When thinking about Christmas market in Europe, your first thoughts probably go to the traditional German Christmas Market, winter ambiance of the aristocratic Vienna with fairy-tale decorations or the vivid streets of London with thousands of lightning bubbles, glittering installments and dazzling ornaments at every footstep.
Let it snow, Christmas market in Zagreb, Photo: www.adventzagreb.com
Maybe visiting Croatia for the Christmas market is not the first thing that comes into your mind, but if you continue with reading this blog post on Christmas market in Croatia, I believe you will get amazed and seriously consider it as must-visit Christmas market in Europe for at least once in a lifetime.
Christmas market in Croatia is seriously competing with other European long-established Christmas market destinations. Zagreb, capital of Croatia, is voted for the best European Christmas market destination three years in a row. Zagreb is also the most likely to be crowned with the 2019 European best Christmas Market title.
Advent in Zagreb Official Badge by www.adventzagreb.com :
If you prefer warmer weather, than spending winter holidays on the Adriatic could be the better option for you. Here you can find out what is so special about Christmas time on the Adriatic Coast. We highlight the winter in Dubrovnik in the very south of Croatia and the second largest Christmas market in Croatia, the festive market in the city of Split in Central Dalmatia. There is also Sibenik city as raising Advent destination in Dalmatia.
Advent in Zagreb Streets, Photo: www.adventzagreb.com
Christmas Market in Zagreb – Advent in Zagreb
Let's start from the beginning, with the biggest and the greatest Christmas market in Croatia – Zagreb Christmas market. The Zagreb Christmas market opens on 1st December and the closing date is 6th January.The official name of the Zagreb Christmas market is Advent in Zagreb. Here is the link to the official website with all the information and updates on events.
VIDEO: Advent in Zagreb by ZAGREBTOURIST
Zagreb city itself transforms into a big Christmas market. You can find wooden stalls selling authentic souvenirs, homemade cheese, and smoked meat products. The street food scene is tempting and will make happy even the ones with the finest palates. You can try the classical Christmas market specialties like sausages, mulled wine and ginger cakes. But not only to be left on classical offer, in Zagreb you will find plenty of Croatian domestic specialties like street sarma, fritule, dozens of different spirits – rakijas and many other authentic goods. The international kitchen is also evenly represented.
Advent in Zagreb, Photo: www.zagrebadvent.com
The special atmosphere happens and the most attractive events take place at the several big squares in the city center. You can start with the main square, and when you get warmed enough with the mulled wine and when the stomach is full, take a stroll around vibrant streets in the centers and visit several Christmas market venues within a 5-minute walk.
You can find the timetable of different events, live music concerts, exhibitions, children workshops in Zagreb during the Christmas market time at the Zagreb Christmas map.
The Christmas market Zrinjevac, Zagreb Photo: www.adventzagreb.com
The best Christmas market venues in Zagreb
- The main Square in Zagreb - Christmas fairy-tale
- Ice Park - Put the skates on and enter skating ring while the live Christmas music entertains the crowd enjoying warm beverages and tasteful.
- Strossmayer Park
- Zrinjevac Park – One of the most vivid places with live music every day, wooden stalls with street food and
Ice Park in Zagreb, Photo from www.adventzagreb.com
Not only in Croatia, but the Christmas market in Zagreb was also named the best Christmas market in Europe third-time in a row, since 2016 and it is seriously competing to be crowned with the title of the best European Christmas Market in 2019.
Christmas market in the south of Croatia – Christmas market on the Adriatic
Dubrovnik Winter Festival, Photo:www.dubrovackizimskifestival.com
While there is a great chance that you will experience snow in Zagreb during the winter time, the south of Croatia has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters. So, if you are not so big fan of cold weather and would rather spend the winter holiday season in the warmer destination, cities Dubrovnik, Split or Sibenik could be your choice.
Advent Festival in Split – Winter Joys Split 2019
While the capital of Croatia, Zagreb was named the best European Christmas market in 2018, the third year in a row, Split Christmas market is growing and offering a completely different experience of Christmas market.
VIDEO: Advent in Split bySplit Tourist Board
The Split city hosts the second largest Christmas market in Croatia, right after the best European Christmas market in Zagreb.
The main events of Advent Festival are being held in the seafront promenade in the city center. There are also several other places around Diocletian's Palace where you can find wooden stalls serving mulled wine, homemade rakijas, andCroatian authentic dishes.
