Wednesday, 15 March 2023

Zagreb Festival of Lights, Your Full Guide for 2023's Edition

March 15, 2023 - The fifth edition of the innovative Zagreb Festival of Lights kicks off tonight - where to find the magic around the Croatian capital.

One of the things I really like about tourism in Zagreb as opposed to the coast is that there are four distinct seasons. If there is one year-round tourism destination in Croatia, Zagreb is it, at least in my opinion. And not only that, but the way certain seasons are introduced is quite spectacular and lifts the mood in the city considerably. 

The best example of that, of course, is Advent in Zagreb, arguably Zagreb's best-known tourist event these days, which rose from nothing to become the best in Europe three years in a row. The city is transformed from a dark winter into several weeks of concerts, gastronomy and a beautifully decorated city. 

And so too a wonderful bundle of energy kicks off tonight, as Zagreb looks to Spring and those longer summer nights with the 5th edition of the Zagreb Festival of Lights, which will run from 1800-2300 from tonight until March 19, with a spectacular laser show at the Tuskanac Summer Theatre officially opening the festival at 19:00. 

Brought to you by the Zagreb Tourist Board and partners, with support from the City of Zagreb, imagination, art and light technologies will unite again, heralding spring through positive energy and good emotions. Over the next 5 days, there will be 33 attractions in some 28 locations in the Upper and Lower Town. 

At the festival press conference, Zagreb Tourist Board CEO Martina Bienenfeld, said: "After last year's premier expansion of Zagreb Light Festival locations, this year's edition again includes Donji grad, where we included some new locations to make it easier for everyone to visit and reduce crowds. Thus, we introduced the locations of Ribnjak, Stara Vlaška, Kurelčeva Street, the Square of Croatian Giants, the Square of the Victims of Fascism with which we rounded off the eastern part of the city center, and the Dolac and Opatovina markets are also new. The novelty is represented by international collaborations with artists from France, whose installations will be in four locations (Dolac, EU square, Trg kralja Tomislava and Ribnjak), as well as Italy and the Netherlands. I am also happy about the Croatian visit from Šibenik, and artists from Berlin joined us again. These guest appearances, as well as the great interest of foreign and domestic artists in future performances, show that the Zagreb Light Festival is becoming an authentic international project and event, so I would like to thank all the partners for their involvement in its very demanding and comprehensive implementation."

So where to find the action?



Odd Dynamics / Mimara Museum

The spectacular projection will present the story of industrial revolutions throughout history visualized in an unusually satisfying animation style.


The Spirit of nature / Ban Josip Jelačić Square

This artwork celebrates the arrival of spring with its vibrant depiction of nature and blooming flowers, evoking a sense of renewal and growth in the viewer.


(Photo J. Duval)

The Transformation / Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb

May this dreamlike and lively dance inspire a transformation that awakes in us with the arrival of spring.


Anooki (Kiss) / European Square

Meet two giant Inuit-inspired figures.


Lumineoles / King Tomislav Square

Enjoy the dance of imaginary illuminated birds «Luminéoles». With their graceful wings they dance in the wind, bringing light and a poetic atmosphere in the air.


Anti - meandar / Croatian Association of Artists

''I have probably already painted my last paintings, but maybe not the first ones'', Julije Knifer.


Anooki (Apparition) / Dolac Market

After a long and cold winter, their ice has melted, and they are now embarking on a journey around the world.


Why oh why do I have to go to school? / Mažuranić square

Through ambient lighting on the park crowns and a broken LED wall we take you on a journey along the archives of the Croatian Museum of School.


Among The Clouds / Zrinjevac Park

Fly into your own little cosmos of creativity and let your imagination run wild as you swing on unique swings, surrounded by gentle lights and music that accompanies your daydreaming.


Neon circles / Music Pavilion – Zrinjevac

Notes cut music, threads cut clothes, and colors and light cut – life around us. Step into the world of vivid colors and magical installation patterns in the Music Pavilion.


Florescence / Lovački rog Passage

Experience spring through the Florescence ambient light installation.


(Photo Sanja Bistrici)

Circles / Zagreb Dance Center

A circle does not have a beginning. It also does not have an end. It is an eternal motif for various artists, it is found all around us in different forms, it is a perfect geometric shape.


(Photo Emmanuel Epanzarini)

Italian Flag / Kurelčeva Street

Special geometric pyramidal structures served as a painting canvas where the main artist is the light!


Luminous Vision / Old Vlaška

The picturesque landscape of illuminated images, each of which depicts the beauty and energy of the city in a unique and enchanting way, is an ideal opportunity for a night walk.


