Lifestyle / festival
Advent across Croatia
After a pause brought about by the pandemic last year, cities organised Christmas fairs across Croatia, set to return colour, joy, and a magical atmosphere to streets and squares.
Starting with the first Advent Sunday in November, visitors are enjoying cultural and musical events in museums and galleries until Epiphany in January. The culinary scene returns stronger than ever, with rich menus offering traditional and new creative dishes and drinks.
Below, we provide an overview of programs in six major Croatian cities.
The Advent in Zagreb is happening in multiple locations. The theme of this year’s festival is traditional Croatian toys and cultural events.
Fourteen musical programs will have 129 concerts during the festivities, including Zagreb Soloists and Zagreb Chamber Orchestra performances.
Popular locations such as Zrinjevac will host concerts of famous Croatian artists. 26 individual food houses and 44 souvenir houses around the city centre are enriching Advent in Zagreb this year.
Advent in Varaždin is located in the historic core of the town. Korzo, the main square, includes eight tiny houses with food and drinks on offer. It’s a starting point for Santa’s train and concert zone.
The Square of Miljenko Stančić is the place to enjoy culinary experiences and enjoy acoustic Christmas music. Squares in the vicinity will have 13 exhibitors selling traditional handmade souvenirs, while Kapucinski square turned into ‘Frozen Magic’ with an ice rink and ice slide.
Advent began on the 27th of November with a concert by Croatian singer Vanna and will last until the 6th of January 2022.
Advent in Osijek began with a traditional ceremony of lighting the first advent candle by the archbishop Đuro Hranić on the 28th of November in front of the cathedral of Saint Peter and Paul.
Osijek is also celebrating its birthday on the 2nd of December.
A traditional lighted tram and the Square of Ante Starčević is the starting point of the ‘Adventure Journey’. Towards Kapucinska, then to Sakuntala streets and finally European Avenue, the Christmas magic ends at King Tomislav Park, the most visited location.
All major locations will host food vendors with a variety of dishes and local bars and restaurants. In mid-December, the largest ferris wheel in Croatia will be installed as the central attraction.
Multiple locations in the centre of Rijeka along with Trsat castle were selected to host this year’s celebration.
Korzo and Square of the Republic are hosting a traditional Holiday Fair with 26 Christmas houses. Authentic products, decorations, gift ideas and sweets are being presented.
At the charity event organised by the Association for Research and Support (DIP), visitors can purchase Christmas tree baubles and use them to decorate the main Christmas tree at Korzo.
Children will be able to take Santa’s train and visit Santa’s house and have fun at the Sea Snowflake ice rink on Riva.
The newly included location is the square in front of the National Theatre that becomes the centre of the culinary segment of the fair.
Under the slogan ‘Let’s Click on Advent’ (Croatian: Kliknimo na Advent), Split launched the advent program that runs until the 6th of January 2022. The concept allows visitors to see, feel and ‘click’ with multiple events.
Food is at the centre of this year’s celebration with four locations: Fort Cornaro, Perivoj, park Mertojak and park Zvončac. Since the 27th of November, all visitors have been enjoying a rich dining experience followed by concerts held at all four locations. Every Sunday, Nutritionist Olja Martinić will host an online GastroAdvent for all who cannot physically visit the festivities.
Museums, galleries and the National Theatre joined the event and will offer unique programs to visitors of all ages.
All four Advent locations in the morning and early afternoon hours include programs for children, from costumed animators to children’s cinema.
The Christmas fair in Dubrovnik took over some of the most famous heritage sites like Pile Gate, Fish Market and Lazaret. The centre of the fair is on Stradun, which hosts local craftsmen and small businesses that offer local products, Christmas decorations and authentic sweets.
Visitors can join local customs of singing the traditional kolenda, local Christmas carols, and New Year’s Eve to wish for a happy holiday season.
Stradun will also host concerts featuring many Croatian popular bands and singers. In contrast, other popular locations in the Old Town will be full of advent houses offering a variety of dishes and warm drinks.