Most people when they think about Croatia they just imagine beautiful beaches, with blue and calm sea, sun, stunning islands and summer. And of course all this is true – during the summer!
During autumn/winter some things change. It will be more difficult, not to say impossible, to swim in the Adriatic Sea and enjoy the beach, but most of the attractions can be visited during all seasons of the year and some places are even more interesting when visited outside the high season. If you do not mind not going to the beach and not swimming in the Adriatic Sea, this post is for you. If you want to venture into activities that only happen during the winter, this post is also for you. If you like to escape the heat and prefers seasons with fewer tourists, this post is definitely for you 😉
Sljeme – Medvednica Mountain
If you visit Zagreb during the winter, don’t miss the Sljeme, on Medvednica Mountain.
Few tourists visiting the capital of Croatia know that at the top of Medvednica Mountain is possible to venture into the ski, snowboard and even play with sleds during the winter. The Mountain also gets some very important ski competitions. Usually in January happens the Snow Queen event, which is a ski competition that welcomes athletes from all around the world. If you’ve never ventured into the snow do not worry, many schools offer courses of one or two days and equipment rentals.
The initial track starts at the top of Sljeme and then it stretches and becomes several other tracks such as red, green and blue. Each of them has a different terrain and slopes, and together, they add up to a total length of 4 km.
The infrastructure on the mountain top has some traditional restaurants, a hotel and some apartments for tourists.
Ice Skating – King Tomislav Park
The ice skating rink, during the Advent in Zagreb, at the King Tomislav Park.
During the period of Advent the city of Zagreb transforms itself in a magical land. And one of the most visible and cool changes that happens is the ice skating rink, in the King Tomislav Park, right in front of the central train station. This year the track is in operation from November 27 until January 10.
The beautiful Arts Pavilion, in Zagreb, during the Advent.
Advent is the celebration that takes place during the period before Christmas and lasts until shortly after the New Year. This year the Advent in Zagreb began on November 27 and runs through January 10. The event is wonderful and very magical. The main points of the city receive several stalls with typical food, local crafts, ice skating, concerts, shows, exhibitions and more. Check here our special post about the Advent of this year.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
The wonderful Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia, is transformed during the winter.
The Plitvice Lakes National Park is stunning and completely different each season. Many tourists end up visiting the park during the summer, when it is green, with crystal lakes, full of flowers and butterflies, looking like a fairy tale. But for most people who have visited the park on winter also, it is basically impossible to decide when it looks more stunning. When temperatures drop some lakes and waterfalls freeze leaving everything in a beautiful shade of white, and the color of the lakes become an indescribable turquoise. It’s like being in the recent Disney movie, Frozen.
Delights of Croatian cuisine
The famous fritule are super traditional during the Advent in Zagreb.
Like much of the cities that have marked seasons and temperatures that are quite different during summer and winter, Croatia has some dishes that are usually only eaten at this time of year. Among these the most common treats are:
Sarma: cabbage leaves with ground beef;
Kobascica: the famous Croatian sausages, which can have different flavors like pork, pork with garlic and onion, sausage of blood (in Croatian krvavice), of boar and many other options;
Mulled wine and hot chocolate: with low temperatures hot drinks are always welcome. In Croatian mulled wine is called kuhano vino, and hot chocolate, vruća čokolada.
Fritule: they are like fried sweet dough that you add on the top sugar and cinnamon, or also syrup of chocolate, cream, vanilla…
The charming Trakošćan Castle is even more beautiful during the winter.
Close to Zagreb it’s the Trakošćan Castle full of history surrounded by parks and a beautiful lake. This castle is considered the most romantic, beautiful and well maintained in Croatia and, during the winter, also transforms itself when the lake freezes and the green gives place to the snow.
Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar…
The incredible sunset in Dubrovnik.
The best-known cities in the country can also be visited during the winter without major concerns after all; the most amazing things to visit are the ancient buildings, walls, palaces and castles. The beautiful view of the Adriatic Sea will also be always there and, as a bonus, all the places will have much less tourists.