Croatia's famous Christmas markets may have just ended, but the country's special Advent celebrations are far from the only reason to visit Croatia in winter. As the season progresses, more likely than not, Croatia's castles and national parks will be covered in a magical shroud of snow, giving them their most impressive, annual outfit. It's the start of a thrilling year of events in Rijeka as the city assumes its title of European Capital of Culture 2020 and its thrilling carnival takes place, like the one in Pula, this winter. Zagreb's stunning Festival of Lights is one of the capital's most spectacular events of the year, let alone winter. And, from visiting pop and rock bands, techno DJs and opera events to art exhibitions and film festivals, there are lots of great things still left to do in Croatia, making the country one of the best options in Europe for a winter break.
Great things to do in Croatia this winter
Zagreb's annual Festival of Lights kicks off in March, marking the end of winter and the start of spring. For its five-day run, the festival will transform the winding, cobbled streets, grandiose squares and parks and Austro-Hungarian building facades of the upper town area with spectacular lights and projections. Expect dazzling installations at several historical venues, inclusions across the city's parks and green spaces, plus some mind-bending video mapping performances that will alter your perception of famous landmarks.
Contemporary artist and Rijeka native David Maljković will be selecting pieces from the MMSU depot, demonstrating that the act of choosing what to show and how to show it is also a creative act, loaded with potential meanings. Malkjović himself is one of Croatia’s most internationally successful artists, and examples of his work have been snapped up by art institutions all over the world: the Pompidou Centre in Paris, New York’s MOMA, and the Tate Modern in London can all claim to have a Maljković in their collection. A versatile conceptualist perfectly at home in any medium, Maljković is primarily known for his films, which deploy irony and humour alongside disconcerting visual tricks. His most famous work is Scenes for a New Heritage, in which a group of future explorers go and visit the (sadly derelict) World War II Partisan memorial at Petrova Gora. It was one of the first expressions of artistic interest in these abandoned monuments and is nowadays considered a classic of contemporary video art.
In a colourful career which has seen her several times embroiled in controversy and campaigning, if the dust ever truly settles, it will be for her music that Irish singer Sinéad O'Connor will be remembered. Her version of the Prince song 'Nothing Compares 2 U' is the definitive rendition and was a worldwide hit, topping the charts for weeks in the USA, UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and all over Europe in 1990. Following its release, in tandem with her solo career, O'Connor took part in several high-profile collaborations to produce work which was every bit the equal of her big hit, most notably with Peter Gabriel, Massive Attack, Jah Wobble, Terry Hall, Moby, Bomb The Bass, U2, The The and members of Pink Floyd. This visit to Zagreb is a rare occurrence, with only 1200 tickets on sale and could be considered a dress rehearsal for the substantial American tour she embarks on immediately afterwards.
Just arrived in Zagreb by plane and wondering what all those wonderful pictures are hanging in the baggage claim area? Well, it's an exhibition entitled 'Croatia, full of colour' by well-travelled, Zagreb-based writer and photographer Davor Rostuhar. Welcome!
Founded ninety years ago, Zemlja or ‘Earth’ was one of the most influential movements in the history of Croatian art. As this major exhibition demonstrates, the artists who came together under the Zemlja banner shaped a distinctive Croatian visual style that is still very much around today. The main aim of the Zemlja group was to develop an art that could attract a broad public and also function as a critique of an unjust society. According to Zemlja, art should play a documentary role in recording what life in the then Kingdom of Yugoslavia was really like: it was no longer enough to idealize the peasantry as some kind of folkloric national bedrock clad in traditional costumes, you also had to describe rural poverty and do something about it. The other key aspect of the Zemlja philosophy was the creation of an authentically local art that would have local roots, and which would not simply be an extension of the latest art trend from Berlin or Paris. Most talented painter of the group was Krsto Hegedušić (1901-1975), an artist committed to depicting the realities of rural and working-class life. Together with painters Juraj Plančić, Ivan Tabaković and Oton Postružnik, he arranged exhibitions which had a clear socialist message. They formed the Zemlja movement in 1929, with architect Drago Ibler writing the manifesto. ‘You have to live the life of your times’ it declared, ‘because art and life are one.’ Hegedušić was also was a key sponsor of the self-taught village pain
This performance is very much a family affair, featuring the music of he music of Johann Sebastian Bach, his son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and Carl's godfather Georg Philipp Telemann. Featured players on the occassion include Andreas Helm, oboe and art director, Stjepan Nodilo, oboe, Manuela Mitterer, oboe, Laura Vadjon, violin and Tanja Tortić, violin.
