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Where to Stay in Zagreb in 2024 – 8 BEST AREAS

Discover the best places to stay in Zagreb with our comprehensive guide. Explore top neighborhoods like Upper Town, Kaptol, and Lower Town, and find the perfect accommodation for your travel style and budget.
Where to Stay in Zagreb

Wondering where to stay in Zagreb? This vibrant city, the capital of Croatia, is not only a political and cultural hub but also a place brimming with history, style, and a variety of neighborhoods each offering a unique experience.

Choosing the right area in Zagreb can enhance your visit, whether you’re looking for historical charm, bustling nightlife, or serene parks.

In this guide, we’ll explore the top neighborhoods in Zagreb, highlighting their pros and cons based on your travel preferences, budget, and duration of stay.

Plus, we’ve handpicked the best hotels and apartments in each area to simplify your planning.

Best places to stay in Zagreb

Here’s a quick overview of Zagreb’s neighborhoods. For more detailed insights and specific accommodation recommendations, read the detailed descriptions that follow.

  • Upper Town (Gornji Grad) – Ideal for first-time visitors. This historic area offers a blend of culture and history with easy access to major attractions. Accommodations here are slightly more expensive.
  • Kaptol – Perfect for nightlife enthusiasts. Close to the Gothic Cathedral and a variety of shopping options, it offers a mix of hostels and private accommodations.
  • Lower Town (Donji Grad) – Great for art and history lovers. This area features wide boulevards, stunning architecture, and several museums, with a range of accommodation options.
  • British Square (Britanski Trg) – A shopper’s paradise and cultural hub. Known for its farmers’ market and flea market, it offers convenient hotels and apartments.
  • Novi Zagreb – Best for budget travelers. This area has evolved from a residential district to a vibrant area with shopping malls, cafes, and budget-friendly accommodations.
  • Jarun – Ideal for families with children. Known for Lake Jarun and its recreational facilities, it offers a peaceful environment with easy access to the city center.
  • Maksimir – A tranquil urban oasis suitable for all visitors. Famous for Maksimir Park and Zagreb Zoo, it offers a mix of modern apartments and luxury suites.
Map with the best places to stay in Zagreb
Map with the best places to stay in Zagreb

1. Upper Town (Gornji Grad), best area to stay in Zagreb for first time visitors

Ban Jelačić Square (Trg bana Jelačića)
Ban Jelačić Square (Trg bana Jelačića)

Nestled between the hill of Kaptol and the undulations of Gradec, the oldest part of Zagreb, Upper Town, invites you to a waltz with history dating back to the 11th century.

The neighborhood is a delightful melting pot of multicultural influences, thanks to the southern European immigrants and Mediterranean settlers who made Zagreb their home.

Stroll through quaint streets, adorned with pastel hued 17th and 18th-century edifices, leading you towards the heart of the area – Trg bana Jelacica, the main square.

A leisurely uphill amble from the square, and you’re amidst the bustle of the daily Dolac food market. Frequented by locals, the market unfurls an intriguing slice of Croatian life as you sip your coffee in a charming local cafe.

Spot the twin spires of the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary while approaching the market. This architectural marvel harks back to the 13th century and was painstakingly restored after an earthquake.

Venture east, and you’ll find yourself in Tkalciceva, a bohemian haven chock-full of quaint coffee shops, indie cafes, and a buzzing nightlife, ensuring the Croatian style of bohemianism is just a sip or bite away.

For the adrenaline junkies, the Gric Tunnel awaits. Once an air raid shelter and storage area, it has been reincarnated as Zagreb’s newest tourist draw.

The cherry on top is the rich bouquet of museums the Upper Town hosts. Don’t miss out on the Museum of Broken Relationships, the quirkiest museum you’ll ever visit, or the Mestrovic Studio, showcasing the work of Croatia’s famous sculptor Ivan Mestrovic.

Feast your eyes on the colorful roof of St Mark’s Church, depicting the ancient coat of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia, and Slavonia. Nearby you’ll find the Croatian Parliament, the presidential palace, and the Gallery of Naïve Art.

