Looking for the BEST Croatia Christmas markets?
Ah, Christmas — the magical time of the year when the festive spirit comes alive with songs and hot air balloons. It’s a magical time for European people, but what about Croatians?
Croatia has over 30 different Christmas markets across the country. You can find them in Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, Rovinj, and other cities.
These markets are open from mid-November until the beginning of January and offer a variety of goods from local vendors.
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Why You Should Explore the Christmas Markets in Croatia
Croatia is a country that has become known for its beautiful beaches and sunny weather. Still, it’s also becoming a destination for those looking to experience Christmas in a new way.
The country’s Christmas markets are becoming so popular that they are now being held at the same time as other well-known European cities such as Vienna, Prague, and Budapest.
Here are four reasons why you should explore Croatia’s Christmas markets:
Experience a Different kind of Christmas Spirit.
In Croatia, Christmas is celebrated in a very different usual way. The country is filled with Christmas lights, decorations, and snowmen.
Sample Some Delicious Local Food and Drink.
Croatian Christmas markets are full of local delicacies, from mulled wine to chocolate sauce.
Christmas markets in Croatia are as much about the food as the decorations, often inspired by local folklore or fairy tales.
Shop for Unique Gifts and Amazing Christmas Decorations at Affordable Prices
You will find plenty of souvenirs at affordable prices! Many stalls offer jewellery made from glass beads, wooden toys, and other handicrafts that would make great gifts for your family members.
Enjoy a Fun-Filled Family Day Out!
Croatia’s Christmas markets are a great way to get into the festive spirit.
Plenty of open-air markets sell everything from wooden toys and decorations to mulled wine, traditional cakes, and sweets.
There are also plenty of activities for children, including rides and ice skating rinks.
Christmas in Croatia
Croatia at Christmas is beautiful! There are many traditions, including celebrating the Christmas story, putting up lights on homes and trees, and eating delicious Croatian food.
The most popular tradition is to celebrate the Christmas story. This is done by reading from the Bible or telling it to each other. It is also common for people to sing carols or watch plays about Jesus’ birth.
Another popular tradition is putting up lights on homes and trees during Advent (the four weeks leading up to Christmas). People also use Croatian Christmas decorations to decorate Christmas trees, lights, and candy canes near the top of the tree.
This symbolizes the light of Christ entering our world as he was born into our lives.
Croatian Christmas food consists of many delicious foods like roast duck with melted chocolate sauce, pastries, cakes, cookies, mulled wine, and more!
Best Croatia Christmas Markets
The first signs of Christmas can be seen as early as October when the first Christmas trees appear in Croatian towns and villages.
The real festivities begin at the beginning of December when Christmas markets open their doors across the country.
The best time to visit the markets is weekend afternoons or evenings when they’re most crowded.
You’ll also find plenty of entertainment for kids; you can watch puppet shows or listen to music while your children enjoy themselves on rides or slides.
Zagreb Christmas Market
Zagreb Christmas Market 2023 Opening Dates: 2nd December – 7th January
The Christmas Market in Zagreb has been a tradition since the year 2000. It is mainly located in Zagreb’s centre and in the Upper Town. It is one of the largest Christmas markets in Europe and is held every year from November to January.
The Christmas Market offers a variety of traditional items such as mulled wine, Polish pierogi, gingerbread cookies, roasted chestnuts, and other local delicacies. You can also find handmade crafts and jewellery in this market.
The most special thing about this market is its location. The entire place looks like an old-fashioned village with wooden huts and stalls selling various goods and gifts for the Christmas holidays.
There are many activities for kids, including puppet shows and storytelling sessions where children can learn about Croatian traditions during Advent.
Children will feel the real Christmas spirit at the Kaptolo in front of the Cathedral, where the Cenacolo Community will prepare the Living Nativity scene, a beautiful display of Jesus’ birth and the first moments of life.
As many as 129 performances are planned as part of 14 musical programs, many of which will be held outdoors. All this through a handful of colourful locations in as many as 15 places in the city.