Glowing Starlight / Strossmayer Square

The "Glowing Starlight" installation will evoke the heart of Lenuci's horseshoe, which completely dominates the space.


Urban garden / Croatian Nobles Square

Discover a city center oasis in the urban garden with captivating luminous flowers.



Lighthouse / Lotrščak Tower

Embark on a fairy tale adventure and join us in celebrating the arrival of new hope in our Zagreb.


(Photo copyright Janus van den Eijnden)

Absorbed by light / Strossmayer Promenade (East)

Three figures sit next to each other on a bench, displaying the typical characteristics of smartphone users: their heads are bent, fingers typing and swiping, and their faces lit up by their phone screens.


Awakening light / Lotrščak Tower

Multicolored lights will paint one of the most important buildings of the Upper Town – Lotrščak Tower!


New radiance / St. Catherine's Church

Experience an incredible projection that conveys the impression of a dance of transcendental dimensions and strong contrasts.


Glitch Garden / Dežman Pass

 Find out how much we truly notice greenery in our city with the Glitch Garden installation, which makes us think about coexistence with the nature around us.


Promenade of Colors / Strossmayer Promenade (West)

The Promenade of Colors brings a special spirit and charm by connecting with a playful light.


Outside the Wall / Parking Tuškanac

A touch of the Mediterranean has arrived in our metropolis.


Dancing Simetrix / Opatovina Park - playground

What better way to welcome spring than with a dance of light colors! Let the multimedia installation that combines movement, sound and light, i.e. dance, music and painting, inspire and motivate you to move and completely surrender to spring.


Twisted / Opatovina Park

Take a walk through the tunnel of colors and neon light and immerse yourself in new dimensions of space.


Laser Blockbuster / Tuškanac Summer Stage

What's better than a combination of dance and a superb light show? The performance of the Atomic Dance Factory dance group will accompany the Prolight show and its well-known laser effects.


Lumia / Atrium of the Zagreb City Museum

 Lumia, art created by light. This interesting installation creates different shapes with its fractals that continuously change in color and appearance.


Globoscope / Ribnjak Park

The impressive installation of the Globoscope is made from hundreds of luminous spheres.


(Photo J. Duval)

Luminous Horses / Ribnjak Park

A hidden oasis of greenery in the very heart of the city will delight visitors of the Festival of Lights this year with three of the brightest Lipizzans.


Meteorites / Ribnjak Park

Lovers of space and of all celestial have the opportunity to discover their brilliant colors!


EggOtrick / Ribnjak Park

An art installation will emerge in the middle of the Ribnjak Park, which at its core hides the birth of a new life through the play of light! 


Neon Playground / Dubravkin put

The magical playground takes us back to our childhood when we carelessly absorbed new colors and daydreamed.


The secret life of forests / Vraz's Promenade

What type of secrets are kept and what kind of conversations are held between city forests?

A magical, magical few days in Zagreb awaits. See you there. 

For much more on this magical festival, check out the official website.

Tuesday, 28 February 2023

Festival of Lights Zagreb Announcing a Colourful, Magical Intro to Spring

March 1, 2023 – Though the weather doesn’t look that promising these days, the hope is that spring is just around the corner in Croatia. It is March, after all; the days are a little longer and somewhat brighter (not just because of the snow), and we’re growing impatient with the desire to go back out and explore the streets of the capital some more. And what better way to do just that than the Festival of Lights Zagreb.


Zagreb Tourist Board (Festival of Lights Zagreb website)

And the arrival of spring and the notion of light have always been associated with each other. Full of joy, we return to the streets of our city and absorb the new energy illuminated by the brilliant art, proving that spring really is the renaissance within us and around us. For the festival's fifth year in the Croatian capital, a combination of art, design, spectacle, entertainment, and architecture will once again enliven the popular locations of the Upper and Lower Town Zagreb.

Festival of Lights Zagreb, according to the organisers, is not only a place of magical light installations, impressive projection mapping, playful animations and colourful objects, but also a place of good emotions, positive energy, and a perfect spot to welcome the spring that we’re all eagerly anticipating. During the five days of the festival, we will hand over the streets, parks, squares, promenades and buildings to local and foreign artists who will transform the city into their own canvas and a playful backdrop for numerous forms of innovative art.


Zagreb Tourist Board (Festival of Lights Zagreb website)

With the beginning of the Festival of Lights Zagreb, everyone is invited to come to the city and welcome the arrival of longer and warmer days in this spectacular way. This year's program combines the best of visual and performing arts and modern technology. “Indulge yourself in the emotions that the light awakens in us as we welcome a new beginning and new hope - spring!” Just as much as the official website inspires a feeling of excitement, we’re ready to witness the magic once more.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Travel section.

