Christmas in Zagreb, Croatia Celebrating Advent

Zagreb Christmas Market: Advent u Zagrebu 2019

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Updated for the 2019 Advent Zagreb Christmas Market!

As the crisp air brightens my cheeks and little puffs of breath escape from my mouth, I inhale the scent of sizzling sausages and sweet fritule drenched in chocolate sauce. The tantalizing aroma intertwines with Croatian Christmas music and drifts on a light breeze from the cheerfully decorated wooden huts at the Zagreb Christmas market.

Festive lights and classic Croatia decorations hang in a canopy over the street, casting a warm glow onto the revelers swaying to the music as they peruse the wares for sale. It was our first night celebrating Christmas in Croatia and we were only getting our first peek at the Advent u Zagrebu event, but it was already putting us in a festive mood.

 

Christmas Markets Zagreb | Advent u Zagrebu: What You Need To Know 

In this Zagreb travel blog post, we include everything you need to know about the Zagreb Christmas Market! In addition to highlighting specific events at Advent Zagreb – like the Zagreb Ice Rink and must-see squares – we also include our review of the event and details of other Christmas markets in Croatia. Find out why Christmas in Croatia is the perfect place to be! 

{Find specific details and dates for this year’s Advent Zagreb Program at the end of the post!}

 

Zagreb Advent: Christmas in Europe

Although lesser-known than the long-standing and famous Christmas markets like those in Germany, Austria and France, the Advent in Zagreb Winter Festival is equally impressive. 

We were first intrigued by the Zagreb Christmas Market when stunning images of the celebration flooded our social media news feeds. Unlike the usual coastline summertime photos of Croatia we are accustomed to seeing, these featured an entirely different scene: Croatia in winter. And it was beautiful.

Most people don’t think of Croatia as one of the best European cities for Christmas, but the Advent u Zagrebu event is changing that. Zagreb, Croatia in December might just be one of the merriest places to be for the holidays. 

In fact, we think award-winning Advent in Zagreb event is so spectacular that we are planning to return again for a few nights this year!

 

Why Is Zagreb Worth the Time to Visit for Christmas? 

Zagreb in December is amazing! The capital city is adorned with bright Christmas lights, theme-festooned streets and an outdoor ice skating rink. The Zagreb, Croatia Christmas Market, which began as a modest affair in 2002, grew in just a few years to something utterly spectacular. And, each year the Advent Zagreb festival gets even better. 

 

European Best Destinations Christmas Markets

Advent Zagreb has garnered so much attention that it was bestowed the honor of Best Christmas Market in Europe by European Best Destinations for three consecutive years – in 2016, 2017 and 2018. We can’t think of a better way to kick off the holiday season than at the award-winning Advent in Zagreb, Croatia festival! 

{Read more about the European Best Destinations Zagreb Award. Use this link to find other Best European Christmas Destinations}

 

Zagreb Christmas Market Review

We have visited several Christmas markets in Europe and – to be honest – we wondered how the Zagreb, Croatia Christmas market would stack up against other cities. After spending two weeks at the Zagreb Advent festival, we believe it’s one of the best holiday fairs in Europe!

As we wandered through the Christmas market huts each evening, we couldn’t keep the giddy grins from our faces. Advent Zagreb is full of festiveness – and there is nothing quite like a European Christmas market to usher in the holiday spirit. With a steaming cup of spiced, mulled wine in one hand and my other hand tucked into the crook of Kris’s arm, we navigated our way through the merriment celebrating the beauty of Christmas in Zagreb, Croatia.

 

What Makes Zagreb Xmas Market Unique?

Unlike some Christmas markets that cluster solely around a single main square, the Zagreb Christmas market location is appealingly spread throughout the city with different markets in Zagreb happening daily during Advent.

