Escape from Zagreb
Spend a day exploring new places off the beaten track

Trakošćan castle, Varaždin & traditional dinner with wine tasting

“Meet the brave knights of North Croatia”

Discover the mysterious Castle of Trakošćan, visit the Baroque town of Varaždin and enjoy a traditional Croatian dinner complete with wine tasting.

Departure point:

From your hotel

Departure time:

~ 09:00

Price:

390 €

- Entrance fee, Dinner & Wine tasting +60€ / Price per person

Return:

to departure point

Included:

Visit to Trakošćan Castle

Traditional dinner at the Polovanec winery with wine tasting

Hotel/apartment pick up and drop off

Professional English-speaking driver

Air-conditioned vehicle with high-speed internet

A good time guaranteed

Itinerary:

Departing from your hotel or apartment in Zagreb, we will leave the capital of Croatia and head north. Hidden in the woods of the Croatian Zagorje lies the fairy-tale castle of Trakošćan. The castle is surrounded by a large forest and a lake; the beautiful scenery is perfect for long walks and is a real treat for nature and culture lovers. This remarkable fortress is one of the oldest Croatian castles, dating back to the 13th century. The strategic bastion is only a few kilometres from the border with Slovenia, so during the visit we will uncover the essential role of this dividing line in European history. Inside the castle we will get acquainted with the fascinating history of the Drašković family - the most famous and richest genealogy in Hrvatsko Zagorje. We will continue our excursion to the city of Varaždin. This "City of Baroque, Flowers, and Music" was the capital of Croatia during the 18th century. Here you will have time to visit the picturesque historical centre which is referred to as the “Croatian Vienna” by many art historians. Feel like real aristocrats walking through this city of exceptional cultural beauty! In the afternoon, we will head south towards the Polovanec winery, located on a small hill in the east Zagreb. A visit of the vineyard and wine cellars awaits, complete with a professional winemaker as your guide. During a delicious traditional dinner made with local produce, your guide will introduce a wide range of award winning Croatian wines. Their different flavours and textures will open up this region’s long vineyard tradition. After dinner, we will return to Zagreb.

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Good to know:

  • Trakošćan is a 13th-century castle
  • The castle’s lake takes two hours to walk around
  • Varaždin is the old centre of Croatian life
  • Polovanec won a Gold Medal for Pinot Gris and Cabarnet Souvignon

Read more:

