17 things to do in Zagreb when it rains

Image by Osman Rana

Zagreb is extremely charming when it rains. Whether you stay in your apartment and just watch the rain or you mingle around with an umbrella, it is gorgeous.

If you are currently in Zagreb and the weather is bad, don’t let the downpour get you down. There are lots of things you can do in Zagreb when it’s rainy and still enjoy the day. Here are just a few of the many things you can do to occupy your time when the sun disappears.

#1 Enjoy a cozy home

Watching and listening to the rain from a cozy apartment can sometimes be the best thing you can do. If you are alone, it is a perfect time to relax and self-care. Sometimes it is enough to take a warm thick blanket and enjoy your favorite TV series. Just because you’re in a foreign city, doesn’t mean you have to go-go-go all the time. It can feel like we’re constantly running from place to place. Rain forces us to slow down and enjoy some pure laziness. Spoil yourself and feel excellent about it.

#2 Reconnect with friends

When the rain starts pouring, schedules tend to open right up. Call your friends and spend a dry evening inside together. Prepare a delicious meal or dessert together and enjoy tea or hot cocoa. Open a bottle of good wine or pop some rakija and see what happens.

During this corona madness, we all need support from our friends more than ever. Do some reminiscing and talk about the future. If you’ve got some new Croatian friends, take a stab at having a conversation in that tough language you’ve been trying to learn. [Read: 5 (kinda harsh) reasons why you should learn Croatian]

#3 Admire city streets

From its streets to buildings and parks, Zagreb has marvelous architecture. Take a walk through the city center and admire the details while the avenues are mostly empty. Look up at buildings, loiter and gaze, lurk and admire…just not in a creepy way.

To me, Zrinjevac Park (view map) is stunning on rainy days. This park is full of plane trees (platana) whose grey trunks look a bit silver when raining, which is definitely something to see.

#4 Grab an extra long coffee

Rainy days are ideal for taking a long coffee that may last for hours. Croats are known for their long coffees and extended chats. It is a critical part of our culture.

If you are flying solo, settle into Cvjetni trg (view map) or some other heated terrace for excellent people watching. You never know what you might see. If you have friends in Zagreb, now is the right time to grab a pauza and catch up over an epic coffee. Head to Tkalčićeva (view map), a street in the city center that is full of different types of cafes. [Read: All you need is “pauza”]

#5 Buy a book

Zagreb has many bookstores. Rainy days are optimal for updating on the latest trends in literature or finding books that you have already had in mind for a while. Hoću knjigu Megastore has a comfy living room where you can sit in an armchair and read books in peace. Rockmark is a great music bookstore where you can find a large number of books written by Croatian and foreign authors.

Another charming place is literary club Booksa where you can go read, drink tea or coffee, and attend literary happenings. If you are in the city center, you can also visit Knjižara Ljevak, Školska knjiga, or Planetopija.

#6 Tour of beerhouses

Zagreb beerhouses (pivnica) are usually full of people in the evening and you are lucky to find a free space. If you visit on a rainy day, finding a table won’t be a problem. Some good beerhouses that produce tasty local beers include Pivovara Medvedgrad, Craft Room, Zlatni Medo, and Mlinarica.

Rain is the perfect excuse for making a little tour de pivnica. [Read: 5 ways to connect with Croatian craft beer culture (from Zagreb to the coast)]

#7 Go to the cinema

Rainy days are always ideal for watching movies. If you are a fan of classics and independent movies with a private atmosphere, visit Kino Tuškanac. This independent cinema will surprise you with its eclectic line-up. Ticket prices are affordable for everyone.

Another cult cinema for movie lovers is Kinoteka, an intimate cinema with a wide number of different movie titles. Kinoklub Zagreb is a place to go for fans of amateur movies. If you are a fan of modern cinema, visit Cinestar at almost any time of the day.

#8 Go to the theater

Head to the theater in the evenings for a play, opera, or ballet performance. Some of the most popular ones are HNK – Hrvatsko narodno kazalište (Croatian National Theater), ZKM – Zagrebačko kazalište mladih (Zagreb Youth Theater), Teatar Exit, Gavella, and Kerempuh.

My favorite is ZKM because they often talk about topics important for the awareness and progress of society.

