I leave a very windy and cold Trieste and head for Zagreb, hoping the weather will be kind. It’s only 200 kilometres from Trieste but…being a little further north I might have an icy surprise!
I get there in a flash, just 2 hours and 15 minutes of motorway to reach the lovely Croatian capital which reminds me of an Austrian-Hungarian city. And I was right: icy!
Before stepping out the car I realize the temperature outside is -1 C° 🙂 but it’s not so bad, the weather felt almost colder in Trieste.
I barely have time to set my suitcase down at my hotel and I’m already off with my fur coat and cell phone, to tell you all about my day through my Instagram stories (I’ve really got the hang of them now, have you realized?)
I head towards the main square, but along the way I bump into the first market stalls and the stage in Piazza Europa: a huge quantity of local products and local artisan work. Here you can find excellent mulled wine and different kinds of sausage sandwiches, (the price is really good, about 2 euros)!
There are Christmas lights and decorations everywhere; everything is tidy, clean and cared for. Everything is lovely! Every corner of Zagreb is covered in Christmas markets and great live music. Here you can find the list of events they have planned for Piazza Europa: http://www.adventzagreb.com/dellavvento-a-zagabria/lavvento-in-piazza-europa
If you head straight towards the main square you’ll bump into another market area; you step through a white arch surrounded by fir trees. The Christmas spirit is everywhere, there’s a machine to spray fake snow (foam) and both children and adults have fun playing around and taking a few selfies… and I’m in the middle of it all with my live feeds on Instagram and Facebook. Technology everywhere J
Obviously even in Jelačić square the music is the same; colourful stalls and the scents of cinnamon, ginger and sugar fill the air! From here you can take a tram that leaves every half hours, also all covered in Christmas lights and inside you can even talk to Father Christmas.
I don’t take a ride on the tram, I find an incredible treat and I let myself be tempted..sarma in a sandwich! I couldn’t resist J
Can I give you another suggestion? Head towards Zrinjevac park, where you’ll find some local artisan work. A pebbled path winds through 220 illuminated trees; there’s a central gazebo with an illuminated waterfall which is breath-taking, or at least that’s what I thought (http://www.adventzagreb.com/dellavvento-a-zagabria/lavvento-a-zrinjevac).
Children also have the chance of taking a ride on an elegant horse drawn carriage, to feel surrounded by a time-less elegance.
Now you should head towards the park, in the direction of the central station, you can’t go wrong because it’s all a series of parks, areas dedicated to the Christmas season, stages, music, lights, mulled wine, sausages, crumpets and chocolate crêpes!
After a great number of stops to try and warm up a little, we reach Tomislav square and its huge ice skating ring. Believe me, I’m not exaggerating. You can rent skates and have a little fun on the track; the skating ring is also shut down once an hour for correct maintenance.
An extra? From here you have a lovely view of the city… so why not stop to admire that wait 12 months to show off their skater moves?
And if you take the cable car, the oldest transport system in Zagreb, you’ll reach the height of 60 metres, ready to browse through other market stalls, with an incredible view of the city’s cathedral. Wow.
I keep taking photographs but it’s getting quite cold! The temperature isn’t that low but after an entire day outside I start feeling tired, so I decide that the last stop will be inside, to have a look at what’s going on in the tunnel.
What tunnel? The Grič tunnel built in 1943 as an air raid shelter, that today is used as a space to host concerts and music during the Advent period. I had to stop by, also because it’s nice and warm inside.
This is really the best market I’ve ever visited and I now understand why it won a price 3 years running for the best in Europe. It will be open until the 7th of January and for any information or curiosity, have a look here: http://www.adventzagreb.com/?lang=it
Have a look around and find the perfect corner to take a photo…they have loads of photo sets (great organization).
I could keep talking about Zagreb for hours, but I’ll keep you waiting for a few days so I can reorganize my ideas and give you a few extra details. Stay tuned J
Ph. Andrea Zangrando