Advent in Split at the waterfront, Photo: Facebook Tourist Board Split
In Split, you can taste soparnik – the local authentic dish made of thin pastry and swiss chard spiced with domestic olive oil and garlic. Soparnik used to be the food of poor people in past, and nowadays it finds its place on the table on every festive occasion in Dalmatia.
What is so special about Advent time and Christmas holidays in Split?
Advent in Split,Photo: Facebook Tourist Board Split
The peak of Christmas markets in Split is definitely happening in the New Years Eve where the popular performers entertain large audience gathered in the open-air concert followed by the long fireworks in the first minutes of new years.
Christmas market on the Pjaca Square in Split, Photo: Facebook Tourist Board Split
There is saying in Croatia that the people from Split are always a little bit different than others. You can experience that if you visit Split in the holiday season. The bravest of the young males will celebrate the arrival of the new year by jumping in the sea.
Swimming in the middle of winter is maybe not so wise idea, but in Split is considered an act of bravery.
At the main Split beach, Bacvice Beach, you'll see many local people in swimsuits playing popular game picigin on the New Years Day. Basically, it is a game playing in the shallow sea where the group of people hit the small ball in the air and the goal is to keep the ball as long as possible in the air. That is the goal, but the hidden goal is to make attractive jumps to „save the ball“ and entertain the audience.
Christmas market in Split, Photo: Facebook Tourist Board Split
Split has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and lots of sunny days. Sometimes you will feel cold wind biting your cheeks but mostly you can except gentle winter. The main seafront promenade is the center of all happenings throughout the year, and it is so in Christmas time. Having coffee or drinking mulled wine at the waterfront while the sun shines and festive music comes from all sides, in the open cafes with Christmas decoration is certainly something different than Christmas markets we are all used to.
Stradun – the main street of Dubrovnik Old Town in Christmas time, Photo: www.dubrovackizimskifestival.com
Dubrovnik Winter Festival
If you are familiar with Croatia, then definitely you are familiar with Dubrovnik. This beautiful historic town on the Adriatic Sea has been deservedly the most wanted holiday destination in Croatia.
While in the peak of the summer season Dubrovnik mostly gets too crowded by visitors all over the world, shoulder season and winter season in Dubrovnik are offering a more relaxed atmosphere and maybe even more different things to experience.
Dubrovnik Tourist Board hosts Dubrovnik Winter festival to keep visitors and locals entertained all year round. Dubrovnik Winter Festival starts in the middle of November and ends in the early spring.
Dubrovnik in Winter, Photo: www.dubrovackizimskifestival.com
Highlights of the Winter Festival Dubrovnik are the following programmes
- Advent in the City
- New Year's Eve
- The Festivity of St. Blaise
- Valentine's Day
- Dubrovnik Carnival
Why is Dubrovnik worth-visiting in winter?
Christmas time in Dubrovnik, Photo: www.dubrovackizimskifestival.com
Christmas market ambiance in Dubrovnik is really special. Tastefully decorated Old Walls with the lightning that gives an incredibly magical touch brings you way back in past and you easily start daydream about the life as it once was here. Festive installments and Christmas ornaments, wooden stalls with authentic souvenirs and domestic food are all around and wandering the streets of the old town of Dubrovnik gives such an enjoyment.
Sibenik Christmas market, Photo: www. adventura.sibenik.hr
Sibenik is one more destination on the Croatian coast that we put on our Christmas market map.Advent in Sibenik or Sibenik Adventura is one of the youngest Christmas markets in Croatia. While several years ago, probably no one from local residents could not imagine having the big Christmas market in Sibenik, that significantly changed.
Christmas market in Sibenik or Adventura starts on the Saint Nicolas day, 6th of December and ends on the 3rd January, few days after the New Year celebration.
Advenutra is first and only plastic-free Christmas market in Croatia. That means that all the food and drinks are served in ecologically acceptable packages. Also, there is no place for plastic bags in souvenir shops.
The main Advent events are taking place in the city park where all the trees are full of Christmas lights. There are also open-air live music concerts almost every evening, entertainment programmes for children, ice rink and many more.
Advent in Sibenik, Photo: www.adventura.sibenik.hr
What are your impressions of the Christmas market in Croatia? Have you already visited one of the highlighted destinations or some other place in Croatia in a holiday season? Feel free to share your experience and photos with us! We wish merry festive season to all our readers!