I have booked a 10-day yachting holiday along the Croatian coast this summer. Would it be worthwhile to visit Zagreb for a few days? There are many reasons to visit Zagreb - great hotels, stunning landmarks, historical monuments and a rich cultural heritage. A stroll through Zagreb will reveal a youthful and elegant balance of history and cutting-edge European modernity - so yes, it's well worth a couple of days of your holiday.
A great place to stay is the Regent Esplanade hotel (www.regenthotels.com/zagreb; 00385 1 45 66 666), a wonderfully evocative hotel which has been restored to its 1920s neoclassical and Art Deco glory. Ilica, the longest street in Zagreb, divides the older, romantic Upper Town and the busy, contemporary streets of Lower Town: begin your tour at Mimara Museum (www.mimara.mr; 00 385 1482 8100), which is housed in a neo-Renaissance palace in the Lower Town and showcases 3,750 pieces of art.
The Arts and Crafts Museum (www.muo.hr; 00 385 1455 4122) in the heart of the Lower Town has more than 100,000 artefacts dating back to the 14th century, the richest holdings in Croatia. Zagreb City Museum (www.mgz.hr; 00 385 1485 1361) was established in 1907 and occupies the former building of the Convent of the Poor Clares (1650) in Zagreb's Upper Town. There's plenty of nature and greenery to be enjoyed in the city centre: the city boasts a long park tradition and valuable natural heritage, with about 30 parks covering an area of more than 400,000 square metres. The Green Horseshoe, one of the biggest parks in the city, encircles one quarter of the Lower Town on three sides, and features an old promenade called Zrinjevac; landscaped squares; the Botanical Gardens, a sprawling park that features two large man-made lakes and an arboretum; and Lake Jarun, among other attractions.
Perhaps the best thing going for Zagreb, though, is the nightlife - two of the most popular discotheques are Aquarius (www.aquarius.hr;; 00 385 1364 0231), situated on Lake Jarun, and The Best (www.thebest.hr; 00 385 91 113 3221). There is also a staggering number of clubs and jazz bars (BP Jazz Club, www.bpclub.hr;), as well as lounges and restaurants that offer lots of entertainment. If an idea of a walking tour appeals to you, then there is plenty to choose from. Classic themed tours organised by the Zagreb Tourism Board (www.zagreb-touristinfo.hr; 00 385 985 93317), such as Zagreb's Past (5pm on Fridays, no pre-booking necessary), take visitors around the Upper Town, where significant historical monuments are located. Or learn Croatian on an interactive city tour (1pm on Saturdays). If you want to experience Zagreb on your own personal transporter, then try the Segway City Tour (www.segwaycitytourzagreb.com; 00 385 1301 0390). IBus (www.ibus.hr; 00 385 1369 4333) provides bus tours for a minimum of four people.
If you're planning to stop in Zagreb for a few days, it would be handy to buy a Zagreb Card (www.zagrebcard.fivestars.hr). Especially for tourists, the card provides benefits, savings and discounts that are valid in nearly all the city's museums, theatres, hotels and restaurants, including sports and medical services and car rentals. The best part is, having a Zagreb Card entitles you to free public transportation. It can be purchased at the airport, most hotels, shops and tourist centres.
To make life easier for tourists, the city has introduced tourist informants (www.zagreb-touristinfo.hr), dressed in special blue uniforms emblazoned with a capital "I". These multilingual guides walk around the city in pairs, helping visitors find their bearings and assisting with everything from finding hotels to recommending a classical music concert.
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