Whether in the Upper Town or Lower Town, Zagreb’s old town streets and squares are lit up with Christmas lights and decorations. Winter is a wonderful time to visit the city, and the Zagreb Christmas Market is a highlight of the season.
Read on for the latest details on confirmed dates, opening times and locations, updated for 2023.
Zagreb has several Christmas markets across the city connected through a series of lights that pass through the squares and beautiful parks.
Zagreb Christmas Market 2023
The main markets are located at Ban Josipa Jelačića Square, the central square in Zagreb’s Lower Town, and at King Tomislav Square, in front of the main train station (also in the Lower Town).
I suggest an itinerary starting at King Tomislav Square to see everything related to Advent in Zagreb. After enjoying the decorated square, walk past the Art Pavilion and continue past the National Museum of Modern Art until you reach Park Zrinjevac.
Park Zrinjevac is beautifully decorated with fairy lights, and you might see music being played in the centre at the Music Pavilion.
From here, keep walking north towards the Christmas chalets at Ban Josipa Jelačića Square. Walk up towards Zagreb Cathedral in the Kaptol district and then finish your Christmas walk in front of the Christmas tree at St Mark’s Church in the Upper Town.
Zagreb Christmas Market dates: 2nd December 2023 to 7th January 2024.
Location: Ban Josipa Jelačića Square and King Tomislav Square.
Opening times: Enjoy the decorations and atmosphere at any times. Market opening times vary but you can generally expect them to be open from 10am to 8pm.
Christmas Day: Partially closed.
Admission: Free, no tickets required.
Christmas lights: Yes, but no switch on date announced.
Ice skating: Yes, at King Tomislav Square.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, but limited.
Gluten free: Yes, but very limited.
Accessible: Yes, if you can manage cobblestones but not everywhere is accessible.
Pet-friendly: Yes, dogs are allowed on a lead.
Reason to visit: Contemporary decorations that are unique to Zagreb with traditional Weihnachtsmarkt elements.
Recommended tour: Taste Zagreb Food Tour provides a great introduction to local Croatian specialties.
Specialities: Paprenjaci (lightly spiced pepper cookies), vanilin kiflice (half-moon cookies) and poppy seed rolls.
Where to stay: Hotel Capital is a highly-rated hotel, less than 5 minutes from the Christmas market.
Hotels near Zagreb Christmas Market
Zagreb is a safe, walkable city with a great public transport system. If walking is difficult, you can get easily get around by tram, and you can take the funicular from the Lower Town to the Upper Town.
I suggest staying in the Lower Town as this area is famous for its Austro-Hungarian architecture and gridlike streets. This is where you’ll find most of the Christmas activities as well as many sights and restaurants.
The Upper Town has many restaurants and bars, too, so don’t overlook this area, but the Lower Town is calmer yet has more things to do.
I recommend staying at Hotel Capital as it’s close to both Ban Josipa Jelačića Square and King Tomislav Square, as well as other sights like Zagreb Cathedral and the famous Market Dolac.
Location of Zagreb Christmas Market
City and Christmas Tours
A city tour of Zagreb is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the city’s rich history and culture. With its captivating old town, vibrant buildings, and impressive architecture, Zagreb is a city that offers something for everyone.
I highly suggest taking a city tour of Zagreb as it allows you to witness all the top sights and attractions in the city. Alternatively, you could also consider a food tour where you can explore the local culture through their cuisine.
This Zagreb food tour combines a food tour with culture and history. It’s a great introduction to Zagreb.
If you’ve been to Zagreb before or are looking for something more unique, you might like this Croatian War Tour.
During a city tour, you’ll have the opportunity to visit Zagreb’s most notable landmarks and attractions, such as the historic Ban Jelačić Square, the stunning Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the striking Lotrščak Tower.
Christmas in Zagreb
Specialties in Zagreb
- Sarma: Cabbage rolls filled with a mixture of rice and minced meat (can be replaced with mushrooms for a vegetarian option).
- Bakalar: Salted cod cooked with potatoes, onions, and garlic, typically served as a main course for Christmas Eve dinner.
