What to see and do in Varazdin and around | A guide to the Varazdin area

What to see and do in Varazdin and around | A guide to the Varazdin area

Are you planning on visiting the North of Croatia? Read more about what to see and do in Varazdin and around. A guide to the Varazdin area.

When people think about Croatia, they usually associate it with beaches, islands, and crystal sea water.

Most travellers and visitors will probably choose to spend their vacation on the Croatian coast. But luckily for us, we had a chance to explore some other parts of the country and see a bit different side of Croatia.

We discovered beautiful green nature, ancient history, classic European towns, and warm hospitality from the local people.

Besides all the above, the Varazdin area was also very budget-friendly (compare to the expensive coast), and we indulged ourselves without any concern for our wallets. So if you consider exploring Varaždin here are some of our recommendations:

What to see and do in Varazdin and around:

City of Varazdin – What to see and do in Varazdin and around

The city of baroque, music, and flowers. It is one of the most charming cities in North Croatia, proving that the country is not only about the coastline and islands. The romantic streets of Varazdin will take you back in time and you will enjoy the remarkable architecture and rich cultural heritage that this city has to offer.

What to see and do in Varazdin and around
We enjoyed exploring the historical center of Varazdin.

The main attraction of the city is its historic center. Its mainly characterized by baroque architecture, and while strolling around you will see old villas, forts, churches, cathedrals, and monuments. We recommend you to sit down in one of the cafés for a refreshing drink and absorb the atmosphere.

Ivanec and Ivanščica – What to see and do in Varazdin and around

Ivanec is a little cute town covered by green nature, mountains, and hills. We especially liked the part along the water stream where are well-preserved old wooden mills, old school farmhouses, and small vineyards.

What to see and do in Varazdin and around
We fell in love with this beautiful water mill.

Ivanscica, which is the mountain above Ivanec, offers many hiking trails, and it’s recommended to get to the top where you have a stunning panoramic view of the whole area. It’s possible also to get there by car but be warned that most of the path is a rocky dirt road which can be a bit scratchy. At the peak, there’s also a mountain lodge that offers drinks and food.

Beautiful views from the top of Ivanscica.

Opeka Arboretum

An estate founded in 1860, surrounded by a huge green park. The arboretum was founded by Count Marko Bombelles, who traveled all over the world and brought back various exotic seeds and plants from his travels, expanding his garden and park all the time.

The mansion inside the park is quite in bad shape, but the park around is full of exotic trees and plants from all over the world to observe. The place is not very popular, and while we were there we almost saw no people (on a sunny Sunday), which makes it a  great option for a relaxed picnic or a  peaceful walk.

What to see and do in Varazdin and around
We enjoyed the Arboretum Opeka very much.

Lepoglava – What to see and do in Varazdin and around

In a beautiful landscape, along the Ivanščica mountain and the Bednja river. This city offers a unique experience of culture, art, traditional handicrafts, and scenery.  It’s mainly known for its ”Lepoglava Lace” and lacemaking tradition. And through the city, you can see and purchase some of the handmade art the locals are famous for.

Lace culture is huge in Lepoglava.

The place is also known for its rich history, where the first gymnasium and university were founded in Croatia.  Not far from the center of Lepoglava, there is the geological nature monument Gaveznica-Kameni, a finding site of stone agate, and the only preserved fossil volcano in Croatia.

Trakoscan Castle – What to see and do in Varazdin and around

Trakoscan was built in the late 13th century as part of the defense fortification network of northwestern Croatia. It was a small fortress serving as an observation post overlooking the road from Ptuj towards the Bednja valley.

The view of the beautiful Trakoscan castle.

Today Trakoscan castle is a cultural property. A protected historic building, consisted of the castle, buildings next to the castle, a park, and a forest park with the lake. It is a great place to visit. An incredibly picturesque exterior, a nice walk around the lake, and a beautiful 19th-century interior inside the castle just add to the already beautiful experience.

Varaždinske Toplice – What to see and do in Varazdin and around

This compound is the oldest spa resort in Croatia it is dated back to the Roman empire era. In the center of the Varždin spa located the preserved archeological site of the Roman thermal baths.

What to see and do in Varazdin and around
The oldest spa in Croatia was in use by the Romans already.

All of this is due to the natural springs healing the thermal waters of the place. We stayed for a weekend in the main hotel ( Minerva ) of the complex and enjoyed the pools, massages, relaxation, and good food. Visitors who don’t stay in the hotel can enter the pools for an entrance fee of 10 euros for the whole day. Around the area, there are a few bars/cafes to choose from.

Varazdin spa is very popular among the locals and also tourists.

Undiscovered gem

With only one hour’s drive North of Zagreb, the Varazdin area may just be the most underrated place in Croatia. Known for its rich history, beautiful nature, youthful energy, and really friendly locals. For sure a place to visit.

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