Stay Nearby – Zagreb – Hotel Croatia
This centrally located hotel is a great choice for families. It has a large indoor swimming pool and a spa centre with sauna and massage rooms.
Hotel Croatia also has a restaurant that serves buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is a free shuttle service to the train station or bus terminal.
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Dubrovnik Christmas Market
Dubrovnik Christmas Market 2023 Opening Dates: 26th November – 6th January
The Dubrovnik Winter Festival, located in the Old Town of Dubrovnik, is one of the most popular attractions in the city during the winter season. The market was established in 2003, and it has been growing ever since.
The market originally opened only in December but now runs from November to January.
The Dubrovnik Winter Festival allows guests to enjoy shopping for gifts, decorations, and souvenirs. You can also try food from different countries in many different places.
There are also several activities for children at this event. There is an ice skating rink where kids can skate around and enjoy themselves as they listen to festive music. There are also puppet shows for children, games, and rides for kids to enjoy daily during this event.
Stay Nearby – Soleil Luxury Rooms Old town
Some of the most cutting-edge facilities may be found at Soleil Luxury Rooms in Dubrovnik’s Old Town.
All rooms at the private accommodation come with air conditioning, a wardrobe, a flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom with a shower, free toiletries, and a hairdryer.
Split Christmas Market
Split Christmas Market 2023 Opening Dates: December 2nd – January 6th
The split Christmas market is held in the city’s heart, at the Diocletian’s Palace. It’s very popular with locals and tourists alike. There are plenty of stalls selling traditional Christmas decorations and gifts, as well as food and drinks.
There is also a stage where various local performers put on shows throughout the day. It’s a very fun event for kids, who have their own area where they can meet Santa Claus and enjoy other activities.
This market is very family-friendly, so it’s perfect if you’re looking for somewhere to go with your children this holiday season!
Stay Nearby – The One
The air-conditioned apartment The One is located in the Marjan district, an 11-minute walk from Diocletian’s Palace, and offers a terrace with a sea view and free WiFi. The surroundings are ideal for hiking enthusiasts.
The apartment is located near popular destinations, such as Kaštelet beach, the football stadium, and National Square – Prokurativa.
Varaždin Christmas Market
Varaždin Christmas Market 2023 Opening Dates: Unknown
The Christmas market in Varaždin is one of the oldest and most beautiful in Croatia. It was first organized in the year 1993. Today, it is held at the Old City Market Square and around the entrance to the City Museum.
The Christmas market has over 50 stalls selling traditional crafts, gifts, and souvenirs. There are also various workshops where you can enjoy making your own Christmas decorations or other gifts for friends and family members.
The most popular attractions during the Advent season are Santa Claus’ house and a model train set that’s set up along the main pedestrian street, which features model trains running along tracks through tunnels, over bridges, and past buildings from all over Europe.
There are also rides for children, such as swings, merry-go-rounds, and bouncy castles.
Stay Nearby – Hotel Turist
Hotel Turist is located a 2-minute walk from the city centre, the popular Korzo, and offers 3-star accommodation. The building was completely renovated in 2022, and the newly renovated rooms and suites are elegantly and modernly decorated.
Fužine Christmas Market
Fužine Christmas market is one of Croatia’s oldest and most traditional markets. It is located in Fužine, a small town in the northern part of Istria.
The first time the market was held was on December 9th, 1920, under the patronage of Duke Francesco Della Torre e del Costolo, who then was Governor of Istria.
During the Christmas market, there will be over 70 stalls selling various goods such as food, clothing, decorations, and gifts for kids. This Christmas destination’s biggest attraction for children is the so-called children’s new year.
8,000 to 12,000 people attend the midday New Year’s party. Under the open sky in the centre of Fužine, exactly at noon, we say goodbye to old customs and welcome new ones with a happy crowd that has been gathering here since the morning hours.
Stay Nearby – Apartment Tody’s
Apartment Tody’s is located in Fužine and includes a garden, barbecue equipment, and a terrace.