- Fritule: Small doughnuts made with raisins and flavoured with rum and lemon zest.
- Orehnjača: A sweet bread roll filled with a mixture of ground walnuts, sugar, and vanilla.
- Kiflice: Soft, crescent-shaped rolls typically filled with jam, cheese, or chocolate.
- Pečeni vol: Roast beef with potatoes and vegetables, served as the main dish for Christmas lunch.
- Posni lonac: A traditional vegetable stew made with potatoes, carrots, peppers, and other seasonal vegetables, typically served on Christmas Eve as a meat-free alternative.
Note: “Posni” refers to fasting, so this dish is typically made without any animal products. However, some recipes may include fish or other seafood.
At the Christmas markets, you can find a variety of delicious street foods, including:
- Paprenjaci are lightly spiced pepper cookies made with honey, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper. They are often shaped into fun holiday shapes like stars or snowflakes.
- Vanilin kiflice, or half-moon cookies, are soft buttery cookies filled with ground walnuts and vanilla, then dusted with powdered sugar.
- Poppy seed rolls are sweet rolls filled with a mixture of ground poppy seeds, sugar, and raisins and baked until golden brown.
- Ćevapi: Grilled minced meat sausages with onions and sour cream are served in a bun.
- Langos: Deep-fried dough topped with cheese, garlic, and sour cream.
- Krostule: Fried pastry dough twisted into knots and dusted with powdered sugar.
- Kobasice: Grilled sausages served with mustard and bread.
- Trdelník: A sweet pastry made by wrapping dough around a stick, grilling it, and coating it with sugar and cinnamon.
- Roasted chestnuts: A warm and tasty snack perfect for cold winter evenings.
- Mulled wine: A hot, spiced wine that’s perfect for warming up during the chilly winter months.
These street foods are popular among locals and visitors alike and are a great way to experience the festive atmosphere of the Zagreb Christmas Market and Weihnachtsmarkt while trying some delicious Croatian cuisine.
Christmas in Croatia is a wonderful time of year. The warm and friendly atmosphere along with great food and artisanal shopping adds to the experience.
Plan your Christmas holiday with my guide to the Christmas markets in Croatia. Discover where to go, things to do and the best ways to experience Croatian food, history and culture.
Croatia’s official tourism website is a great resource for planning your trip to Zagreb and elsewhere in Croatia. They share lots of things to do and unusual sights around the city. It’s especially useful for first-time visitors.
As a travel blogger, I spent several months in Zagreb over many years. I’ve visited in winter and highly recommend going if you can. I’m happy to answer questions if you’re looking for help planning your trip or what to expect.
Sustainable Travel Tips
The choices we make have an environmental and social impact on the places we visit. Try to implement these responsible travel measures when visiting the Christmas markets in Zagreb or Croatia.
Shop mindfully. Only purchase what you really need, such as locally-made handicrafts, rather than imported goods.
Walk, cycle, or use public transport to get around the city, such as taking a tram or bus to the Christmas markets instead of driving. This is generally easy to do in Zagreb, a compact city with an extensive tram system.
Stay in a sustainable hotel powered by renewable energy.
Avoid using plastic or buying items made or packaged with plastic, such as bringing your own reusable bags and water bottle.
Try to eat locally sourced organic food where possible, such as sampling traditional Croatian dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients.
Limit your meat and dairy consumption, such as opting for vegetarian or vegan food options at the Christmas markets.
Explore more than just the main tourist areas, such as taking a walking tour of the lesser-known neighbourhoods in Zagreb.
Support the arts and attend local events, such as visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art or attending a concert at the Croatian National Theatre.
Zagreb Christmas Market starts on 2nd December 2023 and ends on 7th January 2024.
The Christmas markets in Zagreb are held at Ban Josipa Jelačića Square, King Tomislav Square and several other squares around the city.
I spent one wonderful Christmas in Zagreb and can’t recommend it enough. Croatians are typically incredibly warm and welcoming; you’ll have plenty to keep you entertained over Christmas and winter.
Please comment below if you want to leave a review of Zagreb Xmas Market.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Zagreb, Croatia. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.