Visiting Zagreb Christmas market? In this post, we share all you need to know about Advent Zagreb including where to find the best venues, food, drinks, and souvenir stalls.
Long gone are days when Zagreb looked like a provincial village on a fair day during the Christmastime. Now, the Advent in Zagreb is one of the best in Europe. In fact, it got the title of The Best Christmas Market in Europe for three consecutive years.
Even more, it seems like the fun has just begun, as the program gets better and more creative every year. And 2019/2020 is no different.
The entire town turns into a Christmas fairytale with tons of fun, concerts, workshops, exciting street food, mulled wine, and craft beers. And endless opportunities for lovely photos.
We bring you an overview of the program and location of Advent Zagreb 2019/2020. This year's Zagreb Christmas market theme is The Nutcracker!
The Zagreb Christmas market opens on November, 30th 2019, and lasts until January, 7th 2020.
Table of Contents
Advent Zagreb: venues and program
The Christmas market in Zagreb takes place in various streets and squares all over the Downtown and the Upper Town. So, if you really want to experience Advent in Zagreb, the best is to stay in Zagreb at least for two nights (three days). We personally love the most atmosphere of Fuliranje at the Strossmayer Square, and all three Upper Town's venues: Matos Cafe, Stross, and Klovicevi dvori.
Ban Jelacic Square
The most imaginative and photo-perfect scenography, a real Christmas fairytale takes place at Zagreb’s main square. A large Advent wreath makes a ring around the Mandusevac fountain, while the entire area between the fountain and Johann Franck bar becomes a magical white forest.
Add to that exciting food and drinks offer, DJs, live music at nighttime, and special children program in the morning, and you have loads of reasons to hang around Zagreb’s main square during the festivities. This year's novelty includes a music program created in cooperation with the Ethnographic Museum in Zagreb.
A small pedestrian square just behind the main square, European square is a place where young creative Zagreb crowd hangs during Zagreb Christmas.
Here you will find interesting clothes and souvenir stands, food stalls, and an everyday program full of concerts, exhibitions and alike.
At an old cinema, Kino Tuskanac, you can enjoy a series of Christmas movies. The program includes classics like The Wizard of Oz, Some Like It Hot, and The Royal Tenenbaums. You will find something for the whole family.
This lovely covered passage between Ilica and Cjetni Square gets fully decorated with lights and the Nutcrackers and it makes you feel like walking amidst a winter wonderland.
Bogoviceva Street is the main shopping street during the Christmas in Zagreb. The wooden houses are decorated and adorned, and they offer various crafts, ornaments, winter accessories, candies, and other Christmas stuff. Wait!, there are more sausages. And beer.
Zrinjevac is a small park in the center of Zagreb and the place where you'll find a fairy-tale Christmas. Park has a charming alley of plane trees and a nice music pavilion in the center of the park. During the festivities, live music plays all day long. Lightening and decorations are beautiful.
Local artisans offer handmade crafts, unique souvenirs, and ornaments. Food stands offer Zagreb classics: cabbage cloths, fried apples, baked cheese rolls (strukle), and mulled wine.
The Christmas market officially opens with the lightening of Christmas lights on Zrinjevac Square.
Squeezed between Zrinjevac Park and King Tomislav Square, Strossmayer Square is a place for foodies with an endless offer of exciting food stalls.
The scene in Strossmayer Square is called Fuliranje (Fooling Around) and it is a throwback to Zagreb in the 30s.
From soups served in bread buns, and homemade sausages to dim sum, bao buns, Hawaiian poke, and gourmet hotdogs, the Stross Square is also the best place for foodies.
When we visit Zagreb during Christmas, we spend the majority of our time at the Strossmayer Square. The atmosphere is fun, and this place has the best food stalls. Last year hits included pulled lamb sandwich from RougeMarin, 100% beef burger with yummy bacon mayo from Mason burgers, dan dan noodles from Soi, and crazily tasty hazelnut cake and mini Gugelhupf from Le Kolac. I am getting hungry just thinking about that!
King Tomislav Square
Watch as the entire King Tomislav square becomes a huge ice skating rink.
