In today’s article, I am going to focus on the public transportation system in Zagreb and share with you some useful directions regarding the best ways to get around Zagreb using the public transportation options available in the city.
As I always keep saying, Zagreb is actually a relatively small city and it’s pretty much walkable. But if you want to get from one side to the other, it’s best to use the public transport network – which is really easy to use too.
I have already shared a map of the public transportation network in Croatia’s capital, so make sure you check that article out as well as it also has a map of the city.
Back to getting around the city, it’s worth knowing that Zagreb is flat, not too big and a great place to walk around. We actually never use the buses or trams when in Zagreb – if you’re close to the city center (or the train station), you can easily walk to all the important places around.
For example, to visit the most important Zagreb sights, everything is a 30 minutes walk from Jelacic Square – located in the heart of the city.
Public Transport to get around Zagreb
Zagreb is served by an extensive network of buses and trams which are operated by the Zagreb Municipal Transit System (ZET).
Trams in Zagreb
Zagreb’s electric tram system is quick, efficient, and reliable, and it runs 24/7 (with some exceptions – read on to find about them). Tram routes cover mainly the central Zagreb area and connect to buses that run to outlying areas and suburbs.
Most lines meet at the main train station, the Zagreb bus station and Ban Jelacica Square.
The city is covered by 15 tram lines that run from 04:00 AM to 24:00 PM and 4 night tram lines that run from 24:00 PM to 04:00 AM.
Tickets cost 10 KN for daily transport and 15 KN for night rides, and each is valid for 90 minutes. You can get a daily ticket for 30 Kuna, but children under six ride for free.
(Make sure to double check prices as they could change before I get the chance to update this article)
Each ticket must be validated with a time stamp at the orange machines on board and make sure you always do this, as there are random tickets control checks.
If you are caught without a ticket or with an invalidated ticket, the fine is 250 KN (€ 34) on the spot or more if you don’t have the money immediately. (again, these numbers might change with time).
Where to buy the tram or bus tickets to get around Zagreb?
Since the tickets can’t be purchased on board, find the nearest newspaper (Tisak) kiosk and ask for a “tramvajska karta” (tram ticket).
If you aren’t familiar with the city or the language, it can be difficult to figure out whether a tram goes to your destination because only the final destination and a stop or two are listed on the tram or bus itself.
Tips: Almost none of the tram operators speak English. Ask the younger or middle generation as the most of them speak at least decent English (as well as German or Italian). Remember, locals are very polite and ready to help you!
Full details of the tram system can be found at the Zagreb tram website.
Buses in Zagreb
In addition to the tram traffic, to get around Zagreb you can use buses for the same price like trams. The Zagreb bus network is more widespread, with 133 day lines and 4 night ones.
You will notice that the Zagreb center (Upper and Lower town) isn’t covered by bus service.
Buses operate more to connect surrounding city districts actually. Comparing tram and bus service, the second one runs less frequently and you’ll wait much longer for the next bus than for a tram.
But it also depends where you want to go as you might not have a tram available to get you to the destination.
There are several important bus terminals around Zagreb, if you are planning to visit some sights near the city:
- From the terminal at Britanski Trg (British square), take bus line N° 102 to Mihaljevac and from there bus line N° 140 to Sljeme Ski Center.
- From the Kaptol terminal you can take bus N° 106 to the famous Mirogoj cemetery.
- From the terminal Ljubljanica you can take bus N°113 to the Jarun lake.
- Take bus 105 from Britanski Trg for a day tour to Medvedgrad Tower.
Zagreb tourist buses to get around the city
If you don’t want to take advantage of the public transportation network and if you also don’t want to walk, you also have the option of getting a sightseeing tour with the open-top buses in the city.
During May – October, Zagreb’s transport company provides two tourist buses that take visitors to the main sights of the city, in the Upper and Lower towns.
These buses are based on the ‘hop-on, hop-off’ principle, allowing you to get on and off as many times as you want. There is also a virtual tour guide available, giving you the details about the places you visit and it is available in eight different languages.
When it comes to these tourist buses in Zagreb, there is a ‘red line bus’ and a ‘green line bus’.
Both of them start from Bakaceva Street, below Kaptol (Upper Town), near Zagreb’s cathedral.
The start of the red line is at 10 and 12 AM and at 02 and 04 PM and it’s 12.5 km long with six stops.
The green runs two time a day, at 12 AM and 03 PM and it’s 32.5 km long with seven stops.
IMPORTANT: Make sure to double check these departure times as they could change before I manage to update the list!
The red line is shorter, but to get around Zagreb for the first time it is more convenient as it covers the most important attractions in the city.
The green line is longer, also covering what is called Zagreb’s green oasis like Jarun, Zagreb’s famous lake with beaches and numerous sports facilities, as well as the Maksimir Park in the northern part of the city.
The price of the day ticket is 7O Kuna, but kids under 7 travel for free. Also, children between 7 and 18 years of age pay half the price. The good thing here is that the tickets can be bought directly from the driver.
Bonus: the free train ride
If you are visiting Zagreb with children, ZET (the Zagreb Electric Tram company) organizes a free train ride for kids and parents. It’s a good introduction to get around Zagreb city center and since it doesn’t cost anything, it’s definitely something you don’t want to miss!
This free tourist train operates every Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM to 7:20 PM, starting from the Ban Jelacic square.
The train covers only the narrowest part of the city center, moving always from the same place and returning to the starting point.
It runs every 40 minutes, crossing some of the most important central streets: from Ilica, Frankopanska, Masarykova, Nikole Tesla, Prague (Praska) and Jurisiceva street, before returning to the starting position.
See the map below for its itinerary (click the link to visit as I can’t embed it)!
The Zagreb Funicular
You won’t have too much benefit of using this Zagreb funicular to get around Zagreb, but it still remains one of the attractions in the city.
It’s also the shortest funicular in the world, with the length of the track of just 66 meters.
Built in 1890, it is still in use today mostly because of its original appearance and construction. The Zagreb cable car is under protection as a cultural monument.
It connects the Lower and the Upper Town every day from 6:30 AM to 10 PM. It runs every ten minutes and the price of one ride is 4 Kuna. However, when we got there we got to ride it for free – not sure if it was a special occasion or they just made it free completely…
It’s a real tourist attraction, useful as a starting point for your Upper Town sightseeing to Zagreb attractions with a great views of the city like Strossmayer promenade and Lotrscak tower.
Is there a metro system in Zagreb?
At the moment, there is no metro running in Zagreb, although this project has been in the works (or, better said – in the talks) for years now.
However, since the city is not that large and it’s extremely walkable, the options listed above – such as the tram and buses, but also the free options will be more than enough to have you travel around Zagreb easily and very cheap.
Hopefully this guide to the public transportation options in the city is useful and complete, but if you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to ask me.