Five Reasons to Visit Zagreb in Winter

Lauren Simmonds

zagreb in winter
Copyright Romulic and Stojcic

November the 4th, 2023 – Zagreb is beautiful regardless of the time of year, but there’s just something about the Croatian capital in cold weather that surpasses a smouldering concrete jungle in the summer heat – and by far. Here are five reasons to visit Zagreb in winter.

Fog, snow and sljeme

Copyright Romulic and Stojcic

There’s nothing quite like Zagreb’s iconic foggy late autumn and winter mornings. Alright, maybe not everyone loves the idea of the sun packing its bags and making way for a lack of visibility, but Zagreb’s fog is atmospheric and hauntingly beautiful. The city’s many parks shrouded in the morning mist makes for a beautiful sight as the crisp fallen leaves crunch beneath your feet. While there’s considerably less snowfall and less predictability of the white stuff in Zagreb nowadays, much like with the rest of Europe, you’ll still end up getting a dusting or two come January and February. Zagreb’s old streets take on an entirely different character as the snow coats the ground, and there’s nothing like escaping the snow in a quaint old cafe and watching the world go by. If you’re into getting out of the city a bit when the snow or fog arrives, a trip up to the top of beautiful Sljeme on the relatively new cable car is always a good idea. With beautiful panoramic views of the bustling Croatian capital below to take in, as well as its more immediate surroundings, a leisurely trip up to Sljeme as you watch the snow get deeper the further away and higher up you get is never a miss. Sljeme’s ski resort is also well worth a visit, and there’s no better time (logically) than when the ground is covered with a thick layer of fresh snow.

Zagreb’s highly awarded Advent

Copyright Romulic and Stojcic

Advent in Zagreb took home the award for the Best Christmas Market in Europe for three years running – in 2016, 2017, and finally in 2018. One could argue that Advent in Zagreb is what placed the Croatian capital – formerly simply the city Zagreb International Airport was located in and not much else in the sense of tourism – on the travel map. Advent in Zagreb draws crowds from all over Croatia, Europe and indeed from much further afield each and every year and never fails to impress. With little Christmas cottages and stalls lining the streets and squares, the scent of sausages, roasted chestnuts, corn and fritule mixing with the crisp, cold air, licitar hearts everywhere you turn and endless mulled wine and rakijas to sample – Advent in Zagreb has won its place on the European winter tourism map. Zagreb in winter boasts a truly infectious festive atmosphere and cheer that will warm even the most anti-Christmas of curmudgeons.

King Tomislav’s ice rink

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Well, it doesn’t actually belong to him, but it can be found on the beautiful Zagreb square named after him. It’s impossible to miss, with the imposing statue of the former king high on his horse, and behind him – the art pavilion and a stunningly presented ice rink. With festive lights and the laughter of children attempting to stay vertical on their skates (and usually an adult or two performing even more poorly), the ice rink at “Tomislavac” is a great idea for family fun. Close to Zagreb’s beautiful main train station (glavni kolodvor), the atmosphere provided by this part of the city will definitely get you in the mood for Santa’s impending arrival. No visit to Zagreb in winter is complete without a visit to this truly charming part of the city.

Visit one of Croatia’s most famous (and most beautiful) cemeteries – Mirogoj

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Mirogoj is an absolutely beautiful resting place of countless people and families, some of whom were very famous. All Saints’ Day is celebrated on November the 1st, and the cemetery, much like those dotted all across the country, is lit up by the light of countless candles as people come together to remember their loved ones who have since departed from their earthly bodies. While November might only be on the very cusp of winter, the very fresh temperatures and fading light make for a truly special and sombre experience at Mirogoj.

Come autumn and winter, Zagreb’s beautiful theatre comes to life

Copyright Romulic and Stojcic

The season for fancy theatrical and operatic performances at Zagreb’s gorgeous theatre is precisely autumn and winter, and a visit to Zagreb in winter isn’t complete without a little cultural enrichment. The programmes the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb puts on are second to none and there’s nothing quite like getting an artistic refill in a grand building that Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef I attended the opening of. This beautiful building, the fruits of the labour of Viennese architects Ferdinand Fellner and Herman Helmer, has seen many leading Croatian artists work there and always puts on a fabulous show for drama lovers.


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