Discover the what the festive season offers in Croatia and how an Advent trip could make your Christmas a magical one.
Croatia is usually associated with sun, sea, and sand (OK, maybe more pebbles, but you get the idea). However, the Balkan beauty is increasingly popular as an Advent destination thanks to its Christmas markets. We take you through the country's top attractions during the festive season, what to do and where to stay.
Voted Europe's Best Christmas Markets for the last three years, Zagreb goes all out to wow visitors to the capital during Advent. From Zrinjevac Park and it's twinkling trees to Strossmayer Square's magical entertainment and city panoramas, Zagreb is a veritable Disneyland of Christmas markets. Tunnel Gric and its Winter Garden will delight the little ones with its decorations and Klovicevi Dvori Gallery offers the best photo ops in the city.
Top Tip: Ice skate at one of the most picturesque parks with the Art Pavillion as your backdrop
Stay: Canopy by Hilton
The Pearl of the Adriatic is famous for its walled Old Town which gleams under the twinkle of fairy lights during December. Stepping inside the city, you'll feel like you've been transported to a fairytale land, with wooden huts selling mulled wine and sausages as well as delicious local seafood specialties. Concerts each weekend will bring the Stradun to life and there's even a performance by the world famous Gypsy Kings on the 30th December. The park at Pile Gate is a winter wonderland for children with it's larger than life decorations, don't miss the chance to go ice skating or take the Christmas train in Lapad too.
Top tip: Visit Lukas Taverna hut for delicious seafood dishes with a glass of local white wine
Stay: Hotel Excelsior
Croatia's little Vienna, Varazdin is a Baroque beauty. This Advent, visitors can enjoy a selection of food and drink stalls on the Bijeli Korzo (White Promenade) and embark on Father Christmas' train for a ride around the beautifully decorated streets. Two Live concerts each Saturday mean that there's something for kids and adults to dance and sing along to and no less than eight exhibitions to visit – including one just of gingerbread products.
Top tip: Don't miss the Ice Bear sculpture being made on the 22nd December between 10 am and 6 pm
Stay: Park Boutique Hotel