Christmas market in Sarajevo - Global Storybook

Christmas Holiday Markets in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Irma Mirza

Irma Mirza

Irma Mirza is the Local Contributing Writer at Global Storybook (Bosnia & Herzegovina).
Irma is a passionate explorer, writer, traveler, and historian.
Irma Mirza

Christmas is almost here and the festive atmosphere is pumping up all over the world.  Bosnia and Herzegovina is not any different.  Various special events have been set up all over our country.  Christmas celebrations in Bosnia and Herzegovina are quite interesting.  In fact, most people are surprised to hear that Christmas events even take place here at all.  Since the country has a Muslim majority, one would assume that Christmas is not such a big deal, but the reality is quite different.

People of various ethnic and religious backgrounds celebrate the holidays together in this vibrant Balkan nation.  That’s why cities all over Bosnia and Herzegovina are preparing for the upcoming celebrations.  Christmas Holiday Markets are popping up everywhere, offering all kinds of sweets, beverages, and special activities.  So which one of these markets is the best?  Well, it is hard to name just one, but here is a look at some of the most interesting.

Mostar – It’s All About the Children

Mostar’s Christmas market has become somewhat of a tradition which the locals started carefully nourishing over the years.  Various city associations have recognized that it could be a great way to engage the citizens, as well as tourists.  Hence the market started growing and expanding each year.

The Christmas market of 2017 will be the biggest and most eventful so far.  It was placed in the two busiest locations – one along the main promenade and another one within the University of Mostar’s campus.  These two sites will be the centers of the entire social and cultural life for the duration of the Christmas period in the whole region.

The main attraction of this year’s market will probably be its large ice-skating rink.  The youngest visitors will surely love the small zoo, as well as a large playing ground with a mini-train tracks.  Also, each single day there will be some live performances, like theater and music shows.  Numerous small stands will provide the visitors with delicious food platters and fresh beverages.  A cup of warm tea or a glass of mulled wine will be perfect during the cold weather.  These are just some of the main events that will help heat up the atmosphere in Mostar this year. 

Sarajevo – the Holiday Capital of Balkan

Bosnian capital is ready for Christmas, as well as for its New Year’s Eve celebrations.  This year’s ambitious goal is to be the main holiday center in the entire Balkan region.  And the city’s on track to realize its plan!  Sarajevo’s holiday market is an annual event which is carefully planned throughout the year.  The market’s objective is to help bring up people’s mood during the Catholic and the Orthodox Christmas, as well as Hanukah and the New Year!  In 2017 it will be located on the central city square, called Hastahana.

Christmas Tree, Sarajevo, Bosnia - Global StorybookThe central part of the holiday market is a small bazaar with 35 cabins.  They offer various presents, plus some culinary masterpieces.  And let us not forget about the refreshing beverages, that will keep you warm.  Apart from the bazaar, there is a children’s Pavillion with various programs, educational classes, creative workshops and of course, cool playgrounds.

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Santa Claus Village is another area reserved for the youngest ones.  The biggest Christmas tree in Sarajevo can also be found in here, as well as Santa himself with his loyal accomplices.  The Luna Park and the Open Stage will be a perfect spot for the young adults.  Live music performances will keep you in a festive mood throughout the season.  The Winter Pub and the Skating Rink are the most popular places for a good reason, so be sure to check them out.

Tuzla – Christmas Miracle in the Salt City

Tuzla is one of the largest cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  It’s mostly famous for its industrial sector and the salt mines.  However, in the last few years, Tuzla has become one of the major tourist destinations in the entire country.  The local authorities have invested large sums into developing a large complex of salt lakes located in the center of Tuzla.  And they’ve actually managed to turn it into a major touristic magnet.  These lakes are not only attractive during the Summer.  Every December they’re also turned into large skating rinks.

However, the real party is held just a few hundred meters from this complex.  The Freedom Plaza is the location of Tuzla’s annual Christmas Market.  A number of top events take place here during the Winter holidays.

Shopping mall in Tuzla - Global Storybook

Shopping mall in Tuzla. Photo: isibaba/

Mulled wine, local beer, hot tea and delicious cookies will make sure you are ready for the party.  DJs and rock bands will surely keep you entertained.  In addition, Tuzla made sure that children will enjoy their stay at the Christmas Market.  Santa Claus and his crew will be there to deliver presents to the kids who have behaved well in the past year.

Zenica – Magic in The City of Steel

The fourth largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina is not a large touristic location.  It’s mostly known for its modern sports facilities.  Some of the major sporting events in the entire country are held in the ‘City of Steel’.  Furthermore, last year in 2016, Zenica hosted its first amazing Christmas market called “The Winter Spell”.  It had a major success.  That’s why the local cultural and economic associations decided to organize another market this year as well.  Of course, new events and displays will be implemented.

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The Winter Spell 2017 will be located in the central city square, close to the amazing Fountain.  The entire market is divided into several sectors, though they’re all placed in the same area, within a walking range.  The first section is a large skating rink and it’ll be placed closest to the Fountain.  Various sport events, such as hockey and speed-skating will be held here.  Those who’ve never been skating before can join a short class organized by the Small School of Skating.

The Advent Bazaar is another cool sector of this year’s Winter Spells.  It’s right in front of the City Cinema, just a few steps above the Skating Rink.  Hot beverages and tasty snacks, as well as small presents and souvenirs, can be bought in the Bazaar.  Various music events will also be held here.

Kupres – the Snow Park and the Advent Market Are Opening Their Gates

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a mountainous country with numerous great skiing resorts, and Kupres is one of the best among them.  Every Winter this small town transforms into a large tourist center for visitors from all over Europe.  But this year will be particularly special.  A large Snow Park with new ski slopes (long, short and “baby”), a snow tubing lane, a large crazy slide, a skating rink, plus a special Winter city will be opened here.  You will find the main holiday hub in the Advent Market.

Kupres, Bosnia - Global StorybookOne could say that Kupres is offering a kind of an all-inclusive Winter experience to all its visitors.  On top of that, it’s the only holiday market in Bosnia and Herzegovina, placed on top of a mountain in a must-see location.  The organizers are promising the best holiday atmosphere in this part of Europe.

Apart from regular events, such as live performance and ski-parties, some major musicians will have concerts in the Snow Park.  Hence, Kupres will surely be a top party destination in Bosnia and Herzegovina this year.

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