A huge 24-hour party takes place throughout Rijeka to mark its inauguration as European Capital of Culture 2020. Festivities start on Friday 31 January and continue well into Sunday 2 February (and, indeed, throughout the forthcoming year), but the main day of events and celebration of this inauguration period is Saturday 1 February. Street artists, dancers, open-air exhibitions and street theatre will line the routes of the city centre throughout the day and there will be a soundtrack of music provided by live bands and DJs throughout the day and night. The day begins with a get-together at Skradin bar and guided city bus tours, followed by the official inauguration at the Croatian National Theatre Ivan Zajc Rijeka in the afternoon at which members of the European Commission, diplomats, government officials, 16 EU culture ministers and representatives of previous and future European Capitals of Culture will be present. The central event of the inauguration ceremony, Opera Industriale, symbolises the city and combines sound, music, performers, art and noise and will include more than 120 participants. The gathered crowds will also be asked to join in. It takes place at 7pm at Rijeka Port. More than 70 additional events will take place as part of the inauguration, at over 30 city-centre locations, with some 500 performers taking part. Rock, pop, jazz, punk, electronic and blues performers will play on outdoor and indoor stages with local stars like Jonathan, Parafi, Fit and
Celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art existing in its new building, the Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art will showcase over 200 artworks collected through donations and buyouts. Among the inclusions are 'Fitting Abstraction', which in 2014 represented Croatia at the Venice Biennale of Architecture and 'City ǀ Data ǀ Future - Interactions in Hybrid Urban Environment'. The museum was founded in 1954 as the City Gallery of Contemporary Art and since then has been researching, collecting, documenting and presenting to the public works that represent styles and phenomena of contemporary art. Over the last decade, the museum has increased its holdings by over 3000 works, over 200 of which will be displayed here.
Cities are breeding grounds of creativity, places where artists flock to watch, be watched, and skulk around in long coats. This multi-media exhibition explores art’s love affair with urban life, specifically in the Post-Modern second half of the 20th Century. As you’d expect, there’s plenty of material on global metropolis New York, but we also see how Zagreb has been home and muse to artists from Croatia and further afield.
Founded in 1953, Zagreb Film is a Croatian film company known throughout the former Yugoslavia for its animation work. They have produced hundreds of animated films, as well as documentaries, television commercials, educational films and feature films, their most famous characters being Professor Balthazar and Inspector Mask. This multimedia exhibition will showcase the studio's successful history and many of the authors and artists who have worked on its animation from 1956 until today. A selection of over 200 animated films, documentaries and live-action works makes up the sizeable exhibition.
Tech-house dominates the soundtrack at every festival and club on the Croatian coast. It is now so ubiquitous that it's difficult to remember it having a beginning. But it did. And its beginnings came in the mid-'90s from Wiggle resident DJs Terry Francis (pictured above), Nathan Coles and Eddie Richards. Francis has played in Croatia many, many times before and has built and maintained a huge following here thanks to his dedicated efforts. His return is always a very welcome one and he knows the audience he plays to better than almost any international guest DJ because of this strong bond.
In recent years, a great global effort has begun to protect the bee population, which is fundamental to the pollination of many plants essential within the human diet. Aside from all the fruits, flowers, herbs and vegetables that bees help us produce, they also make delicious honey and this event celebrates the huge wealth of varieties of honey made in the Istrian region. Istria is known throughout the world for its wine and olive oil and vineyards are dependant on bees as pollinators and so bees have always been highly-prized partners in the region's professional and home agricultural efforts. With a wealth of different flora and seasonal crops occurring throughout the Istrian peninsula, the region has a vast array of different types and flavour of honey. Beekeepers move their hives around different locations dependant on the season. In April, fruit honey is harvested, then in May it's the turn of dandelion honey, after which locust trees are sought out for the nomadic bees. In June, many hives are transferred to areas rich in chestnut trees, before beekeepers take their hives to the wildflower-rich areas of Gorski kotar, Kordun and Lika before being brought home in September. This event, which is the 1th annual occurrence of the showcase, is the best place to try all the different honeys produced and to buy some you can take home.
