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The capital of Croatia, and the former cultural capital of Yugoslavia is a cosmopolitan metropolis that embodies history, art and modern culture. The city is perpetually alive with busy cafes, raucous clubs and its many festivals. The most convenient way of getting around Zagreb and its countryside is by opting for a rental car. If this takes your fancy then please prebook car hire in Zagreb in advance of travel.
In the heart of the city lies Jalacic Square, which is always hectic and bustling with crowds. From here you can stroll across to the cathedral and take a look at the central market. In the northern part of the city is the Stone Gate, where you will come across a shrine to the Virgin Mary.
Just around the corner from the cathedral is St Mark’s Church, which has a charismatic interior designed by Croatia's most prominent sculptor, Ivan Mestrovic. The church is also the home of many other works of the beloved artist. If you don't feel like sightseeing, the upper town has some quiet, leafy parks to stroll around with the occasional soothing view.
The charm of the city is its cosiness, and a walking tour is the best way to discover the legacy of the town’s heydey under Habsburg rule. Many of the streets favour pedestrians, but watch out for trams. Although the city doesn’t boast too many grand sites, it has an interesting Balkan character with a few large open parade grounds, such as the one near the station, befitting its communist legacy.
There are also a few sobering reminders of the early nineties civil war of succession, such as the footwall built around the American barracks, with each brick commemorating a dead citizen.
Zagreb has a plethora of cafes and bars in the pedestrian area around Gajeva and Bogoviceva &endash; particularly along Tkalciceva, just north of Trg bana Jelacica. The National Theatre, Trg marsala Tita 15, offers drama, ballet, opera and orchestral music. For the partygoers, there is an abundance of noisy dance clubs scattered around Zagreb.
Take a day trip out of town and enjoy the picturesque countryside at Hrvatsko Zagorje, which lies at the north end of Zagreb. This hilly area is a haven of historic villages, farms, vineyards and pleasant spas. The castles of Veliki, Trakoscan and Beranac are a must see and afford fantastic views.
Zagreb Airport is located 17kms from the centre of the city, which can be reached in 20 to 25 minutes by bus to the central bus station on Marin Drzic avenue. Flights are operated by Croatia Airlines, Air France, SAS, Lufthansa, Swissair, CSA, British Airways, LOT, Aeroflot, Austrian Airlines and Malaysia Airlines. Croatia Airlines also operates a shuttle service into the city centre. There are also regular bus departures to Slovenia and onwards to Northern Italy and Austria.
If you're travelling by car then you can use one of the four border crossings between Croatia and Hungary. There are also 29 crossings between Slovenia and Croatia; 23 between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia; and 7 between Yugoslavia and Croatia.
The main railway station is located in the centre of the city at Kralj Tomislav Square, a ten-minute walk from the central city square. Numerous international services also operate daily from Vienna, Munich, Budapest, Venice, Paris, Geneva, Moscow, and Graz.
Located on Marin Drzic avenue is the central bus station, and takes only a couple of minutes to reach by the Number 6 tram from the city's central square. There are daily international bus services from Stuttgart, Graz, Dortmund, Munich, Frankfurt, Cologne, Zurich, Dusseldorf, Barcs and Nagykanisza. Buses depart for Berlin and Istanbul several times a week as well.
Alternatively, numerous ferries link Croatia to Italy. Search online for ticket prices and journey times.