If you’re visiting Zagreb for a day and is bad weather, it doesn’t need to be a disaster. Zagreb has its charm even when the streets are wet and the rain drizzles down cafe windows. In the evenings with the obscure street lights it could even be considered romantic. Here are some ideas about what to do on a rainy day in Zagreb.
The city centre of Zagreb is quite small and everything is very close together. A rainy day is perfect for visiting museums in Zagreb. Take a funicular at Tomićeva street and go to the Upper Town. The funicular in Zagreb has been operating since 1893 and its 66 metre track makes it one of the shortest public-transport funiculars in the world. When you get to the Upper Town, the first museum you will pass by is the Museum of Broken Relationships. It has very interesting collection of objects donated from broken hearts around the world. If you have something that reminds you of your past love, you can donate it to the museum. Next to every object posted plaque recounted the ill fated love story of the donor and explaining the significance of the object. Even though it is mostly based on love stories, in one small room there are also very emotional stories of family members who died.
If you want to see how the city looked in the past, continue to The Zagreb City Museum. The building where museum is situated today is of great historic importance. In the 17th century it was a Poor Clares’ convent. The permanent exhibition shows how the city has developed through the centuries in terms of architecture, culture, politics and economics.
In the Upper Town there is also Ivan Meštrović’s Gallery wich contains the work of the most important and internationally recognized Croatian sculptor. His sculptures are exhibited in museums around the world. He was the first artist to have a one-man exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (1915), and the first living artist to exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (1947). One of his sculptures ‘The Well of Life’ is located in front of the Croatian National Theater, and another very famous sculpture of his of a woman is just across the street in the courtyard of the University of Zagreb. If you’re the superstitious type you can make a wish and throw a coin into ‘The Well of Life’. His sculptures adorn many towns and cities in Croatia, South East Europe and even The United States. If Meštrović’s name still doesn’t ring a bell for you, maybe two famous bronze sculptures ‘The Bowman and The Spearman’ (also known as Indians) which are both in front of Congress Plaza in Chicago.
To take a break from the museum tour, go and have a coffee or drink at the oldest cafe in the city founded in 1830 – Pod starim krovovima (Under the old rooftops). It used to gather writers, artists and bohemians from Zagreb. It is not a fancy place, but a place with a soul that will make you feel like home. Its interior design reminds of past times and how cafes in Zagreb looked long time ago. It is indeed unique and special place.
While in the Upper Town, the must visit place is the 13th-century church of St. Mark. What makes this church recognizable and a symbol of Zagreb is its colorful painted roof with medieval coat of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia on the left side, and the coat of arm of Zagreb on theright.
The mother of all museums in Zagreb however is the Mimara Museum with valuable private art collection which Ante Topić Miamara (1898-1987) – an artist, painter and collector – donated to the Croatian people. It offers a view to the pieces of art from around the world from the period of Ancient times, Middle Ages, to the 20th century.
If you’re adventurous you should also check out the newest of the museums the Museum of Illusions. It has some really cool stuff, but in order not to spoil the illusion will let you find out for yourself. It’s important to mention however that all the museums in Zagreb are closed on Mondays, only the Museum of Illusions is opened seven days a week.
When you finish your museum tour you’ll probably be hungry, so there are many places to eat around city centre. It depends of your budget and preferences, but there are many traditional restaurants, fish restaurants, fast food etc in the city. While in Zagreb don’t miss out on trying štrukli, a traditional Croatian dish typical of Zagreb and Northern Croatia. To try štrukli I recommend La Štruk in Skalinska street. They offer štrukle prepared in many different ways – sweet, salt, with blueberries, honey, apple etc.
In the evening locals usually go for a beer or wine in Tkalčićeva or Bogovićeva street. There are many bars where you can have cheap beer or gemišt (a mixture of white wine and mineral water).
Zagreb with all its charm can easily find its way into your heart, even on a rainy day.