Zagreb Advent guide

From ice-skating to seasonal shows, here are the best things to do at Advent Festival in Zagreb
Advent on Zrinjevac
© Advent in Zagreb
By Time Out contributors and 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.

Christmas in Zagreb

News, Music

Fuliranje opens for Advent in Zagreb with world renowned DJs

The Fuliranje area of Zagreb's Advent city-wide layout opens tomorrow, on Thursday 29 November, and its seasonal festivities kick off with a big musical bang. Two internationally recognised DJs will christen the event area's opening, allowing party people to dance off the chill of Zagreb's early winter evenings. Like the Defected New Year's Eve event will which also take place in the area, both of the opening night parties will be free to attend. The opening party will be helmed by UK DJ Justin Robertson, while NYC DJ and Body & Soul resident Danny Krivit will be in charge of Friday's party. Early '90s flyer for Circus party featuring Manchester-based residents Mike Pickering, Greg Fenton, Sasha and Justin RobertsonJustin Robertson earned a name for himself as a DJ in the city of Manchester, where he'd moved to study in the late '80s. There, he absorbed the music of the then exploding house music scene, scored a job in the city's famous DJ-supplying eastern Bloc record shop and began DJing at his own nights and, later, alongside fellow Manchester-based students such as the Chemical Brothers and the crew behind the Jockey Slut magazine and Bugged Out night. He has a reputation not only for playing techno and house, but also a wide variety of other styles, particularly Balearic music in his formative years. His current monthly show for Soho Radio, Temple Of Wonders, is an accurately-named and wild-spirited journey through world music, dub reggae and psychedelia, its programmin

© Igor Zakharevich
News, Eating

Swiss chocolate indulgence comes to Zagreb's Advent at St. Mortiz

Chocolate-lovers are in for a treat this winter as a new addition to the Advent markets offers indulgent Swiss chocolate desserts. St Moritz, located on Strossmayer, has a menu to please all chocolate fans. Elements of traditional Central European desserts are deliciously combined with luxurious Swiss milk chocolate. St. Moritz is a luxury alpine resort town in Switzerland’s Engadin valley, not far from the border with Italy. It has hosted the Winter Olympics twice and is best known for its winter sports and luxurious hotels, but also for its chocolate. Using exclusively chocolate from the town, St Moritz will offer a variety of dessert options, some of which pair the chocolate with classic treats Germknödel (germknedle) and fritule. There will be a hot chocolate fondue, made with milk chocolate, served with knedle pieces and garnished with sprinkles of roughly chopped white chocolate as well as hot chocolate drinks, served with optional homemade chocolate brownies and also Oreo fritule, which also is served with the chocolate fondue. For those with a slightly less sweet tooth, St Moritz will also be offering some savoury dishes, including a rich cheese sauce made with Swiss Raclette, which will be paired with different preparations of potato. Some of their chocolate dishes will also hold a savoury edge, as chilli or alcohols such as rum can be added to their dishes. St Moritz will also be offering alcohol infused drinks including mulled wine, chocolate with whiskey, rum

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Croatian National Theatre
I. Vinkovic, Zagreb Tourist Board
Things to do

25 amazing things to do in Zagreb in winter

This attractive, Habsburg-era city is a grand place for a winter break in Croatia. The month-long Advent festival transforms the city into a lively celebration of Christmas, with several major locations dressed up with wooden chalets and glittering canopies of fairy lights. On crisp winter days, the snow-tipped Sljeme mountain range is an enjoyably bracing hike - and an unbeatable location for a beer once you've reached it's summit. Cutting-edge modern art, wonderful boutique shopping and sightseeing opportunities aplenty complete the winning mix. RECOMMENDED: more great things to do in Zagreb.

© Don Hankins
Things to do, Food and drink events

The best food and drink festivals in Croatia this autumn and winter

Some think that summertime is the only period of the year in which Croatia is worth visiting. Food and drink connoisseurs know that not to be the case. Croatia's gastronomy scene happens all year round, and some of its highlights surely occur in autumn, during and immediately after the harvesting season, and in winter, which boasts its own, special menus and also the extended, food and drink-rich festival of Advent. Here we select just some of the many food and drink events you can visit all over Croatia during the autumn and winter.

