This year’s Christmas and Advent in Zadar celebrations feature a popular ice skating rink, a bustling Christmas market, and lots of food!
You might think that Zadar, sitting pretty on the Dalmatian Coast, is only a summer destination. Wrong!
My hometown has loads to offer all year round; it’s just that you may never see that side on those ‘lists’ that do the rounds on social media. Zadar winters are mild and crowd-free.
Winter in Croatia, and especially in Zadar, is quiet. There is no question about that, but that’s the charm if you ask me. During Advent, the city comes alive with lights, scents of delicious mulled wine and Croatian sweet treats in the air, music plays in the square, and you can don your ice skates. There is an air of fun for everyone!
After a two-year break, the Zadar Christmas Market is back for its sixth edition! This year’s holiday season will once again feature heartwarming music, delicious treats and holiday foods, and lots and lots of winter fun.
See below for an extensive overview of what to do during the Advent in Zadar period and why you should visit Zadar.
Zadar Advent Activities
This is a five-week-long program of events that will entice even the Grinch to come out and play.
Lasting from November 24th to January 6th, there is a fun-filled feel around the entire city. This year (2023), the celebrations will start on November 24, which is also the City of Zadar Day, with the traditional lighting of the first Christmas candle at the Church of St. Simeon. The festivities will continue until January 6, 2024.
You can expect children’s workshops, sweet treats, local delicacies, music, concerts, dancing, and face painting, all served with a side of mulled wine and craft beers. Maybe you’ll find Santa handing out delicious candies and having his photo taken with eager children.
Most of the events take place in Petar Zoranic Square. However, you will find celebrations spreading out across the rest of the city, too, including Five Wells Square and the Roman Forum. The square lights up almost like a fairy tale, and it’s undoubtedly an Insta-worthy snap for your collection!
Zadar Christmas Market At Petar Zoranic Square
Arguably, the main event and location during Advent in Zadar in 2023 is the Christmas Market at Petar Zoranic Square. Decorated with countless atmospheric Christmas lights, this square in the Old Town really is the place to be in Zadar at the end of the year.
There’s also an extensive musical program at the Zadar Christmas market, which will satisfy all tastes. There’s no lack of musical choices, from traditional Croatian bands to DJs, pop singers, and soul musicians.
Ice Skating at Višnjik
No need to be a pro skater to enjoy this. Ice skating and Christmas go hand in hand in Europe, so don your skates and attempt to glide around this huge open-air rink of 800 square meters at the Višnjik Sports Centre.
The rink at the Winter Park in Zadar is open for adults and children alike and is particularly magical during the evening. You can rent everything you need – including ice pushchairs for the littlest of guests.
The plan is to open the Winter Park on November 24th and for the event to last until (date and time TBC)
In addition to the ice skating rink, the Winter Park at Višnjik Sports Centre will also feature:
- Covered ski slope and sled slope intended for the youngest, covering an area of 500 square meters
- Colorful and joyful amusement park
- Several food kiosks
- Concerts by local musicians
- Various children’s theatre performances
Indulge In Amazing Food At Christmas In Croatia
The Christmas market in Zadar’s Petar Zoranic Square is so amazing because of its typical Christmas atmosphere. It features cozy lights, a welcoming vibe, and lots of sensational food.
There, you’ll find dozens of booths where you can buy various gastronomic delights, from warm smoothies and mulled wine to ćevapi, smoked bacon sandwiches, homemade appetizers, and lots of different sausages (this is Croatia, after all!).
You better start getting hungry already! Some of the food options that we recommend at the Zadar Christmas market are game sausages, ćevapi, breaded codfish balls, sarma, and stani-pani crêpes, just to name a few. We suggest simply strolling around this incredibly atmospheric market to check out all the options.
