Advent in Oroslavje: Small Town, Big Vision, Great Family Fun

Paul Bradbury

December 17, 2023 – Away from the bright lights of the capital, a look at Advent in Oroslavje in the latest Paul Bradbury on Location video – a small town with a big vision and a lot of family fun.

Where else in the world would you find a collection of Santas on motorbikes,  a tradition which has been happening now for 15 years? When I first came to Croatia back in 2003,  I remember the Christmas tree going up on the main Square in Jelsa on December the 15th. And that was really the first sign of anything for Christmas. Since then we’ve had this explosion of Advent, especially Advent in Zagreb, which has been named as the best in Europe for 3 years in a row. But all these different towns around Zagreb and the rest of the country are also having their Advent. I went to check out one of them. 

Advent in Croatia has been a big business in the last few years, and Advent in Zagreb has won many international awards. But just go 35 minutes outside of Zagreb and you will find a little town called Oroslavje, which is really trying its best to bring in people, to make life interesting. It has for me probably one of the top 10 advents in Croatia this year,  a really rich program. And behind us we have Klapa Intrade, one of the big biggest klapas from Dalmatia, playing live. We’ve got several thousand people here. We have the biggest ice rink in Zagorje this year, and we’ve got a lot of really happy people.

And the Mayor of Oroslavje Viktor Simunic is one of the leading lights and one of the agents of change,  and it’s fantastic to be here to support him. So come visit Oroslavje. It’s only half an hour outside Zagreb.

And the moment you get to Oslavje, it just feels a very welcoming place. Staying at Hotel Zagi, the first thing I was given at check in was a little coupon to get a little Gluhwein, mulled wine at the ‘kucice’ on the square, where the advent’s been taken place. Prices are a lot  lot cheaper than in the capital, and there is this year in Oroslavje a real uh effort to make  Advent a real event. It’s got the biggest ice skating rink in Zagorje. There are lots and lots of good names in terms of entertainment. There’s a really nice selection of food and drinks at really affordable prices.

And what I really liked about is just seeing how a community comes together, and  that everyone’s just truly enjoying things. And the mayor has worked very hard to get sponsorship from both local and national businesses to support him, and he’s managed to raise a reasonable amount of money. And the quality of the offer compared to the size of a town is really really quite special.

And you can see that everyone’s enjoying themselves, you know, we went to Klapa Intrade, which you’ll see at the end – we’ll have one of their songs. But then the next day, you know, the  motorbikes came in. And this is uh the Motorbike Club of Oroslavje. And every year they have this humanitarian action where they bring the gifts and everything else for the kids. And all the kids come. There’s a little show beforehand. The Master of Ceremonies, he’s juggling and singing along  with the kids as you can see.

And then this year we also had Minea who came and she sang some songs with the kids, got them all bouncing around. And it was just a really nice atmosphere all around. I have to congratulate the people of Oroslavje for what really is a fantastic event .And I can see now why more and more people are looking at places like Oroslavje. It’s just half an hour outside of Zagreb.

It’s a place now people are coming for the weekend just to get out of town and to come and eat some really good food at decent prices. But the quality of life there really is   quite interesting. And it’s something that I’ll be looking into a little bit more next year, about life in and around Zagreb, comparing to living in the capital itself. Anyway Advent is  still going, and here’s the program so you can see what’s still to come if you fancy checking it out. But I had a really really nice time there. It’s my second visit and I’ll definitely be back.  


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