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Things to do

Skating to success

Many European capitals now go big on Christmas markets. Stalls are set up around a downtown square, a little yuletide decoration draped in place and seasonal music piped over the speakers. Not so Zagreb. Seizing the opportunity to lure tourists here for one major attraction over the course of the year, the powers that be have created the award-winning Advent in Zagreb, an annual extravaganza that takes over the city centre from December 1 until early January.  Seeing off the competition from nearby Budapest and Ljubljana, beating Vienna on price, Zagreb has found itself the perfect niche. Central European but laid-back about it, the Croatian capital pulls out all the stops to keep visitors entertained for days at a time. Naturally, there are the yuletide cabins and seasonal stalls, ranged around the statue of Ban Jelačić on the main square, down the nearby streets of Gajeva, Bogovićeva, Varšavska, Petrićeva and beyond, proferring sausages, mulled wine, roast chestnuts and hand-crafted gifts. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Alongside on Europski trg, you find stalls and more, with live bands and film screenings providing regular entertainment through December. On the slopes of the Upper Town, overlooking the city below, jazz acts play beside the Lotrščak Tower, and DJs spin on adjoining Strossmayerovo šetalište, a family-friendly promenade with activities for kids also scheduled. Fuliranje Accessed through the illuminated, tree-lined tunnel of Marićev prolaz,

Marko Vrdoljak
Things to do

Find your perfect Advent experience

When temperatures plummet and the winter ennui creeps in, Zagreb's Christmas extravaganza Advent laps on enough yuletide joy to cheer up any Scrooge. Every year, the best Zagreb attractions are transformed into illuminated winter wonderlands, decked in acres of fairy-lights and huge Christmas trees; ice-rinks, nativity scenes: if it's Christmas-themed, you'll find it here. As the award-winning festival grows ever popular, Advent has undergone a dizzying expansion and the sheer range of locations and activities on offer is frankly mind-boggling. Navigate the festivities with this guide and carve out your perfect Advent experience. RECOMMENDED: Christmas in Zagreb.

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Advent Zagreb
Nina Djurdjevic
Things to do

Zagreb lights up for Advent

Of all the exciting changes that have taken place in Zagreb over the last few years, few have had quite so much impact as Advent. Deftly transformed from a corny Christmas market into a cavalcade of yuletide cool, the new-look Advent season has been a huge hit with locals – and looks set to become a key tourist draw too. Zagreb has for years hosted a traditional pre-Christmas offering of souvenir stalls, mulled wine and sausage stands on the main pedestrian strip. The addition of rakija bars, speciality street food, outdoor music stages and a constellation of twinkly lights has taken it into another dimension. Advent activity no longer takes place just around the main square, but has spread to a scattering of nearby piazzas and parks, all in easy walking distance of each other; and the whole thing runs from the last week in November until the first few days of the New Year. If you’re looking for a month-long winter street party, then Zagreb is the place to find it. This updated Advent is also getting better and better as a shopping opportunity, with the vast majority of stalls delicious Croatian deli products including jams, liqueurs, honeys and olive oils. Many souvenir sellers are offering their own hand-made wares; from stuffed toys to kooky ceramics and hand-painted greetings cards. Zagreb’s winter makeover is not something that happened overnight. The reinvention of the pre-Christmas template has come gradually, thanks to a sequence of individual, sometimes entirely u

© MN2S
News, Nightlife

Todd Terry and more play free Defected NYE event on Zagreb's Strossmayer square

Following their successful second summertime festival in the country, the UK's Defected Records are returning to Croatia to hold their first ever New Year's Eve event here. New York house music innovator Todd Terry will headline the party, which will take place at the Fuliranje area, the square on Strossmayer, right in the heart of Zagreb's Advent Festival. Best of all, the event will be absolutely free of charge. The event is incredibly significant for Defected as it will take us and the label into 2019, the year of their 20th anniversary. Founded by Simon Dunmore, the label has grown substantially in its two decades. It is now one of the biggest independent labels in the world specialising in house music. Its mixed compilations are some of the highest sellers in the genre and in recent years the label has grown into a brand strong enough to host sell-out parties across Europe. Defected have held club residencies in London and on Ibiza, both under their own name and under their disco-themed Glitterbox events. They now host an annual five day festival on the Dalmatian coast in Tisno called Defected Croatia, which saw them reach capacity numbers in 2018. Support to Todd Terry at the event comes from Peznt, Andy Daniell and Blacksoul. Defected Croatia return to Tisno in 2019.

Where to eat, drink and sleep in Zagreb

Things to do

Amazing things to do in Zagreb

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.

Apetit City, Zagreb
© Matt Field/Time Out
Restaurants

The best Zagreb restaurants

This ultimate guide to Zagreb restaurants covers it all: from top-level, splash-out fine dining to street food, traditional wholesome to high-end international, European bistro to east-west fusion. Get stuck in.

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Bacchus
© Fumie Suzuki/Time Out
Bars and pubs

The best Zagreb bars

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.

cafe dubrovnik, cafes and restaurants, dubrovnik, croatia
© Carly Calhoun/Time Out
Restaurants, Cafés

The best cafés and coffee shops in Zagreb

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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Four Points Panorama by Sheraton
© Four Points Hotel / Makol d.o.o
Hotels

The best Zagreb 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.

More to explore

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