Christmastime arrives in Zagreb (and in Croatia) in October. C’mon people, Halloween is really not that big in Croatia, and we don’t have Thanksgiving or Black Friday in between. We are really putting all our hopes on Christmas. Like, the time when everybody buys all those things nobody really needs.
Five faces of Advent in Zagreb
Some people always complain that Zagreb looks like a provincial village on a fair day during these two months of Christmas. I think that they are just mean. To stop those complainers, this year the mayor decided to do everything the same like any other year, but… He decided to name everything properly.
So if you come to Zagreb during the Christmastime, don’t call that large tent taking half of our main square ‘a tent’. It is an Advent house. Imagination, people, imagination is everything. And if you are into beer and sausages, you can have two months of fun.
If you are into something else, Zagreb has you covered too. Just leave this part of the Winter Wonderland and head to Bogoviceva street.
Bogoviceva Street is the main shopping street during the Christmastime. The wooden houses, typical for Tyrol (I know Tyrol is not in Croatia, but we like it this way), are decorated and adorned, and they offer various crafts, ornaments, winter accessories, candies and other Christmas stuff. Wait!, there are more sausages. And beer.
We are not done yet. If none of this satisfy your sophisticated personality, go to Zrinjevac park.
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, the 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. If you don’t like it, you are just being difficult.
But Zagreb still has few tricks down its sleeve for even the most difficult visitors. Head for the upper town.
Actually the main happening is not at the upper town. It’s in Tomiceva Street, a small street leading up to funicular that takes you to Zagreb’s upper town. Grappa stand, mulled wine, cool clothes, this small street is hipsters’ Christmas corner in Zagreb. The scene in Tomiceva street is called Fuliranje and it is a throwback to Zagreb in the 30s.
Bonus venue is just across the street – The Viewpoint (Vidikovac), a first-floor hang out place with a view over Christmas market at Tomiceva street.
If none of the above is for you, Zagreb still has the last sanctuary for souls like you. And I really don’t want to hang out with you. Or to know you.
For artistic souls
Artomat at Mestovic Pavilion is a fair of unconventional art. They are even cooler than hipsters. You can shop for unique and quirky gifts directly from the artists. And you can enjoy hands-on workshops for free. Magic!
Oh, yes, I almost forgot. Christmas is not only about eating, drinking and shopping. It actually has a 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!
Have you visited Zagreb during the Christmastime? How did you like it. Let us know in the comments below.