Street Festivals of Zagreb: When the City Comes Alive

When it comes to city events, Zagreb has a rich list of unique events. Most of these events are held during spring/summer time and during winter – when the most popular event of the year comes to life – Advent in Zagreb.

But let us start with those in spring and summer.

One of the first more significant events of the year is the Festival of Lights. It is an annual event that celebrates the arrival of spring with fantastic art and entertainment combined with architecture.

This event is held in the center of the city. For example, the festival in 2023 was held in more than thirty locations around the Upper and Lower town.

Every location has cool light installations combined with the surroundings, and most of those lights are presented on the nearby buildings, which is mindblowing!

The second street festival I want to talk about is one of the oldest in the city! It is Cest is d’Best (and no, that isn’t me misspelling the title). Cest is the international street festival on the streets of Zagreb, and I think this festival is the closest definition of a “street festival” you’ll ever get.

It transforms the city’s center into a huge stage where many performers, dancers, acrobats, musicians, painters, and many more people from around the world express themselves with their art and skills. And when I say skills, for some I mean really impressive skills!

The third festival I want to talk more about is a bit different. It’s more about gathering and enjoying with your friends and family. I’m talking about the Courtyards (Croatian: Dvorišta). This event is one of my favorite ones! It usually opens closed Upper town hidden gardens, transforming them into a beautiful place to enjoy refreshing drinks.

The Courtyards have been recognized with two prestigious awards for the most creative and innovative project in Croatian tourism, and it tells a lot! This event allows tourists and locals to experience the city in a unique way. If you’re in the city during The Courtyards, I have only one piece of advice  – go before it opens because it’s tough to get a spot or a table later.

There are many more festivals on the Zagreb streets during summer, but I want to mention only one more, which is a festival with a long tradition. I’m talking about the Zagreb International Folklore Festival.

This festival is one of the top events of folklore expressions in Croatia, representing amateur folklore groups dedicated to preserving and presenting local heritage, mainly from Croatia but from abroad also. This event has been held in Zagreb since 1966, but it continues the tradition of the Festival of Croatian Village Culture that was first organized in the 1930s!

These events usually last for a couple of weeks, transforming the city’s streets and squares into an interesting stage.

You know what, let me just mention once again – Advent in Zagreb. I will discuss this event, but here’s a short heads up for the most magical part of the year.

Advent in Zagreb is a city-wide event that transforms the city into a festive paradise with more than 20 unique little Christmas markets linked by lights and tree-lined avenues. Advent in Zagreb has been voted the best Christmas market in Europe for three years in a row!

So, are you more for a summer or a winter festival?

Hi! My name is Ivan, and I'm an author of I have been photographing and exploring Zagreb for more than 15 years, and if you want to know more about me and, read the Introduction articles by clicking here.

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