Organised since 2018, 'Five in the hood' is a 5 kilometre urban race through the streets and green areas of the Špansko and Vrapče neighbourhoods which has the aim of promoting sport and encouraging residents to recreate in their local community. The first edition of the race featured 300 competitors across all categories and as of this year, the race is on the calendar of the Croatian Athletic Association. The meeting point and start line is Vida Došena ulica, where the street intersects with Trga Ivan Kukuljević. There are multiple categories, assigned by age and weight, allowing for competitors of any ability, experience and years. The main 5 kilometre stint has an entry fee o 10 kuna, there's a 1 kilometre race with a fee of 60 kuna and children's races of either 100 or 200 metres which both have an entry fee of 40 kuna. Race fees include refreshments and go towards race pries, which exist for all categories. The race is particularly welcoming to foreign nationals and more info can be obtained here: firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the most visually and aurally-striking occurrences in late '90s clubland was the arrival of trance music. And, one of the music's biggest hits was ATB's '9 PM (Till I Come)'. Everything comes back in fashion at some point and the wild, hedonistic sounds of trance music are once again popular in mainstream clubs, so it's the perfect time for ATB to make his debut here in Croatia. Since the release of his aforementioned breakthrough single, he has released ten albums and been rated as one of the world's top representative DJs in his particular field of music.
A 14-year-old event which takes place in a different location each year, showcasing the incredibly varied terrain of this beautiful region. Hilltop villages, river valleys, impervious forests, coastal views and medieval towns have previously formed the backdrops to this nomadic event, of which simple orientation is a part. There are three different sections to the trek, allowing people of any age and ability to take part. The most difficult course is named Ultra and will take determined trekkers through an at-times unforgiving route. The Challenger course is an exercise in classic orientation and runs from 20 - 25 kilometres in length at 1000 metres in altitude in places. The Light course offers a short, nice trekking experience for beginners and features a 10 - 15 kilometres route.
Irish-punk band The Mahones arrive to feed the fascination many Croats have with Ireland, the Irish and their culture. The fact that the band are actually Canadian should not stop you from rolling in the four-leaf clover and excitedly bouncing up and down like a happy, wee leprechaun. The band have released 13 studio albums and worked with the likes of Jake Burns of Stiff Little Fingers and Ken Casey and Rick Barton from Dropkick Murphys. Irish punk or Celtic punk is incredibly popular in Croatia, indeed there are club nights and even bars which are dedicated to Irish punk music, so fans of Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys, The Pogues, Rumjacks and The Real McKenzies will surely find lots of like-minded friends here.
Portuguese band The Black Wizards play a sludgey and hip alternative rock sound that takes its cue from vintage heavy rock, psychedelia and blues combined with more contemporary genres like stoner rock and metal. Despite genre references which may confuse the layman, theirs is a wholly accessible sound and easily recognisable to mainstream rock fans looking for a great gig to attend.
Extreme metal ffrom three longstanding giants of the genres involved. Suffocation (pictured) hail from Long Island, New York and have been playing death metal for 30 years. On this occasion they will play their hits and debut songs from the new album '… Of the Dark Light'. Formed in 1993, Belphegor are a controversial Austrian death / black metal band and Hate are a Polish black and death metal band who have just released their 11th album.
