The 16th century town of Karlovac was built in the shape of a six-point star as protection from the Ottomans in the 16th century. Four rivers meet at the center of this picturesque, park-filled town, making it one of the must see towns in Croatia. This Renaissance town is known for being a city of many streets, beautiful parks and, of course, its famous rivers. Whenever visitors travel through Croatia, they usually pass through Karlovac, making this town one of many people’s favorite destinations in the country.
A recreational heaven, this “city of rivers” presents a wide variety of options including swimming on the Korana, rowing on the Kupa, or walking along the old moats where parks form a ring around the star shaped town. There’s a bit of something for everyone; sports and beer pubs are some of the other popular activities to enjoy while visiting this central Croatian town. There is a 2.5-kilometer promenade lined with colorful gardens, including over 800 planted trees. The rivers boast recreational facilities and public beaches, as well as walking and biking trails. There is also a freshwater aquarium to explore.
The traditional Fogin’s Bath on the River Korana in the town center dates back to the 1930s. That’s recent history, of course, compared to Karlovac’s origins – the town’s earliest settlers date back to 3500 BC. A beautiful Renaissance-period castle and church watch over the city.
Karlovac has the loveliest castle I’ve seen so far; it is currently under construction, but visitors are still welcome. The Dubrovac castle is one of the most well-preserved monuments in Croatia. There are legends of a tunnel under the castle which leads to the Kupa river basin and the center of the town. Today, the castle houses a restaurant café and a museum.
International Ethnic Jazz Festival at the University of Applied Arts
Karlovac Birthday Ball on the main square – July 13th
Karlovac Beer Days, celebrate with the largest beer maker in Croatia, Karlovačko beer at the Korana Sports and Recreation Center – late August.
Cross Country Race in Dubovac Old Town – late August
Autumn and Winter Events
Winter Futsal Tournament
Weekend festivals along the Grand Promenade including a Nobility Fair and Midsummer’s Night Bonfire on June 23.
Take a river boat tour with the Zora on the Kupa River, available every weekend around 3pm.
Where to Stay
The largest river is the Kupa River, which comes from a spring 30 km away from the Adriatic Sea. The Kupa flows from the coast inland in Croatia. The River Mrežnica, which is the greenest of the water, flows into the Korana, whose derivative streams feed the Plitvice lakes. The Dobra River, which we followed from Ogulin, has both underground and above ground branches. The Park Hotel along the Korana River was built to serve as a health spa so visitors can share in its healing waters. The original sites have been preserved at both the Park Hotel and the Korana Srakovcic Hotel. We stayed at the Korana Srakovcic Hotel and enjoyed several meals there; the food was fantastic!
Plan to spend a few days in Karlovac; two in the city, and at least one on the outskirts of town, where you can go rafting and hiking. In spring and autumn, you can also forage for mushrooms or pick at an established farm. There is an overnight stay at Srce Prirode Farm, where you can enjoy an historical cottage.
In the summer, the beaches are famous. The river water is bright blue and great for swimming.
Walking around the city doesn’t take long, so I wouldn’t recommend more than two nights in the city unless you’re there for an event.
Try some of the local wine, or local breweries
Korana Hotel offers a variety of daily excursions including a wine tour, horseback riding, adventure options and visiting other nearby cities.
The city has some lovely buildings and is under construction which means it’s going to be super amazing soon. Here are some examples of the tidy buildings.