Zagreb in December shines brightly with trimmed trees, twinkling lights, and bustling Advent markets in the lead up to Christmas and the New Year. Spend three magical days in Croatia's charming capital where you'll immerse yourself in its festive delights as well as spend a full day wandering through snow-laden Plitvice Lakes National Park, a true winter wonderland.

Highlights

  • Stroll under stately trees adorned in twinkling lights in Zrinjevac Park
  • Take in the history on a fun segway tour of Zagreb's Upper Town
  • Go ice skating in Tomislav Square or catch a live musical performance in Ban Jelačić
  • Capture the quiet majesty of Plitvice Lakes' frozen lakes and waterfalls
  • Peruse Zagreb's colorful Advent markets and pick up that perfect gift or souvenir

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Wintry Zagreb Zagreb
Day 2 Segway City Tour Zagreb
Day 3 Snow-Laden Plitvice Lakes National Park (Day Tour from Zagreb) Zagreb
Day 4 Christmas Shopping, Depart Zagreb  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Wintry Zagreb

Zagreb's Zrinjevac Park lights up in winter
Zagreb's Zrinjevac Park lights up in winter

Begin your snowy adventure from Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. Upon arrival at the airport, you'll transfer to your hotel to settle in and layer up before heading out to explore the city decked in festive trimmings. The city center is easily walkable and the streets and parks are easy to navigate by foot. All the main attractions and restaurants are within walking distance.

With the decline in temperatures, Zagreb pulls double duty as a skiing holiday destination and a festive city break, thanks in part to its award-winning Advent program. Get yourself to Ban Jelačić, the city's central square, for an impressive Christmas market, full of lights, live music, mulled wine, and food stalls, while the park in Tomislav Square converts into a skating rink surrounded by thousands of lights and food stands.

Zrinjevac Park too exudes holiday spirit, its stately trees adorned in twinkling lights that light the food and beverage stalls and handmade trinkets beneath.

Day 2: Segway City Tour

Zagreb's skyline with the Cathedral
Zagreb's skyline with the Cathedral

This morning you'll spend a few hours on a segway tour through Zagreb—a convenient and fun way to see many of the major sights. You'll partake in a brief tutorial, put on your safety helmet and together with your expert guide, be on your way. You'll learn why the Grič cannon fires from the Lotrščak Tower every day at noon, visit the Cathedral, Tkalčićeva Street, the Kamenita Vrata (Stone Gate), and St. Mark's Church with its famed multi-colored roof.

The afternoon will be yours to spend as you like. The European Square pedestrian zone, situated in the very heart of the city, becomes a favorite meeting place for young people during the Advent season. A rich offer of concerts, attractions, and exhibitions—on par with other European cities—makes this place a must-see location for all those looking for a good time.

Day 3: Snow-Laden Plitvice Lakes National Park (Day Tour from Zagreb)

Snowy Plitvice Lakes

Today is reserved for an enchanting day exploring Croatia's most popular national park. Truly gorgeous at any time of year, Plitvice Lakes National Park is a must-visit for any traveler to Croatia. The UNESCO-protected park is comprised of an exquisite collection of 16 glassy emerald green and blue travertine lakes, more than 90 cascading waterfalls that seemingly cover every corner of the park, and numerous caves. The terraced lakes are surrounded by beech and pine forests and are home to extensive wildlife. 

Though most travelers tend to visit in the warmer months, the park takes on a whole other layer of beauty when the snow starts to stick and the lakes (and waterfalls) begin to freeze over. Having undergone a seasonal makeover, Plitvice Lakes looks like something out of a children's fairytale book. Bundle up and set out with your guide to explore the park, following the prepared-for-you routes that lead throughout. And when it's time for something to eat, you can choose from a variety of restaurants located within the park premises.

Driving time (Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes): 2 hours

Day 4: Christmas Shopping, Depart Zagreb

Pick up some fritule at a stall in an Advent market

If you have time before your onward journey, you might like to enjoy one last fritule (a type of small apple donut sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar) and complete a little souvenir or Christmas gift shopping of honey spiced cookies and handcrafted licitar hearts.

Map

Map of Christmas in Zagreb - 4 Days
Map of Christmas in Zagreb - 4 Days