Add to that good music playing in the background, and about 20 wooden food-stalls serving anything from homemade sausages, goulash, street sarma to pancakes, fritule, and other sweet delicacies, mulled wine and warm drinks.
Popular sweets include fritule, traditional sweet pastry topped with powder sugar or chocolate sauce; knedle, boiled dumplings with plums and rolled in bread crumbs.
Advent in the Tunnel
A nice pedestrian tunnel under Gric neighborhood gets revamped with Christmas scenery. This year it is all about bringing back childhood memories with the Nutcracker theme. Yes, it includes a giant nutcracker!
Advent at the Croatian National Theatre
Near one of the most prominent buildings in Zagreb, Croatian National Theatre, you can join in the afternoon for a cup of tea, and a rich music program including classical, jazz and soul music, live concerts, and DJs.
Advent on Stross
A lovely promenade in Zagreb’s Uptown, Stross promenade is one of the most romantic spots in Zagreb. Here you will find more food and souvenir stalls, but also daily live music, DJ enriched evenings, weekend arts & crafts workshops.
Every evening, at 6 pm 100 lamps on Stross are hand-lit.
Cafe de Matos
One of the most romantic spots among Zagreb Christmas locations, Cafe de Matos is at the east end of Stross Promenade.
Food stalls, bars, live music, and street performers and the view over Zagreb draw people time and time again to Cafe de Matos.
Advent in Klovicevi dvori
This gallery in the old town along with a large Gradec plateau becomes a must-visit spot during Christmas in Zagreb. Free open-air concerts, various workshops, and exhibitions, but also one of the best photo locations having Zagreb's Cathedral and red roofs as a backdrop.
This year they even have a small skating rink that we went to skate on with our nieces and nephew. The food court at Klovicevi dvori is the second best after Fuliranje.
Advent in Prekrizje
If you are interested in Zagreb architecture from the 1940s, head to the villa Prekrizje. The villa was built by famed Croatian architect, Ivan Zemljak, and it's full of traditional elements from that time like embroidery, ceramic wood stoves, thatched roof, and alike. There are also many paintings by local artists hung on the walls.
Advent in Maksimir Park
A newly added Advent Zagreb location, Maksimir Park will certainly draw the visitors in with its rich family-oriented program including workshops, children playgroups, and good food and drinks offer.
Christmas Zagreb nativity scene
Oh, yes, I almost forgot. Christmas is not only about eating, drinking, and shopping. It actually has real meaning. You know, Jesus actually got born on this day. So do visit Zagreb Cathedral. They have an awesome Living Nativity Scene: real people portraying the Holy Family, Three Kings, shepherds, and the rest from Bethlehem, including stable and live animals. Rocking!
For more info on Advent in Zagreb, check Zagreb Advent official website.
Best places to stay during Zagreb Christmas market
Zagreb gets really busy during the Christmas Zagreb. This is especially true on weekends when many people from other parts of Croatia visit, but also tourists from the neighboring countries. Add to that Zagreb's regular tourist influx, and you get a town full of people.
Many streets are closed for traffic, and there is a special driving regime at this time. For this reason, we strongly advise you to stay in downtown Zagreb to avoid any traffic mess.
Also bear in mind that as the demand for Zagreb accommodation increases, so do the prices. If you look into lowering your accommodation cost during your Advent Zagreb visit, consider visiting during the week (and not on weekends), and look into vacation rentals rather than hotel stays.
For the ultimate luxury stay in the hotel Esplanade near the central train station and the ice park. If you would like to try something new, why not stay at the brand new Hilton Canopy in Branimirova Street, or Amadria Park Hotel Capital in Jurisiceva Street, right next to the main square? For a budget stay check Hotel Jägerhorn in a lovely courtyard just off Ilica Street, or hotel Jadran, on busy but central Vlaska Street.
If you prefer the comfort of fully-equipped apartments in Zagreb, check Irundo's Downtown Apartments, or Tesla Boutique Apartments. Both offer various apartments in downtown Zagreb, centrally located to easily visit all Advent Zagreb locations by walk.
Swanky Mint, Main Square, and Shappy are all great hostels in downtown Zagreb. Besides dorm rooms, each hostel also offers double rooms with a private bathroom.
