You might have already heard that Christmas Market in Zagreb has been awarded the title of best European advent market for several years in a row. Now it’s time for you to see it for yourself and learn what all the fuss is about. There is everything you would expect form a decent Christmas market and more: stalls full of tasty local food, mulled wine, gingerbread, original and handmade gifts, a noisy ice rink and of course a gigantic Christmas tree! Let us take you to this magical Christmas land on a special winter edition of a popular Zagreb City Break, which can me tailor-made just for you.
We are a local travel agency specialised in personalised tours all over the Balkans, including trips to Croatia. Trust us with organising the most festive trip to the Croatian capital, which can also be easily combined with a visit of the Christmas market in Ljubljana. Get in touch with our friendly agents who will fins the best flight connections from your home town, book you a perfect hotel option and introduce you to your personal travel guide.
to visit the Christmas Market in Zagreb
Christmas celebrations normally take place from the end of November and until the beginning of the year, fascinating locals and visitors from all over Europe. During that time numerous separated markets pop out in different areas of the city, offering a variety of extensive programs to suit all audiences. One of the most popular locations is Zagreb’s main city square, named after their national hero Ban Josip Jelacic. Thousands of Christmas lights create a magical outdoor atmosphere, where adults and children can enjoy numberless shows of all kinds. Kids will definitely love special performances with one of the three December men: the original christian saint St. Nicholas with his capitalist and socialist versions of Santa Claus and Father Christmas. They bring gifts to everyone, regardless of their beliefs and represent the variety of cultural and historical influences in the Balkans. Furthermore, your kids will certainly be more than fascinated by the wonderful Disney on ice show, that always represents one of the highlights of Christmas market in Zagreb.
Another thing that will get your kids’ attention is the Tin Express Christmas Train, which runs through the Zagreb centre every weekend from beginning of December until after New Year’s Day. Among other much loved characters accompanying you on this magical journey, will be Santa Claus and Saint Nicholas.
Enjoy the joyful spirit of Christmas Market in Zagreb
The vast King Tomislav Square hosts the magnificent ice rink that lights up in a multitude of coloured lights, creating a genuine Christmas experience for everybody. While skating in the wonderful ambient in front of the historical Croatian National Theatre, you can enjoy the jolly playlist of classical international and local Christmas songs. Later you are invited to one of the food stalls to try out some typical Balkan delights.
Another popular location of Zagreb advent is the central Zrinjevac Park. It is a pleasant place to take a stroll in any season of the year, but the park really comes alive at Christmas time when all of its 220 plane trees get decorated with countless lights. Small wooden huts are set up to offer mulled wine, traditional local winter snacks and hand made gifts. Right in the middle of Zrinjevac Park stands the lovely Old Music Pavilion which hosts different small concerts every night of the advent celebrations.
Another place that is hard to miss is the European Square, a pedestrian zone in the very heart of Zagreb which offers even more shopping stalls. Here you can also enjoy the screening of Short Films, an outdoor extension of the special festival that celebrates short movies mostly from from Croatian authors, but also features internationally acclaimed classics from the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.
One of main events of the Christmas Market in Zagreb is the New Year’s Day changing of the guard, which is performed by the honorary company of the Kravat regiment on the square in front of the picturesque St. Marks Church on January 1st at noon. Another memorable event worth vising is the famous Living Nativity Scene that has been taking place every December for over a decade on the Kaptol Hill. Local actors beautifully recreate the birth of Jesus, as well as the arrival of the Three Wise Men from the East. Definitely a must see!
Shopping for gifts is a huge part of any Christmas market, including the one in Zagreb, and you will have plenty of opportunist to buy presents for you loved ones at home. But if you are visiting the Croatian capital in the beginning of December, you should definitely consider popping into the enormous Christmas Fair taking place in one of the Pavilions of the Trade Fair and is considered one of the great introductions to the holiday season. You can get almost anything you want from local food product, books, toys, decorations and other gifts from all over the world. The whole place is perfectly complemented by international dances and concerts which present how Christmas is celebrated in other parts of the world.
Strolling the streets of Zagreb, you will soon realise that not just public buildings shine with Christmas lights. The windows and balconies of the private houses are also nicely decorated by the citizens, showing the level of involvement and care for the Christmas spirit.
Those of you with a sweet tooth are especially invited to taste the Christmas desserts and sweets at the Christmas Cakes & Cookies Festival at the Karas Gallery. Local artisans proudly present their sugary creations, making sure no one leaves Zagreb without a sweet taste in their mouth.
Take daily excursions from Zagreb for even more Christmas magic
Zagreb my be the epicentre of Christmas events in the region, but there are several other places that you can visit while you are in town. The pretty village of Marija Bistrica is just a short drive away. It is worth visiting throughout the year, but becomes especially charming in December when the locals put out the food stalls and sell unique Christmas gifts. Numerous concerts and folklore preferences bring hordes of people from Zagreb and beyond to this otherwise sleepy rural town.
Another unique Christmas experience close to Zagreb is famous Salaj family farm in Čazma. Every advent season the family illuminates its corners with literally millions of coloured lights, creating a breathtaking sight. The scene is even more spectacular when snow falls as it is almost like arriving to Santa Claus’ hose in the North pole. The kids will love it, and so will you.
There are countless other winter activities in Croatia that you can enjoy while you are here, including skiing in one of the nearby resorts or walking the famous Plitvce National Park which in colder months can be especially breathtaking.
While in Zagreb, why not taking the opportunity to also visit Ljubljana, the cute capital of Slovenia which is just a good hour drive away. We have prepared a special Zagreb & Ljubljana Christmas itinerary for those of you visiting in advent time. It’s a great mix of holiday magic as well as cultural and natural sightseeing.
Once you see the Christmas market in Zagreb, you will surly not be surprised by numerous international titles the city has received as the best advent experience in the whole of Europe. It is a well deserved award to its citizens who work truly hard to make the magic of Christmas come alive.
Contact us at ➨ firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on who to experience Zagreb in Christmas time. As local experts we will take care of all the details, including flights, accommodation, local and driver guides in the language of your choice and the itinerary full of unforgettable experiences.
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