Advent in Croatia
When is the perfect time of year to visit Croatia? This is a question we get asked a lot! Considering the beaches and thousands of islands that the country is widely recognized for, the logical answer would seem to be sometime during the hot and sunny summer months. Right? Not quite. Summer is a beautiful time to visit Croatia to get a nice tan, spend your days relaxing on the beach and sipping on cocktails. However, if you are interested in planning a special family holiday and want to create lasting memories with your loved ones in a beautiful country with culture and traditions spanning back millennia, we highly suggest considering a visit during the magical time leading up to Christmas, known as Advent.
Despite being known as mostly a coastal country that sparsely gets snowfall, Croatia does have an indispensable amount of activities during everyone´s favorite holiday. Cities such as Zagreb and Split have the biggest celebrations each year, so be sure to polish your boots because there are a handful of pleasant surprises, outdoor markets, concerts & theater programs waiting to be explored in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Advent is the time of year when Christians intensively prepare for the feasts of Christmas and Epiphany. When you think of Christmas, do you remember childhood gatherings with your family around the Christmas tree? Maybe the special treats mom made, the smell of cookies? Some people might believe they can’t relive those childhood feelings of excitement during Christmas time, but Croatia’s Advent celebrations can create beautiful lasting memories for your family. Zagreb as the Croatian capital, rightfully is home to the biggest Advent celebrations in Croatia. It is also the proud title holder of Europe’s Best Christmas Market by European Best Destinations’ online poll for the past three years!
Zagreb offers a variety of events that will satisfy even the most demanding visitors. Plenty of fun, excellent food, unique events, art, but also a genuine Christmas atmosphere. In addition to unique souvenirs and tasty mulled wine, you can also enjoy Croatia’s forgotten specialties all throughout Zagreb. One of our favorites is the roasted duck served with a mill and potato fritter, and covered with wine and rum caramel sauce.
In Croatia’s second largest city of Split, Advent is much of a dream come true. Lights, candles, music and festivities are all around the Diocletian’s Palace making it an amazing moment for everyone to relax during the cooler yet usually sunny weather. Many areas offer accommodating fire pits and outdoor gas heaters for comfort and staying warm while enjoying treats and refreshments with beautiful views. Cafe´s offer complimentary blankets to use while enjoying the festivities from their terraces. Fritule are the traditional festive pastry made during Advent which are little doughnut balls flavored with rum and citrus zest, topped with powdered sugar, cinnamon, white or dark chocolate. My oh my, they are a wondrous joy running down your throat. During this time, don’t miss the opportunity to put on a pair of ice skates and take a twirl around the fun ice rink in the Strossmayerov park overlooking the Palace and bringing the holiday atmosphere to its fullest.
An additional new & exciting attraction for the whole family during Advent season is the dreamy Christmas village in Gornji Dolac near Split. If you´re looking for a sure place with Christmas spirit and to experience Santa’s little village, this is the place to go. Visiting in the afternoon as the sun is starting to set is the best time to enjoy all of the attractions, thousands of twinkling Christmas lights decorating the traditional village setting along with the many traditional Farm animals that reside there. Each animal has its own housing throughout the property. You can see and learn more about local domestic animals such as Dalmatian cows, bushes, deer, horses, ducks, geese and many more. This place is known as the little paradise for families with children.
Taking a trip to Croatia during the holiday season is the perfect way to immerse in the culture as a local. Experience the tastes, smells and traditions of Christmas in Croatia while enjoying the beautiful architecture, history and natural attractions. Advent celebrations start at the end of November and last until early January, giving you more than enough time to plan the perfect family holiday to discover Croatia in the magical spirit of Christmas.