What’s that? A new name has appeared on our list of Croatia’s summer destinations? How come we never wrote about the coastal town of Varazdin before? Well, it’s simple. It’s not coastal at all. Varazdin is one of the most beautiful continental towns you can travel to in Croatia. And since the country is relatively small and has great highways, cities like big V expect roadtripping tourists from the coast as well.
Varazdin is only 75 kilometres away from Zagreb, meaning that its distance from big coastal cities, like Pula or Zadar, is never more than 400 kilometers. For visitors with an appetite for travel, this distance is easily covered in a morning. A little bit longer if they dine in one of the numerous restaurants on the way or if they decide to pull over to enjoy the great outdoors. So, let’s imagine you decided to rent a car and go to Varazdin. What to do? Here are a few suggestions.
To spancir means to take a walk. Usually in your best outfit, showing everyone how handsome or attractive you are, while enjoying the streets and cafes of spancir place. Spancirfest is all that, but on a major level. During this landmark festival, the streets of Varazdin are busier than ever. From small puppet theater performances on the city street corners, to major operas held in fancy theatres, Spancirfest has something for everybody.
Varazdin’s Historic Core
Similar to Dubrovnik, Varazdin is a city-monument of its own. It is known as the “City of Towers” among Croats, due to the numerous and beautiful stone giants that guard the city from above, such as the cathedral. Nobody is immune to the genuine architectural beauty of the town’s historical core, as it includes Baroque, Rococo, classicist and Secessionist houses and villas and one of the oldest city halls in Europe. Numerous palaces, such as the Theresian -style Erdödy Palace or the kitschy, Rococo Patacic Palace, are also sights to see. If nothing else, why not have a sip of coffee at Varazdin’s Ritz House? Don’t worry, it’s not that kind of Ritz. It’s a perfectly polite, charming inn where the city crème sits. So yes, it’s a spanzir place. In addition, the city is known for its historical courtyards, filled with charm and history, as well as the witty anecdotes you will learn if you visit.
If you are into museums, you have to visit Varazdin’s. The city’s museum quarter is actually a complex of old villas, each hosting a specific exhibition. In the Old Town Fortress, you will find the History and Culture Department, known for its ten rooms furnished in different styles (from Renaissance to art deco). Lovers of old paintings will appreciate the Gallery of Old Masters, situated in the Sermage Palace. And if you are into animals and biology, get ready for bugs in the Herzer Palace, which has a permanent entomological exhibition called “The World of Insects”. The whole complex received a nomination for the European Museum of the Year Award in 1994.
Although you are far away from the Adriatic, you can still enjoy a swim. Varazdin City Pools is a site where you can enjoy three big water spaces (one is outdoors) and various other forms of spa activity (such as a Jacuzzi and sauna as well as massage tables and a restaurant). This is not the only place, by the way. Varazdin Thermae were used by ancient Romans, and are just a few kilometers away from the city.
In any case, Varazdin is worth your trip, especially during Spanzirfest. If you can’t stay in one place long, it is definatelly where you want to go next.