Cheap Flights to Zagreb, Croatia
- Area City : 641km² (247 sq mi)
- Area Codes : (+385) 1
- Currency : Croatian Kuna (HRK)
- Population City : 799,565 (2015 Estimate)
- Official Language : Croatian
- Time Zone : CET (UTC+1) Summer: (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
- Airport : Franjo Tuđman International Airport (ZAG)
Franjo Tuđman Airport also known as Pleso and Zagreb Airport is Croatia’s busiest international airport located 15km from the city and recently opened its new terminal capable of handling five million passengers annually. Transport available for passengers from the airport to the city comprises buses, taxis and car hire. The Pleso Prijevoz shuttle bus operates daily from the airport to the city bus station, departing every 30 minutes until 20h00 where after buses depart in conjunction with flight landing times. The taxi rank, on exiting the terminal, is located on the right hand side. Vehicles can be hired from Avis, Europcar, Hertz, Budget, Alamo, Goldcar, Sixt and others.
From Johannesburg, South Africa travellers can fly to Zagreb with one or two stops with the following airlines:
- Air Namibia
- British Airways
- South African Airways
- TAP Portugal
- Virgin Atlantic
Other airlines touching down at ZAG include:
- Czech Airlines
- Korean Air
Reasons to Visit Zagreb, Croatia:
- Zagreb is a beautiful historical city located on the southern slopes of Medvednica Mountain and along the Sava River that received a No. 1 Destination ranking from Lonely Planet’s Best in Europe 2017. The central government, most ministries and administrative bodies operate out of Zagreb including headquarters of the country’s largest businesses, media and scientific institutions. The city affords a high standard of living, a diverse economy that includes high-tech industries.
- Zagreb has a wealth of history dating back to Roman times including the oldest Roman settlement Andautonia (now named Šćitarjevo) that existed between the 1st and 5th century AD. The name Zagreb was first recorded in 1094; the city became a free royal town in 1242; had its first mayor in 1851 and was made the capital city in 1945. Zagreb affords visitors a marvellous variety of sights that include notable olden buildings, modern towers, historical churches, museums, parks and marvellous shopping opportunities. Simply meandering along streets around Marticeva, the main thoroughfare with bookshops, boutiques and hip cafes is an experience in itself. Pop into Sheriff & Cherry for that special pair of trendy Croatian sunglasses or Garderoba, a newly opened store where discerned shoppers sip cocktails while trying on Croatian and Scandinavian fashion brands.
- Visitors have a great choice of hotels that include Esplanade Zagreb Hotel, Hotel 9, Art Hotel Like and Hotel Central and for backpackers, there’s no shortage of hostels such as Hobo Bear, Hostel Jagerhorn, Hostel 63 and Swanky Mint Hostel. Additionally visitors can stay in B&Bs or rent an apartment.
- The city offers an array of fabulous restaurants and a must experience is Lari & Penati located in Petrinjska Street. It’s a small intimate eatery with a street terrace and a menu that changes daily serving fresh and delectable meals with wine by the glass. Hidden from tourist routes is restaurant Tac, one of the best in the city for traditional Croatian food in a relaxed rustic environment. For night revellers there are dance clubs, discos, bars, piano and wine bars, gay clubs and the popular steam-punk bar Mr Fogg that opened in 2016 where patrons can sip on Nicaraguan rum, Japanese whiskey or herb brandy.
When to Visit Zagreb, Croatia:
The best weather is in July and August during the peak season and with high prices and plenty of tourists. Winter from October to April is cold with snow, ideal for visitors wanting to ski and low prices. The shoulder season of May, June and September is also good with fewer tourists and lower prices.
Places to Visit Zagreb, Croatia:
- Zagreb 360 should be your first stop. Located in Ban Jelačić Square it affords unparalleled views of the city and surrounds from the skyscraper’s top floor where visitors can relax with a drink while taking in the view.
- The 13th century ‘Church of St. Mark located in St Mark’s Square with a Romanesque architecture style is one of the city’s most emblematic structures.
- The Kamenita Vrata (the Stone Gates) is the only medieval city gate left marking the eastern entrance to the city’s medieval Upper Town and deemed one of the holiest places in Zagreb.