As night falls, Upper Town transforms into a vibrant hub with an eclectic mix of bars and clubs, including Confusion, E11EVEN Club, and City Rhythm, promising unforgettable nights.

Accommodations are a touch premium in this popular part of Zagreb, with private rentals rounding out the options.

Best Hotels in Upper Town

  • ($$$) Hotel Jägerhorn: Tucked just off Ilica Street, on your way to the Upper Town, you’ll stumble upon Jagerhorn Hotel. It’s the grandpa of Zagreb hotels, being the oldest, and let me tell ya, there’s something charming about its 18 snug rooms. It’s a bit of a unicorn with its private parking in the city. You can snag a double room for about 100 €, breakfast tossed in. But a quick heads up – during summer, this little gem gets swamped, so prices might surge.
  • ($$) Paon Boutique Apartments: Now, if you’re into that perfect balance between the buzz and some peace and quiet, Paon Boutique Apartments on Jurjevska Street has your name written all over it. A stone’s throw from the action, but distant enough for a silent night. They’ve got studio apartments that start from 60 €.
  • ($$) Stone Gate: Last but not least, if cozy corners are your thing, the Stone Gate apartment is pure gold. Bright, comfy, and pretty much in the middle of everything. And guess what? A studio for two is just 65 € a night.

2. Kaptol, best area to stay in Zagreb for nightlife

Zagreb Cathedral, dedicated to the Assumption of Mary and to kings Saint Stephen and Saint Ladislaus
Zagreb Cathedral, dedicated to the Assumption of Mary and to kings Saint Stephen and Saint Ladislaus

Either a part of Upper Town or a standalone, depending on who you ask, Kaptol skirts Upper Town’s top border, with both districts intertwining seamlessly.

Historical records from 1094 show Kaptol as an ecclesiastical settlement. It, along with Gradec, was one of the two separate towns that merged in the 19th century to form part of burgeoning Zagreb.

Known for its breathtaking Gothic Cathedral and 25 diocese manors from the Middle Ages to the 19th century, Kaptol offers a unique, time-traveling experience.

It’s also a shoppers’ paradise with a profusion of souvenir shops, a modern shopping mall in Nova Ves, and a growing gastronomy scene catering to the increasing number of visitors. Search for Restauracia Kupecka Basta, it’s the no1 restaurant in tripadvisor and it holds that position for a reason. 

When you’re in the mood for some downtime, you’ll find ample green spaces perfect for idyllic picnics.

As twilight descends, the cafes, bars, and restaurants around Kaptol spring to life. For those seeking more action, Tkalciceva Street is a mere downhill stroll away.

Although hotels are limited, there’s no shortage of hostels and private accommodations ranging from cozy studios to lavish villas.

Best Hotels in Kaptol

  • ($$$) House Dornik: Ever dreamt of playing house in the city center? House Dornik on Opatovina Street lets you do just that! Picture waking up to the Cathedral’s majestic views and knowing your car’s safely parked – for free! With space for four, it’s a steal starting at 120 € a night.
  • ($$$) Hotel Academia: Fancy staying atop a shopping haven? Pop over to Hotel Academia nestled in Kaptol Center. It’s like hitting a Zagreb jackpot – cozy rooms, scrumptious breakfast, the friendliest crew, and a location that’s perfect to wander both the high and low of the city. A roomy double will cost you 100 €, and that includes your morning grub.
  • ($$) Regal Residence B&B: Now, if living on the pulse of the city gets your heart racing, you can’t overlook Regal Residence B&B. Settled on the ever-bustling Tkalciceva Street, it’s got modern digs with views that either let you gaze at the charming Tkalca Street or the tranquil inner courtyard. Sounds dreamy, right? A double room, breakfast and all, starts at 85 €.

3. Lower Town (Donji Grad), best area to stay in Zagreb for art & history lovers

Croatian National Theatre, Zagreb
Croatian National Theatre, Zagreb

Locally known as Donji Grad, Lower Town, one of Zagreb’s 17 districts and also the city center, extends from Trg Jelacica Square to the main train station.

In contrast to Upper Town’s narrow lanes, Lower Town boasts almost boulevard-style wide streets, flanked by the majestic architecture of the Austria-Hungarian era and early 20th-century secession-style frontages.