|08.12.2023||21:00 – 23:00||Silent at Petar Zoranić Square|
|09.12.2023||11:00 – 12:30||Workshop of St. Lucius at Petar Zoranić Square|
|09.12.2023||21:00 – 23:00||Jure Brkljača at Petar Zoranić Square|
|12.12.2023||18:00 – 19:00||The Performance of St. Lucia at Petar Zoranić Square|
|12.12.2023||19:30 – 21:00||Klapa Puntamika at Petar Zoranić Square|
|13.12.2023||11:00 – 13:00||Arrival of Saint Lucia at Promenade Trg five Bunara – Forum|
|14.12.2023||20:00 – 22:00||Vista Group at Petar Zoranić Square|
|15.12.2023||21:00 – 23:00||Matija Cvek & The Funkensteins at Petar Zoranić Square|
|16.12.2023||11:00 – 12:30||Advent Workshop at Petar Zoranić Square|
|16.12.2023||16:00||Zadar Christmas Run 2023 in Zadar – sign up here|
|16.12.2023||21:00 – 23:00||Rishpet at Petar Zoranić Square|
|19.12.2023||18:00 – 19:00||Advent Performance at Petar Zoranić Square|
|19.12.2023||19:30 – 21:00||Klapa Kontrada at Petar Zoranić Square|
|21.12.2023||20:30 – 22:00||Pink Noise at Petar Zoranić Square|
|22.12.2023||21:00 – 23:00||General Danger at Petar Zoranić Square|
|23.12.2023||11:00 – 12:30||Santa Claus Workshop at Petar Zoranić Square|
|24.12.2023||11:00 – 13:00||Vjeko Ključarić, Eni Jurišić, Daniel Jurišević & Sabrina Hebiri at Petar Zoranić Square|
|24.12.2023||11:00 – 13:00||The Arrival of Santa Claus at Promenade Trg five bunara – Forum|
|25.12.2023||21:00 – 23:00||Group Forum & Ivana Kindl at Petar Zoranić Square|
|26.12.2023||20:30 – 22:00||Zaratino at Petar Zoranić Square|
|28.12.2023||20:30 – 22:00||Pacific Bullets at Petar Zoranić Square|
|29.12.2023||21:00 – 23:00||Tonči Huljić & Madre Badessa at Petar Zoranić Square|
|30.12.2023||21:00 – 23:00||Fire at Petar Zoranić Square|
|31.12.2023||11:00 – 12:30||Black Coffee at Petar Zoranić Square|
|31.12.2023||11:00 – 12:30||Children’s New Year’s Eve at People’s Square|
|31.12.2023||21:00 – 23:00||Kanella at Petar Zoranić Square|
|31.12.2023||21:00 – 23:00||Rockatansky Band at People’s Square|
|31.12.2023||21:00 – 23:00||Ivica Sikirić Ico at People’s Square|
|31.12.2023 – 01.01.2024||23:00 – 01:30||Jole & group Bolero at Petar Zoranić Square|
|31.12.2023 – 01.01.2024||23:00 – 01:30||023 Band at Petar Zoranić Square|
|01.01.2024||20:30 – 22:30||Sexymotherf**kers at Petar Zoranić Square|
|05.01.2024||21:00 – 22:30||Zoran Jelenkovic at Petar Zoranić Square|
Grab Your Walking Shoes And “Stroll Around The City”
Put on your best travel shoes, as the Advent period is when Zadar’s businesses all join forces and offer the “Stroll Around The City” initiative. This traditional program aims to get visitors and locals mingling, enjoying everything the city offers, doing some shopping, and checking out the local sights you might otherwise miss.
Coffee shops, bakeries, restaurants, and museums all offer something fun-filled every single day, with music, lights, and general merriment. Foodies, especially, will enjoy this initiative since various Zadar restaurants will participate once again this year. They’ll offer affordable holiday menus, along with special discounts and offers.
In addition to many restaurants in Zadar, the city’s museums also have various fun, informative, and entertaining programs going on during Advent in Zadar. Most of them involve discounted prices for souvenirs and tickets.
You can see whether or not a business or institution is participating in these events by their Stroll Around The City labels and signs.
Run-Off Excess Christmas Calories At The Zadar Christmas Run
Also, the Zadar Christmas Run is part of the Advent in Zadar festivities. The first edition of this festive sporting event was hugely successful, attracting 600 runners. This year, the Zadar Christmas Run takes place in December (date and time TBC). So strap on your running shoes and red Christmas hat and run, Forrest, RUN!
THE Zadar Christmas Market and Advent in Zadar are back in 2023! So grab your Santa hat and look forward to tons of joy and merriment at Advent in Zadar 2023!
Main photo credit: Like Zadar Tourist Board’s Facebook Page