About A winter break in Zagreb
Locals always knew Zagreb was the best place to celebrate Advent; now the secret is out as Zagreb has been voted the best Christmas Market in Europe!
Duration: 5 nights/6 days
Winter is really the best time to explore the city of Zagreb, capital of Croatia. Generally the city is quieter than in summer months so exploring the picturesque cobbled streets in the mediaeval Upper Town will be a delight.
For years, film makers have been using the city’s classic Austro-Hungarian architecture as a stand-in for capitals like Vienna or Budapest. It has been featured in many mini-series, including “The Winds of War” and in feature films such as 'From Russia with Love', 'Fiddler on the Roof' and 'Sophie's Choice'. The Upper Town’s picturesque Stone Gate, the site of a popular religious shrine, and its towers and fortifications are major attractions. Its churches and chapels, especially its twin-spired neo Gothic cathedral, the lovely Church of St. Mark and the lavishly decorated baroque Church of St. Catherine are also popular with visitors.
In addition to the National Theatre, featuring opera, drama and ballet, Zagreb boasts numerous museums and art galleries, including the Klovicevi dvori in the Upper Town, a major arts and crafts museum, the Mimara Museum, which houses an extensive and eclectic private collection, and Zagreb University, one of the region’s oldest. Visitors can experience avant-garde theatre and dance at the Zagreb Youth Theatre or attend classical and jazz concerts at the Lisinski Hall.
You will be met upon arrival into Zagreb and taken by private transfer to your hotel.
In the evening familiarise yourself with the city on a two hour private walking tour with a local guide. If you travel at Advent you'll see the open air stage at the main square which is the centre of various cultural, music and art events. Here you'll find many stalls selling seasonal gifts, traditional Croatian products, delicious home made food, mulled wine and hot chocolate. You will have plenty of time to revisit the market during your stay!
Overnight at your hotel in Zagreb.
After a relaxing breakfast at your hotel you have the day free in which to revisit the sights you saw last night, perhaps take in a few museums, wander around the old town or do some Christmas shopping (if visiting during Advent).
Plitvice Lakes National Park (optional excursion)
Alternatively why not join a full day excursion to the Plitvice National Park, one of the most beautiful and best preserved National Parks in Croatia and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Sixteen lakes of varying colours are fed by small streams and tumble into each other creating a total of 92 waterfalls. The lakes cover around 2 square kilometres and there will be plenty of opportunity to wander around, take photographs and of course, the joy of visiting at this time, means that it will be MUCH quieter in the park.
Overnight at your hotel in Zagreb.
Enjoy breakast at your hotel and then meet your guide for a half day gastronomy tour in Zagreb.
Zagreb has several open-air markets but the most famous and largest of them is Dolac, which is open daily (except public holidays). This morning's gourmet experience will begin with a circular walk through the heart of Zagreb starting with your visit to Dolac market, followed by a visit to the old part of Zagreb, the Upper Town, and ending up in the cooking studio where you will taste some local food and learn about the cuisine. This is a great way to discover the history and traditions behind Zagreb and Croatian cuisine.
Afternoon is at leisure and in the evening, complete with new-found knowledge, you might like to find a local restaurant in the city to sample traditional winter food, which is original, authentic and always uses fresh ingredients. And, of course, you have the delicious Croatian wines to sample as well!!
Breakfast at the hotel and the rest of the day at leisure to explore this lovely city.
Alternatively you might like to partake of one of the three following optional excursions:
Excursion to Hrvatsko Zagorje (duration approx. 8hrs)
Depart Zagreb and take the Zagorje highway directly to Trakoscan Castle, the most
visited and best preserved castle in the country. Built in the 14th century as a small fortress, the castle has been rebuilt and renovated several times until the 19th century. After a guided tour of the castle, depart toward Veliki Tabor, one of the largest and oldest medieval castle-fortresses in the country, built in the 15th century, renovated and reopened in November 2011. Take a break on the
“Gresna gorica” hill facing the castle. The name (Hill of Sin in English) derives from the legend of forbidden love between Count Friedrich from Veliki Tabor castle and Veronica, a peasant girl from the neighbouring village of Desinic. Proceed towards Kumrovec - this unique ethno-village is indicative of the ancient way of life in this region. Visitors can see old houses and barns displaying the old crafts and a forgotten way of life.
Zagreb culture sightseeing tour with local guide (duration approx. 2.5 hours)
Zagreb grew up on two neighbouring hills: Kaptol - the centre of spiritual and religious life of north-western Croatia and Gradec - the commercial centre of skilful tradesmen and craftsmen. Visit the Upper Town with its Gothic Cathedral, the beautiful and ornate St. Catherine’s church or the massive St. Mark’s church with its famous colour-tiled roof. Visit of Museum of Naive Art: The Croatian Museum of Naive Art holds more than 1,875 works of art – paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints – mainly by Croatian artists. The permanent display of the Museum was established according to the maxim: Naive Art as a Segment of Modern Art. The focus is on Croatian artists – of the celebrated Hlebine School, and a few more highly-valued
Licitar – Workshop (duration approx. 2hrs)
Licitars are colourfully decorated cakes made of honey dough. Small licitars (heart, cherry, doll, small bird, mushroom, horse-shoe, small wreath, horse) are favourite decorations for Christmas trees in Croatian homes, whereas large licitars tend to be given as gifts to loved ones on special occasions. A young man giving a heart-shaped licitar to his girlfriend to express his love and devotion to her is a custom deeply rooted in Croatian traditional heritage. A workshop will be arranged, where you will have a presentation of how licitars are made and you'll
get the chance to make your own.
Afternoon at leisure.
Overnight in your hotel in Zagreb.
Breakfast at your hotel. Today you can either choose to have another day at leisure or relax at one of the many spa resorts in Zagreb.
Spa day in Spa & Sport Resort Sveti Martin (optional excursion)
With the tradition of spa tourism dating back to 1913, the Spa & Sport Resort Sveti Martin offers a number of options related to health, beauty and relaxation. With numerous types of massages and sauna treatments, an aqua park and thermo-mineral pools, this resort will give you an authentic wellness experience. The healing thermo-mineral water contains many elements beneficial to health, indeed many say that they are the most healing waters in Europe. Included will be entry to the World of Saunas (3 hours), Sv. Martin Grape Aroma Oil Bath (15 minutes) & Sv. Martin massage (80 minutes).
Breakfast at your hotel; private transfer to the airport for your return flight.
All prices are per person