In the last few years, the festival scene in Croatia has erupted. There are so many options to choose from – from famous music festivals like Ultra Europe or Sonus to cultural manifestations and book festivals like the World Literature Festival and Zagreb Book Festival and from food and film to green festivals dedicated to preserving the environment – there is something for everyone. They all have one thing in common – your social media feed will be popping while you are swaying to your favourite type of music, tasting new types of burgers or shaking hands with your favourite author.
Festivals are the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself into the culture, sense a different atmosphere of the host cities, enjoy the hospitality and fell like a local while tasting cuisines, both traditional and those with a modern twist.
That’s why you need to Travel to Croatia.
Here is a list of festivals you cannot miss while in Croatia:
INmusic festival, Zagreb
Croatia’s biggest open-air rock festival was founded in 2006 and has been growing ever since. Huffington Post dubbed it the “Woodstock of the 21st century”. The green oasis of the city of Zagreb proves to be the perfect setting for the indie-rock mellow get together. Considered by many as Europe’s best buy festival, INmusic festival merges the boutique festival feel and the major festival line-up where you can catch live performances of your favourite music heavyweights in an intimate lush setting catering to 20,000 visitors from the world over.
Ultra Europe Festival, Poljud Stadium, Split
The RESISTANCE Croatia Opening Party – otherwise known as THE kickoff to Europe’s Premier Destination Music Festival takes place at the stunning waterfront Hemingway Bar. The partying continues with three nights of dancing from dusk until dawn at Poljud Stadium, which comes to life with the best artists in electronic music, top tier world-class production. After the crazy weekend, it’s time for island hopping – Brač, Hvar and Vis are your next destinations and after party places where your adventure comes to an end while the sunset on the horizon is taking your breath away.
Sonus Festival, Zrće Beach, Pag Island
Zrće beach is already a world-famous partying place on the Pag island and if you are a raver, this is your place to be. The line-up consists of international headliners and local heroes, underground superstars and new-comers. While waiting for the next rave or house party, the island offers many options to spend your free time and the only question is what do you like more: relaxing on a beach or adrenaline rush? Don’t forget a sunscreen because you will be dancing to your favourite music on the open waters of the Adriatic thanks to boat parties.
Goulash Disko, Komiža, Vis Island
Every year in September, Goulash Disko closes the European summer festival season in the middle of the Adriatic sea, where a limited number of 1000 people gather to celebrate music from the global underground. As well as being known as a five-day party, Goulash Disko is also a crowdfunded, 100% independent and sponsor-free festival. It takes place in Komiža, one of the most remote fisherman village in Croatia and the organisers work together with the locals to grow the festival as a sustainable part of the island, which is why it remains a small scale and intimate.
Zagreb Classic, King Tomislav Square, Zagreb
A different than those mentioned above is Zagreb Classic, an open-air classical music festival with performances by leading Croatian and international orchestras, ensembles, conductors and soloists. At the previous editions, hundreds of artists perform in the space of three weeks with the likes of the popular Opera ‘Under the Stars’, the musical ‘Jalta Jalta’ to the ballet ‘Madam Glembajevi’. If classical music is your choice, bring a blanket and enjoy the magical symphonies under starry skies in the heart of Croatia’s capital.
Zagreb Burger Festival, Strossmayer Square, Zagreb
If you are a foodie who loves a good burger and wants to try something new, like a burger with whiskey or truffles, or lamb or salsa or an avocado sauce, you simply cannot miss the Zagreb Burger Festival. Strossmayers Square becomes food heaven, with 18 of the most popular burger maestros from Zagreb, Split and Pula preparing your new favourite meal. Last year’s novelty makes your life easier – order burgers via a mobile app and avoid queuing up. You will get a notification once the burger is ready to be picked up.
Food Film Festival, Zrinjevac Park, Zagreb
A summer outdoor gourmet festival combines evening film screenings about food together with amazing meals, presented by some of the best and creative Zagreb restaurants, bistros, bakeries and wine bars, including culinary and wine workshops and gastronomy offers. Enjoy the specialities while learning about food in one of the most beautiful places in Zagreb.
ZagrebDox is an international documentary film festival established in 2005 and held annually. It is the biggest festival of its kind in South East Europe. Apart from screenings, the festival usually organises workshops, presentations and pitching forums designed to help aspiring film authors in developing their projects. In addition to the official competition program (which is divided into a regional and an international category), the festival often features retrospectives of well-known authors and various national cinemas.
Zagreb Festival of Lights, Zagreb
Festival of Lights is one of the first Zagreb events in spring. The Festival is a mix of a little bit of everything – art, design, the architecture used as an artist’s canvas, spectacle and walking tours around the historical Upper City. If you want to welcome spring in Croatia, make it grand, colourful and cheerful – just like Zagreb is during the Festival of Lights.
Zagreb Book Festival, Zagreb
The literary and cultural event Zagreb Book Festival was formed as a celebration of the written word and its particular power to enrich the human mind. Organiser’s mission is, at this time of growth of the new media, to raise interest in reading, writing and literary communication, but not excluding intermediality of modern artistic expression. We want to put a strong emphasis on children’s rights and the integration of young people in the cultural life within society. The aim of the Festival is to increase the book audience and to promote reading and books which will be boosted through literary programs with famous guest authors, best national selection of discount books, as well as the gastronomic and musical events.
Festival of World Literature(Festival svjetske književnosti), Zagreb and Split
The Festival of World Literature was founded by Fraktura Publishing House in 2013. In 7 days at the beginning of September, with the Festival of World Literature, Zagreb and Split become one of the centres of world literature, places to present new titles, where authors discuss their novels and many other topics in panels and round tables. The program of the festival incorporates more events every year, embodying a highly significant cultural platform on a national and international level. The events are moderated by leading literary editors, writers and critics. Every year, around 20 of Croatia’s most distinguished painters make portraits of the Festival participants as well as paintings inspired by motives from their books. As a literary and cultural manifestation, the festival includes literary talks, round tables, film screenings and graphic novel discussions. The aim of the festival is to bring together the best of local and international literature, through a series of live events, as well as to provide an opportunity for the audience to interact with contemporary writers.
Zagreb Film Festival, Zagreb
Zagreb Film Festival has always dedicated particular attention to first-time filmmakers, whose debut films we are watching in the competition. The authors’ first or second films are screened in a competition of feature films and international short films, and new Croatian authors are presented in the Checkers section. Throughout all these years, a series of today acclaimed and established filmmakers have presented their first films in Zagreb. ZFF stills follows their work and shows their new films in a special competition under the title Together Again. The festival also features an array of attractive events for all generations – workshops, lectures, panels and other events intended for professionals, young filmmakers and all the interested public.