If you're unsure when the perfect time to explore Zagreb is, then let us suggest winter!
It is during the Christmas holiday season that Zagreb truly comes to life, reviving old and almost forgotten traditions.
Swoon into the storybook atmosphere of Christmassy Zagreb and see, hear and taste the best of the celebratory season!
Advent on Zrinjevac
For many this is the favourite part of Christmas in Zagreb.
Zrinjevac captures the Christmas spirit perfectly. The alley of plane trees is lined with picturesque booths selling traditional handmade crafts and souvenirs, whilst the old music pavilion is the central stage where the sound of Christmas classics and waltzes begin to waft through the holiday-spirit-infused air.
And let’s not forget about the delicious cabbage cloths, fried apples and baked strukli you can indulge in the park. Coupled with hot chocolate and mulled wine, of course.
Advent on the main square
Whilst Zrinjevac offers a more intimate atmosphere, it is on Zagreb’s central square where Christmas atmosphere shines in all of its glory.
In addition to the most spectacular Christmas tree and the Advent wreath adorning the Manduševac Well, there is a central stage which hosts a wide variety of events, including Children’s performances, cultural, art and music events, and concerts.
Ice Park on Tomislavac
What kind of winter would it be if you couldn’t put your ice-skating shoes on! One of Zagreb’s central squares is just the place where to enjoy in one of everyone’s favourite winter activities – ice-skating.
For the second year in the row one of Zagreb’s most beautiful parks will be decked with an ice-skating ring. Later treat yourself with traditional fritule – that’s one Christmas treat you cannot miss out on!
The Lampions of Zagreb
It is nice to awake old customs and traditions, but sometimes people need to make their own traditions. One of such is the release of lampions, which for the past few years has taken each year around Christmas time in several locations across the town.
During the event, thousands of locals and visitors gather to release small candle-propelled lampions to the sky, painting the most breathtaking sight.
Living Nativity Scene
Zagreb’s striking cathedral is always a sight to see, but particularly so in December when visitors and locals alike come to admire the Living Nativity Scene. Reviving the atmosphere of Jesus’ birth in the most wonderful way truly emphasizes the spirit of Christmas.
A genuine stable is built, with actors posing as the Holy Family, the Three Kings and the people of Bethlehem, accompanied even with farm animals.
Christmas Cakes and Cookies Festival
As the name of the festival suggest, you can expect cakes and cookies – and lots of them.
Skilled chefs will venture into preparing delicious deserts that will appease even the most demanding and curious palates. You can either opt for tastings, or wake up your inner Christmas chef and participate in cookie workshops. The end result will be delicious either way.
If you’d like to take a ride on the Zagreb Funicular, this December you will first have to fool around in Tomićeva Street!
How to do that? Simple! Take a glass of mulled wine and couple it with some delicious food from one of the stands lining the street. While you’re there, you can gently sway to the rhythm of the loud music coming from the speakers. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
Čazma Christmas Story
There is a place in the near vicinity of Zagreb that every December becomes the country's centre of Christmas magic. It is the small village of Grabovnica near Čazma, where the Salaj family's household is situated.
Each year thousands of multi coloured Christmas lights turn the Salaj estate into a magical sight. Over million lights are set up all over the estate, turning the lovely rural property into an illuminated tribute to Christmas. The Christmas stable, the manger and the garden are adorn in Christmas ornaments and lights, making the whole area seem like a sight from a fairytale.
Concerts from Zagreb Christmas Balconies
Selected balconies looking over the streets of Zagreb will be transformed into musical stages. So when you hear the notes of enchanting classical music wafting through the air, don’t forget to look up!
Artomat is a fair that displays unconventional art, and is the focal point for creatives from different fields who can contribute with their unconventional thinking. The rich programme includes educational workshops for visitors.
Photo Credit: Zagreb Tourist Board (Julien Duval, Hrvoje Pilic, Mirsad Mehulic, Igor Nobilo)
Explore Zagreb in more depth:
- Museum of Illusions: You won’t believe your eyes!
- Roomescape Zagreb: Incredibly exciting role-playing game!
- Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb