Zagreb Lower Town Attractions & Travel Guide

Nestled in the heart of Zagreb, Lower Town is one of the 17 distinct districts that define the city’s landscape.

Unlike its more frequently cited counterpart, Upper Town, Lower Town (in Croatian, Donji Grad) is now considered as a center of business, shopping, art, museums, and spacious parks.

Forget quaint cobbled streets – Zagreb’s Lower Town pulsates with a different energy. Born in the 19th century, Donji Grad contrasts the Upper Town area with broad avenues and a more modern approach to city life.

And today, I am here to share a full guide to Zagreb’s Lower Town area and its main attractions.

Architectural and Cultural Highlights

zagreb lower town what to see

Donji Grad begins at Trg Jelacic and includes Ilica Street, and ends at the main train station to the south.

This large square lies under the sword of Ban Jelacic, a symbol of the Croatian revival, framed by buildings in the classical, Vienna’s Art Nouveau and rationalist style, always crowded with busy people.

The district’s architectural grandeur, marked by Austro-Hungarian influences, speaks volumes of its historical significance.

Ornate facades in the Secession style adorn the landscape, highlighting the artistic trends of the early 20th century, and they are nicely complemented by garden squares that add a touch of green to the urban landscape.

Related reading: If you plan to use the public transit system, make sure to check out my guide to Public Transportation in Zagreb.

Before getting in-depth with each of the main attractions in the area, here is a summary of what you should visit when here:

  • Museums and Galleries: The Lower Town is perfect for art enthusiasts and history buffs. Its museums offer insightful exhibitions in many fields and covering various eras.
  • Parks and Squares: These are perfect for breathing in a bit of nature in the urban setting.
  • Cafes and Shops: No visit to Lower Town is complete without indulging in its culinary delights and shopping experiences, with the latter offering everything from high-end boutiques to charming local artisan stores. Read about the best restaurants in Zagreb here.

Now let’s get a bit more in-depth and see what to focus on.

Zagreb Lower Town Museums

Mimara Museum

Art collector’s paradise? Absolutely! Mimara Museum offers its visitors over 3,750 pieces gathered by the enigmatic art collector Ante Topic Mimara, who generously donated his extensive collection to his homeland.

Among the art of many local and national artists, it also has original masterpieces by Rembrandt, Rubens, Renoir, and Monet – but there’s a lot more to see

Opening Hours: October to June, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM; July to September, 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Closed on Mondays.

Location: I’m marking it on Google Maps here. Official Website here for more info.

Museum of Arts and Crafts

We stick to the artsy part with the Museum of Arts and Crafts. And it’s a really impressive one too: it holds approximately one hundred thousand items that you can see!

Best part? It’s just a few minutes of walking away from my first recommendation, the Mimara Museum.

This lifestyle showcase unveils Croatian design through furniture, fashion, instruments, photography (one of the oldest collections in the world), and more from the 14th to the 21st century.

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM; Sunday, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Closed on Mondays and national holidays.

Location: Marsala Tita square, 10. Accessible by trams 12, 13, 14, or 17. Here is the museum on Google Maps. Official website here.

The Strossmayer Gallery

Just a five-minute walk from the Bana Jelacica Square, located in the beautiful Strossmayer Park, stands the Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters.

This museum, set in a stunning 19th-century neo-Renaissance building, showcases European paintings from the 14th to 19th centuries, featuring works by Fra Angelico, Giovanni Bellini, El Greco, Veronese, and Tiepolo.

The entire collection was donated to donated to the city by Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer in 1884. It’s a must see and I always love to come back with my family.

Opening Hours: Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM, Tuesdays from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM, and Wednesdays to Fridays from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Closed on Mondays.

Location: I’m marking it on Google Maps here. Official website here.

National Museum of Modern Art

The Modern Gallery, the unofficial name of the National Museum of Modern Art, is just steps away from the Strossmayer Gallery, and definitely worth seeing.

Over 750 works by leading 20th and 21st-century artists await you here, located in an impressive 19th-century palace setting.

This museum provides insight into the evolution of Croatian painting and sculpture.

Visitor Info: Open Tuesday to Friday, 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM; weekends from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Closed on Mondays.

Location: Andrije Hebranga 1, near Zrinjevac Park. Link to Google Maps. Official website here.

