There's nothing like attending a festival to see what's happening, what's popular and what's important to the locals. Whether music, dance, cars, puppets or film, Zagreb is alive with festivals throughout the year. Tickets are usually not expensive and not particularly hard to get. Contact the festival website or the Zagreb tourist office.
Documentary Film Festival
Functioning primarily as a showcase and marketing opportunity for documentaries made by regional filmmakers, this festival also attracts a smattering of international contributions. (late February or early March)
Biennale of Contemporary Music
This prestigious event is held in odd-numbered years. Venues include the Lisinski concert hall and various museums.
St Mark Festival
From late-April to mid-May, Zagreb's St Mark's church hosts a series of concerts featuring local and international soloists and chamber orchestras.
Floraart: Zagreb Flower Show
A festival of flowery matters including flower arrangements and the latest in gardening equipment held on the shores of Lake Bundek.
Dance Week Festival
From classical to avant-garde, this festival surveys the world of dance.
Cest is D'Best
Over a period of four or five days at the end of May or beginning of June, Zagreb's streets come alive with music, dance, performance art, races and children's theatre. Cest is d'Best is Croatia oldest street festival with venues all around central Zagreb. It's a ball and completely free.
Fantastic Zagreb Film Festival
Get ready to be amazed, horrified or puzzled by this new festival that amasses science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller, suspense and experimental films, screening them in a giant open-air cinema. If you need to run out screaming it could be a long run.
photo: Julien Duval
This is the music festival that always makes one of the "Best of" lists. The Black Keys, Arctic Monkeys, Iggy and the Stooges are only some of the headlining acts that grace the shores of Lake Jarun.
International Folklore Festival
It's not only Croatia's folk music and dance on display, but troupes around the world strut their stuff.
Summer Evenings in Gric
Classical soloists and ensembles give concerts in the Galerija Klovicevi Dvori, Zagreb's modern art museum.
International Puppet Festival
This celebration of the art of puppetry is a big hit with kids of course.
From the Greek classics to contemporary angst, local and European companies stage it all in a number of venues around town.
World Literature Festival
For about a week in September, luminaries from world literature give readings and participate in seminars in venus around town.
October or november
Catch up with the latest art flicks from Croatia and elsewhere. Blockbusters are not part of this festival's fare but you just might catch the latest indie sensation. Films are in the original language with subtitles and many are in English.
It's the best! The Advent in Zagreb program has been voted the best in Europe for three consecutive years. The Christmas market in Jelacic Square is a wonderland of lights, music, food stalls and entertainment. Just in front of the train station, Tomislav Square is transformed into a glorious ice park centered around a skating rink. The stately plane trees on Zrinjevac square are festooned with blazing lights that illuminate the food, beverage and handicraft stalls underneath.