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

23,000 Zagreb Overnight Stays Realised During Festival of Lights

March the 30th, 2022 - Zagreb overnight stays have been very impressive over the Festival of Lights period, with 23,000 of them having been realised in the capital.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, according to the Zagreb Tourist Board (TZGZ), during the Zagreb Light Festival, arrivals increased by 179 percent, while the number of Zagreb overnight stays increased by 117 percent when compared to the same period last year.

As such, during the fourth edition of the Festival of Lights, in the period from the 16th to the 20th of March, 10,876 arrivals and 23,072 Zagreb overnight stays were registered. Most arrivals were from people coming from other parts of Croatia, followed by those from neighbouring Slovenia, Italy, Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, and as far as Zagreb overnight stays were concerned, most guests were also from other parts of Croatia, followed by visitors from Italy, Germany, the USA, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia.

"We're very pleased with the results achieved, the interest and especially the comments on the organisation of this year's edition of the Zagreb Light Festival.

We also received the preliminary results from our online promotional campaigns which took place on the markets of Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Hungary, Germany, Slovenia and Serbia, according to which the festival's ads racked up more than 43 million views. Our advertorials have been read more than 76,000 times, and the leading markets are Slovenia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

During these continued uncertain and difficult times, it was a real challenge to organise the Zagreb Festival of Lights, so I'd once again like to thank all of the partners and institutions that helped us in its realisation. Thank you to those of you who live here and thank you to our visitors for all the words of support and praise, and I'd like to especially thank the residents of Lower and Upper Town (Donji and Gornji grad) for their understanding for the occasional crowds that were created,'' said Martina Bienefeld, the director of TZGZ.

For more, make sure to check out our travel section.

Sunday, 27 March 2022

Zagreb Full of Light: Festival of Lights, Glow Run Video, Photo, Magic

March 27, 2022 - Five magical days which lit up Zagreb in March - a photo and video appreciation of this year's Festival of Lights Zagreb, including the inaugural Glow Run. 

One thing I am realising about tourism in Croatia is that Zagreb knows how to grow a concept. The Croatian capital is not blessed with the sun-kissed beaches of the Adriatic or an endless coastline, but it has plenty of other resources in its arsenal to develop its own unique tourism story. 

I have watched Croatian tourism very closely over the last decade, and it has been instructive to see how Zagreb has progressed from a relatively disregarded destination to one which now not only has international recognition and branded events, but is also now very much on the cool capital city tour of Central Europe, proudly sitting alongside Vienna,  Prague and Budapest. 


The best example of this, of course, is Advent in Zagreb, an event which went from total obscurity to being the champion of Europe three years in a row. Not only did Advent in Zagreb make major inroads into developing the Croatian capital as a 12-month destination, but it has inspired the rest of the country as well, and seemingly every town in the country now has its own Advent event each year. Zagreb worked hard to keep the brand of Advent alive during the last two difficult years, and I have no doubt it will be back in style this December, assuming the world and its pandemics have calmed down. 

I see a lot of similarities between the growth of Advent and the gradual rise of another Zagreb festival which only began in 2017. Back then, the Festival of Lights had just 7 locations in the city, all located in Upper Town. But, just like Advent, it has spread its wings magnificently, and this year's 5-day  event from March 16-20 was to be found in an impressive 31 locations, 16 in Upper Town and - for the first time - 15 in Lower Town.  


During these trying times, it is hard to explain what a joy it was to walk around the city during the Festival of Lights. Never having been before, I was not sure what to expect, but from walking through Gric Tunnel on the way to an evening meeting on the opening night, the mood of all around was lightened. Simply stunning. 


The Croatian National Theatre, which hosted the festival opening, looked particularly resplendent.


Magnificent in its own right, for me it symbolised the architectural magic of the event - combining Zagreb's historic buildings with a modern and very colourful interpretation. 


But the highlight for me walking around was not seeing foreign tourists on the streets of the city, but local families. Seeing the faces of young kids in awe at the various light attractions was a wonderful thing. After two years of earthquake, pandemic and conflict in Ukraine, it felt like a return to an era of innocence, if only for a few days. I found it intoxicating, and taking in the faces, smiles, laughs and squeals of the little ones was as rewarding as appreciating the impressive light installations and displays.


The city was alive, and I am sure when COVID restrictions subside and budgets are once more increased that the Festival of Lights will add a gastro component, which will help it grow even more. 


