Zagreb Upper town is one of the most interesting parts of the city and should not be missed. The name is a translation of the Croatian name Gornji Grad which simply means Upper Town, although many refer to this area as Zagreb’s Old Town. There are many reasons to head to Upper town as it holds some remarkable sights that show Zagreb’s
What makes Upper Town special?
History – One of the major reasons for visiting this part of Zagreb is its age. Zagreb’s founding can be traced back to roughly 1000 years ago, although it’s possible that the people were living in the area even before this. The Upper Town is a historic district and has a prominent spot in our guide to Zagreb. This part of the city, which includes Kaptol Hill and Gradec Hill, is where the oldest architectural remains can be found.
Great views of the city – one of the benefits of Upper Town is its location overlooking Zagreb. Perhaps this was one of the reasons that drew ancient residents to the area. If you’re looking for aerial views of Zagreb this is the best free option.
Special Events – A number of events are held in Zagreb’s Upper Town and certainly add an air of festivity to the area. The best time to experience the festive side of Zagreb is during November and December when the Christmas Markets are in full swing. There is nothing better than sitting down for some sausages and mulled wine after walking through the streets of Old Town.
Charm – Zagreb’s Old Town has held on to a good deal of its old-fashioned charm through the years. This includes retaining the use of gas-powered street lamps that need to be manually lit each night. Special workers are employed to walk through the streets lighting each of the 214 street lamps in the old town.
What is there to see and do?
Viewpoints – While the hills that makeup Zagreb’s Upper Town are not remarkably tall, they do provide some remarkable views of the city. The ride up on the funicular starts off with some good photo opportunities – as long as you in the rear car which faces the city. And once arriving at Upper Town there are numerous spots that offer panoramic views of Zagreb.
Christmas Markets – There are numerous Christmas Markets scattered across Zagreb and Upper Town is no exception. As mentioned above, the Christmas Markets in Old Town should not be missed as they add a unique feeling of excitement to the air. It’s a great time to walk around the historic parts of Zagreb while enjoying some delicious food and drink. Take a look at the recent rankings for the best Christmas Markets in the world.
Dolac Market – This street market is the place locals head to when they want to shop for fresh fruits and vegetables. It is an interesting place to go if you like people watching or just want to see the colorful produce on display. Be sure to buy some dried fruit – it’s not only delicious but is an easily packable snack. You will need to wake up early if you’re interested in participating in this shopping experience. Stalls start to close down around noon with everything officially closing at 1pm.
Architecture – Being the oldest part of the city it should come as no surprise that Upper Town has its fair share of memorable buildings. The most remarkable of these is the Zagreb Cathedral of Assumption. The origin of the cathedral dates back to the 1100s when it was first erected on Kaptol Square. One amazing fact is that the imposing cathedral is actually the tallest building in all of Croatia! Other buildings of note include the Stone Gate which once fortified the city from invaders, St. Mark’s Cathedral with its iconic tiled roof, and the Croatian Parliament Building.
Zagreb Upper Town Map
Google Maps is a necessary resource for navigating around Zagreb for the first time.
As you can see from the map, Zagreb’s historic Upper Town is located just north of the city center.
How do you get to Zagreb’s Upper Town?
Getting to the historic Upper Town is quite easy!
It is located on a hill overlooking Zagreb so there are two options. The first would be to make the walk on foot and climb the stairs to the top. The hike to Upper Town is very short and requires a minimal amount of physical exertion.
Since the climb is fairly short you might be surprised to learn that hiking up on foot is not the recommended option! This is due to the existence of the Zagreb Funicular.
The Funicular is the shortest in Europe (66-meters) and is among the shortest in the world. It began operation in 1890 and has been in nearly constant operation for the past 130 years. It’s no wonder that this funicular has been officially recognized as one of Croatia’s prized cultural landmarks!
The Funicular to Zagreb Upper Town cost a mere 4HRK ($0.60), a small price to pay for a ride on a historic part of the city. The funicular station is located on the beautiful Tomićeva street.
What do you think of Zagreb’s Upper Town? Have you visited, or do you plan on visiting in the future?
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