You still want Christmas to look like Christmas, right? Well, Zagreb won the official European “Best Christmas Market” in 2016, 2017 and 2018

Photo: Zagreb Tourist Board

November 06.2019.

So, you’ve picked Zagreb and its Christmas Market this year - but what else can you do there?

Planning your Christmas vacation can be stressful, the cold, the crowds, the fickle weather... but it really doesn’t have to be so. You can have it all if you’re just in the right place.

Trip designer Anna Maria Perak

Blog written by Anna Maria Frid Avid skier and swimmer, fluent in 5 languages. She spends most of her free time trekking, skiing, cycling, ice skating or simply walking through the woods.

Everybody around you knows that you prefer a more traditional Christmas and that all the commercialism and shopping and craziness aren’t your cup of tea. But you still want Christmas to look like Christmas, right?

The ornaments, the lights, the music, the odd cup of mulled wine while giggling with your friends or having a quick bite of traditional street food.

Zagreb Christmas Market is the perfect combo of traditional festivities and partying. And it is reachable by plane within two hours from anywhere in Europe 

What you’re looking for is a place that guarantees some good old-fashioned Christmas fun with just the right amount of traditional moments and this is just the place for you! We'll give you a few usefull tips so you can organize a trip yourself, or just take what is already a good base to build upon.

A place where Christmas is felt on every corner

You probably already know that Zagreb won the official European “Best Christmas Market” in 2016, 2017 and 2018, a great accomplishment of the Zagreb tourist board and local experience providers.

Zagreb is a place where the Christmas spirit can be felt on every corner, where each square in the city center is adorned, each street sparkles and glows and music plays almost throughout.

So, why Zagreb? Other than all the things listed above, this cozy middle European metropolis is reachable by plane from most European cities within two hours. Its winters are not that harsh but just wintery enough to provide the right Christmas-y feeling. Its people, definitely - this is our favorite time of year, we're all out and about! 

And if you decided that you’ve had enough of Christmas and you want something else to do, well, keep on reading and then you just might feel like giving your local expert a call and have them organize your trip for you.

Need something extra? Just ask, Zagreb has it all!

First of all, other than being a great Christmas destination, a close destination packed with great hosts, Zagreb is a beautiful city. It’s a must-see city! It’s big but not huge, just big enough for you to be able to walk around. And there is just so much to see. 

We have our Main Square, the Market, St Mark’s Church, the Lotrscak Tower, the Cathedral, the cannon, the pidgeons, the trams….so many things! But there are also many things outside Zagreb that might tickle your fancy.

Must see: Plitvice Lakes National Park

How about the Plitvice Lakes National Park? It’s just a two-hour drive from the city and you won’t believe what you’re seeing.

Famous for their 16 cascading lakes that form a gorgeous ring of water, Plitvice was declared a national park in 1949 and in 1979 UNESCO entitled it a World Heritage Site. It can rightfully be called the most magnificent place in all of Europe and they are an especially magnificent sight during the winter. 

Or you can just stay at the King Tomislav square in Zagreb, put on not your dancing shoes but your skates and glide… or just grab hold to the sides for dear life.

Secondly, the booze…..can you think of a better way to keep warm than liquor? Mulled wine at every step and also rakija (brandy), the local hard-core specialty. 

You'll get to taste a lot of local booze, but dont overdo it

This part of Croatia features rakija made of grapes (Lozovaca) or plums (Slivovitza) but there are many more. This strongly flavored brandy may also be made of herbs (Travarica), honey (Medovaca) or even mistletoe (Biska). It really depends on the region but the Christmas market in Zagreb has them all. You can taste each and every one, just don’t overdo it.

Numerous outdoor gigs and - museums!

The wooden-roofed stands sell everything, from craft toys to traditional sweets, fruit preserves, biscuits, and gingerbread hearts. The music program features almost 6 weeks of outdoor gigs so there is no way you will be bored. Away from the noise, you may want to visit one of the many museums Zagreb has to offer - my recommendation is the Museum of Broken Relationships (also knows as Brokenships) or the Museum of Illusions.

The Main Square divides the center in two - the Upper Town, the older part of the city where you can get lost in its small streets and find perfect picture moments and panoramic views of the Lower Town.

Coffee is not just a drink, it's the way of life here. So take your time, relax and enjoy 

This is the “serious” part of town with its restaurants, bars, designer boutiques, and shops. Apart from those two, visiting the botanic garden or the Zagreb Zoo is time well spent.

Remember, coffee drinking is also a big deal in Zagreb. If you want to “do it like a local”, you can always have a breather in one of the cafés found in the city center. Order a “kava” and just relax. Most of the terraces are open all year long, so you can grab a blanket and just watch the people go by.

And when you go home, make sure you take a souvenir - a Licitar heart or an authentic necktie, invention of the Croatian soldiers in the 17th century.

So you see, Zagreb can be more than just a few day trip to the Christmas Market. Just ask us anything you want to know. 

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