After a few days in Novi Sad we left Serbia and drove west, back to Zagreb where we had spent a few days in the early fall. We had mainly decided to stay for a night in Zagreb since it was a convenient stopping point on the way to Venice, but were also excited to experience the Advent festivities there.
Zagreb Christmas Market – Best in Europe?
When we learned that Zagreb’s Christmas Market had been voted #1 in Europe for 2016, 2017 and 2018 we were a little bit skeptical, thinking that maybe the online ballot boxes had been stuffed somehow. After all, how could a Christmas Market in Croatia beat out the ones in Germany, the land that invented them?
We started off the festivities at Josip Jelačić Square there was a huge advent wreath circling the fountain. Nearby there were dozens of booths with food, drink, and holiday items on sale. We tried a traditional germknodel, a fluffy dumpling filled with plum jam and doused with vanilla sauce.
The kids loved the donuts topped with Nutella and cinnamon sugar.
There was plenty of mulled wine on offer, as well as hot rakia and Croatian craft beers.
After a while we made our way to the upper town to see the Christmas tree in front of St. Mark’s Church. Nearby a brass band played holiday songs from a restaurant balcony.
The upper town had another grouping of booths. We had a second round of food and drinks and enjoyed the view along with some live music.
Back in the lower part of town, we headed to Zrinjevac Park where there was an edgier version of the Christmas market complete with Marvel superheroes.
The ice rink looked like a blast, with a large skating area and a long loop track.
Even the pedestrian tunnel was decorated for the season, as a fundraiser for UNICEF.
After our visit to the Zagreb Christmas Market, we have to agree that it is one of the best we have ever been to. It was neat that the market was spread out over different parts of town, and each venue had a slightly different vibe. We definitely want to return in the future to experience this market again!
Zagreb was not voted the best market in 2019, but they were not in the running because the competition does not allow for the same winner four times in a row. Instead, Tallinn took over the top spot. See the top 10 over at the European Best Destinations website.
In our next update, we venture to Venice to see the city that, at its height, had enormous power and influence over the Adriatic region.