#9 Treat yourself to some retail therapy

Shopping is a national pastime in Croatia. There are tons of shopping centers, malls, and hole-in-the-wall boutiques. During rainy weather, shops tend to be less crowded, making it a much more relaxing experience. Grab the opportunity to look around the shops in peace without any rush. It is also more likely that the staff will be more patient if the store is almost empty.

Take a stroll along the biggest shopping city streets including Ilica (view map), Radićeva (view map) and Cvjetni trg (view map). If you prefer shopping centers, go to Avenue Mall, a shopping center in the city, or visit shopping centers outside of the city (King Cross Jankomir, City Center One West).

#10 Lunch at a Croatian restaurant

Grab a hearty lunch of traditional Croatian food. There is no better way to feel the Croatian culture than through a rib-sticking meal. Visit Kaptolska klet, Stari fijaker, Okrugljak, or Stari Puntijar for a traditional atmosphere while listening to the rain. We recommend you to try “štrukli”, a traditional meal made of dough and cheese baked in the oven that will warm you up from the inside out.

#11 Practice yoga

Rain has a way of shutting out the noise of the world, helping you focus and meditate. Practice yoga from your dry apartment or visit one of the many yoga centers in Zagreb. Check out OM joga, GaiaYoga, Pink Elephant Yoga House, or The House of Dharma. Who knows, you might meet somebody awesome.

#12 Grab some cake

Zagreb has many pastry shops with housemade cakes, ice cream, fruit and ice cream cups, and hot beverages. Locals like to visit Slastičarnica Orijent which maintained its superb reputation since the 1930s. Another standard that won’t steer you wrong is Vincek, which has several locations in the city. I like their pistachio and dark chocolate ice cream served in a thick cornet. Amélie offers tasty cakes and sweets and it is located right in the center, behind the main Zagreb square Trg bana Josipa Jelačića.

#13 Visit Dolac market

Dolac market (view map) is the most popular market in the city of Zagreb, open daily rain or shine. It has the best offer and cheapest prices on produce, meats, cheeses, honey, olive oil, and fish. If you adore vegetarian food, the newly opened bistro Broom 44 at the strict center of the market is worth a stop. You can sit on their terrace and observe people mingling around the market. At Dolac, you will definitely feel like a local.

#14 Visit a museum

Zagreb has a smorgasbord of good museums. There is truly something for everyone. On rainy days, museums are rarely full of people. Some of the most interesting ones are MSU – Muzej suvremene umjetnosti (Museum of contemporary art), Muzej iluzija (Museum of Illusions), Tehnički muzej Nikola Tesla (Nikola Tesla Technical Museum), and Muzej prekinutih veza (Museum of Broken Relationships).

#15 Visit a cultural center

Art lovers can enjoy some of the many cultural centers and art galleries in Zagreb. To surround yourself with arts and like-minded people, visit Kulturni centar Mesnička, Klovićevi dvori, gliptoteka, Močvara, KIC – Kulturno informativni centar, or AKC Medika. They offer a bunch of cultural content from concerts and literary gatherings, to workshops and exhibitions. The options run the gamut from fancy to funky and alternative.

#16 Take a tram tour

Most of us use the tram to get from point A to point B. Why not use it to tour the city? I enjoy taking a tram tour around the city while raining. This is an excellent way to explore and discover new parts of the city while staying dry.

Take a tram until the end of the line and then make a loop. For good sightseeing, jump into the trams 3, 6, 7, 14, and 17 and you’ll cover the whole city. Or get off at a random stop and wander through an entirely new neighborhood. Just make sure you avoid rush hours because crowds will dampen the fun. [Read: ZET – Zagreb’s public transportation system]

#17 Play board games

In Zagreb, there are actual playrooms where you can play board games. You can meet people that share the passion as you do. If you want to get in on a game, go to Meeple’s Corner (view map) or Carta Magica.

Arrange a time in advance or join an existing team on arrival. While you are there, you can also reward yourself with a brand new board game for your collection and play it with your friends the next time it rains.

It can be so easy to just stay at home when it rains. Now you know that’s not the only option, so we encourage you to get out and about in the coming raining months.

Would you like to add something else to our list? Please share your thoughts in a comment.

View other articles about Zagreb

Please note: All information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal advice in any form. For legal advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. We can recommend one if you contact us.

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