The district is punctuated by impeccably maintained gardens and tree-lined streets, collectively known as the Green Horseshoe, which stretches from the train station to the National Theatre in Trg Marsala Tita.

A paradise for museum lovers, Lower Town shelters seven museums, including the Mimara Museum with over 3,750 exhibits, the Ethnographic Museum showcasing Croatian culture, and the Archaeological Museum, home to the largest coin collection in Europe.

Art aficionados will be spellbound by the Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters, the National Museum of Modern Art, and the Art Pavilion of Zagreb, all offering a broad sweep of artistic expressions.

A respite from the city’s hustle can be sought in the Green Horseshoe squares or Maksimir Park, one of Europe’s oldest, hosting a zoo with 275 different wildlife species.

When the sun sets, Lower Town sparkles with an array of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants. Accommodation options are also plenty, featuring a mix of luxury hotels, budget hostels, and self-catering apartments.

Best Hotels in Lower Town

  • ($$$) Esplanade Zagreb Hotel: Splurging a little? Hotel Esplanade is your jam! It’s been the heart of Zagreb’s vibe since the 1920s. Imagine stepping into a scene from The Great Gatsby with sublime elegance. And oh, their breakfast? Simply the best in town. Ready your wallets, though. A night’s stay in a double room will set you back 160 €.
  • ($$$) Hotel Le Premier: Fancy a slice of history with a touch of luxury? Say hello to Hotel Le Premier. Housed in a former 1923 palace, it’s dripping with Viennese Art Nouveau vibes. Starting price? 130 € for a double room, breakfast included.
  • ($$) MANDA Heritage Hotel: On the hunt for charm without emptying your pockets? Manda Heritage Hotel is where it’s at! Prime location, mega friendly staff, and spacious rooms. You can snag a double room for 75 €, breakfast on the house!
  • ($$) THE City Lodge – Boutique Apartments: If you’re all about modern feels, City Lodge Boutique Apartments should be on your radar. Sleek, centrally located, and all the modern comforts you’d want. A cool 100 € will get you a studio apartment.
  • ($$$) Tesla Design Apartments: Speaking of chic urban stays, Tesla Design Apartments is a total win! Picture this: uber-comfy beds, rain showers, and a lovely balcony to sip your morning coffee. Studio apartments start at 110 €.
  • ($$) Bed & Breakfast Sky City Center: Want to be in the thick of things? Bed & Breakfast Sky City Center is bang in the Main Square. Stylish digs, generous breakfast spread, and rooms spacious enough to do a cartwheel (if that’s your thing). A night here? 100 € for a double room.
  • ($) Swanky Mint hostel: Now, if you’re backpacking or just watching the pennies, Swanky Mint Hostel in the Lower Town is a gem. They’ve got everything from dorm rooms to private baths, a cool bar, and a fab Asian fusion restaurant. A dorm spot costs 18 €, but if you fancy a bit more privacy, double rooms start at 60 €. Oh, and if you’re thinking about breakfast, add 6 € to the tab.

4. British Square (Britanski Trg): A Shopper’s Paradise and a Buzzing Cultural Hub

Britanski trg, Zagreb
Britanski trg, Zagreb

Picture a bustling city square nestled on Ilica Street, in the western periphery of the Lower Town’s Ban Jelačić Square. It’s not your typical district but rather a vibrant gathering spot – welcome to the British Square!

This lively place, radiating a charm that bewitches both locals and travelers, serves as the heart of one of Croatia’s last authentic farmers’ markets. Imagine indulging your senses in the hustle and bustle, where the aroma of fresh fruits, vegetables, and cheese floats in the air, as chefs from across the city engage in a lively exchange with vendors to bag the finest products for the day’s culinary delights.

The festivities of the daily market commence with the crack of dawn, around 6 am, and wind down by 1 pm. As the morning fades, locals set the stage, purchasing their daily ration of fresh produce.

But that’s not all the British Square is known for. The square is the pivot for many bus and tram routes across the city. The cafes and coffee shops encircling the square become an irresistible lure for weary travelers, city explorers, and locals, offering a sweet pause for refreshment.

