Dubrovnik’s atmosphere exudes a calm warmth even in winter, drawing you into its historic stone walls and scenic views of the Adriatic Sea.
Dubrovnik Christmas Market and Winter Festival add to the city’s allure, inviting both locals and tourists to enjoy the traditional Croatian holiday spirit amidst the backdrop of this ancient city.
In this article, I share all the essential details you’ll need to plan your visit, covering the confirmed 2023 dates, opening times, and local specialties.
As Christmas approaches, the historical city of Dubrovnik takes on a festive ambience, its cobblestone streets and Baroque buildings shimmering under the glow of yuletide lights.
The harmony of traditional carols fills the air, mingling with the aroma of festive treats, creating an essence of Christmas that permeates every corner of this Adriatic Sea-fringed city.
Dubrovnik Christmas Market 2023
At the Dubrovnik Winter Festival, numerous locations buzz with cultural and entertainment programmes suitable for every age group.
The city sparkles with over a thousand glittering decorations, creating a warm and vibrant atmosphere, while the Bear and the Elves, the festival’s mascots, roam the streets, further brightening the mood.
This ambience is enriched by the North Pole Station, an ice rink, and the Advent Train in Lapad Bay.
This rich musical backdrop accompanies a variety of gastronomic delicacies available at popular restaurants across the UNESCO-listed Old Town.
Traditional crafts are a highlight at the Christmas market, showcasing everything from Christmas ornaments to famed Croatian embroidery.
All these elements come together along the historical Stradun, where a decorated city map and a towering Christmas tree stand as symbols of the city’s festive spirit.
Dates and Location
Dubrovnik Christmas Market dates: 2nd December 2023 to 6th January 2024.
Location: Luza Square and Stradun.
Opening times: 10am to 6pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Christmas lights: Yes, switch on date: 2nd December.
Ice skating: Yes, at Uvala Lapad.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten free: Yes, but limited.
Pet-friendly: Yes, but not recommended during busy periods.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion. Parking is only available outside of the city walls.
Reason to visit: Incredibly beautiful UNESCO location within the city walls.
Recommended tour: Dubrovnik Old Town walking tour.
Specialities: Sugared orange peels, traditional Dubrovnik cheeses, local winter delicacies, kontonjata, Croatian pastries.
Where to stay: Boutique Hotel Stari Grad is a highly-rated hotel, 3 minutes from Luza Square.
Hotels near Dubrovnik Christmas Market
Stay in the Old Town of Dubrovnik for easy access to the Christmas market in Luza Square and Winter Festival activities along Stradun.
This central area allows you to be amidst the holiday buzz and close to Dubrovnik’s main attractions.
Consider booking a room at Boutique Hotel Stari Grad, a popular choice due to its central location within the old city walls.
Location of Dubrovnik Winter Festival
Recommended Walking and Food Tours
A city tour of Dubrovnik is an excellent way to familiarise yourself with the city’s incredible history and culture. I took a walking tour on my first visit to Dubrovnik, and I also recommend walking the city walls.
I suggest taking this Old Town walking tour.
Starting near Pile Gate, a notable western entrance to the Old Town, a local guide will introduce you to Dubrovnik’s major historic landmarks, including Large Onofrio’s Fountain, Orlando’s Column and Rector’s Palace.
Another great option is the 3-hour food and wine tour.
Walk the ancient streets of the city’s Old Town and pause to admire some of its grand sights while enjoying local specialties paired with a glass of regional wine.
This tour is a wonderful opportunity to engage with Dubrovnik’s rich gastronomic landscape.
Continuing your exploration of Croatian Christmas markets, I recommend you to read my Croatia Christmas Market 2023 guide.
Christmas in Dubrovnik
Christmas Specialties in Dubrovnik
Bakalar na Bijelo: A traditional dish enjoyed during the Christmas season, Bakalar na Bijelo is made of dried cod. The cod is soaked for days and then cooked with potatoes, garlic, and olive oil until it reaches a creamy, puree-like consistency. It is a staple in Croatian households, particularly on Christmas Eve.
Sarma: Rolled cabbage leaves filled with a delicious mix of minced pork, rice, and various spices. The rolls are then cooked in a tomato sauce and often served with mashed potatoes. While traditionally made with meat, it can easily be adapted for vegetarians by using a filling of mushrooms, rice, and spices instead.
Fritule: These are small doughnuts, often enjoyed during the Christmas season. They are typically flavoured with brandy and lemon zest, then sprinkled with powdered sugar. They’re a sweet treat you’d commonly find at home gatherings rather than at the Christmas market.
Arancini: Not to be confused with the Italian rice balls of the same name, Croatian arancini are candied orange peels. The peels are soaked in water for a few days to reduce their bitterness, then boiled in sugar syrup. Once cooled, they’re coated in sugar, resulting in a sweet, citrusy treat that’s popular during Christmas.
Makovnjača: This poppy seed roll is a traditional dessert in Croatia. It’s made by spreading a mixture of ground poppy seeds, sugar, and lemon zest on a thin layer of yeast dough, then rolling it up and baking it. The result is a delicious, slightly sweet roll that’s perfect for dessert or a snack.