The romantic castle of Trakošćan is an hour away from Zagreb, in the Croatian region of Hrvatsko Zagorje. Although a fortress has been on this land as far as back as the 13th century, today’s Neo-Gothic landmark was rebuilt in the 19th century after the grounds fell into disrepair. Like most aristocratic, European residences, there are corresponding buildings at the foot of the castle - a chapel, a garden and garden house, a lake and a forest park - making quite a list of things to see and visit at this wonderful location in Croatia. For more than 400 years the castle was the residency of the Drašković family. This famous Croatian noble family produced many political figures, military officers, cardinals and religious leaders, and high civil servants. Count Ivan Drašković III was given the highest-ranking office available during his time. He took on the role of the Palatine of Hungary, officially making him the Hungarian King's deputy. Insights into the rich life of this aristocratic family can be seen in the carefully organized exhibits on display. Their high level of education, gifted abilities and above all, self-importance within a very dominant social circle are clear to see, in both the castle’s exhibitions and the building itself. Impressive collections of weapons, furniture, paintings, books and photographs all form part of their wealthy estate. The enchanting interior of the Trakošćan Castle is well looked after and serves as a living witness of cultural and social development over time - its walls display detailed paintings ranging from the 15th to the 19th centuries. Hanging alongside these pieces are noble portraits, some painted by famous artists, that follow the generational lineage and serve as a record of the family tree. Richly decorated salons full of furniture preserved from the time of the Drašković family are also waiting to be admired within the castle walls. The high-quality furniture is organised by theme in order to show the historical trends and display the unique aesthetics of each artistic style in the most accurate way. A large weapons collection was a sign amongst aristocratic families of military prowess and numerous war achievements – and at the Trakošćan Castle there is a significant and lethal stash. It is believed that weapons engraved with the family coat of arms were used by members of the Drašković family in active battle. In addition to exceptional military achievements, some family members were keenly interested in the sciences. A rich library is evidence of this, stocked full of professional literature in fields ranging from science to religion and from politics to classical and contemporary novels. These are written mostly in German, French, Latin and English; this valuable library illustrating again their position within a wealthy social sphere where these languages were taught. Catholicism had a major role in traditional Croatian life and identity. Private chapels became an essential luxury for aristocrats, although worship was only performed four times a year. The quaint chapel here at Trakošćan now hosts many weddings. A wedding set in the grounds of a beautiful fairy-tale castle - what more could a happy couple wish for! At the foot of the castle lies a lush forest, beautiful lake and natural park - all under environmental protection. The man-made Trakošćan lake served two purposes; firstly, as a fishing pond and secondly, for its beautiful aesthetic which is still enjoyed today. The lake is a place of cool retreat from the summer heat and during winter, is covered with thick layer of ice and snow. The park and wider forest are the ideal places for a long walk – a place to get away and fully enjoy the outdoors and peace away from the bustle of city life. Trakošćan Castle and its estate offers many places to explore and can easily satisfy any visitor’s curiosity. This natural and cultural heritage site will leave you feeling wonderful enriched with pure beauty. Varaždin is the former capital city of Croatia. Its rich cultural inheritance and historic importance can be seen while walking through the beautiful streets - it is not hard to notice the numerous city palaces and one of the oldest town halls in Europe. The town hall is guarded by the "Purgari" - Varazdin’s own Civil Guard. Founded in 1750 by Empress Marija Terezija, this traditional military profession is now protected as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Croatia. Interestingly, Varaždin is also called the "Town of the Bell Towers". There is a total of 11 towers, each one unique and bearing the characteristics of the contemporary artistic style of the period in which it was built. The most famous church in the town is dedicated to St. Nicholas, the local patron saint. On the side of the church’s bell tower is a rather unusual sculpture depicting a bear. An old legend says that the church was built on top of a bear’s den while the mother bear was out. When she returned home to care for the cubs, she discovered a large church! The shock petrified the poor bear so much that she turned into stone. The constructors were deeply touched with this sad tale that they decided to add this sculpture as a note of commemoration to this wonderful site. The beautiful streets are decorated with “cimer”. Cimers are old plaques which were used to symbolise the different trade and crafts associations within the city. They were hung at the entrances of the member’s workshops, thus identifying the association that that craftsman was part of. Today the streets are lined with replicas, as the originals are now kept safe at the City Museum of Varaždin. Due to the gradual growth of the town, its exceptional architectural works and general city layout finds the perfect harmony between natural beauty, urban life and cultural values. In addition to the impressive religious buildings and delightful town hall, another landmark is of particular note: the “Stari grad” - an old feudal fortress named “Old Town”. This imposing building was constructed from the 14th to the 19th century and was the residency for the many noble families who governed in Varaždin at one time or another. Today, you can find the City Museum of Varaždin in the centre of the Old Town, where valuable historical objects, ancient items and tools are preserved and on display. They authentically reveal the deep and rich history of Varaždin which is definitely worth exploring. "The Way of the Angel" is the name for a unique walking tour which covers the religious heritage of Varaždin, a town that is sometimes referred to as the "City of Angels". Residents are very proud of the idea that their valuable city is under angel protection which is shown by the representation of this on the town’s coat of arms. To fully experience North Croatia, it is essential to get acquainted with the gastronomic delights of the region. Traditional food here is meat filled and hearty; originally providing the energy for peasants out in the fields. You can see how gastronomic culture is heavily linked to the local climate and potentials of the landscape, the contemporary average occupation and wealth bracket, and the different foreign influences exerted by the countries that governed. Nothing helps boost the mood like a glass or two, and you’ll be pleased to learn that wine tradition is deeply rooted in gastronomic experiences here. Beautiful, strong vineyards grow abundantly in the fertile soil of Zagreb Prigorje. This amazing experience is a sheer delight for your senses. Beautiful sites full of fascinating history paired with delicious food and drink await you. Journey with us through aristocratic castles and palaces, explore the mysterious and re-energising natural oases and be astonished by the originality and wonder of North Croatia.

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