Croatia is famous for its magical summer season but what does Christmas have to offer along the Dalmatian coast at a time when the temperatures are freezing and sandy beaches are out of the question? Well, the simple answer is a lot and the long version is as follows:
1) Zagreb transforms into a Christmas paradise
Croatia’s capital is absolutely breathtaking during this time of the year as the streets are flooded with festive decorations and lights that spruce up virtually every corner. Ban Jelacic square is the city’s Christmas central providing residence to all manner of vibrant craft stalls, traditional celebrations and, most notably, a colorful ice park consisting of an open-air skating rink.
Being a capital city always come with a bit of pressure but Zagreb definitely delivers it, especially during the winter when the spotlight from the sea cities come off and transfer to mainland Croatia. Zagreb takes the reigns and becomes the it place to be if you are in this country. During the winter break and Christmas holidays you definitely want to visit this city and experience all it has to offer.
2) National parks offer unique winter attractions
Plitvice Lakes National park, in particular, is a gorgeous spectacle during Christmas as it ushers in a beautiful icy façade as its chain of lakes are endearingly frozen over while the waterfalls are transformed into reflective icicles with snow-laden trees scintillatingly rounding off the peripheries. A treasure exclusive to this season, Plitvice alone is worth a flight to the alluring nation.
But Plitvice Lakes is not the only national park that is amazing and beautiful. If you like hiking you should visit Paklenica National Park or if you want to see an extremely beautiful islands then visit the national park of Brijuni, there are so many options and whatever you chose is the right choice.
3) The hot springs will give you a taste of summertime
While you can’t have fun at the beach due to the biting cold, hot springs still afford you all the swimming you need perfect for those times when the cold just won’t let up. There are many hot springs throughout the country but the pick of the bunch include those in Krapinske Toplice, Sveti Martin, Stubičke Toplice, and Stubičke Toplice.
Croatia takes pride in its hot springs and a lot of people seem to go there for relaxation but also for medical purposes, the hot springs are extremely healthy and help you during your injuries, many people say that the pain has been relieved after a couple of visits to the hot springs and it is proven to be a helpful option for them.
4) Countless Christmas markets wherever you look
The once quiet streets are transformed into rows of Christmas markets during this season as almost every Croatia property by the roadside is lined with beautiful makeshift stores availing all the necessary festive regalia and much more. If festive shopping makes up one of the reasons you made the trip, you are certain to have your fill in towns such as Dubrovnik, Split, Rijeka, and Zagreb just to name a few.
5) Mouthwatering winter cuisine
Croatia is well-known for its expertise in the culinary arena and is often talked about in conversations pertaining to the best that the continent has to offer. It is, therefore, no surprise that the country really ups its game in the kitchen when Christmas rolls around with sumptuous treats such as bakalar, kupus, grah, kuhano vino and sarma among many others making their way onto hotel menus and featuring across street stalls.
If you are a fan of delicious winter cuisine you should visit a part of Croatia called Slavonia. It’s near the Serbian and Hungarian border and it’s a rural part of the country where all this mouthwatering food is being prepared. Osijek is the biggest city in that region and is an extremely beautiful one.
6) The exciting festivals
Winter festivals are the hallmark of everything good about Christmas in the Dalmatian coast with various towns turning on the style with merry parties. The Dubrovnik winter festival is perhaps the most notable of celebrations and is a 40-day routine incorporating live music, Christmas plays, gallery events, ice skating, and all kinds of concerts.
Festivals are always a great way to experience a little bit of local Croatia because every festival is different from the other, especially if it is in a different region of the country. I would advise you to visit as many of them as you can to see for yourself and enjoy as much of the festival activites as you can.
The great thing about visiting Croatia over Christmas is that you get to experience most of the country’s attractions whose prices almost double during summer which is the peak tourism period. Accommodation and other day-to-day expenses are also similarly low and you’ll also avoid the crowds that throng prime destinations in the peak months as winter is less packed in comparison.