Once a city known for trade and manufacturing this Baroque city has much to offer. Activities are year-round. River stone and slate paved streets lead to an old castle and beautiful buildings can be found around each corner. Many delicious restaurants and cafes can be found throughout the town.
Varaždin is a city of fifty thousand people in the northeast of Croatia, known for baroque architecture, music and its once thriving textile industry. History and lovely streets are a couple of the notable aspects of this charming city. I was surprised by the fantastic shopping, there are many jewelry and handbag shops as well as lots of thrift and vintage clothing stores. My favorite stores were Mala Lu, Suveniri Pokoni and Varteks. We saw many women in town with the cutest basket purses and market bags from Suveniri Pokoni. The owner told me that an eighty-year-old woman makes the baskets and her mother decorates them then sells them at their souvenir shop located at Prolaz Marijana Zubera 8.
Once the capital of Croatia and the Yugoslavian capital of textiles, Varaždin is a delightful Baroque city with history as far back as 1181. Hungarian King Andrew II declared the city free in 1209. The Reformation and counter reformation influenced the city and the Jesuits built in the baroque style. The fire of 1776 destroyed most of the town which resulted in Croatian administration moving the capital to Zagreb.
We ate the tasting menu at Bedem which was amazing. The price was fantastic, only about 40.00 Euro per person for five large courses and two desserts. They started with an amazing octopus salad which was served with salmon, then next a perfect pumpkin soup topped with pumpkin seed oil, next a wild mushroom ravioli with a savory meat gravy which was amazing. There were two main courses, one pistachio crusted boar and delicious mashed potatoes, the second was two pieces of a rack of lamb served with mushroom barley risotto and wow was that incredible. Dessert was chocolate mouse and basil ice cream. We were properly full and satisfied by this great value.
After our dinner we enjoyed listening to the Baroque concert , read more on link: https://www.sightingsarah.com/post/varazdin-baroque-festival/
Bike rentals are available in town, both bicycles and electric bikes for hire and there are trails throughout for exploring. Just outside of the center and only about ten minutes of riding is a park with trails along the Drava river. There is also a small lake to walk around, but it’s not dog friendly so if traveling with a pup stay along the Drava instead.
Varaždin is most commonly visited in the summer, but should be considered during autumn winter and spring too. The autumn has beautiful colors along the river and delicious chestnuts. The Baroque music and floral events are lovely. In the winter a conservation group leads a rafting trip down the Drava river in the month of January. The city also hosts a lovely Advent for Christmas and a New Year’s runners’ race in December. In March there is a Laughter week which has gone on for the past ten years; there are thirty shows and the group collaborates with the Croatian Cartoonist Association. Food events include the Days of Taste of Varaždin Region for a food tour, or the Vegefest for an organic vegetarian festival. Options for outside physical events are a Bike Tour and the International “Drava Forester” Disc Golf Tournament. About a hundred-disc golf players will gather with their fans in the forest near the Drava river during the first weekend in November.
This is a fun city to explore and a great place for all year activities. The prices are reasonable, there are plenty of lovely apartment rentals and a couple hotels to stay while visiting.
Tips for your trip:
Plan your trip around one of their fantastic events by checking the event page on https://www.tourism-varazdin.hr/en/events/
Plan at least a few hours for shopping because there is plenty of cool stuff to find in the historic center.
Dogs are allowed around the castle grounds, but not inside the museum so plan to leave the pup in your room while exploring inside, or take turns.
Look out for random angels on the walls and windows of buildings and visit the angel museum