Time your visit right and a Sunday at British Square will reward you with a flea market teeming with antiques and collectibles, a treasure trove where you can unearth unique keepsakes from your time in Zagreb.

Take a walk down memory lane on a Thursday evening (subject to changes) at the ‘Old School Night’. Hosted by the local ‘Tom Tom‘ cult club, this event celebrates the nostalgia of classic and vintage automobiles while screening videos about Zagreb’s traffic history.

For the caffeine lovers and snack munchers, there’s Eliscaffe… or is it Eli’s cafe? Honestly, who knows how to pen it down, but who cares when their coffee game is this strong? These folks are practically married to their beans.

Next in line, Kava Tava! If you’re like me and sometimes want more than just a liquid hug in a cup, this is your spot. Their “Cinkice” (think a unique twist on American pancakes) and “Toastic” (a gourmet take on the classic club sandwich) will have your taste buds dancing.

The beauty of British Square? It’s nestled amid a generous smattering of hotels and apartments, just a short stroll away.

Best Hotels in British Square

  • ($$) MINT Boutique Studio Apartments: First, the MINT Boutique Studio Apartments – oh boy, are they a treat! Nestled right in the heart of the action, they boast sleek designs (hello, Instagrammable corners!), drench-worthy showers, and staff who greet you like long-lost pals. And hey, they even throw in a sweet welcome pack. A cozy studio for two? That’s 90 € a night.
  • ($$) Zest and Nest Boutique Apartments: Next, for a touch of finesse, there’s Zest and Nest Boutique Apartments. Imagine sipping coffee on a quaint balcony overlooking an inner oasis. Heavenly beds? Check. Prime location? Double check. A tiny hiccup – the staff can sometimes be a tad frosty, and you might have to trek a bit for free parking. But trust me, at 75 € for a chic 1-bedroom space for four, it’s totally worth it.
  • ($) Whole Wide World Hostel: Now, if you’re all about stretching those Euros, say hello to Whole Wide World Hostel near the British Square. With room options ranging from 4 to 10-bunk dorms and private doubles (shared bathrooms, mind you!), they’ve got you covered. The cherry on top? A shared kitchen, cozy common areas, and some epic hostel parties! Prices? They kick off at 24 € for a bunk in an 8-bed dorm, breakfast in tow. If you fancy a bit more privacy, 55 € gets you a double, breakfast on the side.

5. Novi Zagreb, where to stay in Zagreb on a budget

Richter’s “Rakete” or “Rockets”. Communist-era apartment blocks in Zagreb. Architect – Richter.
Richter’s “Rakete” or “Rockets”. Communist-era apartment blocks in Zagreb. Architect – Richter.

Post-WWII, Zagreb expanded across the River Sava into what is now known as Novi Zagreb. Originally intended as housing for the masses in socialist Yugoslavia, the district sprouted numerous tower blocks that continue to grace its skyline today.

Over time, Novi Zagreb evolved from being a cluster of concrete high-rises to a vibrant residential area with modern shopping malls, boutique stores, cozy cafes, and a wide range of restaurants and bars.

Its architectural evolution saw the emergence of edifices like the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Zagreb’s first significant museum in over a century. The MCA, with its vast 14,500 square-meter footprint, hosts modern art from the 1920s and works from renowned Croatian abstract-geometric artists of the 1950s.

Street art enthusiasts, head to the Dugave neighborhood to admire Zagreb’s vibrant murals and the Street Art Museum. If a leisurely day at a park is more your speed, visit Bundek Park with its serene lake, or The Park of the Newlyweds, a favorite among children.

Retail therapy, you say? Check out the Arena shopping center or the Avenue Mall, and don’t miss the Hrelić flea market on Sundays for some unique souvenir hunting.

Nightlife in Novi Zagreb offers a variety of restaurants and bars, catering to every age and taste. The array of accommodation options, cheaper than their city center counterparts, make this area an ideal base for budget travelers.