Booths selling classic Croatian Christmas gifts line the streets and sit in clusters at the center of multiple squares – not just the main Jelačić Square. A live Croatian nativity scene is set up in Kaptol next to the Cathedral. The Gric Tunnel is turned into a festive wonderland. The gazebo in Zrinjevac Park serves as a stage for live music. 

Each district is thoughtfully designed to create a specific ambiance and to attract a certain audience. From kid-friendly corners celebrating Croatian Christmas traditions (like at the event in Maksimir Park) to streets for shopping and eating Croatian Christmas food to a lane just for ‘fooling around,’ visitors can wander the transformed squares and streets until finding the perfect one.

22 Terrific Things To Do in Zagreb, Croatia by JetSettingFools.com

22 Terrific Things To Do in Zagreb, Croatia

 

What We Loved Most about Zagreb Advent

Often, we were drawn down the cobblestone lanes of the oldest part of Zagreb into one of the five enclaves for the Advent Edition of Dvorista. Dressed up for the holidays with Croatian Christmas decorations – white lights, garland and Christmas trees – the intimate courtyards presented a cozy retreat from the lively celebrations elsewhere in the city. Complete with lounge singer style performances and mulled wine, Dvorista was our favorite part of the Zagreb Christmas market. 

We spent 11 nights celebrating Advent u Zagrebu 2016, but didn’t actually stay for Christmas in Zagreb. However, we can say with certainty that Advent Zagreb got us in the holiday spirit and we look forward to seeing what is new this year!


 

Advent Zagreb Highlights

Zagreb is one of the best European Christmas destinations for good reason: the Zagreb Christmas Market features an array of places and ways to celebrate the season. Advent Zagreb is located in squares, parks and lanes around the city. As the Zagreb Christmas Market grows each year, new events are added to the already incredible line up. 

 

Ice Skating Zagreb

The Zagreb Ice Skating Park is a popular part of the Zagreb Christmas market holidays. The open-air ice park is illuminated by the glow of Zagreb Christmas lights. It is located next to the Art Pavilion on King Tomislav Square and is surrounded by traditional Christmas market huts.

The entire Advent u Zagrebu event is kicked off at the ice skating rink with a beautiful performance. Visitors who want to go ice skating in Zagreb can rent skates for a daytime or evening skate. You can find more information here

 

Zagreb Advent in Zrinjevac Park

Part of the city’s Green Horseshoe, Zrinjevac Park is one of our favorites anytime of year – but especially during the holidays. Advent on Zrinjevac is a magical fairytale of lights and wonder. Huts line the main path and the fountain and gazebo are covered in lights. 

The market in Zrinjevac is home to several Croatian Christmas traditions, including homemade Christmas ornaments and classic Croatian Christmas food. On select evenings, there are live performances from the gazebo, adding to the festivities. 

 

Christmas in Zagreb on Strossmartre

Advent on Stross is one of the best events in the Upper Town. The lane, which is lit in a dazzling array of lights, is lined with pop-up cafes serving mulled wine and holiday-themed drinks. Don’t miss the views over the city – or the Christmas-themed cut-out photo ops! 

 

The Best Things To Eat at the Christmas Market in Zagreb

Wherever our wandering trail took us we always found rows of little huts selling holiday gifts and serving Christmastime fare. While many booths sell Croatian classics, international holiday fare is also available.

 

Sausages

At the Zagreb Christmas market, heaps of sausages – of which we ate our fair share – are grilled to perfection in the small huts. There are numerous types of Croatian cured meats to choose from, but our favorite is the Kranjska sausage. 

 

Classic Croatian Christmas Food

Plates of Charcuterie – which often include Zimska salami and Kulen – are another popular Croatian cured meat option. 

However, salty meats aren’t the only Croatia food at the Christmas markets in Zagreb! We saw tempting bowls of goulash and platters of Sarma (cabbage rolls stuffed with minced meat), which is a classic holiday meal in the region!

