From the endless sprawl of outdoor coffee shop patios that stay busy even on winter afternoons to the fact that it’s one of the few cities in Europe where you’ll spot pedestrians sipping java from paper to-go cups as they stroll, it’s clear Zagreb is crazy about coffee. Cafes range from the stark old-school Socialist style to bright, airy new spots. Here are four of the best and most innovative.


The coffee and sweets are lovely, but they take the back seat to the magical, whimsy décor in this Lower Village café, located just off the Ilica. Velvet’s o-owner Saša Šekoranja is a respected artist and florist and he regularly updates the Alice in Wonderland interiors with fresh blooms and unique touches. Dežmanova ulica 9

Gallery and Café Lav

Perched just above the Stone Gate in Zagreb’s Upper Town, this comfy coffee shop also functions as an art gallery. Wide leather couches and armchairs are all a modest shade of beige so not to take away from the colourful Croatian art hanging on the walls – a mix of originals and prints by renowned Croatian painters such as Ivan Rabuzin, whose works are also on display in the nearby Croatian Museum of Naïve Art. If you have a sweet tooth, the homemade carrot cake is a tasty sugar rush. Opatička 2


You might find yourself crying into your coffee at this café, housed inside an Upper Town Baroque mansion and attached to the Museum of Broken Relationships. Winner of a Kenneth Hudson award for the most innovative museum in Europe, the center houses a crowd-sourced collection of relationship discards – purged artifacts from romances and other connections gone sour, with accompanying background stories from the donors. A walk through the tiny gallery will leave you with lots to talk about – and this is the perfect place to do so. Cirilometodska 2


Their tagline, simply luxury coffee, couldn’t be more apt: Eliscaffe is housed in a white, starkly modern room where all of your attention will easily be captured by deeply luxurious espresso drinks and coffee. Proprietor Nik Orosi, a three-time Croatian barista champion, is the country’s first specialty bean roaster and quite a character to boot, charmingly ranting against Nescafe culture as a symptom for all that’s wrong with the world while he pulls your shot. Ilica 63