Advent in Zagreb: What’s in Store for 2023?

Paul Bradbury

November 9, 2023 – Croatia’s popular Advent in Zagreb will kick off on December 2 this year – an overview of what is in store.

From 2 December to 7 January, the city will be adorned with thousands of lights, spreading warmth and romance that only the Advent season can offer. Streets, squares, promenades, passages and parks will be places to gather with your loved ones, warming your hands with a cup of mulled wine or hot chocolate. Enjoy the scents and flavors of cinnamon, cloves and local delicacies that will fill the city center. Leave your worries behind, put a smile on your rosy cheeks and let the rhythm of holiday music surround you!

Organized by the City of Zagreb, the Zagreb Tourist Board and institutional and private partners, this year’s multiple award-winning Advent Zagreb will take place from December 2 and will last, along with New Year’s events, until January 7, 2024. The opening is scheduled for Saturday, December 2, when the first Advent candle will be traditionally lit on Ban Jelačić Square, followed by the opening of other Advent locations.

During the presentation of Advent 2023, the Mayor of the City of Zagreb, Tomislav Tomašević, stated: This year, we continue to cooperate with the Tourist Board of the City of Zagreb and the Maksimir Public Institution in implementing a new, transparent concept of Advent with the aim of encouraging creativity and offering high-quality Advent content. Unfortunately, due to numerous construction works, it will not be possible to hold Advent events in Gornji Grad this year.

Photo M. Tomas

However, our fellow citizens and numerous tourists will be able, in addition to last year’s locations on the European Square, Zrinjevac and Strossmayer Square, to additionally enjoy the Advent program in the newly declared pedestrian zone in Masarykova Street and Ban Jelačić Square, which has returned to the Advent map this year as a replacement location. Ice skating fans will be able to enjoy the joys of the skating rink in King Tomislav square this year as well.

Photo M. Tomas

To create a fairy-tale atmosphere, there are also numerous decorative locations such as those on Svačić and Mažuranić Squares, Ribnjak Park, which will host the Ice Fairytale, Bana Jelačić Square and Republic of Hrvatska Square, and citizens will be able to buy appropriate decorations and try the catering offer at the kuchitse in Gajeva, Bogovićeva and Bana Square Jelačić. On Strossmayer Square, there will be Fuliranje. In the Grič Tunnel, the Polar Dream will be staged.
This year they also prepared a program for the youngest. It’s called Junior Advent, and wooden toy making workshops are being prepared as part of the craft advent, a visit to the world of model trains Backo-mini express…

Advent for pets is also new, and in addition to the party at Timeout on Ilica, where there will be a wooftop pawty, there will be dog spots around the city. In addition, the Cat Caffe will be specially decorated.

Photo M. Tomas

The director of the Zagreb Tourist Board, Martina Bienenfeld, said: “This Advent, too, we are expecting a rich program that will bring more than 100 concerts, special exhibitions in museums and galleries, as well as performances in theaters. I would especially like to point out the new decorative locations and the excellent so-called photo points organized by Zagreb Tourist Board at Trg brače Mažuranić, Svačić trg, Ribnjak park and the already well-known ones at Trg bana Jelačić, Trg Republike Hrvatske, Oktogon passage and Grič tunnel. We started international promotion in 23 markets, and this year we are also cooperating with Croatia Airlines, Turkish Airlines and HŽPP. Last year, 213,000 overnight stays were realized during December, which is three times more than 10 years earlier, ie in December 2012, when 71,000 of them were realized. These results further confirm that Advent Zagreb is one of the most important events for Zagreb and Croatian tourism, and I expect that, as in previous years, it will contribute to the growth of tourist traffic in Zagreb.” Interestingly, thanks to Advent’s partnership with Turkish Airlines, countries such as Singapore and Malaysia are being targeted – the Zagreb Tourist Board recently presented its offer in Malaysia.

Photo M. Tomas

Bienenfeld continued:

“We are entering the Croatian National Theatre for the first time, and the theater will be open during the afternoon so that everyone will be able to enter and capture the memories of the Advent magic with a photo, and a special decoration is coming to Trg ban Jelačića, the theme of the decoration this year is Kaleidoscope.”

She pointed out that more than 100 concerts, special exhibitions in museums and galleries as well as performances in theaters are being prepared for Advent. “For the first time, over a hundred children from the best Austrian choirs are coming to Zagreb,” she pointed out. The city’s Advent symphony is a novelty, and there will also be the lighting of Advent lanterns and numerous concerts and exhibitions.

And Mayor Tomasevic revealed who will be playing to bring in the New Year on the main square – none other than Eurovision heroes, Let 3, as well as the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra.

And in order to get you further into the mood, I leave you with the official promo video from the Zagreb Tourist Board.

Check out the official website for more information.


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