Photographing in Zagreb
© Foto Sofia

The most instagrammable places at Zagreb Advent festival

Put the elf in selfie with our guide taking Christmas-card perfect shots of Zagreb

Written by
Beth Ryan

Zagreb makes a pretty picture at any time of year. But at Advent, when Christmas mania sweeps the city, it reaches levels of dazzling that will get Instagrammers’ pulses well and truly racing. Looking for logs by fires, presents by trees, and stupid amounts of sparkles? You’re in for a treat. Cameras at the ready - here are the ten most instagrammable places in Zagreb at Advent.

Advent under the lanterns
Marija Gašparović(Zagreb Tourist Board)

1. Advent under the lanterns

Zagreb’s upper town is a place which retains a sense of the city’s history. On cobbled streets lined with grand Austro-Hungarian façades, you can almost feel the footfall of its former residents as you pass by dainty boutiques whose store fronts are bathed in the light of traditional street lanterns. Every day you can still see these gas lanterns being lit by hand as a city worker walks the whole route of 246 lanterns just before dusk in order to illuminate the streets. During this Advent, Christmas songs will accompany the ritual. Experience the glow of Christmas under the city’s pretty lanterns and take the suggested route from Saint Mark’s Square to Grič Park via Dragutina Freudenreicha Street, Antuna Gustava Matoša Street and Marković Square. 

Lantern lighting will take place at 3.30pm on December 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 26

© Julien Duval (Zagreb Tourist Board)

2. Zrinjevac

You’ll be hard pushed not to find an adorable scene to capture at Zrinjevac. This central city park is at the heart of advent happenings, and it’s endlessly Instragammable, with wooden huts selling steamy mulled wine, a tiny pavilion covered in lights, glittering treeline walkways, and - the ideal selfie-spot - a fountain decked out in fairy lights.

Grič Tunnel
© Marija Gašparović(Zagreb Tourist Board)

3. Grič Tunnel

The Grič tunnel is an underground passageway which stretches beneath Zagreb’s city centre streets. It’s a good place to take distinctive shots throughout the year, but decorated with pines, nutcrackers, toys and festive lights, this ex WWII bomb shelter holds an altogether cheery ambience at Advent.

Advent on Strossmayer
© Marija Gašparović (Zagreb Tourist Board)

4. Advent on Strossmayer

They really go to town up at the Strossmayer promenade, with Elf-worthy levels of Christmas bling, and enough voltage to power a small town. There’s usually a jazz quartet crooning round-the-fire songs plus stunning views across the city. If you don’t get that money-shot, you’re doing something wrong.

Ice skating rink at King Tomislav Square
© Tomislav Smoljanović (Zagreb Tourist Board archive)

5. Ice skating rink at King Tomislav Square

Okay, so half of your feed will be churning out samey photos of ice rinks. You, however, can do it better, with a little help from the spectacularly lit ice-rink at King
Tomislav Square. Even if you’re more into waddling around the edges than gliding across the floor, it’s worth the trip for that quintessential winter pic.

Maksimir Park
© Ivan Klindic

6. Maksimir Park

One of Zagreb’s less touristy treasures, this huge, forested park is dramatically beautiful in winter. This year a host of advent treats are happening here, including concerts, food stalls and outdoor museums. Cold, stark trees and the warm thrum of people - it’s a winning combination that your inner insta-fiend will relish.

St Mark's Church
© Goran Horvat

7. St Mark's Church

If you haven’t taken a selfie in front of St Mark’s Church, then you haven’t really been to Zagreb - according to Instagram, anyway. Probably the most photographed sight in the city, this small Gothic masterpiece is loved by visitors
because of its colourful tiled roof. At advent, with a squad of Christmas trees at its front, it looks even more special than usual.

HNK Croatian National Theatre
© I Vinković

8. HNK Croatian National Theatre

The Croatian National Theatre is spectacular at any time of year and in order to not look underwhelming next to its architectural splendour, their Christmas decorations are incredibly impressive. The majestic building, all dressed up in wreaths and ribbons, looks like it’s straight out of The Nutcracker (which plays here again this
Christmas). Don a duffel coat and get that Grandma-pleasing Christmas card shot here.

Ban Jelačić Square
© Julien Duval (Zagreb Tourist Board)

9. Ban Jelačić Square

If you want to capture the spirit of Advent in full swing, get your camera downtown to the main square. This is the centrepiece, and don’t they let you know it: no surface has been left un-sparkled, no tree un-bejewelled. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a flurry of snow- throw in the blur of a passing tram, and voila: you have the ultimate Instagram shot of Advent in Zagreb.

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