This apartment includes 1 bedroom, a kitchen with a dishwasher and a fridge, a flat-screen TV, a seating area, and 1 bathroom with a shower.
Rijeka Christmas Market
Rijeka Christmas Market is one of Adriatic’s most beautiful Christmas markets. It is located on the promenade. The venue was chosen because it offers a view of the beautiful Adriatic Sea and sunset.
The market offers everything you need for a wonderful time: toys, decorations, food and drinks, clothes, and much more.
You can also enjoy delicious local delicacies at one of the many food stalls that sell traditional Croatian specialities, such as sarma (smoked meat in cabbage leaves), prosciutto ham from Istria, and other meat products like Croatian sausages.
Šibenik Christmas Market
Christmas Market in Šibenik is one of the most important tourist attractions in the city. It is held in the Old Town of Šibenik, also known as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Christmas Market in Šibenik offers plenty of Croatian Christmas traditions, such as olive oil and wine, as well as local delicacies, such as smoked ham and cheese. But it also sells souvenirs and other unique gifts that will make your Christmas even more special.
The venue is beautiful – there are many Christmas lights everywhere, teddy bears on sale, and live music everywhere. There are also a lot of stands selling chocolate because, after all, what’s Christmas without chocolate?!
Stay Nearby – Lovely city center apartment Šibenik
The air-conditioned apartment Lovely city centre apartment Šibenik is located in Šibenik, 1.2 km from the beach Banj, 700 meters from the fortress of St. Mihovila, 600 meters from the Cathedral of St. Jakov and 300 meters from Barone Fortress, and offers a balcony and free WiFi.
Pula Christmas Market
The Pula Christmas fair is located in the central part of the city, near the famous Arena Pula. The market consists of more than 300 stands where you can buy original handmade ornaments, jewellery, toys, clothes, and crafts made by local artists.
You can also find traditional products such as honey, olive oil, and wine. The Christmas cultural events will make your experience even more enjoyable.
If you want something special for your kids or to have fun with them, this is the place for you! There will be plenty of activities organized for children, like face painting, balloon animals, etc…
Stay Nearby – Place to be – Center apartment
Apartment Place to be – Center is located 400 meters from the Pula Arena, in the centre of Pula. The facility offers free WiFi.
Zadar Christmas Market
Zadar Christmas Market 2023 Opening Dates: November 24 – January 06
Zadar Christmas market is located in the heart of Zadar, in the upper part of the main street.
It is a great place to get holiday gifts and Christmas ornaments for your loved ones and a great place to have a nice time and enjoy some mulled wine or hot chocolate.
The market offers a variety of goods that you can find at any other Christmas market: handmade jewellery, ceramics, wood carvings, paintings, glassware, etc. There are also many food stalls where you can buy delicious local specialities such as grilled fish and octopus.
If you are looking for something more fun for your kids, there are also some fun activities like face painting or making paper beads from recycled materials.
Stay Nearby – Apartment & Room’s Anni
Apartment & Room’s Anni provides accommodation with a terrace and free WiFi, and private parking for guests who drive.
The facility is 1.7 km from Puntamika beach, 1.2 km from Providur’s palace, and 3.2 km from the church of St. Violated. Private accommodation offers family rooms.
Ogulin Christmas Market
The Ogulin Christmas Market is located in the centre of Ogulin, on the main street. It is a great place to meet up with friends and family and enjoy traditional Croatian food and drinks.
There are many stalls selling different kinds of local delicacies such as sausages, cheeses, smoked trout, and other products from the surrounding area. Ogulin Christmas Market is the best shop for traditional Croatian decorations and Christmas trees.
There are also lots of activities for children: they can make snowmen out of snowballs (if there is any snow) or play games with local children who will teach them how to play chess or backgammon – these games have been played in Croatia since ancient times and are still very popular today!
Stay Nearby – Apartment Mihalic
Apartment Mihalic is located in Ogulin and offers free bicycles and a terrace. This air-conditioned property includes private parking and free WiFi. A garden and barbecue are also available in the facility. It is possible to enjoy hiking and skiing in the surrounding area.
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Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.