Krpice sa zeljem: A hearty dish perfect for cold winter days, krpice sa zeljem consists of homemade pasta ribbons cooked with sauteed cabbage. While it’s a simple dish, the combination of pasta and cabbage, flavoured with garlic, black pepper, and sometimes a dash of vinegar, creates a comforting, satisfying meal. This dish can be enjoyed by vegetarians and is often served during the festive season.
Rožata: A classic Dubrovnik dessert, Rožata is similar to a crème caramel or flan. Made with simple ingredients like milk, sugar, eggs, and a local sweet liqueur called ‘Rozalin’, it’s topped with caramel syrup and often garnished with candied orange peels. You might find this sweet treat at stalls selling home-cooked-style desserts.
Sausages: A staple at many Christmas markets, you’re likely to come across a variety of sausages in Dubrovnik’s market stalls. These can range from international favourites like bratwurst to local varieties such as ‘kulen’, a spicy Croatian sausage made from minced pork.
Cheeses: Croatia is known for its wide variety of cheeses, and several stalls at the Dubrovnik Christmas market display an impressive selection. Look out for ‘paški sir’, a hard sheep’s milk cheese from the Island of Pag, and ‘skuta’, a soft curd cheese that’s a Croatian delicacy.
Kuhano Vino: This is the Croatian take on mulled wine. Made from local red or white wines, kuhano vino is heated and mixed with sugar and a blend of spices such as cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sometimes, the addition of citrus fruits like oranges or lemons gives it an extra festive kick.
Christmas Gifts and Stocking Fillers
Croatian Olive Oil: Croatia is famous for its high-quality olive oil. You’re likely to find beautifully packaged bottles of extra virgin olive oil, perfect for gifting. Look out for oils from the Dalmatian region, renowned for their quality and flavour.
Handmade Ornaments: At Dubrovnik’s Christmas market, you can find a variety of handmade Christmas decorations. These can range from intricately painted baubles to ornaments crafted from local materials such as wood, ceramics, or glass.
Lace Products: The city of Dubrovnik and the nearby island of Pag are famous for traditional lace-making. You can find a wide range of items, from tablecloths and napkins to more contemporary products like lace jewellery, which make for unique and delicate gifts.
Konavle Embroidery: Originating from the Konavle region south of Dubrovnik, this traditional embroidery style is used to decorate clothing, especially the traditional costumes. Items adorned with this distinct, colourful needlework, such as scarves or decorative pieces, are both beautiful and representative of the area’s culture.
Local Spirits: Croatian brandy, known as ‘rakija’, is a popular local product you might find in the market. Flavours can vary from classic grape to more unique infusions like fig, walnut, or honey. Beautifully packaged, they make great gifts for spirit enthusiasts.
Visit Dubrovnik is the city’s official website that provides a wealth of helpful resources and information for visitors to Dubrovnik, making it a handy tool to easily navigate the city and find events.
Sustainable Christmas Tips
Here are a few tips on how we can travel more responsibly in Dubrovnik at Christmas.
Opt for Renewable Energy Hotels: Many hotels in Dubrovnik make use of solar panels for heating and electricity. By choosing accommodations that utilise renewable energy, you directly support sustainable practices in the tourism industry.
Reduce Food Waste: To minimise food waste, try to plan your meals and portion sizes, particularly at the Christmas market, where the food is plentiful. Many stalls at the Dubrovnik market, like those serving fritule, prepare their food in small batches to avoid excess waste, so follow their example and only order what you can eat.
Practise Ethical Consumption: Support local artisans at the Christmas festival whenever possible instead of purchasing mass-produced items. Buying locally helps the economy and reduces the carbon footprint associated with transporting goods from overseas.
Follow a Sustainable Diet: Eating local and seasonal food is a great way to follow a sustainable diet. In Dubrovnik, you’ll find an abundance of fresh local produce, seafood, and traditional dishes at the Christmas market and local restaurants.
Use Sustainable Transport: Dubrovnik’s Old Town is a pedestrian-only zone, making walking the best mode of transport. Consider using public transport or renting a bicycle for longer distances to reduce your carbon footprint.
Yes, Dubrovnik does host a Christmas market. It’s part of the Dubrovnik Winter Festival, which fills the city with glittering decorations, cultural events, and various entertaining programmes.
The Dubrovnik Christmas Market 2023 dates are 2nd December 2023 to 6th January 2024.
The Christmas market is primarily located in the historic Old Town of Dubrovnik, specifically in the area near Luza Square and the Stradun. There are also events in nearby Lapad.
Typically, the market opens every day from 10am to 6pm.
I was very fortunate to visit Dubrovnik one Christmas, and it’s a beautiful destination. The city streets are adorned with festive decorations and a warm, vibrant atmosphere. It’s such a nice time to visit, given there are fewer crowds, yet a lot is still going on.
Winter in Dubrovnik is generally mild, with average temperatures ranging between 5°C and 15°C. Rain is more common than snow.
Absolutely, winter is a great time to visit Dubrovnik. The city is less crowded, and the Christmas Market adds a festive charm to the historic Old Town.
I think the best Christmas market in Croatia is in Zagreb, which has won awards for its festive atmosphere and extensive offerings. However, Dubrovnik and other cities like Split and Rijeka also hold nice Christmas markets that provide unique experiences and a fun atmosphere.
If you would like to leave a review of Dubrovnik Xmas Market, comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Dubrovnik, Croatia. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.