Rock festival attendees in leather jackets, crop-topped students at gay clubs and ravers savouring the end-of-night anthem, tired arms held aloft; across almost all the former Yugoslavia, people are getting down to Nipplepeople. Croatia’s most enigmatic pop personae, Nipplepeople formed as a duo around a decade ago and have released roughly one single every year since. With each release, they’ve built momentum, captured more imaginations, refined their sound, and revealed much about themselves whilst seemingly also revealing absolutely nothing. In videos, at concerts and at official engagements they always wear masks, their identities hidden, as well as other personal details such as the status of their relationship outside music or indeed their sexualities. Is theirs a post-rave soundtrack for the afterparty, a new take on chart-courting synth duos of the 80s or sublime yet quirky pop in classic outsider traditions? Perhaps it’s all three, but with their greatest song ‘Frka’, best video ‘Nikada’ and a string of sold-out shows coming in the last few years, the Zagreb-based Nipplepeople look like the Croatian pop act most likely to transcend the language barrier and bother outside charts.
A one-day cycling race accredited within the international UCI calendar which welcomes many professional, national and regional tcycling eams and clubs. The race is held within the area of Poreč, Tar-Vabrige and Kaštelir-Labinci and points attained on the race contribute to the Europa Tour.
One of the most popular DJs ever, known for his hits such as 'Right Here, Right Now', 'Praise You' and 'Eat, Sleep, Rave Repeat' is coming to Zagreb with his recognised party-starting soundtrack. Despite appearances in summer 2019 in Dubrovnik and Šibenik, it's still quite the rarity to see him in Croatia and the capital city of Zagreb. The party is hosted at the huge Zagreb Fair exhibition space by the city's Boogaloo club and their in-house Future Scope brand. The party is the second such monster rave the promoters will hold in the massive space during 2020, with popular techno DJ Amelie Lens playing there for them on February 8th
Four-decade-old musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice charting the life of the most famous female in modern Argentine history, Eva Perón. With unforgettable songs and plenty o emotion. A presentation of the Croatian National Theatre Ivan Zajc Rijeka.
The great River Sava is the focal point for this series of simultanous runs, designed to be accessible to runners of all abilities and from every generation. There's a 5 kilometre route, a 10 kilometre route, a 10 kilometre relay and three children's races of 100 metres which are categorised by age. The children's races kick off at 10am while the adult races are delayed by an hour, starting at 11am, allowing any parents to first watch the kids run before setting off on their own trek. Entry fees are as follows: 5 km - 90 kuna, 10 km - 110 kuna, children's races - 50 kuna, relay race - 7 kuns per participant. The meet-up and starting point is Savski nasip (Sava embankment), in front of Boćarski Dom and the course will take runners over both the pedestrian bridge and Most Slobode (Liberty bridge). Applications can be made by following this link.
Trail running race along the beautiful Dugi Otok (Long Island) in Zadar county. Race through a stunning and undulating wild terrain in the springtime sunshine, with the incredible backdrop of this island and the Adriatic sea inspiring you along the way.
Formed in Dublin, Ireland in 1975, just prior to the arrival of punk music, The Boomtown Rats are a rock band whose place in history is assured thanks to the fame of their lead singer, Bob Geldof and for their remarkable hit, 'I Don't Like Mondays'. Though punk and new wave music had very much developed and begun influencing the band by the time they released the single in 1979, its style was more grandiose pop with a fantastic, widescreen arrangement. And its lyrical content was shocking and unforgettable. The song is based on the real-life events of a shooting the same year at Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego. The perpetrator of the shooting, 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer, fired at children in the's school playground, killing two adults and injuring eight children and a police officer. Upon her arrest, Brenda Ann Spencer showed no remorse for the senseless crime. Under questioning from journalists, she explained away her actions by saying 'I don't like Mondays, this livens up the day.' The single was released just months after the incident and became a hit all over Europe. In America, the killer's family tried unsuccessfully to stop the single being released, America being the only English-language territory where the song was not a huge hit. Although the band were not trying to exploit the tragedy, Bob Geldof later expressed regret for contributing to the killer's lasting infamy. It would take him until 1984 and his fundraising with Band Aid and Live Aid fo
The successor to the Adriatic Highway race which once ran down the length of Croatia's coast, this international cycling race was renamed when it was decided to alter the course. Its full length and each of its four sections now take place solely in Istria. The prologue stage consists of a sprint of several kilometres in which riders aim to bag the first leader's T-shirt. The other three stages, which take in much of the Istrian interior, help stretch the event to a four-day duration. The first stage leads from the Old Town of Labin, across the last 300 metres of 'diced' road to the finish line, which is reached after completing the 'undulating' roads of central Istria. The second stage almost always indicates the winner of the entire race as it takes in a tough winding ascent to Motovun, with the spectacular Mirna river situated below. Many professional and international teams take part and you can see some of the competitors, later in the season, at some of the world's biggest and best-known cycling events, such as the Tour de France.
