Visiting Advent in Zagreb

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Almost everyone knows Croatia as a wonderful summer destination, but that Croatia also has much to offer as a winter destination is less well known. Besides having beautiful ski resorts, Zagreb is transformed into a Christmassy fairy tale in winter. The capital turns into one big Christmas market during the December month. European Best Destinations has voted this Christmas market the best Christmas market in Europe three years in a row (in 2016, 2017 and 2018). Naturally, I wanted to experience this for myself.

From Amsterdam, I flew with Croatia Airlines to Zagreb in less than two hours. Once you arrive in the city, you don’t know where to look. Everywhere lights are shining and the most beautiful Christmas decorations can be seen. What I like is that the Christmas market is not in one location, but is spread throughout the city. The highlight is the large ice rink in the park near King Tomislav Square. Apart from ice skating in a magical setting, there are several stalls with food and drinks where you can relax and warm up with a local delicacy such as sarma: a traditional winter dish with sauerkraut, simmering in large pans.

Zagreb is divided into a lower town and an upper town. After the ice rink, I walked back into the city center, making my way from the lower town to the upper town. I did this using the world’s shortest cable car, located in Zagreb. At the top, in the square with St. Mark’s Church, known for its strikingly colored roof, stands a giant Christmas tree.

After a day wandering through Zagreb in Christmas atmosphere, I choose to have a nice dinner in the evening at a restaurant frequented only by locals: Stari Fijaker. Here you can eat delicious traditional dishes.

On the website Advent in Zagreb , you can explore what else the city has in store for you. A map indicates the must-visit points. Croatia at its finest. After this weekend, I can’t definitively say whether it’s more beautiful in winter or summer. Therefore, I’ll stick with: Croatia is always beautiful.

Ice skating rink during Advent in Zagreb

You can read more about a city trip to Zagreb here and here.

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