Central Croatia

Rural Quiet and Relaxation

Continental Croatia is an oasis of tranquility, with gentle hills home to age-old forests, vineyards and the Sava, Drava and Mura rivers sheltering the local towns from the summer heat.

A mere stone’s throw to the north and northeast of capital Zagreb, the region is dotted with romantic medieval towns such as Koprivnica or Varaždin, countryside manors such as Trakošćan Castle and thermal spas perfect for restoring your energies, leaving you revitalised and full of life.

Antun Cerovečki

Where the colour of romance is green

Where to go

Trails of Court Fairies

A long time ago, members of the upper class, prominent gentlemen and the nobility, seeking to satisfy their aesthetic cravings and earthly comforts, took great care to select the right locations for their castles and manor houses. They then surrounded them with gardens, pleasure parks and copses. The fairies will take you through picturesque hills and colourful fields to Novi Dvori and the Lužnice castle in Zaprešić, the imposing Veliki Tabor, near Desinić, the romantic Trakošćan, the proud Zrinski castle in Čakovec, the castle with two towers in Gornja Rijeka and numerous other castles dotted on the hills of this area, which were once the hub of life, work, and cultural and political activities. Step into the past by visiting precious examples of rural architecture in Kumrovec, get to know the world of our primeval ancestors in the Krapina Neanderthal Museum, located right by the archaeological site in Krapina, or enjoy naive art in Hlebine – the cradle of this form of art. Let the court fairies tell you the history and take you for a romantic journey to the long-gone days of the splendour and glory of the nobility.

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Kalnik

Kalnik is situated at the borderline between Zagorje, Prigorje and Podravina, some 80 km from Zagreb. Here visitors are welcomed by picturesque forest life, an educational trail and the remains of two old fortresses.

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Lonjsko polje

The abundant waters brought by the River Sava down from the Alps and the Dinaric Mountains flood the meadows and forests of the Lonjsko Polje, creating excellent conditions for birds and for the spawning of fish.

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Medvednica

This forest-covered mountain rising above Zagreb offers kilometres of hiking trails and the Sljeme skiing centre. Among its attractions are its caves: the most interesting being Veternica, with its passes, waterfalls and karstic features.

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Daruvar – A Wellness oasis

In addition to the famous Daruvar spa, the town has managed to maintain its image as a green town. It is decorated by flower filled parks and centuries old trees, and has inherited and preserved its values and beauty.

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Ecomuseum Mura

The ecomuseum Mura offers an exceptional mosaic of biodiversity under UNESCO protection, and natural and cultural diversity, traditional knowledge preserved by the hospitable locals.

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Krapina Neanderthal Museum

The unique Krapina Neanderthal Museum opened in 2010 and is located near one of Europe’s most important paleontological sites. The museum features exhibitions about the Neanderthals and about the history of the Earth, from its origins to modern times.

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Ludbreg – Centre of the World

It is true that many of the world's cities sit on concentric circles where the centre is precisely in Ludbreg.

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Marija Bistrica

Marija Bistrica is the largest Marian shrine in Croatia, located in the Croatian Zagorje only 30 kilometres from Zagreb.

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Međimurje

Called the Garden of Croatia, its green hills and lowlands are intersected by the blue of smaller lakes and two large artificial lakes.

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Samobor - A paradise for gourmets

Besides the carnival, Samobor is known among gourmets for its custard pastry (kremšnita), a sweet cake made of cream foam.

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Sisak Fortress

This well-preserved medieval fortress is an interesting memorial to turbulent times, and is also attractive due to its appearance and location on the banks of the Kupa and Sava rivers, surrounded by wide meadows.

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The old Roman town of Andautonia

The old Roman town of Andautonia was located in the present village of Ščitarjevo between Zagreb and Velika Gorica, formerly a commercial, economic and cultural center on the Roman national road...

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The Old Village Museum in Kumrovec

This interesting open-air museum contains well-preserved village homes dating to the turn of the twentieth century and features exhibits on the traditional way of life in the River Sutla area at the time, including themes such as Zagorje weddings, hemp, cloth, pottery and bread.

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Trakošćan Castle

Trakošćan Castle is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful castles in Croatia, and certainly the most romantic.

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Varaždin

Varaždin is the centre and the headquarters of the County of Varaždin. It is a city museum, a city of exhibitions, fashion, pupils and students, a city of modern life. 

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Veliki Tabor

It is located in the municipality Desinić in the Croatian Zagorje. There is a famous legend linked to Veliki Tabor about Veronika Desinićka and Fridrih Celjski, whose love story ended tragically.

