It used to be that barely anyone knew about the Zagreb Christmas Market.
Over the years the Christmas markets in Zagreb have grown to become some of the best in Europe.
People from all over the world make their way to the lovely Croatian capital every December to enjoy all of the festivities.
Today, the market covers more than a dozen city blocks and has spread throughout the entire Lower Town.
Starting at Jan Belacic Square you can meander through market stalls and festive displays all the way to the train station.
There’s hardly anyone else in Europe with such a unique christmas market setup.
Check out my post on the best things to do in Zagreb if you’re planning a visit!
When is the Zagreb Christmas Market?
The Zagreb Christmas Markets run every year from the end of November until the beginning of January.
Most stalls open early in the morning, between 9AM and 10AM, and are open throughout the entire day.
On weekdays the stalls close earlier in the afternoon.
During weekends most stalls stay open later, especially the ones selling food and drinks.
Where are the Christmas Markets, Stalls and Stands?
There isn’t a specific area where the majority of the markets are located.
Instead you’ll find a collection of smaller markets sprinkled throughout the entire Lower Town area of Zagreb.
The Main Market
The biggest and most popular Christmas market in Zagreb is held in Ban Jelacic Square.
There is an open-air stage showcasing live music and performances throughout the week.
Covering the square are a collection of stands selling Christmas ornaments, holiday items, drinks, and Croatian food.
At one end you’ll find food stands.
This is where you’ll be able to buy hot sausages, goulash, desserts, mulled wine, and traditional Christmas drinks.
At the other end of the square are the stands selling trinkets, Christmas trees, wreaths, ornaments, clothing, and tacky souvenirs.
The market held in Ban Jelacic Square tends to be the busiest.
This is the first market you should check out and from here you can easily explore the rest.
The European Square Market
Around the corner from Ban Jelacic Square is the European Square.
This is where another popular Zagreb christmas market is held.
This market is popular with young people since many of the stands are selling alcoholic drinks.
There is live music played nightly and this small, narrow street market fills with people during the night.
You’ll find the stalls offer a wider selection of drinks and food than you’ll find anywhere else in the city.
In this market area there are also a selection of vendors from different countries in Europe such as Italy, Slovenia and Russia – “European Square”.
This is one of the most interesting christmas markets in the city.
Don’t forget to grab some mulled wine and enjoy the mild Croatian winter!
The Traditional Christmas Fair
In the streets surrounding Ban Jelacic Square is where you’ll find the majority of the market stalls and stands.
Known as the Christmas Fair, this area is full of different stands, stages, and vendors.
Seasonal gifts, hand-made souvenirs, jewellery and a wide selection of goods from local, artisanal and artistic Croatians are available.
This market is one of the best-lit and most enjoyable to walk through.
Each stall is completely lit up with Christmas lights that adds to the festive vibe.
The brightly colored lights hanging over-head illuminate the entire area making it perfect for photos.
Many of these streets culminate at the Flower Market Square.
This is one of the main squares in Zagreb – a great place to grab a hot drink and relax.
The Zagreb Winter Ice Park
Located on King Tomislav Square is the Zagreb Winter Ice Park.
Covering the entire square is a large ice rink with different tracks that you can skate along.
There is the option to rent ice skates, or you can bring your own depending on where you’re visiting from.
The Ice Rink and nearby Christmas Market is great for families and people looking to have a little fun outdoors.
It’s usually quite mild in Zagreb during the winter so I was surprised to see a skating rink downtown!
Even if you’re not interested in skating it’s fun to watch all the people going by and trying their best to stay upright.
Enjoy Yourself During the Holidays!
In 2016 the Zagreb Christmas Market was voted the best European Christmas Market.
This has boosted the city’s popularity and it’s expected that more than 100,000 people are going to visit during the next holiday season.
Every year that markets get bigger and there are currently more than 20 locations with market stalls, live events, and other advent programs.
Not too long ago only the main squares and popular tourist areas were decorated for the holidays.
Today, markets are spilling into inner courtyards and seemingly every tourist related business gets excited for the Christmas season.
Unlike other markets in Europe, the markets in Zagreb come alive at night.
There are multiple live performances, guest appearances a famous DJs, concerts every weekend, and some of the best food you’ll find in Croatia.
Other Europe Christmas Markets
Planning a trip to Europe to visit some of the other amazing Christmas markets?
Here are some helpful guides to get you started:
Planning a trip to Croatia?
Check out these helpful Croatia travel guides: