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Varazdin
Varazdin

Varazdin

Ancienne capitale de la Croatie du XVIIIe siècle, Varaždin bénéficie d'un emplacement stratégique sur la rivière Drava, à proximité des frontières slovène et hongroise. Une destination populaire d'excursion d'une journée au départ de Zagreb, la ville baroque animée est un charmant exemple de colonie croate traditionnelle, réputée pour son architecture exquise. Varaždin est également connue pour son affiliation de longue date avec les arts, mise en valeur par le festival des arts en plein air de 10 jours organisé chaque août et les prestigieuses soirées baroques de Varazdin organisées en septembre.

Le point culminant visuel de Varaždin est sa gamme de bâtiments baroques soigneusement restaurés, dont beaucoup datent du règne de la ville en tant que capitale, et ont valu à la ville son surnom de «Petite Vienne». Le remarquable hôtel de ville du XVIe siècle, flanqué de grenadiers en uniforme; le palais du Sermage de style rococo, qui abrite aujourd'hui la galerie des maîtres anciens et contemporains; et les façades aux teintes pastel qui bordent la place centrale Kralja Tomislava, sont tous des sites remarquables, mais l'attraction vedette est la forteresse de Stari Grad du XIVe siècle, qui abrite aujourd'hui le musée de la ville.

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Varazdin

The Basics

Varazdin is ideal for travelers wanting to experience a less-visited area of Croatia, far from the tourist spots of its Adriatic coastline. Those exploring independently can wander the historical center’s cobbled streets and squares; admire its cupcake-colored mansions, and watch the world go by from its al-fresco cafes and restaurants. Highlights include Varazdin’s 14th-century round-towered castle-fortress, Cathedral of the Assumption, and striking 16th-century Town Hall, one of Europe’s oldest.

Varazdin is a popular destination for day trips from places such as Zagreb. Tours typically pair a guided walk around the town’s baroque center with other, nearby attractions such as Trakoscan Castle and the folksy village of Kumrovec. Travelers staying in Varazdin, meanwhile, can explore and enjoy the surrounding countryside and Drava River on outdoor pursuits such as rafting and 4WD adventures.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • Allow around three to four hours to explore Varazdin’s streets, squares, museums, and churches.
  • Old Varazdin is largely wheelchair- and stroller-accessible.
  • Bring sun protection: shade is scarce in the main square.
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How to Get There

Located about 52 miles (84 kilometers) from Zagreb, Varazdin is easy to access by self-drive car from Croatia’s capital: follow the E65/71 toll road northward before taking Exit 4 for Varazdin. Regular buses and trains also connect Zagreb with Varazdin, although they include several stops on route. Alternatively, consider a guided tour that includes round-trip travel and a guide for an illuminating and stress-free day.

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When to Get There

Varazdin is at its busiest from June to September. Plan to arrive before or after the swell of late-morning and early-afternoon tour groups if you want to sightsee when it’s quiet. The most colorful time of year is late August-early September, when the town’s annual Spancirfest festival brings entertainers, concerts, and food stalls onto the streets.

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What to See and Do in Varazdin

One of the most popular activities for Varazdin visitors is to simply stroll around to see its baroque mansions before people-watching over a coffee and pastry at one of the open-air cafes. Sights worth visiting include the fairy tale-like, red-roofed castle, the rococo Sermage Palace—home to a top-notch art gallery—and the quirky Entomological Museum, where you can peruse displays of no less than 10,000 mounted insects.

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