 

Croatian Christmas Cookies and Sweet Treats

Many booths sell Croatian Christmas cookies that are cut into stars and wreaths and are prettily packaged to give as gifts. We like Paprenjaci – a spicy gingerbread cookie, but Vanilin Kiflice (Vanilla Crescents) are even more popular. 

That said, the most popular treats at every Croatian Christmas market is hot fritule. More than once, we were lured to the booths cranking out the small doughnuts drizzled with warm chocolate sauce. 

 

Kuhano Vino

The real treat for us, however, was the kuhano vino (mulled wine), which seemed to flow in an endless stream from nearly every booth, making evenings all the merrier.

 

 

Live Music at Advent Zagreb

To further enhance the festive mood of Advent in Zagreb, live music drifted down the streets from stages around the city. Entertained by the varied performances – we were astounded by the sheer number of musical acts at the Zagreb winter festival. We witnessed rock bands, brass bands, jazz singers, women’s choirs, children’s chorales and folk dancers performing everything from holiday tunes to classic hits of every decade. 

 

Zagreb Xmas Tour

Visit the best Zagreb Advent events with a local guide! Learn about Christmas in Zagreb from someone who lives there! Find out about Croatian traditions, get the details on Licitar Hearts and taste typical holiday treats on a small group tour. Book it now!

 


 

Zagreb Christmas Market 2019 Dates

The upcoming Zagreb Advent program dates for the Zagreb Christmas Market 2019/2020 are November 30, 2019 through January 7, 2020. However, not all of the individual Zagreb Christmas Markets start at the same time; some of the Zagreb Christmas Markets open after the start of the event or only run on weekends. You can find all the details on the city website.

 

Where is Zagreb Christmas Market

The events of Advent u Zagrebu take place all over the city – in squares, down lanes, through tunnels and in courtyards. You can find a Zagreb Christmas Market map on the event website. The Zagreb Tourist Office also provides information about the events occurring in December, such as the Zagreb Christmas Lanterns.

 

Zagreb New Year’s Eve

If you are spending the New Year in Croatia, then Zagreb is the place to be! The Zagreb, Croatia New Year’s Eve program can be found here. And, remember, if you are going to be in Zagreb in January, the Advent festival runs through the first week of the month! 

 

Things To Do in Zagreb Winter

What are other things to do in Zagreb in winter? While the Zagreb Advent is the biggest event, there is certainly more things to do in the city if you are visiting Zagreb in winter. 

Spend the days exploring the city using our step-by-step self-guided Zagreb Walking TourNeed more tips of what to do in Zagreb? Use our complete guide of 22 Terrific Things To Do in Zagreb, Croatia or discover more of the region with our tips for the best Day Trips from Zagreb


 

Essential Croatian Phrases

Before you head to Advent in Zagreb, Croatia, learn a few words in the local language! 

 

Hello and Goodbye

  • Bok is an informal way to greet (or part) someone. 
  • Dobar Dan is more formal and means Good Day. 
  • Dobra Vecer is also formal and means Good Evening.

 

How Do You Say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Croatian?

Merry Christmas in Croatian is Sretan Božić (SRE-tahn BOH-zhich)

 

How Do you Say ‘Happy New Year’ in Croatian?

Happy New Year in Croatian is Sretna Nova Godina

 


 

More Christmas Markets in Croatia

While the Advent u Zagrebu festival is the largest in the country, there are other cities where you can spend the Christmas holiday in Croatia. Croatian Christmas markets take place in city centers around the country and along the coast. The weather in Croatia at Christmas varies, with milder climates along the Dalmatian Coast. 

