Jingle all the way into the Christmas fairy tale of Salaj Family
You might think that Croatia and Winter Wonderland don’t belong in the same sentence, but Croatia is already a mega popular Christmas destination.
Its capital Zagreb that has been voted as the best Christmas market in Europe for the last 3 years in a row. If you plan on visiting Zagreb during advent, you definitely don't want to miss out the winter wonderland at the Salaj family estate in Grabovnica which is only 60 kilometers away from Zagreb.
It is by far the most beautiful winter event in Croatia and it shouldn't be missed once you are in Zagreb area, especially, during Zagreb advent time.Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world are visiting the Salaj family estate in Grabovnica to experience a unique Christmas setting, a real fairy land created with 5 million festive lighting and outdoor Christmas decorations. The large Croatian ranch is picturesque by default, but with these additions, every year it turns into real Christmas fairy tale delighting visitors year after year.
The Salaj family's Christmas Story
Salaj family Christmas story is eighteen years old. They started decorating the estate with thousands of colorful lights and the first year they managed to put 70,000 lights. With each year the number of decorations increases, and this year, they have around five million Christmas lights that will light up 15-acres of the park which is described as the largest holiday light display in Croatia.
This unusual hobby called SalajLand created many years ago by its visionary Zlatko Salaj, was founded on the idea that he wanted to create a holiday he couldn’t have as a child, and according to his opinion all children should experience the pure joy of Christmas while making memorable childhood stories. Salajland definitely gives their contribution to this every year, and this is why an entrance into their Christmas garden is free for all children. Three months before the opening day, about 15 people start decorating the estate to make the magic alive again.
What you can expect at the Salaj family estate
Salaj family decorates their estate with Christmas lights in the most creative ways. The estate itself is more than beautiful and surrounded by many lakes, wooden bridges, paths, 2 000 trees, mill-wheel and even a waterfall that are located on more than 14 acres of land. Now imagine all of this being decorated with colorful lights creating all kinds of figures - Santa Claus and the reindeer, smurfs, nativity scene, snowmen, penguins, bears… You will find them all over the estate!
The top class entertainment with fireworks lighting up the sky above Cazma settlement is prepared every day during the Christmas story to add to the magical atmosphere. There are vendors selling crafts and handmade products such as accessories, ornaments and sweet treats. There is also a nice restaurant in case you get hungry and stands if you need a coffee, hot chocolate or mulled wine to warm up. Enjoy strolling along the walkway, have a tour in the Smurf village and take a selfie with Santa or your favorite snowman.
Don't forget to stop by a large nativity scene and singing Christmas lights which will play traditional songs.Fun attractions and activities on the Salaj family estate are ideal for both adults and children. For the winter sports lovers there is also an ice-rink. If you are lucky enough to visit this estate when it snows, you will witness a magnificent sight, an experience you will not soon forget.
How to get here
Grabovnica is about 60 km away from Zagreb and the easiest way to get to Salajland is by car. The journey itself takes about an hour. If you are coming from the direction of Zagreb, you should leave the A3 highway towards Slavonski Brod at the Ivanić-Grad exit and then continue driving for about 15 kilometres towards Cazma. Once you arrive at Cazma, at each intersection you will find signs "The Christmas Story with the Salaj Family" that lead you to the estate (you will have to turn onto St. Andrew’s Street on the right, a country road leading to Grabovnica and Salajland).
The Salaj family estate is located at the end of a small village Grabovnica, and the property has its own big parking lot in the immediate vicinity of the property (100 m) which is free of charge. The only problem is that this little village can be quite crowded during the holidays, so parking can be a bit of a challenge. However, don't be fooled by the signs „parking here“ throughout the whole village. This is just a way for local residents to make some extra money if they let you park in their yard.
The other, maybe even more interesting option, especially for your children is to take the Christmas train from Zagreb Central Station to SalajLand. In addition to the whole experience, the children will be entertained by the St. Nicholas, Santa Claus and a snowman and will also receive a small present handed out by Santa Claus personally creating memories that last for a lifetime.
The train runs from December 6th until December 28th, every Friday and Saturday.
Tickets will be available for purchase at the counters of Main train station at the end of the November but plan ahead according to the schedule:
Train departure from Zagreb Central Station: 5.22pm on Fridays. Return to Zagreb Central Station: 10.01pm
Train departure from Zagreb Central Station: 03:00pm on Saturdays. Return to Zagreb Central Station: 7:39 pm
You can also make a reservation by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org The price for children is 90 kunas and for adults 95 kunas. The price includes a train ticket, a bus ride to the property itself, a ticket to the estate and a small gift for children.
Get into the holiday spirit and experience the magic of Christmas at the fairy-tale estate with us! If these two options mentioned above are not suitable for you, you can always immerse yourself in the Christmas atmosphere and feel the magic that the Salaj family estate radiate by joining us on a magical Christmas Lights tour. This way, you will be able to see Salaj Family's famous light show starting from your Zagreb hotel or other convenient location in the city.
Useful info & Tickets
The event, which draws about 120,000 visitors annually, will be open from November 29th all the way to January 12th, every day from 3 pm 10 pm. SalajLand ticket price for adults in private arrangements is 40 HRK. Children up to 7 years of age accompanied by adults, persons with disabilities, children from children's homes and people with special needs can enter for free. An ice-skating rink can also be accessed for 20 HRK/2.65 € (the price covers 45 minutes of skating and rental of skates as well).
To avoid long lines and major crowds, we suggest to visit Salaj Land during a work day Monday – Friday. Tickets can be purchased at the cash office upon arrival at the property. There is no need to book a ticket in advance. If you don't like waiting in lines, you can purchase your ticket immediately here.
So if you happen to be near Zagreb during these days, remember to put this sparkling event to your bucket list. Enjoy this winter wonderland! In addition to the Christmas story, every year the Salaj family also organise Easter story on the estate that is decorated with Easter chicks and bunnies.
Beautiful Christmas scenes, a stroll through the property will surely get you into the festive mood! (watch the video down below)
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