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Zagreb is a vibrant and friendly city, with a year-round café culture and a host of regular pop-up events that spring up across the city. The Upper Town stretches between two hills with postcard views of red roofs, cobblestones and church spires. These historic streets are illuminated every night by 214 gas lamps and when the sun sets they come alive with residents and visitors. To experience everyday life like a local, head to the parks and gritty streets of the Lower Town.
Many Zagreb hostels are found in or close to the Upper Town, letting you make the most of this walkable city. You can spend the night in a converted train carriage (complete with en-suite) or cook traditional dishes among the grapevines in an outdoor kitchen. If you're here to party, you'll find pub crawls arranged by hostels in Zagreb most nights and you can even take part in a live game show. Booking into a Zagreb hostel in a mini-penthouse means sipping drinks while admiring epic views. Most also have free Wi-Fi.
Gornji Grad (Upper Town) is the oldest part of the city, divided by the pedestrianised Tkalčićeva Street. If you're staying here, make sure you grab a seat in one of the many cafés to watch the noon cavalry march on Sundays. Downhill in Donji Grad (Lower Town), Art Deco architecture rubs shoulders with communist-era concrete, painted with lively wall art. Novi Zagreb, across the river, is Zagreb's youngest neighbourhood. Stay in this up-and-coming spot and you'll get great shopping, creative street events and the impressive Museum of Contemporary Art.
Ban Jelačić Square is the heart of the city and makes the ideal starting point for a walking tour. From here it's a stroll to Dolac farmer's market where you can see, smell and taste the best local produce. A trip to Zagreb is a chance to embrace the quirkiness of Croatia, and the Museum of Broken Relationships is a travellers' favourite. Or discover a unique kind of museum experience with a visit to a 1980's Yugoslavian home at Zagreb 80's Museum.
A regular shuttle bus from Franjo Tuđman Airport will have you downtown in just 40 minutes. Alternatively, the 290 bus leaves every 30 minutes for Eugen Kvaternik Square. Once there, you can easily get around Zagreb's compact centre on foot or by tram. The extensive network reaches most parts of the city within 30 minutes from Ban Jelačić Square and Glavni Kolodvor, the main train station, is two stops away.