Varaždin City in an unexpected and undervalued gem, often overlooked by tourists. With interesting museums, well-preserved Baroque architecture and an unspoiled atmosphere, the city is well worth visiting. Sip coffee in its many cafés, admire elegant centuries-old façades and stroll through meticulous gardens and parks.
The city was once Croatia's capital. During its time as the political and administrative center from 1756 to 1776, the city experienced a lavish building boom. Walk along streets in Stari Grad (Old Town) to see examples of elegant period architecture.
Start in the central King Tomislav Square, Trg Kralja Tomislava. From here, the pedestrianized city core spreads outward. Wander surrounding lanes to find numerous interesting religious structures, including the elaborate Cathedral of the Assumption and the Franciscan Church and Monastery of St. John the Baptist. Touch the toe of a bronze statue of a bishop for good luck. As you walk, look for impressive Baroque palaces lining the streets, including the exuberant Patačić Palace.
While the architecture reveals much about the wealth and past glory of Varaždin during its stint as capital, the city's museums provide additional insight into its past. Stop at the Town Museum to browse the displays of furniture, paintings and other miscellaneous objects, before strolling through the manicured on-site park.
Find many artworks at the Gallery of Old & Modern Masters in the Sermage Palace and the Hlebine Gallery. For a quirkier museum experience, stop at the World of Insects, where you can inspect more than 1,000 insect species.
Outdoor spaces are plentiful. Amble along the peaceful Drava River Waterfront or meander through the pleasant Varaždin Cemetery, which is adorned with trees and topiary. Visit the city during the Varaždin Baroque Evenings. Taking place during September, these events shine the spotlight on Baroque music, with concerts in theaters and churches throughout the city.
Varaždin is located about 55 miles (90 kilometers) northeast of Zagreb. Use train or bus services from Zagreb to reach the city. Explore the city’s extensive pedestrianized area on foot or by bike.