Advent is the most lovely time of the year, and several years near the time of Advent all the roads are leading to Zagreb. City where winter is somehow quite alive and you can feel the Christmas spirit on every corner.

You can taste homemade delicates Fritule, try an ice skating, walk within the Tunnel Grič, or just enjoy in the Christmas spirit. It’s something you just can’t explain – you need to see it. If you are a little bit of Grinch, don’t worry, Advent in Zagreb will change your mind immediately.

This is something you must put on your “things to see in Zagreb” list:

Advent on the Main Square

You can’t go in Zagreb without visiting the main square – Ban Jelačić Square. Just like every year, the Christmas wreath will be set around Manduševac Fountain, and the first candle will be lighted on 2nd December at 5 pm. Every Sunday, a new candle will light up until Sunday 24th December when the wreath will shine in full glory.

Jelačić Square

(Photo: Croatian National Tourist Board)

Advent on Zrinjevac

Near the main square, you will find a fairytale named Zrinjevac. A magical place with winterly decoration will make you fall in love with that place immediately. The old music pavilion during the Advent season becomes a haven for lovers of Christmas classics and waltzes. After singing and dancing you can go and catch a bite of fabulous and almost forgotten Zagreb specialties – krpice sa zeljem (pasta with cabbage).

Nikola Šubić Zrinski Square

(Photo: Julien Duval)

Ice Park

It is located right between the Art Pavilion and the statue of the first Croatian king, Tomislav. If you like ice skating this will surely be your favorite place in Zagreb. Alongside the ice park, there are also wooden houses where you can try Christmas delicates such as Fritule, mulled wine, sausages, and dumplings.

King Tomislav Square

(Photo: Davor Rostuhar)

Fooling around

This year Fuliranje or Fooling around will be located on the Strossmayer square, among Zrinjevac and Tomislav square. During the Advent, Fooling around works under the slogan: “Life is a circus” – and it brings a lot of great entertainment, food, drinks, love, laughter and more. Best local cuisine, various music concerts, DJ-s, clowns, fire-eaters, stilt walkers, and everything you need for having the best Advent experience ever.

Advent on Stross

Take a romantic walk on the Strossmayers promenade, the best place for sightseeing: the Lotrščak tower, Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Museum of Broken Relationships. Strossmayers promenade is one of the most beautiful places to take a walk in Zagreb, anytime in a year, but especially at Christmas time. This year’s Advent program is full of numerous music concerts and kids shows.

Strossmayers Promenade

(Photo: Lice grada)

Advent in the Grič Tunnel

One place and two contrasting scenes we can’t wait to see. From 2nd till 17th December the Grič Tunnel will look like a street from the age of Charles Dickens. After 19th December till the end of Advent, it is going to be designed as “Wish”. Imagine presents, Christmas ornaments, and pines.

Advent at the Klovićevi Dvori

As a fairytale decorated with countless Christmas lights, white artificial snow, pine trees, hanged romantic mistletoes – all together will make Gradec the main Advent attraction. Idyllic Gornji Grad will have the music stage with the most magnificent views of the city, which will host each day bands that will make everybody dance.

Advent at the Klovićevi

(Photo: Lice grada)

Live Nativity Scene on Kaptol

In front of the Zagreb Cathedral on the Kaptol, community Cenacolo will demonstrate us the history-changing event – the Jesus’ birth and the first moments of his life.  You will see the three wise men, shepherds, Joseph and Virgin Mary, farm animals and the beautiful little byre in the Bethlehem.  Living Nativity will be held from 17th December 2017 to January 6, 2018.

Are you visiting Zagreb this year?

Imagine you and your dog, together at the beach, drinking beer and sitting in the shoal while the sun is shining. You have no worries about taking your dog at the beach, and they are so happy they can spend the day with you.

Want to take your dog to the dog-some beach in Croatia?

Of course you do! Well, we have good news for you because in Monty’s Dog Beach and Bar you can completely relax and enjoy with your best four-legged friend. This top dog destination is located in the small harbor Podvorska in Crikvenica, in a beautiful Kvarner bay, and the bar looks like a jumbo dog house.