Art Pavilion

This is Zagreb Lower Town’s top place for contemporary and historical art exhibitions in Croatia’s capital.

Known by it’s striking yellow facade (that I always find… strange to say the least), it’s located south of Nikola Subić Zrinski Square and just north of the King Tomislav Square with the Zagreb Central Station.

As the oldest exhibition hall in the Slavic South, specifically designed for grand displays, it hosts a varying range of displays that explore the fine arts of the 20th century in Croatia and beyond.

Location: Here it is, on Google Maps. Official website here.

Archaeological Museum of Zagreb

This museum houses a vast collection of archaeological artifacts from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages, including Egyptian mummies, Roman sculptures, and medieval weapons.

It’s a great place to visit with younger children – my son specifically loves this place and always learns a new thing or two when visiting.

Location: close to Park Zrinjevac – marked on Google Maps here. Website here.

Related reading: Expand your search to the whole city! Read about the Best Things to See and Do in Zagreb, Croatia.

Zagreb Lower Town Parks

Zagreb Lower Town Parks
All these parks are approved by my wife & son!

I already told you that parks and garden squares are the main attractions in the area. They are surely more impressive than you might imagine!

Lower Town’s parks offer a delightful escape from the city bustle, as I briefly mentioned before. And you’ll notice that there’s something unique about them, so read on!

Lenuci’s Green Horseshoe

This iconic park complex, shaped like a horseshoe, is the heart of Lower Town’s green scene.

This is basically a series of interconnected squares and parks, designed in a U-shape, and an area that you will end up visiting no matter what you’re doing in the area, as it surrounds the main attractions in the Lower Town.

It combines seven squares – Nikola Subic Zrinski (aka Park Zrinjevac), Josip Juraj Strossmayer, King Tomislav, Ante Starcevic, the Botanical Garden, Marulic, Mazuranić, and Marshal Tito.

I recommend starting in the upper right side of the “horseshoe” – the Park Zrinjevac area, then go South, head towards the Botanical garden and then back north all the way up to the square holding the Croatian National Theatre.

Visiting all these parks would require an entire day, although you can speed up through the areas if you don’t want to get too in-depth with them.

Best places to stay in the Zagreb Lower Town Area

Zagreb’s Lower Town whispers stories of a bygone era, where grand hotels catered to the 19th-century bourgeoisie and high society.

But now, you can book your stay here – and be sure that you get to spend some amazing time in some historic gems (usually in neoclassical or secessionist styles), offering a perfect blend of an authentic atmosphere and modern comfort

Here are my top choices when it comes to the best accommodation in the Lower Town area:

Esplanade Zagreb Hotel – 5 Stars

Esplanade Hotel Zagreb

Originally built in 1925 to accommodate Orient Express passengers, it went under extensive renovations and now offers luxurious rooms and modern amenities, with top service.

Located on the main Mihanoviceva Street, this hotel is a stone’s throw from all the main attractions in the Lower Town area (and perfectly placed for you to visit Zagreb’s main attractions overall).

Click here to check prices for your dates

Hotel Dubrovnik – 4 Stars

Hotel Dubrovnik

Occupying a prime spot at Trg Bana Jelacica since 1929, Hotel Dubrovnik is an amazing place for your stay. Plus, you can always brag that you visited Dubrovnik… in Zagreb. Ha!

Jokes aside, this hotel places guests at the heart of Zagreb, surrounded by the city’s premier business, cultural, and entertainment destinations, as well as parks and vibrant cafes.

The hotel features a modern wing, while its façade on Ban Jelacic Square preserves its historical essence, but they’re both amazing in my opinion.

Click here to check prices for your dates

Beyond the Grand Dames:

  • Boutique Charm: Seek out smaller, design-driven hotels like The Canopy by Hilton Zagreb City Centre for a contemporary twist on history.
  • Local Favorites: Immerse yourself in local culture at family-run hotels like Hotel Academia for a personalized experience.
  • Budget-Friendly Options: Discover guesthouses or hostels like Hostel Swanky Mint for a more affordable stay.

Final Words

This would be my travel guide to Zagreb’s Lower Town area, highlighting the main attractions and things to do, as well as the best hotels here.

If you have additional questions – or recommendations in terms of attractions, don’t hesitate to let us all know by commenting below!

Thanks for sharing this article!