Bojan Haron Markičević

The Trails of Subterranean Secrets

 

Some secrets wait millions of years to be discovered. They were left deep in the rocks by creatures that lived in primeval times, when this part of the world was an ocean. Ivanić Grad has revealed its secret to the world. If you take a walk along the Trail of Subterranean Secrets, you will have the unusual experience of a life that ended a very long time ago. By meeting the local country people, who are the survivors of a now almost forgotten, modest way of life, amid relaxing nature where pastures and hills alternate, where time is reckoned by the sun, and where numerous fish ponds and hunting grounds beckon one to come and enjoy all of it in good company, you will discover the natural side of your being. A barbecue by a fish pond is quite something else compared to the nearby and familiar urban centres like Bjelovar, Đurđevac, Virovitica, Garešnica, Kutina or Novska. Downstream from Sisak, the river Sava irrigates the woods and wetlands of the wondrous Lonjsko polje (Lonja Field), thus creating a splendid cradle for fish and many rare species of birds. Nestling among the beautiful mountains is an agricultural area offering food to remember; the places where local dishes can be savoured are Vrbovec, Bjelovar, Đurđevac and Veliki Zdenci. In Daruvar and Lipik they cannot recall a time when in their midst bodies and souls could not be refreshed by superb wines and thermal waters.

Damir Bakarić

Have you always longed for a holiday away from the summer heat and the vibrant atmosphere of the Mediterranean in an idyllic, green and hilly environment with ancient woodlands, vineyards and rivers?

Do you favour the tranquil and soothing atmosphere of the mainland, leading from romantic medieval towns, summer homes and manors to thermal springs, health spas and places of pilgrimage? Set out to the north of Zagreb and enjoy the blessings offered by Central Croatia.
Ivo Biočina

Enjoy idyllic moments in the towns of Central Croatia

Begin with the area known as Hrvatsko zagorje, a wonderful undulating landscape crisscrossed by hills and rivers and within it the town of Krapina, the famous archaeological site of Homo Krapiniensis. Located in an area that has always been known for its thermal springs, spas like Tuhelj Spa (Tuheljske toplice) and Stubica Spa (Stubičke toplice), Krapina was made famous by Prof. Dragutin Gorjanović-Kramberger in 1899 when he discovered the remains of a diluvial man in the area of the Hušnjakovo hill, known by scientists as Homo sapiens neanderthalensis. In Hrvatsko zagorje, which boasts the largest concentration of castles and manor houses after the valley of the River Loire in France, discover picturesque towns and beautiful Baroque castles.

Reci Da d.o.o. Čakovec
While feasting your eyes, do not forget to feast your palate on the delectable local gastronomy and, of course, the superb wines produced in the area.

Marija Bistrica is your destination if you are interested in religious tourism or seeking spiritual reinvigoration. It is the greatest Marianic sanctuary in Croatia and has been a place of pilgrimage for over 300 years. More than 800,000 of the faithful have visited Marija Bistrica, including Pope John Paul II in 1998.

 

The town of Varaždin, the most Baroque of all towns in Croatia, is a true green place. Its finely maintained parks and its famous monument of garden architecture - the town cemetery, characteristic for its Thujas shaped into screens and arcades modelled on Versailles - offer a wonderful backdrop to the sounds of music for which Varaždin is famous. The city is also known for arts, crafts and trade, as well as for two prominent festivals which take place in September: The Varaždin Baroque Evenings and the Špancirfest, a wonderfully entertaining and varied festival of street strollers.

Zoran Jelača
In addition to its cultural scene and 354 registered cultural monuments, the Varaždin region also boasts the Trakošćan Park-wood, with an enchanting castle that has been turned into a museum, and three geological and palaentological monuments of nature, with three caves bearing testimony to the continuous presence of man in this region for thousands of years.

Located not far from Varaždin is Ludbreg, a eucharistic place of pilgrimage of the Sacred Blood of Christ. It is the only such place of pilgrimage in Croatia and one of only a few in the world that have been recognised by a written document from the Pope approving public veneration of Holy Relics. This occurred following the miraculous appearance of the Sacred Blood of Christ in the chapel of Bethany Castle in 1512. Lepoglava is a small town whose history has been most deeply marked by the Pauline Order, which built the church and a monastery. It is also the origin of the famous lace that earned the Gold Medal at the 1937 World Exhibition in Paris.

Davorin Mance
If you want to try your hand at panning for gold in a river, or enjoy all the benefits offered by the St. Martin Spa, or take a carefree ride along the cycling trails and savour excellent wines, then turn north toward the area where Slovenia, Hungary and Croatia share a border.

Get to know the region of Međimurje and its capital, Čakovec. On the other hand, if you have an artistic nature and enjoy naïve art, tradition, folklore, old arts and crafts, if you are interested in old customs, then head east of Zagreb toward Podravina, particularly in June, when three major ethno-events take place in Koprivnica, Đurđevac and Križevci. Ringed by the River Drava and by the mountain systems of Bilogora and Kalnik, Podravina abounds in fish and game as well as organised cycling trails passing through beautiful landscapes, past Šoderica Lake and the cradle of naive art: Hlebine.

Mineral waters amongst the best in Europe

The majority of the most famous and most renowned Croatian thermal springs and spas, of which by the quality of the mineral water they are listed in the top ten in Europe, are in fact located in Central Croatia. So by the quality of the thermal water the hot springs in the municipality of Topusko take third place, whilst those at Krapinske Toplice take sixth place in Europe.