Your fur friend can play with other dogs and take pleasure in the beautiful sea. After the swim, you can wash out the salt from your dog in a fully equipped design shower for dogs. If your dog gets hungry and thirsty from running around you can order some tasty dog pizza or ice cream, a delicious dog beer or tea from the dog menu. Dog beer is non-alcoholic and it’s made of chicken and vegetables while exquisite doggy ice cream is made up of banana, soy milk, peanuts, and yogurt.

At the bar, you can even borrow GoPro and attach it to your dog’s back so you can see how it looks like from a dog’s perspective. Of course, you do not have to worry, humans can also relax and spend an awesome day at the beach. The bar has free wifi, you can rent a parasol, sit on the deck chairs, lay on your towel and enjoy your coffee or beer.

The bar even organized a funny and cute dog race where a dog has to jump in the sea, swim for 100 meters and come back. There is so much laughter and everybody, humans and dogs, always have the best time.

We want to show you a new unusual underwater treasure of Croatia, a first of that kind in the whole world, which was installed in Jelinak Valley near Trogir in Dalmatia region.

Joško Kandija, a diving center owner, and Valentino Valent, the owner of a company specialized in ceramics, joined their talents to create the first underwater Stations of the Cross. These underwater Stations of the Cross represent series of images from Christ’s crucifixion. There are many sculptures representing Stations of the Cross around the world, but what makes this one special is that it is the first one located under the water!

Stations of the Cross 1

If you want to visit these magnificent sculptures, you will need to dive approximately 4 meters under the surface. Hop in the diving suit, take the necessary diving equipment and you’ll be able to enjoy this outdoor museum compiled of 50 sculptures. All of the 14 stations and 50 sculptures should be installed by the end of September 2017.

The sculptures are 1.8 meters high and weigh approximately 1000 kilograms so they will be able to withstand the sea currents and remain in great condition.

It doesn’t matter if you are religious or not, this is a sight everyone will enjoy and it is definitely worth visiting!

Photo: Stations of the Cross

It’s time for you to experience the weirdest Croatian experiences that you would never think of. We assure you that they are overwhelming, wonderful and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Keep your mind open, read our little list and experience a different side of Croatia!

Town of Hum Celebration of the Election of the Mayor

Each year on the Day of Hum, men of the parish elect their prefect in the traditional way. They cherish their folklore by engraving election votes on wooden sticks. The town prefect is responsible for the parish, settling disputes in the town and deciding penalties for disorderly conduct. The election is followed by a wine & dine festival, which includes traditional dishes made by locals, as well as the homemade wine and brandy, commonly known as medica.

Spy Peacocks on the Island of Lokrum

Lokrum island

The island of Lokrum is located 15 minutes from Dubrovnik. Lokrum was once home to Maximilian of Hapsburg, who enriched the horticulture of the island by bringing various animals and plants that he found on his travels around the world. Thanks to him, today you’ll have an opportunity to spy on peacocks brought to Croatia directly from the Canary islands! In these years, those exquisite birds made a home here on Lokrum. Hop on that ferry to visit Lokrum, relax on the beach and collect memories.

Dinner in the Sky above Zagreb

If you’re a fan of odd dinners and you’re ready for a new adventure, we recommend you this unusual event in the heart of the Croatia – Zagreb. The event will be held in front of the Westin Zagreb hotel, where the chosen 22 guests (per meal) will be lifted approximately 50 meters above the land. To be precise, you’ll be having a dinner in the sky. Top chefs from Croatia will be in charge of bringing you the most incredible meals each day, together with the most beautiful view of the city you’ve ever seen. The chef will not only prepare the meal, but he/she will join guests in the dining experience, discussing the food, menu and maybe even the purpose of life. We assure you, that the foodie in you will love the face-to-face relationship with the chef that you can rarely experience in normal restaurants.

