Croatia Self Drive 03 - Off the Beaten Track

Zagreb - Varazdin - Osijek - [Belgrade] - Zagreb

About Croatia Self Drive 03 - Off the Beaten Track


A Fly Drive itinerary taking in many lesser-visited locations in the north and east starting in the capital, Zagreb. Includes national parks, historic towns and much more - extend stay in Serbia.

Activity code: CRFD03

Duration: 10 Days


This recommended fly drive holiday offers a largely "Off the Beaten Track" tour of Croatia. Starting in the capital, Zagreb, it includes national parks, historic towns, castles and much more. The itinerary is designed as a circuit and concentrates accommodation in just three locations as many places of interest are within easy reach so it also gives you plenty of time to relax and enjoy the countryside.

Do not overlook the "continental" region of Croatia, there is some incredible scenery and many historical sites in the area bounded by Zagreb and the borders of Hungary, Bosnia & Herzegovin and Serbia. Depending upon your flight schedule you can start or finish in Zagreb, a city with excellent public transport and many fabulous buidlings and cultural sights. It is also possible to make a day trip to the World-famous Plitvice Lakes National Park before heading on to places which are much less-visited than the capital.

In the north the city of Varazdin is one of the oldest in Croatia; in fact it is an older city than Zagreb. 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. Today, 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.

To the east is Osijek, 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.

At this point you may wish to consider extending your itinerary with a few days in Serbia or returning to Zagreb along the highway or perhaps heading south into Bosnia and Herzegovina on a route that takes you through Sarajevo and Mostar down to Dubrovnik.

Why Book with Rediscover the World ?

We are able to tailor-make this holiday to suit your requirements for any or all of the following - departure airport, budget, hotel type/size, overall duration, pre-booked activities, etc.

Accommodation: the hotels in this itinerary are generally small, independent or family-run, properties which add significantly to your travel experience in these fascinating countries (in the list below we have included our main recommendations together with suggestions for "boutique" hotels and deluxe options, please do not hesitate to request alternative hotels).

Transport: to take the stress out of arriving and departing we offer a private airport transfer service; we can deliver and collect your hire car from your hotel at no extra cost. All our vehicles have a/c and come with a full tank of fuel, we provide driving directions and parking information for all accommodation. The new highways linking Zagreb, Split and Belgrade will cut down journey times when you wish to get from A to B quickly but this also means that the other roads will be quieter and a pleasant alternative for sightseeing and travelling at a gentler pace. (NB. tolls apply on the highways).

Extra Information: all our holidays have a recommended route with suggestions for sightseeing and we include the most up-to-date ferry schedules and tariffs; we are also able to book activities and specialist sightseeing - such as cycling, sea kayaking, wine-tasting, etc.

What's included in your Fly-Drive holiday?

  • Private round trip airport transfers.
  • 9 nts on BB at a choice of small hotels.
  • 7 days fully-inclusive one-way car hire
  • Fully detailed itinerary with ferry schedules, driving directions and sighteeing ideas
  • All taxes, full 24hr representative services.

NB: Flights available to book through us with a range of airlines, from various UK airports.

Our recommended hotel choices for this holiday:

  • Zagreb: - Hotel Villa Tina, Hotel Palace, Esplanade Hotel
  • Varazdin: - Hotel Istra, Hotel Trakoscan
  • Osijek - Hotel Waldinger
  • Belgrade - Belgrade Art Hotel, Theatre Hotel, Townhouse 27

Click on the location to view our whole selection.

Contact us now to book this recommended Holiday for any date.


  • Day 1 & 2: Arrival in Zagreb

    Arrive into Zagreb; private transfer to your hotel. Balance of day sightseeing in Zagreb using public transport.

    • Overnight in Zagreb.

    Free day to explore Zagreb's historic sites, museums and much more.

  • Day 3: Zagreb - Varazdin

    Deliver hire car to your hotel and drive short distance north to Varazdin, suggested detours include the traditional rural area around Krapina, castle of Veliki Tabor, etc.

    • Overnight in Varazdin.

  • Day 4 & 5: Varazdin

    Sightseeing in Varazdin and local area, e.g. Trakoscan, Cakovec, Lepoglava, Belec.

    • Overnight in Varazdin.

  • Day 6: Varazdin - Osijek

    Drive east along the border with Hungary to Osijek.

    • Overnight in Osijek.

  • Day 7 to 9: Osijek

    Sightseeing in Osijek and local area such as Vinkovci, Vukovar, Dakova and Ilok. Also, we suggest time to visit the National Parks of Kopaci Rit and Papuk.

    Time also to consider a day trip or an extension of your holiday to Belgrade or Novi Sad for some sightseeing in Serbia.

    • Overnight in Osijek.

  • Day 10: Osijek - Zagreb

    Drive west on main highway towards Zagreb. Depending upon your flight times you may wish to stay an extra night in the capital or head straight to the airport.

    ** possible extension of this itinerary by driving through northern Bosnia & Herzegovina to Plitvice National Park, prior to returing to Zagreb.

  • Prices and Departure Dates

    Prices shown are 'per person' in UK Pounds and are based on a travelling party of at least 2 adults. A single supplement needs to be added to the twin/double price if single rooms are required.

    Prices are indicative and will vary depending on your chosen accommodation, room availability as well as time of travel. Please take this into consideration when comparing prices; we always aim to match a high quality experience with exceptional value for money.

    NB: Flights available to book through us with a range of airlines, from various UK airports.


"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


Independent Holidays for all budgets since 1998