6. Jarun, best area to stay in Zagreb for families with children

Lake Jarun
Lake Jarun

If you’re wondering where to hang your hat in Zagreb with kids in tow, consider Jarun. A small village turned bustling neighborhood, Jarun is an oasis amidst the city, providing the perfect antidote to museum and market fatigue for your young explorers.

Back in the 1980s, when Zagreb was preparing to host the 1987 Universiade (an international student multi-sport event), a sprawling man-made lake was created in Jarun, leading to the birth of Lake Jarun, a recreational marvel of today.

The lake now forms the centerpiece of a public park, with its pebbled beach, quaint shops, cafes, and a myriad of watersports, offering an irresistible seaside charm. You can opt for swimming, windsurfing, kayaking, or even a relaxed ride on a pedalo.

Land-based activities are aplenty too, with extensive trails for horse riding, cycling, jogging, and hiking.

As the sun dips, the northeast corner of Lake Jarun awakens, with a vibrant nightlife featuring bars, nightclubs, and the renowned Aquarius Club. The lake is also the venue for the annual three-day music festival, INmusic.

Scattered around Jarun are shops, restaurants, and a range of accommodation options, making this neighborhood a great family-friendly choice. And the cherry on top? It’s just a 15-minute tram ride from the city center.

Best Hotels in Jarun

  • ($$) Blue Lake Apartment: If you’re anything like me and adore a peaceful retreat after a day of bustling city exploration, Blue Lake Apartment is where you’ll want to kick off your shoes. Picture this: a spacious pad with all the comforts, a balcony perfect for sunset musings, WiFi (because, let’s face it, we all need it) and free parking. The icing on the cake? Super attentive hosts who genuinely care. And the best part? You won’t have to break the bank since it’s tucked away from the city’s hustle and bustle.
  • ($) Hotel Jarun: Now, on the flip side, if you’re the hotel type, Hotel Jarun might just be your jam. Sure, it’s not smack in the middle of town, but what it lacks in downtown vibes, it makes up for with a crew that goes above and beyond, a breakfast spread to write home about, and free parking (a rare gem in city stays). Plus, it’s easy on the wallet.

7. Maksimir: A Tranquil Urban Oasis for Every Visitor

Maksimir Park is the oldest public park in Zagreb, Croatia
Maksimir Park is the oldest public park in Zagreb, Croatia

Nestled within the heart of Zagreb, Maksimir beckons with its enchanting mix of residential charm and commercial vitality. This district expands from the bustling Kvaternik Square in the southwest to the arterial junctions of Maksimirska Street, Bukovacka Street, and Svetice Street.

The area is studded with landmarks such as the University Hospital of Zagreb campus, the national football stadium – the home ground of NK Dinamo, and most notably, the Maksimir Park.

Stepping into Maksimir Park feels like stepping into a fairy tale. A treasured local retreat since 1794, it is among the world’s oldest public parks. Stroll through a vast expanse of 780 acres flourishing with century-old oak trees, shimmering lakes, meandering streams, and open meadows. This is the serene hideaway you need from the city’s buzz, a spot where children can run wild and adults can unwind.

Nestled within the park, you’ll find historic gems like the 1843 Bellevue Pavilion, the Echo Pavilion, or Lantern Temple, a quaint Swiss-style cottage, and the St Juraj Chapel, all standing alongside numerous intriguing sculptures.

Add a dash of wild wonder to your visit by exploring the Zagreb Zoo at the park’s southern edge. Home to more than 275 diverse species of aquatic creatures and animals, it’s a thrilling sight for all ages.

Maksimir boasts a delightful array of accommodations, bars, eateries, cafes, and shops. Just a quick tram ride away from the city center, Maksimir is perfect for those yearning for a stay that strays from the trodden tourist paths.

