Christmas in Zagreb, Croatia Celebrating Advent

Zagreb Christmas Market: Advent in Zagreb 2023

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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 2023 Advent Zagreb Program at the end of the article}


Zagreb Advent: Christmas in Europe

Christmas lights decorate the city during Advent in Zagreb, Croatia

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 glittering images of the celebration flooded our social media news feeds. Unlike the stunning coastline 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 has changed that. Zagreb, Croatia in December might just be one of the merriest places to be for the holidays thanks to the award-winning Advent in Zagreb event!


Why is Zagreb a Great Place to Visit for Christmas?

Lovely streets with lights during Zagreb Advent, Croatia

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! 


Our Zagreb Christmas Market Review

Bright Lights Advent Zagreb, Croatia

We have visited several of the best Christmas Markets in Europe and – to be honest – we wondered how the Zagreb, Croatia Christmas market would stack up. 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 Ban 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. Fairy tale holiday huts are set up in European Square. 

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.

Experience More With Our Best Things To Do In Zagreb!

22 Terrific Things To Do in Zagreb, Croatia by


What We Loved Most About Zagreb Advent

Kris and Sarah feeling festive at Advent in Zagreb Courtyards

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’ve spent a total of 2 weeks celebrating Advent in Zagreb over the years, but haven’t actually stayed for Christmas in Zagreb. However, we can say with certainty that Zagreb Advent got us in the holiday spirit and we look forward to seeing what is new each year!


Advent Zagreb Highlights

Where to find Ice Skating, Advent, Zagreb, Croatia

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

Ice Park and Art Pavilion on Tomislav Square during Christmas in Zagreb, Croatia

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 opening of 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. 


Zagreb Advent in Zrinjevac Park

View of Zagreb Advent in Zrinjevac Park, Croatia

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 Strossmayer

Entrance to Christmas in Zagreb on Strossmayer

Advent on Strossmayer 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, Croatia

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. We are highlighting some of the must-try Zagreb Christmas Market food. 


Croatian Sausages

Sausages for sale during Christmas in Zagreb, Croatia

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 at the Zagreb Advent Market. 

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

Christmas candy for sale during Advent in Zagreb, Croatia

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/Mulled Wine

Kuhano Vino for sale during Christmas in Zagreb, Croatia

The real treat for us, however, was the kuhano vino (mulled wine), which is on offer at every Christmas market in Croatia. The warm, spiced drink flows in an endless stream from nearly every booth, making evenings all the merrier.


Live Music at Advent Zagreb, Croatia

Father Christmas watches bagpipe performance on Ban Jelacic Square during Christmas in Zagreb, Croatia

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 through the Zagreb markets. Book it now!

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Zagreb Christmas Market 2023 Calendar

The festivities begin at the Start of Advent, Zagreb, Croatia

The upcoming Zagreb Advent 2023 program dates for the Zagreb Christmas Market 2023 are: TBD

Be aware that 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 additional details and requirements for Zagreb Advent 2023 on the Zagreb city official website.


Where is the Zagreb Christmas Market?

The events of Advent Zagreb 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 or ask at the Zagreb Tourist Board Office.

The Zagreb Tourist Office also provides information about the events occurring in December, such as the Zagreb Christmas Lanterns.


Zagreb, Croatia 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 for Winter

Wondering what to do in Zagreb in December? We can assure you that there are many 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. 

One of the best ways to discover the city is on foot! Spend the days exploring the city using our step-by-step self-guided Zagreb Walking Tour – just be sure to bundle up, as the city does get chilly in the wintertime!

Need 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! 


Thank You and Hello

  • Hvala is how you say thank you to someone. 
  • Dobar Dan is the formal way to 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

Peoples Square, Split, 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, Croatia

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 there a so few flights to Dubrovnik in winter). Find more information for the Dubrovnik Christmas Market 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 What To Do in Dubrovnik}


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 the Best 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! Check out this year’s Advent Osijek program to plan your visit.

{Read our Top Reasons to Visit Osijek, Croatia


Croatia at Christmas Time

While Advent in Zagreb, and other top Croatian cities get all the hype during the holiday season, there is plenty of cheer all around the country.

Even smaller towns, like Stari Grad on Hvar Island, feature a small Croatia Xmas Market – which is why we think visiting Croatia during Christmas is an excellent choice!

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


Travel Tips For Visiting Zagreb in Winter

Now that you know this year’s Zagreb Christmas Market dates, it’s time to start planning your trip. We are sharing our top tips – including how to get there, where to stay and what to pack in your suitcase!


Planning a Trip to the Christmas Market Zagreb Event

The Zagreb, Croatia Christmas Market is one of the city’s most popular events – so a little pre-planning is essential. 

Find our top trip planning tips in our Guide to Your Vacation to Croatia. If you are traveling to the country from overseas, you can find more advice in our article, How To Plan a Trip to Europe

As you start making your trip plans for Zagreb at Christmas, staying organized is key! We recommend using a travel planner – like our Printable Travel Planner

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Zagreb Weather in December

Visitors can expect Croatia at Christmas weather to be chilly – especially in the capital. 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. 


How To Get to Zagreb, Croatia

Getting to Zagreb in Christmas season can be a bit trying. There are no direct flights to Zagreb from the United States and throughout Europe there are far fewer flights to Zagreb in winter than in the bustling summer travel season. 

That said, most of the major European flight hubs – such as Paris, London, Frankfurt and Amsterdam – provide flights to Zagreb in the wintertime. 

Additionally, it is possible to get to Zagreb by train or bus from regional destinations like Belgrade, Ljubljana, Vienna or Budapest.

We share our top tips for finding cheap airfare in our article, How To Find the Best Flights.


Where To Stay for Zagreb Advent

Advent in Zagreb has fast 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 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):

Before you start searching for your accommodations, use our Tips for Finding the Best Hotels


What To Pack for your Zagreb Christmas Market Trip

Packing for winter trips can often be tricky. We already mentioned that Zagreb in Christmas time can be cold, so you will want to make sure you pack accordingly. 

We have a few tips for Zagreb in winter necessities – and you can find our packing hacks and other tips on our Packing for Travel page. Need a packing list? Get a free Packing Checklist Template here


Appropriate Attire for Visiting Zagreb in Winter

Because it will be chilly, be sure to pack a winter coat, hat and gloves. Also check the current weather before your trip – and pack a travel umbrella or raincoat, if necessary.

Furthermore, you will want to pack clothing that can be layered. Day time temperatures will likely be much warmer than the evenings.


Comfortable Shoes for Croatia Christmas Markets

The Advent markets in Zagreb are spread across the city. Walking is the best way to get to the different Zagreb Christmas markets, so make sure to pack good city walking shoes or comfortable boots for your trip. Use our tips for the Best Travel Shoes


Day Pack

Whether you travel with a backpack or a suitcase, you’ll also want a great day bag for your daily adventures in Zagreb. We recommend carrying a bag with zippered pockets that is large enough to stow everything you need (including extra layers, your umbrella and anything you might purchase at the Zagreb, Croatia Christmas markets!).


Travel Camera for Zagreb Photography

Christmas in Zagreb is beautiful! Make sure to bring a good travel 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 budget camera, the Canon Powershot for simple shots.


WiFi Connection

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 Wi-Fi  by purchasing your own travel WiFi device.

The personal mobile Wi-Fi 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. 


Croatia Travel Insurance

You can choose to insure your trip to Croatia with an affordable policy from a reliable company, like World Nomads


Start planning your trip to Croatia! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing! Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!


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Christmas in Zagreb, Croatia

4 thoughts on “Zagreb Christmas Market: Advent in Zagreb 2023

  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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