About Northern & Eastern 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.
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 ...