Here is also our full post on Zagreb accommodation.
Car rental in Zagreb
You basically won't need a car to visit the Zagreb Christmas market. Even more, the car can just be great trouble in Zagreb during the Christmastime. However, if you plan on visiting surrounding villages, towns, or even make it to the coast for a day or two during the Christmastime, here is our full guide on car rental in Zagreb.
Things to do in Zagreb
There are plenty of things to do on Advent Zagreb alone, and there is no really need to look for those extra things to do. However, maybe this is your only time in Zagreb, and you want to experience the best of it, and not only Christmas Zagreb. If that's the case, head to our full post on the best things to do in Zagreb.
Have you visited Zagreb during Christmastime? How did you like it? Let us know in the comments below.
22 thoughts on “Advent in Zagreb”
Thanks for this insightful post about the Christmas Market in Zagreb. I am planning to visit with my hubby in December 2017, perhaps during the first week before it gets really, really busy there. :)
I am wondering if there are budget accommodations that are decent within walking distance to most markets/stalls in Zagreb so we don’t have to take any public transport as I am not sure if English is widely spoken in Croatia. I will really appreciate your input. Thanks!
there are lots of affordable accommodation in Zagreb, private rooms in hostels, private apartments, and even hotels are cheap if you book them ahead. We suggest to you to book now through Booking.com. They don’t charge you up front, and you can cancel up to 48 hours before arrival. Please use this link if you decide to book through them: https://www.frankaboutcroatia.com/recommends/booking
And don’t worry, english is widely spoken in Croatia.
Btw. I hate that Christmas tent.
You write in such a nice manner so “fluffy” and easy to follow and, I am sure, very useful for all people who intend to visit our country. I can only add that strukle can also be served boiled in a soup or you can just bake those cooked strukli for a short time and get something similar to lasagne but better. Also, I would suggest you to try some mlinci, and I am sure that you must have already tasted sir i vrhnje (fresh, unprocessed cottage cheese with sour cream and garlic or onion or both added).
Greetings from Lago di Bundek, Zagreb
Hi Peregrine, thanks a lot! I love strukli. I have yet to taste mlinci. I’m sure they are delicious.
Mlinci are easy to prepare. You can buy those that are already baked and you just pour hot water over them and let them be for some short time to soften to taste (some like them very soft, some like them a bit al dente). Then you get rid of the water and pour some hot fat over it. You can use any kind of fat. Since I am lacto-ovo-vegetarian I use butter or olive oil and sometimes add some garlic so that the heat activates its smell, but you can use any grease from some meat you bake. It is not the food for weight-watchers, of course:).
Hi Peregrine, thanks for the recipe. I will try it out.
So wish we were going to be there right now instead of 2 months from now! Looks absolutely amazing. Hoping some of the holiday spirit will still be around throughout the Winter!
Jeff, great to hear you’ll be visiting Croatia this winter. Let us know if we can help you with anything (e.g. with accommodation, or with anything else you might need).
Love the sound of these markets, your photos are great too! Hope to visit Croatia next year, we are not all that far away! :)
Thanks for your comment, Emma. Let us know if you are around, and we would buy you a beer (and sausages :) )
You had me at strukle and mulled wine. OK, and grappa. Add a few pretty lights and I think I’d enjoy a Croatian Christmas. Really fun post, congrats! Happy holidays!
Lunaguava, thanks! So glad you’ve liked it. Happy holidays!
I don’t see why anyone would complain about this – it looks like a lot of fun!
Thanks, Jess! There is really something for everyone. Main square, though, is a bit too cluttered, and many locals do complain.
I love those huts that are painted the different colours! So different from all the other ones. And a tent full of beer and sausage? I’m game.
Yes, Adelina, the painted houses are really nice. I like them too.
Love how you broke it down for the different interests people may have. If there’s sausages and beer though, I’m there! I love all the pretty lights! :)
There’s plenty of beer and sausages :).
I am very much looking forward to heading here next week. It looks super romantic. I have also pinned to my #SundayTraveler board.
Thanks! Looking forward to reading your impressions on Advent in Zagreb.