Fly-boarding in Kaštela

So, you’re surely wondering now how does it feel to attach a water jet-pack on your body just to fly above the Adriatic sea. Well, we assure you it is an amazing experience even if you’re not ready for it. In that one second when jet-pack is turned on everything becomes clearer – the adventure has begun! Fly-boarding allows you to hover above the water, test your balance and even your nerves. Take a trip to the Dalmatian coast, come to Kaštela that is located north-west of the city of Split and have a time of your life.

Watch a donkey race at Sali (Zadar County)

If you’re an animal lover and you’re fond of unusual events, you should visit Sali, an amazing site on Dugi Otok island. Saljske užance is a traditional cultural festival of this area. Although activities start on Friday with the Fisherman Night, definitely the most interesting event of this festive is donkey race held on the early Sunday morning. Enjoy traditional fish stew, grilled tuna and anchovies, Donkey music performances, along with Dalmatian a cappella singing – called klapsko pjevanje, bag races and tug-of-war. A traditional name for this unique series of donkey races is Trke Tovarov. Maybe you’ll love it, maybe you won’t. Either way, you must be aware that this race is a part of Dalmatian folklore that’s held in Croatia for over 55 years.

Sea Organ in Zadar

If you ever wander in Zadar, you should definitely visit its seaside where unique sounds fill up the air. This city of a long history and tradition is now best known for its unusual seaside audio installation known as the Sea Organ. Opened for public in 2005, they have enriched the coastline of Zadar with its usage of a series of various pipes embedded in a rock. When the waves hit the coast, they create different tones, and you’ll surely feel like you’re in heaven.

This oddly beautiful tunes will make an extraordinary experience even if you’re just your wandering, sipping coffee or just relaxing on the bench of Zadar’s seaside. We must highlight that the Croatian architect Nikola Bašić, the founder of the Sea Organs, won the European Prize for Urban Public Space in 2006 for his remarkable work.

Swimming with horses on the island of Murter

Horse riding

If you ever cross around Murter, be sure to go on an extraordinary adventure – horseback riding lessons through the pleasant landscapes of this island. And that’s not all, if you really want to take horseback riding to another level, you should go and ride them through the water, precisely go for a swim on a back of this gorgeous animal. We bet you’re asking yourself at this moment what are you still waiting for! So, go get that experience whether you are a beginner or an experienced rider, go and enjoy the sea in a way you never have before.

Sleep in a 5-Star Lighthouse

We all know that for an amazing adventurous holiday you don’t need much – but when it comes to sleeping and chill-axing, we’re all looking for the most comfortable place to rest our tired heads. Recently, Croatian accommodation has been enriched by a new way of overnight offer. You’re surely wondering what have they made up now – so we won’t drag on anymore. There are 45 extant lighthouses in Croatia from which there are dozen that have been converted into villas to accommodate overnight guests. The most special one is the one on the island of Vir. Opened in the summer of 2012 after an extensive renovation, Villa Lanterna that is older than 130 years has been transformed into a tastefully modern 5-star, 4-bedroom property, located in a tranquil spot beside a pine forest and a lovely beach, but conveniently situated just 5 miles from the town of Vir. It is a one-time opportunity to sleep in such historical and romantic place.

Saintly mummies

When you’re in Istria and if you’re going north of the city of Pula, you will stumble upon a sleepy little hamlet of Vodnjan. Here, the main attraction definitely is the spooky “thing” inside the town’s Baroque church, St. Blaise. Ask your tour guide to escort you to a room behind the church’s main altar, where lies the very dried but frighteningly intact remains of 6 long-dead Catholic saints, brought here from Italy in the time of war, nearly 2 centuries ago. Among them is St. Nicolosa Bursa, whose 500-year-old mummy is claimed to be the best preserved in Europe, and is furthermore reputed to work miracles against a various number of diseases. The church is also home to a reliquary with more than 350 glass-protected holy artifacts, including a thorn of Jesus’ crown and the undecayed tongue of St. Mary of Egypt.

