It’s that time of year to spread the Christmas cheer and cities across the region have been doing their bit to prepare its inhabitants and vistors for the upcoming festive season. Take your pick from The Adriatic Journal’s selection of top three markets in the region to get you into the festive mood.
Advent in Zagreb, CROATIA
If you haven’t visited it before, you should definitely put it on your itinerary this year as Zagreb’s Christmas market has been voted the best in Europe three years in a row by the European Best Destinations’ online poll. The market is spread throughout the city that is illuminated like a place straight from the brother Grimms’ fairytale. Christmas decorations are adorning river banks, roof tops and city’s skyline while a daily treat of open-air concerts and choirs entertain shoppers in search of that perfect gift. Stalls on the pedestrianised streets around Cvijetni square sell everything from craft toys to traditional sweets, fruit preserves, speciality biscuits and gingerbread hearts. A myriad of sausage vendors, mulled wine stalls and igloo-shaped local brandy bars are also on hand to warm you up in the cold December nights.
1 December – 30 December
Fritule (Croatian doughnuts made during Christmas)
Advent in Ljubljana, Slovenia
Festive season in Ljubljana is becoming increasingly popular with tourists and it’s not surprising. December transforms the city into a magical place with 50km of festive lights and 800 light installations illuminating the city, while giant spruce trees – up to 20m tall – tower over Christmas market stalls in the old town. The market’s four locations – Pogačarjev square, Breg by Ljubljanica river, Petkovško river bank and Ljubljana castle – are easy to navigate and within the walking distance of each other. Visitors can pick from a number of locally made gifts such as homemade ginger breads, hand knitted mittens and various ceramic handcrafts. There is plenty on offer for gourmet types, too, with vendors serving traditional mulled wine with sausages and sauerkraut throughout the city. A number of daily open-air concerts add to the already jolly atmosphere while a handmade straw Christmas crib displayed in front of Ljubljana’s Zois Palace completes the festive ambience.
30 November – 2 January 2019
Mulled wine (our writers prefer red)
Advent in Koper, Slovenia
Home to Slovenia’s only port, Koper is going all in this year in its preparations for the merry December. The city council has spent a whopping EUR 600,000 on Christmas decorations, including setting up an ice skating rink by the sea. The city has plans for two fairs, one from 6 – 8 December and the other from 21 December to 1 January – both located on Carpacci square. The fairs will house handmakers from across the country where visitors will be able to find that perfect unique gift. There are no time constraints for food and drink vendors, however, who are already warming up passers by with brandies and tea. Gorumets will be spoilt for choice but should make the most of local experience with the taste of indigenous wines, such as Malvazija and Refošk, as well as seafood that can be found in local restaurants. Though the city has many musical performances in the pipeline for December, no Christmas is complete without a bit of jazz that can be enjoyed every Thursday on Čevljarska street.
25 November – 1 January 2019
Local olives and white wine (it was a tough choice!)