Croatia’s Best Baroque City: Varaždin
Far from the Adriatic coast, in Northern Croatia there’s a city that’s one of the most underrated ones in Croatia, and also its most beautiful Baroque city: Varaždin. We added it to our Croatian itinerary on a whim last year, because long drives with a toddler are crazy, and Varaždin looked like a nice stop on our way back to Hungary. Well, it turned out to be really nice, exceeding our expectations.
Varaždin is full of amazing architecture
The cobbled streets and pretty squares of the city center are lined with old Baroque houses, palaces and churches. The white building complex of medieval Varaždin Castle is a good starting point for a walk, with a large park surrounding it. The castle is home to the Varaždin City Museum today.
From there we walked through the old Watchtower towards Miljenka Stančića Square, the most lively square in the old town. It was filled with tables and chairs of different outdoor cafés. The most spectacular building on this square is Sermage Palace with its orange Rococo façade. It’s home to an art gallery and showcases works of both old and modern masters.
From there we just wandered around on the narrow, cobbled streets that are part of the walking zone. Our impatient little toddler also wandered around, just usually into another direction than where we were headed.
We saw a kind of a ruin café in a very old house, then a museum called the Museum of Angels. Franjevački Square impressed with especially nice Baroque buildings.
A very old Town Hall
We arrived at King Tomislav Square where Varaždin Town Halls stands. Built in 1523, it’s one of the oldest serving town halls in Europe, even survived a brutal fire in 1776.
Other pretty buildings
We liked the Neo-Renaissance theater next to Vatroslav Jagić Park. The park itself is a lovely place, and we’d forever remember how our one year old little boy started running towards two teenage boys who were peacefully eating their sandwiches on a bench, demanding he’s very hungry. Luckily, we had some food for him with us and sat on another bench to eat it.
The most good-looking church was the Church of St Nicholas, including the street lamps around it and the nearby streets that truly matched the Baroque atmosphere.
Day trip to another castle
We didn’t have the time, but Trakošćan Castle is not far from Varaždin. You might even visit both on the same day if you want to.
Do you have a favorite Baroque old town?