Taste the Wine in an Under-Airport Cave

Under the Dubrovnik’s international airport lies a timeless and other-worldly cave filled with stalactites, stalagmites and traces of human activity from the Bronze and Iron ages. For the last couple of years, the nearly 100,000-square-foot cave has been transformed to something much more modern: a naturally-chilled wine cellar, with a selection of the most appreciated wines from Croatia’s nearby Konavle region. Đurović Cave, as it’s officially known, is therefore now also called Skycellar, and is accessible by a 130-foot tunnel that starts with an entrance near the airport’s main office. After touring the magnificent cave, guests can sample the Skycellar wines and when they decide which one is the greatest, they can proceed their tour around Dubrovnik.

Before planning a trip to Croatia, you should definitely check out our list of Top 10 Croatian festivals. This list includes some major festivals and the eccentric ones, but after-all the choice is yours. Forget about your worries and enjoy throughout Croatia.

The Music Biennale, Zagreb

The Music Biennale Zagreb transform’s Zagreb, Croatia’s capital city, into the world’s centre of contemporary music. Since 1961 it is held in the spring and it welcomes a plenty of international art lovers, contemporary music composers, musicians, music critics and contemporary music critics. If you attend this festival you’ll hear new and classic music compositions, and see performances from renowned chamber ensembles and symphony orchestras.

You can listen to the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, productions of experimental musical theatre, contemporary dance and jazz. Organised by the Croatian Composers Society, the Biennale started organising lectures, workshops and symposiums – covering topics such as 20th-century classical compositions. Over the years, festival collaborated with major figures of contemporary music, such as John Cage, Igor Stravinsky or Bruno Maderna.

The Association Kinookus, Dubrovnik

You probably know a little bit about Dubrovnik, but you might not know that every September, in this amazing town, an amazing film & food festival is held. The name of the Association Kinookus implies a special bond that binds food and cinema. This festival speaks about the development of the aesthetic taste in beauty and life, cinematography and art in general.

Kinookus, as the founders are highlighting, presents education as the main part of awakening and refining the senses for rare and forgotten tastes (aesthetic and gastronomic), especially those that are in danger of becoming extinct in a globalised modern world. The Association Kinookus ideas and projects are driven by the principles of non-violence, careful observation, encouraging curiosity and openness towards different as well as an understanding of local culture and culture in general. Therefore, the most important idea that we would like to highlight is the importance of education for youth about the preservation of the uniqueness of Dubrovnik area and spirit.

The International Folklore Festival, Zagreb

For nearly 50 years, in July, the dance and musical heritage of many European nations have been celebrated in Zagreb at this festival. This is a festival that promotes multiculturalism expressing it in a sense of cultural traditions features exhibitions, concerts, dance performances and music workshops. Every year various folklore groups from around the world travel to Zagreb for the festival, in order to posses its streets and squares, dressed in traditional garb and ready to perform and discover traditions from across the world.

Performances are typically held in Zagreb’s Old Town, on stages in the Gradec neighbourhood and the central Ban Jelačić Square. So if you’re interested in music and dance, good people and embracing the cultural difference, come to Zagreb. You can even bring your dancing shoes because a series of dance lessons are always open for the public, throughout all 6 days of the festival.

Pula Film Festival, Pula

Pula Film Festival
Photo by Lexe-I / CC BY

The Pula Film Festival is the world’s oldest national festival and the festival with the largest average number of visitors per screening. This is due to the enormous auditorium in the Arena where it’s held, as is the well-preserved Vespasian’s amphitheatre dating from the 1st century.

The first film screening in this venue took place in 1938, while Pula was under the Italian Fascist rule. But this is not a place for talking about politics, we’re here to talk about movies, culture and having fun. The Pula Film Festival, the largest film festival in Croatia, has been held every summer since 1954 at the Roman amphitheatre known as the Pula Arena and in other venues in the surrounding area.

Rijeka Summer Nights, Rijeka

If you visit Rijeka in June and July you’ll witness an incredible festival of colours and culture when whole Rijeka becomes one big theatre stage. Every day for three weeks, different concerts, theatre performances, exhibitions and street performances take place all over this historical town as a part of the Rijeka Summer Nights. This festival was launched in 2004 by the town itself in cooperation with the Tourist Board and the Croatian National Theater.

