Only hours before this article was published, CNN listed Zagreb as Top 15 Christmas markets in the world. And truly, wandering through Advent in Zagreb, it is hard not to notice this unique feeling glimpsing around everyone’s heads, gardens and rooftops.
UPDATE: Zagreb was just pronounced the best Christmas destination for 2018. as well!
In the past three years, Advent in Zagreb was award-winning as number one by European Best Destinations. And for those living here, it is even harder not noticing the progress made in just a couple of years for the Advent in Zagreb. Many factors play a role in this enormous praise by plenty, from the general uprising of the city’s popularity to dedicating work coming from hospitality and tourism workers. But without a doubt, most significant are the people here, who live this spirit throughout the month of Decemeber.
Oh yes, it’s that time of the year again. Here is the best Zagreb’s offering.
ZRINJEVAC – Zrinjevac park
Zrinjevac park is where the Christmas magic in Zagreb starts, so shall we. Every year, traditional turning the lights on marks the beggining of Advent. Music Pavilion is in the middle where the various bands are playing and singing each and every night during December, and by some part into January. Pavilion is circled by small houses, or štandovi, offering you refreshments.
Working hours: it is opened until 11 p.m. on weekdays and Sundays, and to 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Ending on 7th of January.
ICE PARK – Trg kralja Tomislava
Continue 200 metres towards the Central railway station, and you’ll stumble upon a 2000 square metres ice park with following content. Try your ice skating skills on the historic King Tomislav square, while enjoying in theme disco parties and a great DJ. As from last year, ice park features a small viewpoint stretching horizons on entire Square. Small wooden houses next to the park will not leave you thirsty nor hungry.
Admission and working hours: roughly 2,70 EUR for night skating or 2 EUR during the day + 2,70 EUR skates rent. Everyday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Ending on 7th of January.
FOOLING AROUND – Strossmayerov trg
And right between Zrinjevac and Ice park is where our next destination lies: Strossmayer square. Fooling around was set in a different location last year, but decision to relocate will help integrating Zagreb Christmas market perhaps even further. What separetes Fooling around from the last two is a bit more loosened atmosphere, typically crowded with younger generations and presenting gastronomy from different parts of Europe. Worth noting that, in the last six years, Fooling held more than 500 concerts and performances!
Working hours: opened until 11 p.m. on weekdays and Sundays, and to 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Ending January 1st.
DVORIŠTA (ADVENT COURTYARDS)
Experience Advent in some of the most exquisite courtyards in Zagreb, with everyday live performances from 7-10 p.m. This year’s edition is taking place on four locations: Balbi palace, Amade palace, Zagreb City museum and private courtyard Milovac. You will not believe how different this is from everything else, and since one of the residents’ favourites, it’s a must visit.
Working hours: everyday from 5-11 p.m, and from 10 a.m. on Saturdays. Ending on 23rd of December.
EUROPEAN SQUARE – Europski trg
Yet another location full of young and creative people, with different performances every day. Monday is keen to Soul sessions, then comes the Ruby Tuesday, Swing Wednesday, Thursday is known as Saxmax, a DJ on Friday, Disco Saturdays and Christmas jam on Sundays. Every day a fresh start, right?
Working hours: most of performances between 8 and 10 p.m. Ending 6th of January.
ADVENT ON STROSS – Strossmayerovo šetalište
Each event has its own charm, but what if you are looking for the most romantic spot? Our pick would be Strossmayer promenade, the pumping heart of the Upper town. Offering more than a stunning view on Zagreb beneath you, no one will be left indifferent. As organizers put it, it’s like a small town of it’s own, with extremely rich music programme happening every evening.
Working hours: food and drink stands opened until 11 p.m. Live music on Sundays from 12 to 2 p.m.
LIVE NATIVITY SCENE – Zagrebačka katedrala
What has also become a tradition in Zagreb is the Live Nativity scene in front of the Cathedral. Feel inspired after seeing the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem played by the people from Cenacolo community, as well as the three Wise men, shepards and other important figures. Children are especially energetic after seeing farm animals walking among them.
Working hours: starting from 17th of December and lasting until 27th (with additional two on 1th and 6th of January), everyday (except Christmas) at 4.15, 5 and 7 p.m.
ADVENT IN KLOVIĆEVI DVORI – Jezuitski trg
This amazing Gallery in the Upper town will also hold numerous concerts and culinary delicacies, apart from being one of the top places to visit when in Zagreb. A large frame with special effects will be put next to famous viewpoint, helping you achieve that perfect photograph while having an unforgettable experience on Advent in Zagreb.
Admission and working hours: promotional price of approximately 1,30 EUR (Gallery ticket) for the duration of Advent and between 7-10 p.m.
GRIČ TUNNEL – Mesnička ulica
This underground tunnel, connecting Radićeva and Mesnička street, was opened to public just last year. It was originally designed as a bomb shelter, and was for many years neglected. Thanks to creative people, this tunnel has become one of the most recognizable aspects of Advent in Zagreb. Its 350 metres of length was enough to fill it with diverse content, and will be decorated in Charles Dickens style to 19th of December. After that, a theme named A wish will replace Charles, with choirs singing daily.
Working hours: opened from 9 to 10 in the evening. Closing 7th of January.
We have tunneled our way to the last item on the list. Even though we tried to pick out the best for you, no doubt you will stumble upon many other wonders. Have a cup of mulled wine and enjoy!