These are just some of the destinations that attract 12 million people each year to Croatia.
Human Evolution Museum in Krapina
At the site of one of the most important Cromagnon sites in the world – Hušnjakovo hill in the town of Krapina – a museum dedicated to human evolution has opened in 2009 and has proven to be one of the most visited attractions in Northern Croatia.
This new interactive museum, 60 km northwest from Zagreb, tells the story of the evolution of mankind and explains the importance of fossilized Neanderthal remains. Krapina Man was a name given to the discovery of the fossils of over 75 Neanderthal individuals discovered near Krapina in 1899 by geologist, archaeologist and paleontologist Dragutin Gorjanović-Kramberger. Here you’ll find the most numerous and the most varied collection of such fossils in the world.
The main attraction is the authentic reconstruction of a Neanderthal family consisting of 17 people. The central scene, a big Neanderthal family gathered in a cave around the fire, is particularly impressive because of the accompanying acrid smells of sweat and burning meat, and sounds meant to recreate those typical of the Stone Age.
The Trakošćan Castle and the town of Varaždin
The Trakošćan Castle is one of the most impressive and currently best preserved castles in Croatia, situated 83 km northwest of Zagreb. The castle originates from the 12th century and was a part of the fortification system. Its interior is furnished with original pieces from the Drašković aristocratic family, who occupied the castle from the end of the 16th century. The castle, once a home to many European and Croatian influential families, operates now as museum from 9 AM till 3 PM. The entrance fee is 30 kunas for adults and 15 kunas for students (parking is in the vicinity of the Museum, not charged). Trakošćan grounds offer lovely panoramas while you stroll through beautiful park full of vegetation, or row a boat over a picturesque lake.
And while you’re there, you should also visit the former Croatian capital, the baroque town of Varaždin.
57 km northwest of Zagreb there is a beautiful and famous medieval fortress and museum: Veliki Tabor (in Croatian: big camp) with a great view of surrounding hills, pastures and forests. The fortress dates from the 12th century and has all the usual stuff that a medieval master could want: towers, turrets and holes in the walls for pouring hot oil on the enemy (Turks). The wine cellar with a big wine-press is a place where one can enjoy having a glass of wine. Since 2002, Veliki Tabor has been the venue of an international festival of short films.
The old village Kumrovec
The old village Kumrovec is open-air ethnographic museum in Kumrovec, the birth place of late Marshal Tito. This village is definitely worth a visit – there you’ll get the impression how the everyday rural lifestyle actually was at the turn of the last century. In the village you’ll find 20 preserved wooden houses, covered with wheat straw and accompanied by tipical wooden two-storey barns decorated with traditional drying corn stalks.
The main attraction for tourists is of course the house where Tito was born. It was built in 1860 and haven’t changed much. It is pretty the same as it was when his family lived there, holding photographs, documents, uniforms and artifacts of Marshal Tito’s personal history.
The other, very beloved “attraction” for all the rest, who live in this part of region, is definitelly the pastrie bar with very tasty Zagorje pastries. During the season, from 1st April to 30th October, the visitors may join the workshop “What Can You Smell in Our House?” and learn to cook traditional pastries. In the village there is also a Museum shop with replicas of museum exhibits, ceramics and very unique children’s wooden toys, which are inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Traditional farm estates
Between Zagreb, Trakošćan and Veliki Tabor there are lot of traditional farm estates that offer accommodation and excellent regional cuisine fresh from the fields or woods. Therefore the visit to the castles is not going to be only a visual experience, but also a very pleasant aromatic and tasty surprise: Grešna gorica, Lojzekova hiža, Stara vodenica, Vuglec Breg.
This is an enchanted world of water, made by cascading river Korana. This one of the most popular destinations in Croatia – take a whole day, put on some good walking shoes and roam this magical kingdom of water fairies.
On the way stop for lunch/refreshment in Rastoke (town of Slunj) to see how a village built on cascading waterfalls looks.
City of Rijeka
This magnificent seaside city combines the atmosphere of Mediterranean and the Austro-Hungarian port.
Town of Zadar
Roman, early Christian, early-Croatian – these all describe this vibrant seaside town. A must-see is the only sea-organ in the world, where the sea produces an enchanting melody, pianissimo or fortissimo, depending on the weather. Also visit the medieval Croatian island-city of Nin, famous for it’s salt “farms”.
Town of Pula
The largest town in Istria boasts a Roman Arena.
Town of Split
The second largest city in Croatia grew around the palace of the Roman emperor Diocletian, built on the sunny Dalmatian coast. Roam the ancient streets, 1700 years old, and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere in one of the street side cafes.
Town of Dubrovnik
This is probably one of the best known destinations in Croatia, a city-state republic, a smaller rival to Venice.