Zagreb is quite unique amongst major Croatian destinations in that it is inland, rather than on the Adriatic coast, where the popular tourist resorts are located.
James says - a few trip notes:
It’s probably fair enough to say that Zagreb is something of a niche tourist destination. The Croatian capital is pleasant enough, but when the country has so much to offer in places which are by the sea, there aren’t so many people visiting Zagreb. That is the group I count myself in – I spent just a brief night in Zagreb in the autumn of 2012 before continuing onwards to the Italian city Trieste to catch my flight home.
Zagreb is still one of the key capital cities of the Balkans. It has a perfectly reasonable network of buses and trams. Is there any reason to get a hire car here?
Why should you hire a car in Zagreb?
Should you hire a car in Zagreb? Conclusion – public transport beyond Zagreb might still leave a lots to be desired, but this is still very much a city break destination, and not somewhere that needs a set of your own wheels for getting around.
Even if getting a hire car in Zagreb would be extremely useful to visit Plitvice Lakes, since you can do this as a bus excursion, it really isn’t worth going to the bother of arranging a rental just for one trip.
Whereas I think a hire car is going to be extremely useful if you are flying into, or continuing on to any of the Adriatic resorts, this isn’t so much the case in Zagreb.