Advent on Zrinjevac
© Advent in Zagreb

Zagreb Advent guide

From ice-skating to seasonal shows, here are the best things to do at Advent Festival in Zagreb

Written by
Time Out contributors
&
Justin McDonnell
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Zagreb in winter? I bet you never imagined it could be so much fun, what with an Advent programme that embraces pre-Christmas markets and live music in several destinations. Sausage vendors, mulled wine stalls and igloo-shaped rakija bars help to stimulate the senses. Wooden-roofed stalls sell everything from craft toys to traditional sweets, fruit preserves, speciality biscuits and gingerbread hearts. The music programme features a month-long season of outdoor gigs and DJ high-jinks.

Advent destinations

  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs

Fuliranje, which translates as 'fooling around', encourages passerbys to do just that. Split between Tomislavac Square and Zrinjevac Park, leading chefs will present their culinary expertise, while DJs will stick to classics from the likes of Donna Summer, Marvin Gaye, Bee Gees, Kulušić, Saloon and Studio 54, with the aim of getting you all to drop your Christmas shopping and dance in the street. 

  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs

Ban Josip Jelačić, Zagreb's opulent central square, is the beating heart of the city's Christmas festival. Kitted out in lights, it looks like the front of a Christmas card. With happy crowds milling between mulled wine stalls, giant Christmas trees and choirs singing carols, you'll struggle not to feel a warm festive buzz. 

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  • Things to do

Members of the Cenacolo Community, a group dedicated to fighting addiction, perform the birth of Christ on Kaptol. In their deeply felt performance of the birth of Christ they dramatize the struggles of addiction, and the possibility of being reborn free.

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  • Attractions

Billed as the greatest model train in south-east Europe, this three square metre model includes the cable railway to Sljeme, a miniature ice skating rink at Tomislav Square, and plenty of other nice details. Special holiday trains in festive colours will also run, on top of the usual programme. 

Where to eat, drink and sleep in Zagreb

Amazing things to do in Zagreb
  • Things to do

Compact and easy to navigate, Zagreb contains plenty of historic sights and fascinating galleries, complemented by destination restaurants, clusters of busy bars and numerous live-music venues. The main square divides the hilly Upper Town – museums, institutions of national importance, panoramic views – from the flat, grid-patterned streets of the Lower Town, with its gastronomic landmarks, designer boutiques and art galleries. Spread out east and west are areas of bucolic greenery while south over the Sava river stretches the post-war residential blocks of Novi Zagreb. Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList and tag @TimeOutEverywhere. Find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world.

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  • Bars and pubs

People in Croatia's capital city always give themselves time to linger and socialise over drinks. Whatever the time of year, new Zagreb bars are always raising and lowering their banners across the city centre and beyond, while traditional landmarks stay firm. Time Out's experts discover the best places to sip across town.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés

Coffee-drinking is taken seriously in Zagreb. In the city centre, you can barely move for coffee houses spawling into the streets. Inevitably, some of these similar-looking joints are lacklustre, and it's surprisingly hard to find cafes with menus that extend beyond drinks. But once you've found your cafe, you won't be disappointed: the finest offer expertly-made coffee, and treats to have a sweet-tooth grinning for hours. Here are the best cafes and coffee shops in Zagreb.

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  • Hotels

The problem with Zagreb hotels in the past was the dearth of venues between the bunk-bed and smoking-jacket ends of the spectrum. This is no longer the case, given attractive range of options available. As Zagreb continues to spread its wings as a destination in its own right – rather than a spot to lay over before the coast – hotel options continue to grow. Here are the best.

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