Croatia is currently a well-established destination recognized worldwide. Beautiful nature, pristine sea, famous Game of Thrones and Star Wars locations and fantastic food place it on the list of European countries that you have to visit. Croatia is traditionally perceived as a summer destination, mostly for its mild Mediterranean climate, perfect sailing location and over thousand islands. Not that there is something wrong with that, but Croatia has a lot to offer during winter as well. We’ve created a list of five most interesting events and things to do in Croatia during this winter.
Zagreb is the capital and largest city of Croatia. Its metropolitan area population goes up to 1.113.000 people, which makes it the only one above million in Croatia. Often overlooked during summer vacation as it is located inland but Zagreb has much to offer throughout the whole year, especially during Christmas holidays period when Zagreb Advent ( Christmas market ) is taking place. It started on 2nd of December and is lasting until 7th of January 2018 across multiple locations all over the city. Zagreb won Best Christmas market in Europe three times in a row ( 2016., 2017., 2018. ) and this is not without reason. Numerous locations feature large ice skating park, Zrinjevac, Croatian railway museum, Fooling around and much more. Handmade souvenirs from local artisans, food, music, fire-eaters and much more. Perfect setting for all those who wish to enjoy winter holidays surrounded by Christmas lights and local food. You should give it a go!
2. Museum night
Long night of museum is a cultural manifestation taking place all over Croatia for one night. On this night, museums are open for visitors free of charge and working hours are extended into the night. First Museum night was held in Berlin in 1997. and Croatia started this tradition from 2008. It is an opportunity to visit many Croatian museums that participate and enjoy in displays of rich national history, culture, and arts. Local population loves the tradition and use it to socialize and attend exhibits. If you have a passion for arts or history, join and get to know local culture or simply mingle with people.
Rijeka carnival is an event held each year in the Croatian city of Rijeka. Roots of the event reach back about a century ago when Rijeka was hosting carnival attended by high society from all over Europe. Carnival rebirth started in 1982. and it had only three performer groups ( Lako ´cemo, Pehinarski fetari and Halubajski zvoncari ) which participated each year since. Masked groups march through the city singing and displaying beautiful creations. The event ends with the traditional burning of Pust puppet, which represents all the bad things that happened in the past year, symbolizing a new beginning and focusing on positive things in the upcoming year. Over 100.000 people gather to witness this unique event. Numerous concerts and manifestations occur in the city making it a worldwide attraction worth a visit.
Unique carnival event on the island of Lastovo, where on Poklad’s (Shrove) Tuesday, the Poklad puppet is let to slide down the 300 meters long rope (three times), with simultaneous detonations going on under his boots. The legend has it that Poklad Carnival Event is celebrated as a memory of an old historical event that took place in 1390. Catalan pirates attacked the nearby island of Korcula and sent a messenger to the island of Lastovo, with a request to surrender. Instead, Lastovo people took weapons, whilst their women and children went as pilgrims to Saint George church praying for help. And sure enough, the help came as a storm which destroyed the Catalan fleet on its way to Lastovo island. After that, the Lastovo people took the messenger and put him on the donkey through the village to laugh at him, and then he was let down the rope and finally burnt. Local population wear traditional Lastovo clothes and perform a sword dance ( real swords were used until recently but were replaced by wooden ) while shouting. It’s similar to more famous Korcula’s Moreka sword dance. It is a truly authentic experience full of local customs and traditions and dispersed Lastovo inhabitants from all over the world return to witness this event. Taking part in the event is considered an honor and is done with great pride. Lastovo is a natural paradise and we would really recommend this event as something to witness.
Sunny island of Hvar doesnt stop breathing during the winter period, in contrary, there is much to do. One of the highlights is traditional Hvar New Years Regatta which will be held for the 41st time this year. The event is relaxing for the locals as there are no tourist crowds and it is attended with joy. It is organized by Sailing club Zvir from Hvar and a great promotion of local sports and activities. A long tradition of Hvar sailing regattas in classes “laser” and “optimist” attracts sailors from Croatia, as well as those from around the world. Entries are open until 20th of December, and late entries can be accepted but with an increased fee. The race includes rewards for the best so its competitive as well. Apply and attend or simply witness it to feel Hvars vibe during winter.
There are many more events all around Croatia in this upcoming period, but we singled-out the ones we feel cover activities for everyones taste. If by any chance you get to visit Hvar Regatta, feel free to check our list of daily tours starting from Hvar. And if you plan to visit Croatia anytime in 2018, we recommend multiday activities to grab your spot early on. Whether you pick sailing, hiking, kayaking, cycling or anything else, well do our best to make your adventure an unforgettable one.