in a lovely outdoor setting. I suggest getting the Red Hobbit Ale for the name alone.

It tastes really good too! But even if it didn’t, I would still be all about the name. Definitely stop here during your 24 hours in Zagreb itinerary.

24 Hour Tip

Those are all the secrets of the tour I can share with you for now. You’ll have to go ahead and book the tour by to find out the rest.

Check rates and availability by going here!

24 hours in zagreb itinerary

Afternoon: Croatian Museum of Naive Art

One thing Zagreb is famous for its unusual museums. We are going to the quirkiest museum in Zagreb on our next 24 hours in Zagreb itinerary, but today I am going to show you my favorite art museum in Zagreb: the Croatian Museum of Naive Art.

You might never have heard the expression “naive art” before, so I’m going to offer a bit of an explanation. Now, naive art doesn’t mean that this art is so gullible that it will buy the Brooklyn Bridge off a shady guy hanging around Port Authority. In Eastern Europe, naive art has a wonderful and special meaning all its own.

Allow me to introduce you to the magic of naive art with…

Three Fun Facts: Naive Art

24 hours in zagreb itinerary
1) Naive Art is Untrained Art

Untrained doesn’t mean amateurish or bad! It just means that the artist hasn’t been formally trained in an art school. (In the US we’d be more likely to call this kind of work Folk Art.) And frankly, who needs to go to art school? I mean, do doctors really need to go to medical school? I rest my case.

However, self-taught artists can be just as passionate and talented as Very Serious Art School Grads. And many of these artists use their talents to paint/sculpt ordinary people or landscapes close to home that might otherwise be ignored. So all we are saying is to give naive art a chance.

24 hours in zagreb itinerary

You might be wondering just how many Self Taught Croatian artists there even are. Great question, Internet Stranger! The Croatian Museum of Naive Art doesn’t only house Croatian naive artists. I saw naive artists from all over Eastern and Central Europe in this fine collection.

That gives the Museum of Naive Art a rather high-class problem. There are artists represented from many different nations, but the museum itself has almost 2000 works of naive art. The museum isn’t big enough to house them all, so the works on display change constantly. That just gives you a great excuse to visit Zagreb many times!

24 hours in zagreb itinerary
2) What Does Naive Art Look Like?

Since naive artists aren’t formally trained, it’s hard to say that there’s something all the artists have in common. It’s not like you can go to Naive Artist School. That would defeat the whole purpose of being a naive artist!

However, one thing I noticed is that many of the paintings used bright, cheerful, and some might say unnatural colors. At first you might think that this is confusing because most people know that grass is not purple without having to go to art school. I mean, I learned what my colors were in kindergarten.

But when you think about why naive art uses unusual color schemes, this makes sense! After all, when The Man isn’t around to tell you what you can and can’t do, why not paint a pink cow?

Remember, one of the fun things about spending time in a museum is that your only job is to notice things. Just look around for yourself and see what the paintings have in common. Do you notice a lot of purple? See many men with squished noses? Let your observations run free! As long as you are looking carefully, there’s no way to get this wrong.

24 hours in zagreb itinerary
3) Anything else about Naive Art?

One final thing I noticed is that many of the paintings are about animals. Look at the happy gathering of animals above! It looks just like the forest in Bambi where Bambi and his mother are happy all the time and nothing could ever possibly go wrong.

(I still haven’t seen Bambi, so it’s possible that something bad happens in the movie and I just don’t know about it. But no spoilers please!)

Hmm..animals, bright colors, goofy squished faces…naive art has a lot in common with children’s art, doesn’t it? But IMO, that’s a good thing. Who doesn’t like looking at children’s art?

I don’t think art needs to be a creepy shark in formaldehyde to be interesting. I like the thought that some naive artist’s mother has her child’s painting hanging up in her kitchen with pride, like the world’s prettiest piece of macaroni art.

24 Hour Tip

You can’t bring bags into the museum, so don’t take anything larger than a wallet if checking things makes you nervous. Zagreb’s not a large city, so you’ll probably be within walking distance of your hotel anyway. If you need a larger bag later in the day, you can probably walk back and get it.

