ZAGREB - GETTING AROUND
The area where the Upper Town and Lower Town sits is approximately three square miles, meaning distances can add up if you are walking everywhere. Zagreb is a great place to explore on foot, but try to see sights in clusters (like Kaptol one day, and the Upper Town in another) and take trams between each portion of Zagreb. That way you can travel smarter and not completely wear our your sneakers and your feet! For reference, it is about a third of a mile to walk from Zagreb Cathedral to St. Mark`s Square, and also a third of a mile to walk from Zagreb Cathedral to Nikola Subic Zrinski Square, the upper right quadrant of Lenuci`s Horseshoe.
While other cities have commuter rail or Metro systems, Zagreb`s best-known mass transit option is the tram, run by Zagrebacki elektricni tramvaj (ZET). Fifteen daytime lines (4:30 a.m. to midnight) and four nighttime lines (all other hours) criss-cross the city, stopping at 256 different stations. Gone are the days of the Tito-era TMK 101 tram cars; they were finally replaced in 2008 with the TMK 2200 state-of-the-art tram cars, which have since been replicated in tram systems in cities such as Helsinki, Lodz, and Sofia. The tram cars in Zagreb are blue, just like the buses.
The city`s tramway hub is Ban Josip Jelacic Square. Considering the square is pedestrianized, it is the best way to reach the square without having to walk there. Tram lines 1, 6, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 17 stop at Ban Jelacic. Here`s where some of those lines travel to:
- Line 1: Victims of Fascism Square and the Mestrovic Pavilion
- Line 6: Zagreb Main train station and Zagreb bus station
- Line 13: Loop through the Upper and Lower Town areas
- Line 14: Areas near and past the Sava River
- Line 17: The University of Zagreb and Lake Jarun
Tickets cost 6 kunas for a 30-minute ride through one tariff zone, 10 kunas for a time period of 60 minutes, and 15 kunas for a time period of 90 minutes. These tickets can be bought from the driver. A two-zone trip costs 10 kunas for 90 minutes of travel. A stored-value transport card (10 kunas) allows for discounted travel, 4 kunas for a 30-minute ride and 7 for 60 minutes. (You must buy monetary values to store on the card in multiples of 10 kunas.) For more information on the Zagreb tram and bus system as run by ZET, visit www.zet.hr/en.
By the funicular
Zagreb`s funicular (Zagrebacka uspinjaca) was completed in 1890. At just 217 feet from start to finish, it is one of the shortest funicular rides in the world. The dual-carriage funicular transports 28 people in each car up from the Lower Town to the Upper Town, in a ride that lasts just 64 seconds. The funicular runs every ten minutes from approximately 6:30 a.m. to midnight daily. (Holidays may result in different operating hours.) Tickets cost 5 kunas each way and can be bought upon arrival at the Funicular stops.
Zagreb`s bus system, also run by ZET, is extensive, offering 143 daytime lines and four nighttime lines. Hours and prices are the same for the bus as they are for the tram, and payment can be made either to the driver or through a rechargeable transport card that can be loaded with money (in increments of 10 kunas). These buses are more popular with commuters who work in Zagreb and want to arrive in the city from the environs; you will have more use of the trams than the buses. To look at a list of bus routes, including timetables and maps, visit www.zet.hr/en.
Zagreb used to have a reputation for being a very expensive taxi town. Prices used to be as expensive as other European capitals, if not more so. However, competition between various taxi companies, as well as the arrival of ride-sharing service Uber, have made taxis a bit more competitive these days. Keep in mind that unlike other cities, there is no base flagfall fare; cab companies are allowed to set their own prices, within reason. Here are a few cab companies and what their rates are:
- Taxi Cammeo (tel. +385 1 1212) charges 6 kunas for flagfall and 6 kunas per 0.6 miles afterward. Waiting time costs 40 kunas per hour. Cash and credit cards are accepted. There is a 2.50 kuna fee for dispatching a taxi via telephone. You can request a cab from this company by downloading their app at the Apple and Google Play Stores.
- Eko Taxi Zagreb (tel. +385 1 1414) charges 8.80 kunas for flagfall and 6 kunas per 0.6 miles afterward. If you download their app from the Apple or Google Play Store, you can get a discount on your first ride. This taxi company is pet-friendly should you find yourself in need of a taxi for you and your companion. Cash and credit cards are accepted and there is a 2.49 kuna fee for dispatching a taxi via telephone. Waiting time costs 43 kunas per hour.
- Radio Taxi (tel. +385 1 1717) charges 10 kunas for flagfall and 6 kunas per 0.6 miles afterward. There is a 2.50 kuna fee for dispatching a taxi via telephone; they also have apps available for download at the Apple and Google Play Stores. They are pet-friendly should you require a ride for you and your pet. They take cash only. Waiting time costs 40 kunas per hour.
Compared to other capital cities in the region, such as Budapest or Belgrade, Zagreb is fairly easy to navigate by car. There aren`t any tricky `historic zones` that can get you ticketed if you drive through them; if you can`t drive in an area in Zagreb, it will be evident and you simply won`t be able to take your car through those areas. Ban Josip Jelacic Square is one of those areas.
Keep in mind two rules while driving in Zagreb: follow ALL road signs and arrows (many of which will be on the pavement in front of you as you are driving) and watch out for tram cars, which criss-cross the city with regularity day and night. You will find public parking garages on each side of Kaptol at Tuskanac, just off Ilica, and just off Josip Lang Square. The Rebro Garage (Kispaticeva ulica 12) is located within walking distance of Park Maksimir. For more information on public parking in Zagreb, visit www.zagrebparking.hr and select the UK flag for translation of the pages on the website into English.
Zagreb is one of the European capitals that is absolutely breathtaking to experience by bicycle. Nextbike (www.nextbike.hr/en/zagreb, website also available in Croatian, German, and Italian) offers hundreds of bicycles from seventeen different stations. (The main Nextbike station is located in King Tomislav Square.) You register an account either on the Nextbike app, or at the Nextbike terminal itself, and you follow the instructions which will allow you take rides for 30 minutes at a time for just 5 kunas. (Keep in mind that there are fines for not returning the bike or locking it into the loading dock incorrectly, so be sure to follow all directions.) For more information on Nextbike, including full details on prices and a map of stations, visit the website mentioned above.