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Zagreb: Spend this summer in Croatia’s vibrant capital city

Lush green parks throughout the city centre, imposing heritage buildings, real Central European cafe society and Mediterranean style hospitality. Welcome to Zagreb, Croatia’s stunning capital!

Zagreb: Spend this summer in Croatia's vibrant capital city
Zagreb at night. Photo: M.Gasparovic

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Zagreb is a city that has it all — not only is it rich in culture with plenty of museums, theatres, galleries and authentic markets, it also has a surprisingly buzzing nightlife. Not to mention its great gourmet scene, from quirky bistros to fine dining, exciting events, a wide range of accommodation choices, easy access to Croatia’s famous coast, plus some excellent shopping.

Zagreb Upper Town. Photo: J.Duval

Find out more about beautiful Zagreb

Top events in Zagreb this summer

Cest is d’Best

Cest is d'Best. Photo: J. Duval

30th May-3rd June 2018 

Bringing good vibes, positive energy, and laughter to city streets, squares, corners and parks this spring!

This urban tradition is packed with street performers, clowns, musicians, actors, and others who are there purely to put a smile on people’s faces! The PoŽuji Waiters’ Race, Dustmen Cart Race, The Slowest Bicycle Ride, and the Wandering Piano are just some of the traditional events.

Strossmartre

Zagreb Upper Town. Photo: Ddavor Rostuhar

June-September

For more than 100 days the Strossmayer Promenade in the Upper Town delivers Parisian spirit to all those who pass by. Majestic views of Zagreb will be met with a carefully-created musical programme, art installations, open-air cinema, painters, and pop-up stalls with all sorts of goodies. 

#WELOVESOUND Festival

2nd-3rd June

Over two days the festival offers fans of electronic music the chance to see performances by leading international stars. Some of the confirmed artists at the second #WELOVESOUND festival are Ricardo Villalobos, The Martinez Brothers, Sonja Moonear, and Jackmaster. Come share the magic on the dance floor by the lake.  

Design District Zagreb

14th-17th June

Dedicated to design, architecture, art, fashion, and gastronomic delights!

Expect pop-up galleries, urban gardens and picnics, art installations in streets and parks, design projects, DIY (do-it-yourself) workshops, design open days and architectural offices, creative catering facilities, a music programme and a lot of other exciting activities.

Art Pavilion. Photo: J.Duval

ZG Classic 2018

June/July

When it comes to music, this is going to be the most eclectic festival to date, gathering around 1000 performing artists, with 13 concerts by leading Croatian and international orchestras over the course of three weeks. Listen to opera under the stars, the symphonic orchestras of the Croatian Radio and Television or the Music Academy, as well as Zagreb’s best choirs.

INmusic Festival #13

INMusic Festival. Photo: J.Bucklens

25th-27th June

One of many buzzing music festivals that puts Zagreb on the map! International world headlining bands strut their stuff at Lake Jarun in our lead up to summer and this year’s headliners are Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Kills, Alice In Chains, David Byrne and many more…

The Courtyards – Each one has its own story

The Courtyards. Photo: Sanjin Kastelan 

13th-22nd June

For the fifth year in a row, the majestic courtyards of seven famous city buildings and galleries will open their doors for all to see. This is a must see if you’re in town; simply head to the Upper Town and you’ll be further entertained with a lot of great music, delicious snacks and refreshing drinks. Top urban summer fun!

Click here for more on events in Zagreb this summer

Upper Town, Zagreb. Photo: J.Duval

Where to stay?

Zagreb offers a wide range of accommodation possibilities to suit any budget or taste, from luxury five star hotels to accommodation suitable for visitors on a tighter budget. Whatever type of accommodation you choose, you will find consistent standards and quality of service.

Find out how to get to Zagreb

Zagreb card

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The ZAGREB CARD is your best companion while in Zagreb, entitling you to fare-free public transport and free visits or discounts at over 50 different locations. You can find detailed information and a complete list of available discounts here.

