Top museums in Zagreb, Croatia

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Zagreb is a city known for its eclectic culture, so it makes sense that there are a handful of eclectic museums that are must-sees if you’re in the city. You could easily spend several days uncovering everything there is to explore in the city’s collections. This guide will give you a good idea of what Zagreb’s museums have to offer, so if you’re planning a trip to the city, consider adding these stops to your itinerary.

Museum of Broken Relationships

The entrance at the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia.
Credit: Prosopee via Wikimedia Commons

This is one of Zagreb’s most buzzworthy museums, and it’s not hard to see why. The Museum of Broken Relationships first came into being when its founders broke up. Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić, two Croatian ex-lovers, found themselves with a problem: they didn’t know what to do with each other’s things upon the demise of their relationship. They didn’t want to get rid of the memory-filled mementos, but it was also far too painful to keep reminders of their relationship around. So, they decided to put the objects in a collection. Soon, people from all over began donating the personal objects of previous paramours to the curators. The Museum of Broken Relationships got its start as a traveling collection, but it’s now found a permanent home in a Baroque palace in Zagreb’s Upper Town. Stop by for a truly touching peek into love, loss, and the inherent universality of post-break up blues. Check out this walking tour of Zagreb with entrance into the Museum of Broken Relationships on PlacePass.

Museum of Naive Art

Naive art at its finest.
Credit: Hal Gatewood

Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of naive art. It’s not because you, yourself, are naive—rather, this is a very specifically Croatian art movement that took off in the 20th century. The entire concept behind naive art is that all of the artists involved had absolutely no formal training. Most of the naive artists were Croatian peasants, and the form is often described as simplistic and almost childlike. Naive art has also served political purposes in the Croatian context, and many naive artists used their pieces to comment on sociopolitical conditions. In fact, to the chagrin of authorities, the movement grew to be so politically engaged that the Croatian government banned it in the 1930s! The Croatian Museum of Naive Art has almost 2000 pieces in its collection, and it often organizes educational events, meetings, and workshops that provide even more info on this distinctly Croatian art movement.

Museum of Contemporary Art

A gallery in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Croatia.
Credit: Viselippi via Wikimedia Commons

As soon as you step into the Museum of Contemporary Art, just know you’re in for an out of this world experience. This museum showcases some pretty trippy works from contemporary artists across Yugoslavia, and its pieces include a giant three story slide, violins hanging from the ceiling, optical illusions, and giant piles of coconuts. The museum also has important politically-oriented pieces, which speak to the recent history of the Balkans and comment on important political problems of the day. This is the largest museum in Croatia, and it is home to over 12,000 objects. You could spend your entire getting lost in its expansive, thought-provoking collections.

Museum of Mushrooms

The Museum of Mushrooms: mushrooms, as far as the eye can see.
Credit: Presetbase Lightroom Presets via Unsplash

Zagreb is a seriously quirky city, so it just makes sense that it would be home to the seriously quirky Museum of Mushrooms. This museum sprouted (sorry, sorry!) from the personal collections of Croatian mushroom expert Dr. Romano Božac, and it features over 1,500 different types of mushrooms. There’s killer mushrooms, edible mushrooms, and very tasty mushrooms — and the museum’s to-the-point, descriptive labels will let you know which is which. The museum is inconspicuously located in an office building a short distance away from Ban Josip Jelačić Square, so if you’ve ever felt like you needed to learn more about mushrooms (haven’t we all) then pay the Museum of Mushrooms a visit.



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