As part of the now extensive Advent in Zagreb celebrations that transform the city centre from late November until early January, rustic cabins are set up along four streets near the main square, Jelačić. Lining Bogovićeva, Gajeva, Petrićeva and Varšavska, vendors offer hand-crafted artefacts, woolen goods, gifts and souvenirs. There’s also mulled wine, sausages and roast chestnuts, imbuing the whole scene with yuletide aromas.
If you’re looking for completely original, oftentimes zany, household items that you can take home, the award-winning outlet for the design studio of Ana Tevšić Nauković and team should be on your itinerary. Love, Ana is full of bright ideas, from bucket bags to cone-shaped hand mirrors, customised beanbags and traveller lamps.
Love, Ana, Dežmanov prolaz 4, Zagreb, Croatia, +385 1 5801 675
It's Friday and we are getting ready to enjoy the weekend, which inspired our new window display. Autumn feels like the cosiest time of the year, right? 📚🍵☀️👩🏻🎨#weekend #friday #love #autumnfeeling #reading #tea #coffeetime #hygge #windowdisplay #windowillustration #illustration #storedisplay #designstudio #designstore #designshop #instagood #zagreb
Vuković & Runjić
If you’re looking for a gift for a Croatian friend, try delving into the impressive portfolio of Zagreb book publishers Vuković & Runjić. At their convivial outlet on downtown Teslina, lining the shelves are examples of the contemporary international fiction from the V&R stable, lovely editions with beautiful covers, whether it’s by Mario Vargas Llosa or Leonard Cohen.
Vuković & Runjić, Teslina 16, Zagreb, Croatia, +385 1 4810 742
To find cold cuts, cheeses, preserves, wines and sundry tasty domestic products, you needn’t splash out at an expensive delicatessen. Pop into any branch of nationwide supermarket chain Konzum – such as the one on downtown Praška – and you can pick up a range of quality Croatian goodies at everyday prices.
Konzum, Praška 10, Zagreb, Croatia, +385 800 400 000
In the run-up to Christmas, Zagreb’s Dolac market, behind the main square, stocks more than the usual apples and carrots. Wooden toys, souvenirs bearing the Croatian flag and cute little gifts can also be found – plus preserves and easy-to-carry foodstuffs, honeys, lace and perhaps the odd home-made grappa hiding under some stallholder’s regular wares.
Dolac 9, Zagreb, Croatia, +385 1 6422 501
Take me home
Opened in 2013, Take me home is a one-stop shop for award-winning original Croatian products, whether it’s retro flasks, owl-shaped coasters or organic balms for mosquito bites. The dynamic force behind the business, Ranka Grgić Posavec, has also been honoured at national level for her entrepreneurship, and all items are locally produced, many hand-made.
Take me home, Tomićeva 4, Zagreb, Croatia, +385 1 7987 632
Those keen on learning or brushing up their Croatian over the holidays need only cross Zagreb’s main square to Ljevak, a publishers and bookstore where dictionaries, workbooks and teach-yourself language learners line the shelves. There’s plenty of fiction in Croatian and English, cookbooks and coffee-table volumes on design and architecture.
Ljevak, Trg bana Josipa Jelačića 17, Zagreb, Croatia, +385 1 4812 992
If there’s one thing that Zagreb excels at, it’s second-hand record stores. Croatia’s music-savvy capital is still in thrall to the magic of vinyl, and the best store to find that long-lost 45 or revered album is Karma, where the most idiosyncratic and personalised of gifts can be found. As well as records neatly arranged by genre, you’ll also find old DVDs and posters for the films of yesteryear.
Karma, Podgorska 3, Zagreb, Croatia, +385 1 363 3685
Funky, quirky Boudoir is where to come for beautiful lace dresses and unique ladies’ headgear, as well as contemporary fashions. Run by equally idiosyncratic twin sisters, Boudoir comes into its own when you’ve a special event to attend at New Year and nothing to go in.
Boudoir, Radićeva 22, Zagreb, Croatia, +385 91 481 3464
Renowned as the finest emporium for Croatian wines in the country, Bornstein does more than stock the best labels from Slavonia to Istria to Dalmatia. Here you’ll also find truffles, olive oils, jams, honeys and other locally produced specialties, gifts that fit in your luggage and provide that little piece of Croatia on Christmas morning.
Bornstein, Kaptol 19, Zagreb, Croatia, +385 1 4812 361
For that touch of authenticity to your Christmas gift, Croata provides neckties and cravats from the country that invented them (cravat=Croatia). While you might not find any examples from the 1600s, when the French discovered them as essential attire for Croatian soldiers, you can choose among chic, contemporary designs, as well as accessories such as wallets, scarves and belts.
Croata, Oktogon Arcade, Ilica 5, Zagreb, Croatia, +385 1 6457 052