21 Photos of Croatia’s Magical Winter Wonderlands

Plitvice | © Another Sun Photography/Shutterstock
Plitvice | © Another Sun Photography/Shutterstock | Another Sun Photography/Shutterstock
Relatively few tourists visit Croatia in winter, yet they are missing out on seeing its celebrated landscape at its most beautiful. The famed lakes and waterways of Plitvice and the slopes of Sljeme and Velebit are at their most photogenic at this time of year, not to mention the skating rink and Habsburg edifices of Zagreb. These 21 photos should give you a flavour of what you’re missing out on if you don’t visit in the magical winter!


Zagreb holds a month-long Advent market that occupies the main streets and squares of the city centre, with stalls, stands, open-air music and a large communal skating rink. Mother Nature and Milan Lenuci do the rest, with snow covering the Habsburg-era façades of the urban landscape laid out by the Croatian architect in the 1880s. Further afield, Lake Jarun is equally picturesque, while just outside town, the slope of Sljeme welcomes skiers, sledgers and snowboarders all winter long.

National Theatre, Zagreb xbrchx/Shutterstock
Zagreb Cathedral xbrchx/Shutterstock
Lake Jarun, Zagreb OPIS Zagreb/Shutterstock
Tomislav trg, Zagreb xbrchx/Shutterstock
Zagreb Advent OPIS Zagreb/Shutterstock
Zagreb Advent ibreakstock/Shutterstock
Zagreb Advent Goran Jakus/Shutterstock
Lotrščak Tower, Zagreb Phant/Shutterstock
Zagreb Cathedral iascic/Shutterstock
Sljeme Goran Jakus/Shutterstock

National Parks & Northern Croatia

While Dalmatia usually escapes the worst of the winter, anywhere north of Zadar normally gets an annual icing–even a blanket–of snow. This makes for particularly stunning scenes around the National Parks of Plitvice and Velebit, and the rural slopes of the Lika. Further north, the Baroque architecture of Varaždin shows off particularly well when offset by snow, as do traditional settlements in Istria, such as Novigrad.

Plitvice stjepann/Shutterstock
Plitvice Peeradontax/Shutterstock
Velebit ninopavisic/Shutterstock
Plitvice ninopavisic/Shutterstock
Novigrad Xseon/Shutterstock
Lika iascic/Shutterstock
Varaždin OPIS Zagreb/Shutterstock
Varaždin OPIS Zagreb/Shutterstock
Veliki Tabor OPIS Zagreb/Shutterstock
Velebit Zoran Matiq/Shutterstock
Plitvice Another Sun Photography/Shutterstock