Winter Wonderland in Croatia – Salaj’s Family Christmas Fairy Tale
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Close your eyes and think about Christmas. Do you see a Christmas tree, family and friends gathering, good food and Christmas lights blinking everywhere? If so, you would love Salaj’s Family Christmas Fairy Tale!
Every year in December, small village Grabovnica in Croatia becomes one of the most visited destinations in Croatia. Back in December 2002, family Salaj started to decorate their estate with Christmas lights. Even though we are talking about several thousands of lights, comparing with today, the number was quite modest. Couple of years back, they broke the magical number of one million Christmas lights and this year there is already 1,85 million of them! Can you imagine your yard being decorated with almost 2 millions of lights? You just did? Now open your eyes and walk into the real Christmas fairy tale.
Located only one hour drive from capital Zagreb, Christmas Fairy Tale in Grabovnica is an ideal place for a short visit. In past 13 years, it has grown from zero to 70 000 visitors (and, trust me, for a small village in a continental part of Croatia that number is huge!). It takes around three months to put all the decorations and they decorate everything – trees, plants, paths, lakes. You can walk around, enjoy different shapes and decorations, buy some souvenirs and enjoy some food and mulled wine. This year there is a special surprise – a whole new part called Smurf city! Yes, they made Smurfs and their village out of Christmas lights!
This was my third visit to the estate. The first time was maybe 6-7 years ago when a number of lights was significantly lower. Two years ago I came with my parents and Frida (they allow well-behaved dog visitors) and I sent a couple of photos to Jaime as well. He loved how it looks, but I knew the photos cannot evoke the same feelings. We must visit the place the first time we would be in Croatia for holidays. The first time is a charm! As soon they opened I started to check the weather forecast. I was hoping for snow because I believed it would be amazing for him to visit when it would be all white and wonderful. Unfortunately, there was no sign of snow anytime soon, so one evening we just sat in the car and drove ourselves there.
From the far, we saw sky has different color over the estate. I told him “Imagine how does it look if you can see there are lights from this far!”. The moment he saw it, he shouted “No mames!” (in this case, it would be something between OMG and no shit in English). He had no idea it was that big! It was magnificent! We bought the tickets (30 kn each ~ approx. 3,9€) and entered the fairy tale. There are no proper words to describe it. We were walking down the paths, surrounded by thousands of lights. Different colors, different shapes, some of them even play music. Decoration varies from “only” decorated trees to Gargamel and Azriel lurking over the fence to the Smurfs. It is a truly magical place.
There is no better introduction into holidays than feeling a real Christmas spirit in a place like this! If you find yourself in Croatia during December or first days of January, you should definitely add this place to your list of winter activities for couples.
Check out the gallery bellow.
Did you ever visit a place like this?
Merry Christmas everyone!
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