More than Words

Advent in Zagreb - Why is it magical?

It's official! Advent in Zagreb has started, and it is as magical as always. Everyone is talking about it. Zagrebians are leaving their warm homes and gathering in the streets. People from nearby towns and all over the world are coming to experience its magic. CNN, The Mirror, Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Independent have all been buzzing about Advent in Zagreb, ranking it as one of the must-see locations this year. After all, Zagreb has been voted the best Christmas fair in Europe three years in a row. You are probably wondering, what is all the fuss about? What is so special about Advent in Zagreb?

The streets are dressed in holiday lights, the air smells of cinnamon treats, hot chocolate, mulled wine and other Christmas delicacies. You can hear the church bells, and Christmas songs jingling through the air. Zagreb has once again become a Christmas wonderland. This year there are plenty of novelties to explore, but also enjoy the good old locations and food specialties. As there is no better way to cool down on hot summer nights than by eating ice cream, there is no better way to warm up on cold winter nights than to sip on some mulled wine or hot chocolate, while exploring the Christmas fair. So.. let’s find out why Advent in Zagreb is so magical. Here are my top 5 reasons.

Zagreb in Christmas lights 

Photo credit: Fotografije Zagreba

Walking down Vlaška street, the main square, king Tomislav square, or the upper town, you can enjoy the bright Christmas lights draped over the city. Look up at the Art Nouveau buildings of the city center sparkling softly as you can almost feel the light. One of the main staples of advent, and my favorite spot, are the little wooden houses on the Strossmayer's promenade, or as we like to call it - Štross. The colorful wooden houses that smell of cinnamon and cookies take me back to my carefree childhood days when we drank hot chocolate and watched Christmas cartoons. Another must-see, is of course, the big Christmas tree on the main square with 3D decorations. What is Christmas without a Christmas tree?

Never ending experience

Photo credit: Fotografije Zagreba

One of the things that I like about Advent in Zagreb is that the experience never ends, and every year there is something different that amazes me. Do you want to see a polar Advent? You can- Zagreb ZOO offers an educational program for kids, anything from workshops to ZOO tours. If you are a fan of miniature art there is Backo mini express displaying Zagreb’s most known sights. For those who don’t like the crowd, Špansko has a rich offer of food, drinks, and music for visitors.

I know it is said beauty is in the small things, however you don’t want to miss the main Advent locations. If you like skating like I do, Ice Park on Tomislavac is something you have to visit this year. The ice rink extends through the square so you will be skating with a beautiful view of the Art Pavilion and Zagreb. Fuliranje, Baš Naš Advent, and Advent in the upper town are well-known locations for a reason. Delicious local food, warm drinks, music, and a great atmosphere which never disappoint.

For food lovers!

Photo credit: Fotografije Zagreba

Who wouldn't want to try the local food and drinks when visiting a Christmas fair? For those who have a sweet tooth- try fritule, apple pie, and my favorite - germknedle. I recommend those with vanilla cream. For local traditional food look to almost any corner where you can find locals offering a wide range of Croatian staples, like sausages, češnjofka or Šlepani pajcek - also recommended to try. 

After food always come drinks. Mulled wine is a favorite amongst locals. If you aren't a wine lover, don’t worry, there is a wide range of craft beer, juices, and hot chocolate. I must admit that mulled wine is my go-to drink in winter.

It is always a good time for some music

Photo credit: Fotografije Zagreba

Christmas carols are heard in concert halls and churches, in museums and foyers. Music is coming from city balconies, the streets and squares… 

You can hear anything, from classical to pop music, from a capella to only instrumental. Many local artists perform their songs in the streets- another experience that contributes to the unique winter wonderland setting. Even if you don’t understand Croatian, you will have a great time I am sure. Also, for those who want to show off their dance moves - BAŠ NAŠ at Klovićevi Dvori is a spot to visit. 

Winter Wonderland

Photo credit: J.Duval, TZZG

This year Advent in Zagreb has a new location, and it is a dream come true for those who like to have fun.

As part of the Winter Park in Tuđmanac, one of the biggest attractions is the Zagreb Eye. The ferris wheel is 36 meters high and will give you a unique experience and view of the Advent atmosphere in the city. As for the young ones- they can enjoy bungee jumping, trampolines, and maze games. What would you choose?

All in all, I hope you will have as much fun as I do while visiting Advent. As Michael Buble sings: Have a holly jolly Christmas… and visit the magical Advent in Zagreb!

Header Image credit: Fotografije Zagreba

Author: Monika Jugović