With charming markets, Christmas trees, festive decorations, and fairy lights every which way you look, Croatia’s capital really comes into its own during the holiday season. Here are some ways to get into the holiday spirit during your stay in Zagreb.
See the City Illuminated
At Christmas time, Zagreb is best explored at night, when the main city streets and squares are illuminated with twinkling lights. Festive evening walking tours allow you to see key sights, such as Marić Passage and Zrinjevac, decked out in their Advent finest while hearing about local holiday customs.
Visit the Christmas Story in Čazma
Since 2002 the Salaj family, who lives in the village of Grabovnica, about an hour’s drive from Zagreb, have been decorating their farm with millions of multicolored Christmas lights and elaborate festive displays. Taking a stroll around the property, which also features souvenir and food stands, is a sure-fire way to make you feel instantly festive.
Marvel at the Frozen Plitvice Lakes
While most visitors go to Plitvice National Park during summer, the UNESCO World Heritage–listed nature park is arguably more enchanting in winter. Hike through the empty, snow-sprinkled landscapes, and—depending on the weather—you may even encounter waterfalls frozen mid-flow.
Shop the Christmas Markets
Some of Zagreb’s adored Christmas markets have been voted the best in Europe by European Best Destinations for three years running. Shop for handmade gifts, listen to festive music, and sip mulled wine at Ban Jelačić Square, European Square, and Zrinjevac Park, all of which fill with wooden artisan huts during the festive period.