 

Christmas Markets in Split, Croatia

Celebrating Christmas in Split, Croatia is a lovely idea! The Split Christmas Market is set up along the Riva as well as in selected city squares and parks. We have spent time at the Split Christmas fair – and found it to be quaint, but quite jovial and full of friends and families. You can find more information about the Christmas Fair in Split on the Split Website

{Read our list of Top 10 Things To Do in Split, Croatia}

 

Christmas Market Dubrovnik

The Christmas Markets in Dubrovnik are located in the historic city center along the famous Stradun. Winter is a great time to visit Dubrovnik as the city is almost completely void of tourists (possibly because it’s so difficult to get there in winter!). Find more information for the Christmas markets in Dubrovnik here

Although we missed the Dubrovnik Winter Festival, you can read about our impressions about the city in the off-season in the Dubrovnik Times

{Read our tips for Visiting Dubrovnik on a Budget}

 

Zadar Christmas Market

The Advent Zadar Festival fills the streets of the old town – and runs from late November through early January. Get all the details on the Official Website

{Read our Self-Guided Walking Tour to 24 Zadar, Croatia Sights}

 

Advent in Osijek, Croatia

After visiting the Zagreb Advent event, we traveled further east to Osijek in the region of Slavonia for their Croatian Christmas market. We were pleased to find a traditional, festive holiday event in Osijek!

{Read our Top Reasons to Visit Osijek, Croatia

 

Croatia at Christmas Time

Even smaller cities, like Stari Grad on Hvar Island, feature a small Croatia Xmas Market – which is why we think visiting Croatia during Christmas is the perfect time! 

Looking for other places to visit in Croatia in Winter? Read about Visiting Plitvice Lakes in Wintertime


 

Travel Tips for Visiting Zagreb in Winter

Use our top travel tips for your Zagreb, Croatia Christmas trip!

 

Zagreb Weather December

Visitors can expect Croatia at Christmas weather to be chilly – especially in the capital city. Zagreb winter weather is typically cold with high temps in the low 40s Fahrenheit and low temps in the mid-to-low 30s. Snow is possible – as is a rain/snow wintery mix. 

 

What You Will Need for the Zagreb Christmas Market

We have a few tips for Zagreb in winter necessities!

Appropriate Attire

Because it will be chilly, be sure to pack a winter coat, hat and gloves. Be sure to check the current weather before your trip – and pack a travel umbrella or raincoat, if necessary. Also, as you will spend a lot of time walking to the different Zagreb Christmas markets, make sure to have good city walking shoes or comfortable boots.

Camera

Christmas in Zagreb is beautiful! Make sure to bring a good camera to capture the sights! We recommend using an actual camera rather than your phone to get the best pictures. We use a Canon Rebel for our best photos, but carry a lightweight Canon Powershot for city sights, too. 

Travel Insurance

We never go anywhere without travel insurance! Make sure your trip is insured with a reliable company like World Nomads. Because, you never know what could happen!

 

Where To Stay for Zagreb Advent

Advent in Zagreb has quickly become one of the city’s biggest events – meaning accommodations can fill up quickly during the holiday season. Although celebrations take place all over the city, we think it’s best to choose accommodations in the city center. For our longer stay, we opted to rent an apartment through Airbnb, but there are many hotels to choose from, as well. If you are looking for place to stay during Christmas in Zagreb, take a look at these top-rated hotels and resorts (based on reviews):

 

Connectivity

When you are on the move and want to stay connected, a wifi hotspot is the way to go. If you are traveling to Advent in Zagreb, you can stay connected with reliable wifi from Roam Free Ninja. The personal mobile wifi hotspot can be rented for days or months at a time and allows you to easily share your Advent in Zagreb experiences with friends and family on social media. 

 

We want to know: Have you been to the Zagreb Christmas Market? What did you like best about the Advent Zagreb festivities? Tell us in the comments! 

 

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Christmas in Zagreb, Croatia

Christmas in Zagreb, Croatia

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4 thoughts on “Zagreb Christmas Market: Advent u Zagrebu 2019

  1. It seems like you had a great time! Your photos are fantastic and I’m so happy you loved my dear hometown. 🙂 If you would like to be a part of collaboration about Croatia and write a paragraph of two about Zagreb, please let me know.

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