Christmas Croatia – Zagreb’s Advent Markets
By Saron Lease, 22nd November 2023
If you have a weakness for a Christmas Market you have to head for Zagreb, Croatia’s stylish capital city. They don’t just have one Christmas Market they have more than 25! The markets usually begin in late November, but in 2023 it is 2nd December, lasting until 7th January 2024. The Zagreb market regularly comes into the top 5 European Christmas markets. Have a look at the beauty of the city transformed with lights.
Zagreb does love its markets and they do it in style. Not just the usual mulled wine and wooden tree ornaments, they have everything covered from local specialities to the weird and wonderful.
What to expect
It’s a delight for the foodie – Gajeva Street just off the main square is where stalls sell local specialities from Slovacia to Dalmatia. Across at the Fuliranje, there is a more trendy ‘vibe’ with food stalls giving their own modern twists on the usual classics. Strossmayer Square caters to the growing craft beer crowd, whilst Zrinjevac Park likes traditional with lots of fairy lights, colourful sweets and decorations.
To work off all those calories have a wander along to Zagreb’s railway station. Just opposite is King Tomislav’s Square which is transformed (yes the whole square!) into an Ice Park. Look out also for the Winterland funfair, with a big wheel. Also the artisanal jewellery and accessories are on sale at Artomat. This is an arts-and-crafts fair held at the Croatian Fine Arts Association (HDLU). This annual event runs through December.
The children are not forgotten at this magical time. The ‘Story Fixer’ character arrives at the Children’s Theatre, the park is transformed into a crystal ice park, a chocolate museum, children’s creative workshops, to name but a few attractions.
This year, the festival will feature a Zagreb Christmas ‘songbook’ with music presented in a range of events, both arranged as concerts or on a more ad hoc basis. Most of the markets also have some kind of music stage set up to add to the festive feel, and even the trams are decorated for Christmas and have Santa drivers! If a visit in before Christmas isn’t possible, don’t worry as it’s on until the 7th January, so enjoy your home yuletide celebrations, give the January sales a miss and head for some extended Noel at the Zagreb Christmas market.
Photos: © Gloria.hr & Putovnica.net
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