About Northern Croatia
Northern Croatia is "a landscape of dreams"; a truly picturesque area with natural wonders in abundance, yet it isn't far from the main tourist routes and is only a short distance from the sea.
Visit the cities of Karlovac, Ozalj, Ribnik, Osijek and Varazdin on one of our Tailor Made Holidays, Fly Drives and Tours in Croatia for Independent Travellers.
Today’s city of Karlovac developed from a mediaeval fortress built for defence from Turkish incursions into Central Europe. The central part of the old town is built on top of the fortress remnants, shaped as a six-pointed star, once surrounded by strong walls and deep moats. From its inception, Karlovac has been one of the biggest junctions in Croatia due to its exceptionally favourable geographical position in the western part of Croatia, as well as the confluence of river valleys of Kupa, Korana, Mrežnica and Dobra.
The city of Varaždin is the capital city of Varaždin County, one of the oldest in Croatia; in fact it is an older city than Zagreb. Varazdin dates from 1205 but its Baroque architecture and castle (a bastion against the Turkish in the 16th century) are of great interest to the visitor. It is situated in a very important geographical territory, referred to as the "NW gate of Croatia" (aka "Little Vienna") with a rich natural legacy including many parks, located on the southern bank of the River Drava.
In the 18th century Varazdin became Croatia's capital for a time but a fire in 1776 ended this period of glory and the government returned to Zagreb (the story of the fire has its own legend, much the same way as that of the Great Fire of London). Any walking tour (as the centre is delightfully traffic-free) of this beautiful town should start at Tomislav Square which is full of outdoor cafes and Baroque churches and a perfect place to admire the Town Hall which dates from 1523. The town is definitely an easy-going kind of place, thanks to its large student population and makes a good day trip from Zagreb or a relaxing place to stay in its own right.
The capital of Slavonia and the largest city east of Zagreb, facing Serbia. The city itself is split in two - Gornji Grad (upper town) and Donji Grad (lower town). Always a border settlement, it came under heavy bombardment in the Wars of Independence in the 1990s and sections are still being restored to this day. The fortified centre is called "Tvrda" and what is left of the fortifications encircle some delightful Baroque buildings. 19th century Osijek is tree-lined and its avenues are home to many cafes and shops.
An Eastern Croatian town rich in history and culture. The town of Đakovo has an old centre filled with cultural and historical sights and monuments, such as the Cathedral. The world famous Đakovo’s stud farm of Lippizaner was founded by bishops from Đakovo in the 14th century. Today the farm has over 220 horses, mostly thoroughbred Lippizaner horses bred for horse competitions, but also suitable for training and horseback riding.
The scent of nature, the traditional Slavonian and Hungarian food and the famous nature park “Kopački rit” will make you fall in love with the secrets of this Eastern pearl.
The easternmost town of Croatia beside the river Danube boasts a long and rich list of cultural sights and attractions. Wine-growing is the most famous feature of this city and the Ilok cellars, on the famous wine route, will amaze you with its diverse premium wines.
It is here that you find the Vučedol culture museum and the Baroque castle Eltz Manor which houses the Museum of Vukovar. Why not take a tour along the Danube on the panoramic waterbus to see for yourself. Unfortunately, Vukovar’s history is forever marked by the catastrophic events of the Croatian War of Independence. The Memorial cemetery of the victims of Homeland War and mass grave in Ovčara serve as a memory of all the victims and their sacrifices.
Where to stay
The Hotel Korana, the most beautiful in Karlovac was built way back in 1908 on the banks of river Korana, in the heart of the most beautiful park in Croatia; one of the symbols depicted on numerous postcards ...
The Trakoscan Hotel is located 40kms west of Varazdin on the border with Slovenia and surrounded by a forest and three mountains. The hotel is also in the grounds of Trakoscan, once a residential castle ...
The Hotel Waldinger is located in the very centre of the city, just 100 m from the main city square and the famous Osijek Promenade by the Drava River. The century-old Art Nouveau building of Hotel Waldinger ...
The hotel "Istra", originally built in 1911 has been rediscovered. A prestigious location in the very centre of the town surrounded by the baroque palaces.
The Varazdin Hotel has a great location near the railway station and the twon centre with its ancient fort is just a short walk (15 mins) away. Designed to blend in with the local Baroque architecture ...
"The holiday was very enjoyable indeed. A few specific comments: 1. The pre-holiday administration and paperwork were very well organized. 2. Our driver, Alen, was excellent, and very friendly and helpful, though we were surprised that he had not previously been briefed on the suggested itineraries that you had sent us. 3. The locations for overnight stays were well-chosen with the exception of Slavonski Brod, which was not worth visiting. 4. Hotel Regent Esplanade (Zagreb) and Hotel Waldinger (Osijek) were lovely. The facilities of Hotel Prezident (Novi Sad) were good but its location was inconvenient as it was far from the city centre. The setting of Hotel Trakoscan was superb, but the place resembled a large motel. Hotel Savus (Slavonski Brod) was disappointing."
J Cornthwaite, UK, July, 2017