I reached out to Zagreb Tourist Board CEO Martina Bienenfeld for her impressions of this year's event: 

"We are very pleased with the interest and wonderful comments on the organization of this year's edition of the Festival of Lights Zagreb, as well as with the results achieved. According to the Zagreb Tourist Board, during the Festival of Lights, arrivals increased by 176 percent, while the number of overnight stays increased by 114 percent, compared to the same period last year. Thus, during the 4th edition of the Festival of Lights, in the period from 16 to 20 March, 10,742 arrivals and 22,759 overnight stays were registered.


"We also received preliminary results from our online promotional campaigns in the markets of Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Hungary, Germany, Slovenia and Serbia, according to which the Festival's ads had more than 43 million views. Our advertorials have been read more than 76,000 times, and the leading markets were Slovenia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. 


"Festival of Lights came into being in 2017 with 7 locations in the Upper Town and this year’s edition spread on 31 locations of, both, Upper and Lower town which was a huge milestone for us and the Festival itself. In these uncertain and difficult times, it was a real challenge to organize the Festival of Lights Zagreb, so I thank once again to all the partners and institutions that helped us in its realization.”


The other thing I have noticed over the years about the development of tourism in Zagreb is that good ideas tend to attract good ideas. The concept of Advent in Zagreb started small, but the bigger it became, the bigger the sense of ownership among private tourism businesses, who came up with their own suggestions and concepts to add yet more content to the event. 


A good example of this from Advent was the Zagreb Digital Nomad Jolly Wrap Up event in December, which connected the city's fantastic digital nomad year with Advent.

And the architects of that idea, Swanky Travel, lost no time in adding a warm glow to the concept of this year's Festival of Lights. 


Just three weeks before the start of the festival, the Glow Run organisers (Swanky Travel, Urban Entertainment, and Run Croatia - who have organised an impressive 64 races in Croatia in the last 8 years) approached the Zagreb Tourist Board with a concept to add another dimension to the festival - the Zagreb Glow Run, a 5 km race through the streets of Zagreb, with participants invited to wear glowing objects on themselves and their pets, as they raced through the streets of Zagreb past all the illuminated buildings.  


Three weeks is not a long time when it comes to organise a race in a capital city. There are a lot of permissions to be obtained, plenty of planning required. 


But, as I have learned in my time in Zagreb, if Iva Perokovic from Swanky Travel wants it to happen, it will happen. It helps to be a little crazy, I guess, and she can be very persuasive in her glowing goggles. 

And what an evening it was! Check out the video of the run, and see just how magnificent Zagreb was as a backdrop to the race. 

Despite the relatively late announcement of the Glow Run, an impressive 380 runners signed up for the 22:00 start, adding a little more glow and colour to the Croatian capital, which was already shining. 

A few more photos from the Glow Run below, but watch out for Festival of Lights Zagreb 2023 and its Glow Run - it is the festival which will keep on growing. And glowing. 

Learn more about the city in the Total Croatia Zagreb in a Page guide





Friday, 8 March 2019

Free Festival of Lights Marks Three Years in Zagreb with Longer Program

The Festival of Lights continues its story, and in its 3rd edition, brings new attractive audiovisual installations and projections that will revive 20 locations in the historical center of Zagreb, reports HRTurizam on March 8, 2019. 

Every day from March 20 to 24, between 6 pm and 11 pm, imaginative light events, audiovisual installations and projections will be accompanied by the coming of the spring, which is the theme of this year's event, symbolically marking awakening, growth, and renaissance.

“The festival was held for the first time in 2017 when it had only seven locations in the Upper Town. Already then, we were recognized by the international association of the Festival of Lights based in Berlin, and they put us in their programs. We are pleased to promote Zagreb as a city and Croatia as a country that has a respectable Festival of Lights,” stressed Martina Bienenfeld, director of the Tourist Board of Zagreb. Bienendelf added that the special feature of this year is three installations from China, which will be used to celebrate 2019 as the year of tourism and culture between Croatia and the People's Republic of China.

The novelty of this year’s event is that as a result of the high interest, the festival will last one day longer, totaling to four days, and entry to all programs is still free.

To further prove that the Festival of Lights is a hit and another excellent example of how investing in manifestations is not a cost, can be seen in the numbers. Namely, according to data from the Zagreb Tourist Board, 28% more arrivals and 44% more overnight stays were recorded during the last Festival of Lights, as guests named the Festival of Lights as their exclusive motivation for visiting. 

It only makes sense to extend the festival by one day, as this will increase the tourist consumption in the destination. It is a win-win, and a great reaction of the Zagreb Tourist Board who felt a positive pulse that the Festival of Lights could be even better. 

Translated from HRTurizam

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