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: 24 Hours in Zagreb Itinerary

#1 TOP PICK

boar goulash

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
ZAGREB FOOD TOUR
✔️ Taste authentic local treats
✔️Five star reviews

#2 PICK

zagreb

ZAGREB WALKING TOUR
✔️ Expert local guide
✔️ Surprisingly affordable

#3 PICK

A Perfect 24 Hours in Zagreb Itinerary 2024 2

ALL OTHER ZAGREB TOURS
✔️ Find your favorite!
✔️ Get the best deals

A Perfect 24 Hours in Zagreb Itinerary 2024 4

24 Hours in Zagreb Itinerary

Evening: Dinner at Noel

I’m a firm believer that any kind of food can be delicious. I’m just as happy eating some unidentified street meat as I am dining at a gastronomic temple of haute cuisine.

But I’ll admit that I’m a total sucker for fine dining. It’s just such a fun adventure! I never know what the waiter is going to bring me next! It’s like entertainment and food all wrapped up in one delicious package. That’s why I recommend getting dinner at Noel, the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Zagreb.

You’ll start with a little surprise known as the amuse bouche! What will you get? There’s no way to tell! My favorite part of my amuse bouche was this adorable non-alcoholic watermelon drink to refresh the palette. But do not worry! There was plenty of booze with my meal.

24 hours in zagreb itinerary

Up next we have a refreshing trout with yuzu. I never expected to find yuzu at a Croatian restaurant, but that’s just one of the delicious wonders of globalization.

24 hours in zagreb itinerary

This next course was foie gras prepared five different ways which is about as glamorous as it gets. I know some people don’t like eating liver, but I’m Jewish, so it’s like mother’s milk to me. Some were more sweet, some were more savory, but all of them were melt in your mouth delicious.

24 hours in zagreb itinerary

It’s very important to have balance in a good tasting menu. The next course after the rich foie gras was a light Adriatic fish with spinach, lemon, and shrimp butter…If there’s any moral to my posts about Croatia, it’s that you need to eat as much Croatian seafood as possible.

24 hours in zagreb itinerary

And bouncing back to a rich course we have cappellacci stuffed with blue cheese. These were fab, but so decadent that I don’t think I could have eaten more than a couple.

24 hours in zagreb itinerary

Up next is some of the strangest combination of foods I have ever met: rabbit, quail egg, bacon, and calamari! So many different kinds of protein and all so delicious! I suppose this is the Croatian equivalent of surf and turf.

24 hours in zagreb itinerary

And for our final main course, we have a lovely piece of lamb that was as tender as a baby sheep. It was served with babaganoush, chili, and pineapple, just in case we didn’t have enough international flavor in this meal.

I’m just crazy about how many different kinds of protein were in this tasting menu. The whole thing practically screams, “Hell yeah, we’re one of the newest countries in the EU! Get ready for Croatia to dominate!”

24 hours in zagreb itinerary

Got room for dessert? Well, make room because we have a giant bowl of apricots coming to you in a porcelain egg, fool! The apricots were served with white chocolate and marigolds, which was lovely, but all my attention went to the perfectly fresh stone fruit.

Just one bite of a fresh apricot in summer and I can practically hear the Beach Boys playing “Surfing USA” while chowing down on some lobster rolls, that’s how summery they are.

24 hours in zagreb itinerary

Where to Stay

There’s only one hotel I can recommend for your 24 hours in Zagreb itinerary and that’s the Hotel Jagerhorn. That’s not because the other hotels in Zagreb are bad; it’s just because I liked this hotel so much.

It has an insanely convenient location near both Ban Jelacic Square and some of the best views in all Zagreb. Plus the hotel is one of the most glamorous in the city because it is the oldest hotel left in Zagreb. Yet the prices are still totally reasonable. Really, what more could you ask for?

If you’re excited to book your stay at the Hotel Jagerhorn, just go here.

And if you’d rather explore great deals on tons of other hotels in Zagreb, I’ve got you covered here! This search engine will help you find the perfect place to stay for your 24 hours in Zagreb itinerary. With hundreds of options to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find something for your schedule and budget.

That’s a Perfect 24 Hours in Zagreb Itinerary!

What would you do with a 24 hours in Zagreb itinerary? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Zagreb right away? Do Croatians like surf and turf? And has anyone in Zagreb ever died in a duel defending the honor of Nikola Tesla? Please email me at stellajane@aroundtheworldin24hours.com and let me know!

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY have one 24 hours in Zagreb itinerary.

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A Perfect 24 Hours in Zagreb Itinerary 2024 5

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