There’s hardly any city around the world filled with more Christmas joy than Zagreb! In fact, the Croatian capital’s version of a traditional Christmas market has been elected Europe’s best – for the second year in a row! If you can’t make time to visit the city this year, make sure to put it on your list for 2017!
And the winner is…
Often referred to as ‘the city of museums’ and ‘little Vienna’, Zagreb can boast of a rich cultural history with lots of traditions. The annual Christmas market – which isn’t only one, but several markets scattered around the city – is not one of these, but nevertheless, it’s already immensely popular. So popular that it was voted ‘Europe’s Best Christmas Market’ for the second year in a row. Quite impressive when you think of trained opponents such as Vienna, Dresden and Prague (to mention a few).
Being a fan of Eastern European cities such as Vienna and Budapest, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Zagreb as well. A city small enough to feel like home and big enough to explore for days. Croatians are such friendly and out-going people, who will immediately make you feel welcome.
A gourmet’s paradise
‘Advent in Zagreb’ is the name of the traditional Christmas markets, which are scattered around the city and open for visitors until January 8th 2017. Here, one can find numerous stalls selling mulled wine, gingerbread hearts, jewelry, souvenirs made by local craftsmen – and food. Plenty of food. If you visit Zagreb during Christmas, there’s no need to dine at restaurants – the food stalls are literally packed with delicious delicacies, both Croatian and international, and prices are beyond reasonable.
My favorite Croatian (Christmas) snack is Fritule – a pastry resembling small doghnuts. This goodie is a true Dalmatian invention and you’ll see tourists and locals alike queuing just to get a taste. The quality of food on Christmas markets isn’t always the best, but Zagreb found a solution to that by putting up food trucks with famous chefs and high quality ingredients. One of the small markets in town is even promoted as being ‘gourmet friendly’. Now, that’s my kind of Christmas market!
Zagreb’s manageable size makes it perfect for walking and exploring the Christmas markets are no exception! Start in the early afternoon and continue till after dark when all the lights come into their own. Magic happens in places like this! I certainly can’t wait to re-visit this gem next year.
For more information about Zagreb’s Christmas markets, visit www.croatia.hr.
The Copenhagen Traveler was invited to Zagreb by the Croatian National Tourist Board. All opinions are, as always, our own.