A Taste of Winter in Croatia: Foodie’s Guide to the Adriatic Coast

Winter is a magical time along the Adriatic coast of Croatia, where the crisp air carries the tantalising scents of traditional delicacies and the clinking of glasses filled with exquisite Croatian wines and local schnapps of various sorts. Embrace the holiday spirit with our Foodie’s Guide to the Adriatic Coast, focusing on the winter gastronomic delights, quality wines, Advent festivities, Christmas markets and unique New Year’s celebrations. Explore Croatian winter gastro offer!

Winter Gastronomy: A Culinary Journey

When it comes to Croatian winter gastro offer, prepare yourself for heartwarming delights! Here’s a short list of what not to miss in December in Croatia. 

1.Cod Delights:

As winter sets in, Croatians turn to the sea for a gastronomic delight – cod. Indulge in dishes like “Brodet od bakalara“, a salted cod stew rich with flavours that have been passed down through generations. The dish, often prepared with potatoes, garlic and olive oil, is a true winter comfort and part of the Christmas Eve menu and Christmas markets along the coast. 

Also, there is “bakalar na bijelo”, which is a rich pâté made from cod.

Cod pâté – bakalar na bijelo

Cod pâté – bakalar na bijelo

2.Fritule and Kroštule:

Treat your taste buds to the crispy delights of fritters called “fritule”. These deep-fried pastries, often sprinkled with powdered sugar, are a sweet indulgence that warms the soul during the chilly winter months. In addition, they go great with some mulled wine!

Croatian local dessert “fritule”

Croatian local dessert “fritule”

Apart from “fritule”, try kroštule! It’s a delightful dessert especially popular in Istria, a traditional treat enjoyed during festive occasions and celebrations. These deep-fried pastries are known for their thin, crispy texture and intricate, ribbon-like shapes. The distinctive shape is achieved by tying a knot in the middle of each strip before deep-frying, resulting in golden-brown pastries with a delightful crunch. After frying, kroštule are often dusted with powdered sugar, adding a sweet finish to their crispy exterior.


Don’t miss out on trying “Maneštra,” a traditional Istrian stew. Maneštra is a hearty soup or stew typically made with various vegetables, legumes and sometimes meat. The exact ingredients can vary, but common components include beans, potatoes, corn and a variety of seasonal vegetables. In some versions, pork or bacon might be added for flavor.

Its hearty warmth and rich flavours make it a perfect winter dish to savour!

Croatian Wines: A Constant Delight

While exploring the Adriatic Coast, make sure to complement your winter feasts with the finest Croatian wines. The Istria region boasts a diverse array of local varieties that perfectly pair with the winter delicacies. Notable varieties include Malvazija Istarska, a crisp white with citrus notes, which is one of the most famous and widely planted grape varieties in Istria. Furthermore, there’s Teran, a robust red with dark berry flavors and Muscat varieties contributing to fragrant and  floral white wines.

Robust red wine

Robust red wine

Dalmatia, a stunning coastal region in Croatia, boasts a rich winemaking tradition and is home to several noteworthy grape varieties. One of the most iconic is Plavac Mali, a red grape that thrives in the sun-soaked vineyards, producing robust and full-bodied wines with flavors of dark berries and a hint of Mediterranean herbs. Pošip is a notable white grape, cultivated primarily on the island of Korčula, yielding crisp and aromatic wines often with notes of citrus and tropical fruits. Babić, another red grape indigenous to Dalmatia, results in bold and spicy wines, showcasing the region’s unique terroir. Dalmatia’s winemaking heritage, coupled with its distinctive grape varieties, continues to draw wine enthusiasts seeking the flavors of the Adriatic coast.

From robust reds to crisp whites, Croatian wines are a constant delight that elevates every dining experience!

Festive Atmosphere: Christmas Markets and New Year’s Celebrations

Christmas market in Dubrovnik

Christmas market in Dubrovnik

Immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere and explore Christmas markets along charming coastal towns. Unlock a world of holiday magic, complete with enchanting decorations, live music and the sweet aroma of mulled wine. Wander through the charming Christmas markets that adorn the Adriatic coast. From handmade crafts to festive treats, these markets are a treasure trove of unique gifts and seasonal delights. For example, check out the festivities happening in Poreč – along with the arrival of Santa Claus, the Princess Ball, The Nutcracker, various concerts and a spectacular celebration on the New Year’s Eve

Experience the New Year like a local by participating in traditional Croatian celebrations. Join the lively street parties, where music and laughter fill the air as the clock strikes midnight. If in Poreč, you’ll enjoy a concert by Petar Grašo on Trg Slobode Square until the early hours of the first day of 2024. In addition, Dubrovnik is set to host a dazzling New Year’s Eve celebration, promising a night of festivities and joy. The jubilee 10th Dubrovnik Winter Festival will culminate in a spectacular event featuring a performance by the musical legend Zdravko Čolić and more than 20 concerts at various locations throughout the city. Also, check out the island of Rab and Makarska with all sorts of activities. 

In short, the winter events along the coast will be nothing short of wonderful, with an array of concerts and exciting winter events and gastro offer. Welcome the New Year with a breathtaking view of fireworks illuminating the night sky over the Adriatic Sea. It’s a spectacle that marks the beginning of a new year in grand style!

Valamar New Year’s Eve Offers

fireworks in Dubrovnik

fireworks in Dubrovnik

Make your New Year’s Eve unforgettable with Valamar’s exclusive offers. Choose from a variety of packages that include gourmet dinners, live entertainment and access to vibrant celebrations. Whether you prefer an intimate evening or a lively party by the sea, Valamar has the perfect option to suit your style.

This winter, let the Adriatic Coast of Croatia and the Croatian winter gastro offer enchant you with its culinary wonders, festive ambiance and unforgettable celebrations. Book your holiday with Valamar and embark on a journey of flavours and traditions that will create lasting memories with your loved ones. Embrace the magic of the season and savour every moment along the picturesque Adriatic coastline!