Best Hotels in Maksimir

  • ($$) Deluxe Apartments Zagreb: First stop, Deluxe Apartments Zagreb in Maksimir. Nestled in a serene street, these modern and radiant studio apartments offer more than just a place to lay your head. And guess what? The tram to the main square? Just a stone’s throw away! Starting from 70 € a night, it’s perfect for a duo’s city retreat.
  • ($$) Apartments N10 Zagreb: Next up, if you’re on the hunt for a longer stay or just love that home-away-from-home vibe, check out Apartments N10 Zagreb. Not only do these 1-bedroom apartments come with everything you need, but the owners are so friendly it feels like you’ve known them forever! Plus, free parking (which if you ask me, is golden!). All of this for a cool 70 € a night.
  • ($$$) Anastasia Suites Zagreb: For those who love a mix of luxury and homeliness, Anastasia Suites Zagreb has got your name on it. Imagine feasting on a homemade breakfast alongside fellow travelers, sharing tales and making memories. And with spacious suites, the kindest owner, and free parking, starting at 110 € for two – it’s a no-brainer.
  • ($) Rooms at Zajčeva 34: Now, let’s chat about Rooms at Zajčeva 34. No, they don’t serve breakfast, but hear me out. Cozy rooms, refreshing showers, and a stellar team ready to help, all set in a tranquil part of town. Starting at 65 € for a double, it’s a haven for those seeking simplicity and comfort.

8. Zagreb Airport: Your Gateway to a Memorable Weekend

While searching for the perfect place to stay in Zagreb, don’t overlook the airport hotels. These lodgings are often priced competitively compared to city center hotels, offering significant savings.

One of the appealing aspects of staying near Zagreb’s airport is the sheer convenience. Imagine exiting the airplane and being able to drop off your luggage in your room within 20 minutes! A quick cab ride later, and you’re toasting to your Croatian adventure in under an hour.

Staying near the airport eliminates the pre-departure morning rush, allowing for a leisurely last evening in town without worrying about the early airport run. Rise, shine, and within 20 minutes, find yourself at departures, ready to relish a leisurely breakfast before your flight.

Furthermore, with the airport merely a 20-minute transfer away from central Zagreb, you’re never too far from the city’s vibrant heart, with a variety of shuttles, cabs, buses, or trams at your disposal.

So when plotting your Zagreb trip, consider airport hotels. They might just be the perfect launch pad for your Croatian journey.

Upper Town vs Lower Town in Zagreb

Ah, the timeless charm of Zagreb! After spending ample time in both Upper Town and Lower Town, here’s my take on the ongoing debate.

Upper Town, with its storied lanes, holds a special place in my heart. There’s a certain allure to this part of the city that reminds me of the intimate charm European cities are celebrated for.

Unlike cities such as Prague and Budapest, where grand rivers dictate the city’s divide, Zagreb’s two halves meld seamlessly.

During one of my stays, I had the pleasure of residing at Dolac One apartment, nestled just off the market square.

The ambiance was nothing short of magical, although I must admit, finding parking did have its challenges, even with modern technology like GPS at my disposal.

However, if you ask me where the heart of the city truly beats, I’d point you straight to Lower Town.

This bustling part of Zagreb, pulsating with life and energy, has a gravitational pull.

I recall my delightful stay at Hotel Dubrovnik, right in the heart of the pedestrian zone. The proximity to restaurants, cafes, and shops made every day an adventure.

There’s a reason why many describe Lower Town as “authentic.” But let’s not forget about the atmospheric Upper Town!

With its unique dining spots and bars, it offers a serene yet intriguing contrast to the bustling Lower.

Yet, when it came to places like Rooms Zagreb 17, my experience was mixed – while it’s a brilliant place overall, there were some nuances I couldn’t quite overlook.

In conclusion, for those who seek vibrancy, Lower Town is your muse. But if a blend of history and calm is what you desire, don’t overlook the allure of Upper Town. Whichever you choose, Zagreb promises a journey of discovery at every corner. 

What's next?

If you’re venturing to Zagreb, why not take the scenic route and indulge in Croatia’s coastal gems too?

Start your journey in Zagreb, absorbing its historic charm and lively street culture.

Then, head south to Split, where Roman architecture meets azure shores.

Continue to the sun-kissed island of Hvar, a paradise for both party-goers and tranquility seekers.

Lastly, set sail to Dubrovnik, the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” with its majestic walls and unparalleled sea views.

Combining these destinations offers a taste of Croatia’s urban allure and its splendid Mediterranean coastline – a journey that beautifully mingles culture, history, and natural wonders.

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