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The Real Christmas Magic is Happening in Zagreb

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After winning the best Christmas Market Award for 3 years in a row (2016, 2017 &2018) it will be interesting to see what will Zagreb prepare for this year.

In the last couple of years, Zagreb rose to become a prominent Christmas destination. Croatia has a strong Christmas tradition and now our beautiful advent customs and unique atmosphere are attracting guests from all over the world.

The Upper Town
The Upper Town

Christmas in Zagreb is everything you ever dreamed of your Christmas to be.

It all starts in early December.

Beginning of December, the metamorphosis of Zagreb city center is already in full swing. Decorations, street installations, thematic parks, open-air stages for theater and music performances – the fairytale is about to begin.

And then, when every corner, and every square, and every passage, and every window are done decorating, the light of thousands of Christmas lamps finally lighten up the streets. The scents of gingerbread and mulled wine fill the air. Advent in Zagreb may start.

For 20 days of the Advent season, Zagreb transforms into a festival of colors, gastronomy and outdoor events.

Let’s take a quick tour:

The Jelačić Square

Traditionally, Advent in Zagreb starts on Jelačić Square, the main city square in Zagreb.

The giant Advent wreath will once again encircle the Manduševac fountain, and candles will be lit one by one on each Sunday throughout the month, until the very Christmas Eve when you can find the wreath in its full shine.

The Jelačić Square
The Jelačić Square
On the other side of the square, a 25-meters-tall Christmas tree shows off its glorious decorations, blistering and shiny, inviting the youngest ones to play games underneath its branches. The music on the main square is mostly dedicated to the traditional folk music of Croatia, while somehow more modern music styles can be heard from the direction of a nearby European Square.

The European Square

The Advent program on the European Square is designed to satisfy the music taste of younger audience with bands playing an open-air stage, stylistically ranging from rock to electronic music, and everything in between.

The European Square

As you enjoy the music, the best Croatian chefs and restaurants fight to please your appetite, serving their latest touch on various street food and winter cocktails.

On the European Square, you will get the picture of who is who in the Zagreb gastronomy scene. More cliched cuisine, however, waits for you at Zrinjevac.

The Zrinjevac

Zrinjevac is a beautiful park just a little south from Jelačić Square.

It’s the beloved promenade with charming alleys of 220 plane trees, fountains and a concert pavilion at the center of it.

The Zrinjevac
The Zrinjevac

Advent here consists of market stalls selling warm food, with a particular emphasis on traditional Croatian dishes like goulash, sour cabbage rolls, smoked legs of pig or braised cabbage with home-made pasta. Or if the sweet is the way you like it – then a homemade Štrukli (cheesy pastry) or Fritule, deep-fried dough balls sprinkled with icing sugar for dessert.

Christmas evergreen music and waltzes resound from the pavilion stage. Big bands and combos are exchanging constantly. The sound of the golden swing era is inviting you to dance joyously, with glasses full and souls filled.

The Ice Skate Park on the King Tomislav square

If you continue further down to the south you will need ice skates.

But, don’t worry if you don’t have one, or you’ve never been to ice-skating before. Even better, because ice-skating under the stary, winter-bright, night sky above the King Tomislav square, surrounded with thousands of decorative lamps and scents of Christmas in the air, is your perfect first-time experience.

The Ice Skate Park on the King Tomislav square
The Ice Skate Park on the King Tomislav square

Zagreb ice-park on King Tomislav square is proclaimed the best open-air ice-park in Europe for several years now.

It’s the universal fun-park for all – an advanced ice-skaters showing off their chic on ice, and total beginners laughing their guts out while maintaining all impossible poses, shared and liked afterward throughout the social networks.
If an ice-skating in pair is your thing, nowhere in the world will you find a more romantic spot for the darlings in love? Except, maybe in Zagreb’s Upper Town.

The Upper Town

Zagreb’s Upper Town, the historic center of the city, is reserved for those in search of a more likely romantic ambient. The same is in the Advent season.

With its panoramic views over the city, its tiny streets and historical buildings, all highly decorated, it’s a perfect spot for long walks and taking photographs that will eternalize the memory of your love Christmas vacation in Zagreb.

The bars and street food stands are here only to complement the magic, and if you enter the gallery of Klovićevi dvori even the promise of white Christmas will finally be fulfilled for you and your chosen one. We won’t spoil the moment, but invite you to discover what’s it all about yourself.

If you ever dreamed of a perfect Christmas, Zagreb is where you will find it at.

Your CTC Team, S.J.

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