Author: D. Gorenak; Source: Archives of Varaždin Tourist Board

Wine roads around Sveti Ivan Zelina

Families from the hills around Sveti Ivan Zelina have been tending vineyards for generations. Wines from this region (including local grape variety Kraljevina Zelina) are currently enjoying a growing reputation, and many local vintners are opening up their


cellars to offer wine-tasting opportunities to tourists. Call into the town museum in Zelina for a map of the wine route, or go where the road takes you following the brown signs. If you’d like a more formal tasting with food laid on, contact the tourist board who will help you find a host.




One of the best-preserved Baroque cities in central Europe, Varaždin boasts a neat pedestrianized centre whose streets are lined with pastel-coloured palaces and fine churches. The city served as Croatia’s capital for a brief period in the 18th century, which explains why so many aristocratic families built their opulent town houses here. Standing in verdant parkland beside the city centre is the castle, an imposing reminder of the days when Varaždin was a frontier town defending northern Croatia from the Ottoman Turks. Comprising sturdy medieval towers and


a galleried Renaissance courtyard, the castle provides a suitably atmospheric home to the historical collections of the Municipal Museum. On the other side of the drawbridge from the castle, the Baroque Sermage Palace hosts the Gallery of Old and Contemporary Masters. Varaždin’s other major museum is the Entomological Museum or “World of Insects”, which has a fine collection of butterflies and models showing the secret life of insects. Lovers of horticultural spectacle


should be sure to visit the city’s cemetery, transformed into an ornamental park by green-fingered cemetery keeper Hermann Haller in 1906. Featuring box hedge and cedar trimmed into a series of flowing shapes, it is a unique example of how garden design and graveyard sanctity can be successfully combined.

Author: D. Gorenak; Source: Archives of Varaždin Tourist Board


Ludbreg became a place of pilgrimage by papal decree in 1513. A priest performing mass experienced a moment of doubt that the bread and wine really represented the body and blood of Christ. To his wonder the wine turned to blood, and to this day it is kept in the Church of the Holy Trinity, in a golden reliquary bequeathed by Countess Batthany, whose family mansion is among the architectural highlights of this pleasant rural town. Masses of pilgrims visit Ludbreg on Sundays at the end of August and beginning of September, when a colourful fair takes place.


Nesting in hills north of Varaždin is the green oasis of Opeka, a nineteenth-century arboretum that ranks as one of the most important botanical gardens in the country. It was founded by the Bombelles family in the style of an English park, and has outlived their Baroque palace which sadly lies in ruins. The arboretum has hundreds of species from all over the world, including rare and exotic varieties. The nearby town of Vinica is known for its spring water and wine – enjoy a drop of whichever you please!