You can experience cultural events such as musical performances, ballet, theatre performances and poetry readings. The Festival program includes classical drama productions, premieres of more recent works for drama theatre and concerts of classical music, street theatres and concerts by pop stars. One of the crucial elements of the Festival is inevitable relations between the industrial architecture and the theatre, which is why some of the events are staged at the old industrial sights such as the Trsat fortress (a former observation post built for defence against the Turkish army).

International Children’s Festival, Šibenik

Photo by TZ Š

The festival was founded in 1958 in Šibenik and it celebrates children’s imagination and creativity. The cultural event is spread all over the town with every single square. street and house dedicated to children. Local and international children’s ensembles, creative workshops and aesthetic education programs attract people from all over the world in this little town of Croatia.

Selected Croatian and international performing associations, drama associations and music ensembles are showing their best works, projects and ideas every summer. Cultural and educational workshops involve children in the art of creation where they can learn and create extraordinary masterpieces by themselves. So, here you’ll witness children’s films in open-air cinemas, plays staged by children, journalism workshops, making comics, painting, information technology, drama and music arts, puppet theatre, cinema, literature, visual arts…

The Chocolate Festival, Opatija

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Held in Opatija, this is a festival for all those who seek for the “sugar & spice” side of life. Walk along the Opatija’s lungo mare, breath in the fresh salty air and visit all of the places where we embrace a thing so sweet that you’ll have to apologise to your dentist. You’ll have an opportunity to taste, see and feel the best chocolate from all over the world because international brands and specialised manufacturers will be producing original and creative delicacies! Attend workshops, lectures, wine tastings and concerts that are all dedicated to chocolate and only chocolate. This is a festival of scents, so come to Opatija in autumn and be a part of this sweet, sweet sin that we all adore.

The Sea on the Table Festival, Fažana, Istra

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Restaurants, taverns and areas along the waterfront of Fažana every year offer traditional and creative, new pilchard dishes that all embrace the fisherman way of life. Fažana is a small fisherman village that can offer a lot, so while you’re visiting this festival in June, you could take a peek at the new sculpture in Pilchard Park, taste some of the best seafood delicacies made minutes after you see them mingling in the sea, and enjoy the feeling of making new dishes.

Pilchard is the symbol of Fažana so everything about this festival is related to this small healthy fish. A special attraction is culinary programs of preparing pilchard in 100 different ways based on knowledge and skill, that transform simplicity into delicious dishes. Program of this festival offers courses by the Small fishing academy “Srdela”. If you attent the courses they will show you the underwater world of Fažana, fishing equipment and Fažana’s traditional fishing boats. Tasting fish in Fažana is the perfect opportunity for all of the sea and sun lovers that decide to lose themselves in summer sights of Croatia.

Đakovački vezovi, Đakovo

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Đakovo takes place as the one of the Croatia’s most important locations for the festival of authentic folk culture – Đakovački vezovi (literally “Đakovo embroidery”). It features a weekend-long series of song and dance performances by folkloric societies from all over Croatia on the first weekend of July. Performances take over the town park from morning till evening and after that, you can enjoy live music concerts in the town centre. This festival includes a show with Lipizzaner horses that is a constitutive custom of that locality, and maybe the whole Croatia. Come here, learn something new about Croatia’s history and take a bit of it with you.

The Dance and Non-Verbal Theatre Festival San Vincenti, Saint Vincenti, Istria

Dance and Non-Verbal Theatre Festival San Vincenti is a unique cultural event, organized by Zagreb Dance Company. With its long tradition, it proved itself as the favourite gathering spot of dance experts and dance lovers who follow the festival’s international program composed of contemporary dance productions, physical theatre, mime, circus performances, workshops, street art and educational seminars. It was founded in the year of 2000 and so far it has presented more than 150 dance and theatre associations from Croatia (and international) with more than 190 productions, education of the new generations of audience, promotion of inter-cultural dialogue and trans-national mobility. Founders of this festival are trying to take an active part in the development of active, democratic and culturally educated society, encouraging creativity and of the solidarity between artists and the audience.