Are you missing that one LP to complete your Iron Maiden, Kraftwerk or Bijelo Dugme collection? Then this might be the place for you. Sellers from Croatia, Slovenia, BiH, Serbia, Austria, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands will be present and there will be CDs, posters, memorabilia and some home soundsystem equipment available too. The event takes place at Zagreb classical gymnasium at Križanićeva 4a with access to the fair gained from the sports hall entrance on Kneza Borne ulica.
All-female Novi Sad band enjoying phenomenal popularity throughout the ex-YU sphere on account of their classy, bittersweet, hook-laden take on pop-rock - with strong hints of jazz, latin, chanson and gipsy-swing.
Zlatko Keser is a member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, an academic and an artist. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1967 and has been teaching there since 1982. He was admitted to the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in 2004 and in his formative years was partially mentored in the workshop of renowned Croatian naive artist Krsto Hegedušić. He is a painter of imaginative, colourful scenes and is sometimes associated with a purposefully infantile inclusion of handwriting, sharply contrasting colour schemes and, at times, erotic references. In addition to his painting, he works in graphics, book illustrations and on public murals, two of which can be seen in Koprivnica and Zagreb. In 2015 he was the recipient of the Vladimir Nazor Lifetime Achievement Award.
Longstanding American rock band who were something of a straight-up anomaly when they signed to edgy, pioneer grunge label Sub Pop in the early 90s. They went on to release five albums with imprint, finding success towards the end of the tenure when they added a country music sound. Now a trio but still lead by singer and bass player Eddie Spaghetti.
Skitači Mountaineering Club from Labin organizes this night hiking to Skitača, a village in the southernmost part of the Labin peninsula with one of the highest peaks in Labin area. On the trail, which runs through Gondolići on the Labin Hiking Trail to the 531 metre top of Oštri, participants will be guided by very experienced local hikers. From Oštri, the path descends next to St. Matthew’s chapel towards Skitača, where it is expected hikers will complete the course at around midnight. The route is technically undemanding and of medium difficulty. All participants are asked to bring a headlamp and standard mountaineering equipment.
The 8th occurrence of this annual celebration of rosé and sparkling wine and champagne brings together local and international producers and enthusiasts. As part of the Green in Pink Festival, producers of extra virgin olive oil from Croatia and abroad will also be exhibiting their products and you'll be able to meet the makers of both.
Dmitri Šostakovič is one of the most important composers of the 20th century, a writer and musician who stood as a vital cultural bridge between the Soviet Union and the international community during the former's most isolationist years. Despite his patriotism, he refused to allow his art to be dictated by authorities leading to him being denounced several times inj his home country although, since his death in 1975, he has been rightly celebrated for his vast contributions. Combining the sometimes discordant neo-classical style pioneered by Igor Stravinsky with the more traditional and melodic late Romanticism of composers such as Gustav Mahler, he was first denounced by the artistically ignorant Stalin for his modern approach, then by the public because of doubts about his patriotism and then again by national authorities for the complete opposite of his first denunciation; for being to formal in his writing, his music viewed as assuming too many traditional, western themes. Throughout his career he was viciously attacked via state-owned propaganda materials, despite simultaneously being commissioned by state-owned bodies. His Symphony no.13, sometimes known as Babi Yar, is regarded as his most shocking, distressing and emotive piece. Babi Yar is a ravine in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, the site of a massacre carried out by Nazi forces during World War II in which more than thirty-three thousand Jews were killed in less than a week.
Schools and students who come from both Croatia and outside countries participate in this competition-based showcase of excellent, young musical talent. If you've got a thing for strings, this is where you should head. Solo guitar, solo violin and chamber ensembles form the three categories of the competition and musical menu. Art School Poreč, whose tradition goes back to 1974, organises the event and their aim is to promote music culture, develop the artistic endeavours of young, gifted musicians and promote international cultural cooperation. In 2019 this event took place in the Istrian Assembly Hall, the Concert Hall of Art School Poreč and the Theatre of the Open University Poreč, signifying the event's growing importance in the cultural calendar. The competition also includes concerts held by well-known international musicians who make up members of the international jury team and at the Gala Concert by Laureates.