- A famous landmark is the impressive Neo-Gothic styled Zagreb Cathedral that opened in 1906 and is the tallest building in the country at 108m.
- The baroque St Catherine’s Church built by Jesuits from 1620 to 1632 still stands strong after surviving an earthquake and fire.
- Lotrščak Tower located in Gradec is a fortified tower dating back to the 13th century that was used to protect the southern gate of the town’s wall.
- The enormous stately looking Mimara Museum is an art museum home to a collection by Wiltrud and Ante Topić Mimara and artistic treasures including sculptures.
- Art Pavilion situated in the Lower Town is a striking building over a hundred years old that shows off the history of fine arts in Croatia.
- Not to be missed is Zagreb’s Archaeological Museum that contains over 450,000 numerous artefacts and monuments.
- The Museum of Broken Relationships is dedicated to unsuccessful love relationships exhibiting personal items left behind from former lovers.
- Still more interesting museums include the Museum of Torture, the ‘Technical Museum’, the Ethnographic Museum and Museum of Illusions.
- For a tranquil retreat the beautiful lush Zagreb Botanical Garden has over 10,000 plant species. It was established in 1889 by Antun Heinz, a professor of the University of Zagreb is part of the Faculty of Science.
- The lush 18 hectare Maksimir Park opened to the public in 1794 making it the oldest public park in Zagreb and one of the most beautiful in Europe. It’s home to a number of animal and plant species with lakes, walking trails, a zoo and playgrounds, ideal for a perfect family day outing.
- Attracting nature lovers, hikers and skiers with an elevation of 1,033 metres, Sljeme (Medvednica Mountain) is just north of Zagreb with a resort for staying over.
- Oris House of Architecture, a multi-media cultural centre hosts numerous events that include architecture and design exhibits, workshops, lectures and concerts and also allows visitors to relax in the reader’s corner with a library.
- Meet friends or stroll around the iconic 17th century ‘Ban Jelačić Square’ that buzzes with people enjoying coffee, a meal or doing shopping.
- The massive Mamutica is one of Europe’s biggest apartment buildings.
- Popularly referred to as The Rockets are the three Richter’s Skyscrapers.
- Interesting towers to be seen include the ‘Sky Officer Tower’, ‘Cibona Tower’ and ‘HOTO Tower’ and others.
Getting Around to Zagreb, Croatia:
Tourists enjoy every moment exploring this city with a well-run, reliable public transport system of trams, buses and the funicular. As Zagreb falls within one zone tickets and prices cover all modes of travel with one and three-day cards for unlimited travel.
Get a copy of a ‘tram map’ as some tram stations are not clearly marked. Day time trams start services from 04h00 until 00h00, running every five to 22 minutes dependent on the line, time of day and day of the week. Weekday rush hours have the majority running while on Sundays there are fewer. Night trams fill in the remaining hours and operate every half hour. Tickets can be purchased from a tisak or the driver but must be stamped in the yellow box once you’ve boarded.
The bus service comprises 130 day and four night lines but operates mainly for suburban transport with central Zagreb having fewer buses. But there are plenty of buses with over 250 operating regular routes on working days and 185 on Saturdays. Sundays and holidays have 123 buses on routes. Depending on destinations, waiting periods can be up to an hour while some are just seven minutes.
More costly than public transport, taking the Tourist Bus affords an interesting quick overview of the city’s layout with routes covering Upper and Lower Zagreb. Visitors also have the opportunity to hop on and off to explore specific areas. These sightseeing buses only operate from May to September.
With plenty of taxi companies, competition is strong keeping fares low.
Only operating on weekends, the train affords a great way to view Zagreb’s Lower Town.
The Lower Town is fairly flat with a network of bike lanes affording a pleasurable and inexpensive way of taking in the sights.
Walking is a great way to explore the city’s boulevards, squares, avenues and streets with the Lower Town being pedestrians only and the hilly Upper Town’s narrow streets closed to vehicles.
Rentals agencies include Sixt, Europcar, Avis Uni Rent and others but with the excellent transport system, it’s not necessary to hire a vehicle unless plans include visiting the Zagreb region.