What comes to mind when you think about Christmas? Christmas markets, gifts, Santa Claus, festive lightings. Zagreb has it all, and more! This Croatia capital had been crowned the Best Christmas Market in Europe THREE years in a row! The festive markets begin as early as late November and stretches all the way until early January each year. And the best part is, it's free to visit the Christmas markets and the trams in the city area are free on weekends over this Christmas period!
We stayed at one of the Irundo Apartments in Zagreb. To be honest, initially we had a hell of a time dragging our luggage from the parking at the reception office to our apartment 10 minutes away up the hill. Fortunately, the plus point of our apartment was that it had an amazing view of the Zagreb Cathedral right outside our bedroom window, and the apartment was in the middle of all the Christmas markets. For the price, it was a really good catch.
The city's magic comes alive as night falls. Fancy Christmas lighting and decorations light up and give the city its festive charm.
When we first walked down the slopes from our hotel, I was captivated by this magical fountain in European Square and the white winter wonderland Christmas Market setup.
There's a full line-up of performances, Christmas caroling, food and gifts to buy at all the Christmas Markets.
My personal favourite was Fuliranje or Fooling Around Advent on Strossmayer Square. There's plenty of delicious street snacks to fill our stomachs while we wander around snapping loads of super Instagram-worthy shots of the décor and at the brand sponsored photo booths.
Another one of my favourite was the Advent on Zrinjevac Park. There's a gorgeously lit fountain that seems to come out straight from a fairytale. The trees in the park are all decorated with Christmas lights. At the center of the park, there's a musical pavilion that has many different kinds of performances each night.
We were walking between Gajeva Street and Praška Street when we chanced upon this hidden passage, Marić Passage, that brings you to another magical world of fairy lights.
Another hidden gem lies in the Grič Tunnel. There are several entrances but we visited straight after Advent on Strossmayer Square, and there's a flight of stairs at the end leading to the tunnel entrance. Grič Tunnel used to be a dark WWII tunnel, but now it hosts various creative modern art exhibitions.
When to visit?
If you are looking for a magical Christmas winter wonderland, visiting Zagreb in December- early Jan is definitely the best time. However, be warned that many shops and restaurants are closed on the night of 24th Dec and the whole of 25th Dec and over the New year and new year's eve.
If you are looking for a fairytale winter wonderland to spend the next Christmas, make sure to put Zagreb, Croatia on your bucketlist!
Stay tuned for my Zagreb Vlog with more exciting things to do in Zagreb! ^^