The main regional showcase for documentary films, with an international range of the best contemporary work, and prizes for the best submissions. Showcasing over a hundred films, this thought-provoking film fest engages with a broad range of subjects: human rights, the environment, war and political conflicts, identity and sexuality are common themes. Prizes are awarded in numerous categories: official sections include Biography Dox, Musical Globe, Happy Dox, Controversial Dox, Masters of Dox, State of Affairs, Teen Dox and ADU Dox. The winning films are re-screened on the last day of the festival.
The famous Plava Laguna Half Marathon is the main event at this fun weekend which offers running opportunities for families, kids and those of any age and ability. The half marathon itself takes place Sunday, beginning at 10am in front of the Hotel Parentium before it runs through the beautiful Plava Resort, all the way to the centre of historic Poreč and then back towards Funtana and the Hotel Parentium with the 10k run taking place at the same time, from the same starting point and using much of the same route. The 3.5 kilometre family run takes place one day earlier, on Saturday. Beginning at 11am in front of Zelena Laguna Campsite, it runs through the Bijela Uvala campsite. Children younger than 8 must run with their parents and all proceeds from this race's fees will be doubled by Plava Laguna and donated to the Poreč Centre for Inclusion. The kids run also takes place on the Saturday and features four races of various length, from 400m to 1800m, available to kids from aged 4 to aged 16. These races will start between 3pm and 4.30pm, depending on the age group. Every registered runner will receive a t-shirt, a finisher medal, a start number, insurance on the course and refreshments. Extra prizes are awarded for the first 3 places in the men's and women's categories of the Plava Laguna Half-Marathon. 1st place prize is 300 Euros and two nights stay at Plava Laguna for two, 2nd place prize is 200 Euros and 3rd place prize is 100 Euros.
Over 100 images taken during Croatia's War Of Independence are presented in Up Close and Personal: War in Croatia, the first official exhibition at the Image Of War Photography Museum. The exhibition holds not only the work of professional Croatian, Serb and world-renowned photographers such as Peter Turnley, Dragoljub Zamurović, Ron Haviv, Christopher Morris, Romeo Ibrišević and Matko Biljak, but also photos donated by the public. Alongside the photographs are the testimonies of those who were caught up in the conflict. The exhibition depicts not only the actual conflict and those who took part but also the aftermath and the people who existed within that environment. Photographs of disturbed and injured participants in the war stand next to those of the distraught and grieving, plus those of children who make a playground in the scorched earth, destruction and rubble.
Starting as a playfully ironic art installation and subsequently an international touring exhibition, the Museum of Broken Relationships has become one of Zagreb's most unusual and most popular museum attractions since opening in 2010. Housed in one of the Upper Town's finest Baroque mansions, the thematic display takes visitors through a series of different emotions associated with a break-up, illustrated by objects donated by members of the public. An electric toaster donated by a jilted American is accompanied by the laconic comment: ‘When I moved out, and across the country, I took the toaster. That'll show you. How are you going to toast anything now?’ Many exhibits are captioned with the kind of surreal narratives that frequently flow from fraught emotional states. Funny, tragic, fascinating, it was named 'most innovative museum' at the European Museum Awards of 2011.
The Tourist Board of Dubrovnik will this year continue their free walking tour initiative throughout the winter months. The 90-minute long walking tour will guide visitors through the city's world-famous old town and will be conducted in English by an informed guide. The tour will conclude with a free performance by folklore ensemble FA Linđo beginning at 11:30am at the Church of St. Blaise, weather permitting. The tours begin at 10am each Saturday morning in front of the Tourist Information Centre Pile (one of two tourist information centres in the city itself), located at Brsalje 5. Individuals are asked to register their attendance in advance, to TIC Pile, by 6pm the previous day (tel: +38520312011, e-mail: email@example.com).