This content was sponsored by Croatia National Tourist Board and Zagreb Tourist Board.

TOURISM

Denmark’s ‘freetown’ Christiania hangs onto soul, 50 years on

A refuge for anarchists, hippies and artists, Denmark's 'freetown' Christiania turns 50 on Sunday, and though it hasn't completely avoided the encroachment of modernity and capitalism, its free-wheeling soul remains intact.

Denmark's 'freetown' Christiania hangs onto soul, 50 years on
Christiania, one of Copenhagen's major tourist attractions, celebrates its 50th anniversary on Sunday. JENS NOERGAARD LARSEN / SCANPIX / AFP

Nestled in the heart of Copenhagen, Christiania is seen by some as a progressive social experiment, while others simply see it as a den of drugs.

On September 26th, 1971, a band of guitar-laden hippies transformed an abandoned army barracks in central Copenhagen into their home. They raised their “freedom flag” and named their new home “Christiania, Freetown” after the part of the city where it is located.

They wanted to establish an alternative society, guided by the principles of peace and love, where decisions were made collectively and laws were not enforced.

Soft drugs were freely available, and repurposing, salvaging and sharing was favoured over buying new.

It was a community “that belonged to everybody and to no one”, said Ole Lykke, who moved into the 34-hectare (84-acre) enclave in the 1970s.

These principles remain well-rooted today, but the area has changed in many ways: tourists weave through its cobblestone roads, and the once-reviled market economy is in full swing.

Perhaps most importantly, it is no longer a squat. Residents became legal landowners when they bought some of the land from the Danish state in 2012.

Now it is home to some 900 people, many artists and activists, along with restaurants, cafes and shops, popular among the half a million tourists that visit annually.

“The site is more ‘normal’,” says a smiling Lykke, a slender 75-year-old with ruffled silver hair, who passionately promotes Christiania, its independence and thriving cultural scene.

Legislation has been enforced since 2013 — though a tongue-in-cheek sign above the exit points out that those leaving the area will be entering the European Union.

‘Embrace change’
It is Christiania’s ability to adapt with the times that has allowed it to survive, says Helen Jarvis, a University of Newcastle professor of social geography engagement.

“Christiania is unique,” says Jarvis, who lived in Christiania in 2010.

“(It) endures because it continues to evolve and embrace change”.

Some of those changes would have been unthinkable at the start.

Residents secured a bank loan for several million euros to be able to buy the land, and now Christiania is run independently through a foundation.

They also now pay wages to the around 40 people employed by Christiania, including trash collectors and daycare workers.

“Money is now very important,” admits Lykke, who is an archivist and is currently exhibiting 100 posters chronicling Christiania’s history at a Copenhagen museum.

But it hasn’t forgotten its roots.

“Socially and culturally, Christiania hasn’t changed very much,” he says, noting that the community’s needs still come first.

‘Judged a little’
Christiania has remained a cultural hub — before the pandemic almost two dozen concerts were held every week and its theatres were packed.

But it is still beset by its reputations as a drugs hub.

Though parts of Christiania are tranquil, lush and green with few buildings, others are bustling, with a post office, mini-market, healthcare centre, and Pusher Street, the notorious drug market.

Lykke says it’s a side of Christiania most could do without.

“Most of us would like to get rid of it. But as long as (marijuana use) is prohibited, as long as Denmark doesn’t want to decriminalise or legalise, we will have this problem,” says Lykke.

While still officially illegal, soft drugs like marijuana and hash are tolerated — though not in excess.

Since early 2020, Copenhagen police have seized more than one tonne of cannabis and more than a million euros.

“Sometimes I don’t tell people that I live here because you get judged a little bit. Like, ‘Oh, you must be into marijuana and you must be a smoker’,” says Anemone, a 34-year-old photographer.

For others, Christiania’s relaxed nature is part of the appeal.

“It’s different from what I know, I really want to see it,” laughs Mirka, a Czech teacher who’s come to have a look around.

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