About Northern Croatia
Northern Croatia is "a landscape of dreams"; such beautiful scenery only a little off the main tourist routes and just a short distance from the sea. Encounter exquisite nature parks, crystal clear streams becoming stunning rivers, mysterious mountains and the offer of complete rejuvenination of physical and mental health.
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 still based on 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 route junctions in Croatia. The reason for this is primarily 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. Karlovac is visited by a large number of tourists each year. They are drawn by four clean rivers and their tributaries, possibilities for diverse forms of recreation, including fishing, cultural and historical monuments, as well as a large number of places attractive to tourists in the surrounding area.
The city of Varaždin is the capital city of the 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 greatest 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 disastrous fire (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 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. The 19th Century Osijek is tree-lined and its avenues are home to many cafes and shops.
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 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 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, July, 2017