Zagreb is a charming capital city in the heart of Europe, which during the Advent time turns into a fairyland. After visiting dozens of Christmas markets around Europe, I can say without a single doubt that the one in Zagreb has the best atmosphere and most content, spread all around the city center. Not to mention that compared to any other European capital – the prices of food and drinks are much lower and their quality is higher. E.g. on the main square you can get mulled wine for 15 kn (around 2 euros) and an amazing sausage (our recommendation is to order Slavonska for 20 kn). Do not forget that Croatians are very picky when it comes to food and drinks – if it wasnt good, no one would eat or drink on the Christmas market 😉
The whole city has a magical atmosphere and everyone can find something for themselves. There are lots of activities for kids and I guess if our daughter had to list her top ten activities she enjoyed, she would do it without a problem 😉 Here is our top ten list of this year’s Advent in Zagreb activities and or places to visit:
1.Caffe de Matoš – definitely the most romantic spot. It is located in the Zagreb historical neighbourhood of Upper town in the easter part of Strossmayerovo šetalište (Strossmayer promenade). Apart from having a nice drink with the amazing view of the charming city of Zagreb, you can dance to the live performance of the street-style musicians every day from 18-20. Even though our daughter loves dancing I am not sure would she agree with us that this was the spot number one;)
2. Advent in the tunnel – unique spot in the city center, with live music performances and nice artistic scenography. Through this tunnel you can walk through a nice fairyland from entrance on Mesnička street to Radićeva. A spot you should not miss;)
3. Strossmayerovo šetalište – western part – either arriving there by funicular (the shortest one in Europe) or by foot from Upper town or Mesnička the amazing Advent atmosphere begins. Apart from great drinks and food, enjoying the view of the city, daily life music performances, your kids can join one of the numerous art workshops which are organized during weekends from 11-13 h and 17-19h:)
4. Croatian Railway museum– children’s favorite spot which is free to visit. It is decorated in the Christmas spirit and you can visit the exhibition of railway vehicles, take a tour where you ll learn more about Orient Express system and locomotives. For your kids this could be one of the top spots as on the weekends they can enjoy the ride on a railway model with smaller versions of locomotives. Just take care if you decide to take a ride with your kids to sit inside and not on the outer part of the wagon;)) If you are spending more time in Zagreb than you should definitely visit this place twice with your kids once on a weekend for a ride, and once either on Wednesday or Friday for the fun educational creative workshop organized for the youngest ones;)
5. Klovićevi dvori – one of the most idyllic spots in the city, with the beautiful surroundings of the upper town. If you are looking for an amazing photo session spot along with drinking delicious mulled wine this is the place to be;) On the weekends it is especially lively due to the live performances. And you just take the stairs down and you find yourself at Cafe de Matoš;)
6. Ice park in King Tomislav square – if you arrive to Zagreb with train this will be the first fairyland attraction you ll experience and with your train return ticket you can get the discount for the ice-skating sessions. Don’t forget to ask about the family group tickets and also if you want to save money go there during the morning session, when for a 4 member family with kids above six years old you ll pay 45 kn in total;) There are live music performances daily and you are just few steps away from the Fooling around spot.
7. Fooling around spot – located on the Strossmayer square. There you can enjoy best local food specialties, various artistic performances from clowns to fire-eaters and enjoy fooling around;)
8. Zrinjevac – experience the advent in one of the most beautiful parks of Zagreb. It is especially magical with the snow which we unfortunately did not experience this year. Here you can try some traditional Zagreb food (like Krpice sa zeljem (pasta with cabbage) and in the old music pavilion you can enjoy classical music and waltz.
9. European square – located just few meters from the main square (where you can daily enjoy listening to live performance of Croatian Christmas carols) you find yourself in this lively square where you can find some nice souvenirs, dance to the amazing live performances or take a look at some exhibition. As on the other spots you can get any kind of food from sweet delicious pancakes to traditional Christmas market sausages.
10. Marićev prolaz (passage) – decorated with white lamps you can take this passage to take you from the winterland in the city center (Bogovićeva street) to the Christmas experience of Zrinjevac. You ll find the entrance just next to the Hotel Dubrovnik.
I am quite sure that Natalia’s top list would look slightly different but I have no doubts if you decide to visit Zagreb during Advent you ll have a blast! Enjoy!!!