December truly is the most wonderful time of the year; with Christmas is coming cities around Europe are competing for the award for the best Christmas market. Christmas decorations, fairy lights, candles, snowflakes, sweet flavors and gifts make each Christmas unique and memorable.

This year Zagreb has been voted the best Christmas market by the European Best Destinations website. Croatia is usually known of its beaches and islands and is a hot spot during the summer time, but let me introduce you its winter fairy tale and Christmas spirit that will leave you breathless.

For more than one hundred years, the performance of the most popular ballet in the Christmas repertoire The Nutcracker has been held each December at the Croatian National Theater. These amazingly decorated ballet scene will take you to a fantastic land of dreams and snow-covered landscapes with Christmas trees and decorations. This year The Nutcracker was performed on ice at the beginning of advent. To complement the Christmas atmosphere and the fairy tale dream of The Nutcracker, the Museum of Arts and Crafts has organised an exhibition entitled – The Nutcracker: A Magnificent Christmas Tale, which shouldn’t be missed.

This Christmas in Zagreb you can also enjoy walking down the beautifully decorated streets, filled with the sweet winter flavors of cinnamon and candied orange. You can dance to the rhythm of the 70’s in the Disco Street, try traditional Croatian food, feel dizzy from homemade rakija or traditionally prepared mulled wine and maybe even take a crazy Christmas photo in a photo booth.

Those who are hopeless romantics should take a carriage ride at Zrinjevac or a walk on the dreamy, romantic streets of the Upper Town. On the plateau Gradec you can enjoy the moonlit night with a view over Zagreb while snowflakes dance and guitars play. It is also a perfect spot to see the hundreds of paper lanterns released into the sky. In the Upper Town you can still see a man turning on the street lanterns manually with a stick, like in the old days. The facades of the old houses are hiding many beautiful courtyards which have come to life this winter, decorated and filled with the sounds and smells of Christmas. Finally take in a glass of champagne and feel like you’re in a winter dream at the Ice Park. Enjoy spectacular performances on ice or try ice skating under the starry sky and twinkly Christmas lights.

This year’s new advent attraction is a secret tunnel which was built during World War II and was reopened to the public this June. During advent, the tunnel will be a hot spot for multimedia events with 3D light installations being displayed on the ceiling all the while surrounded by ice blocks and Christmas trees. This unique acoustic space will give music a new dimension and this coupled with the 3D projections is an extraordinary experience not to be missed.

For children there is also a very good program At Rudolph’s, where they can enjoy concerts and cartoon projections. They can also take a ride on a traditional Christmas tram with Santa and the elves, participate in Christmas decorations workshops, reading fairy tales or ice skating in the Ice Park.

At the Christmas market you can also find great ideas for Christmas presents. You can buy everything from homemade products, sweets, jewelry, Christmas decorations, candles etc.

Feel the rhythm, taste the food, buy some Christmas gifts, feel the magic at the Zagreb Christmas Market. No matter what you do, make sure your Christmas is memorable.

Merry Christmas, everyone.