Unfortunately, in April of 1776, a huge fire took Varazdin by storm and completely destroyed the city, which was the motivating factor of moving the administrative capital to Zagreb, which remains the capital to this day.
An interesting tidbit is that in an effort to help the residents of Varazdin through this time, citizens were exempt from paying tax for several years after the fire.
Today in Varazdin, you can still recognize the beautiful Baroque architecture from the past throughout the “old town” and learn about the (tumultuous at times) history of this unique city.
1. Old Castle (Stari Grad Varazdin)
The recognizable high, hilly banks surrounding the fortress were built in the 16th century for protection from the Turks. Inside the fortress is a Renaissance aristocratic palace which is now home to the City Museum of Varazdin.
In the museum you’ll gain an insightful look into the past through cultural and historical exhibits. You’ll find a collection of everyday objects from life back in the day, furniture from the past, portraits of important figures throughout the rooms, weapons, and many other interesting artifacts.
The cost of the museum is about 3.50 EUR.
2. Main Square (King Tomislav Square/Korzo)
The central building on the square is the town hall, which was originally built in the 15th century, but was redone in the late 18th century.
There is definitely lots of history and culture to be absorbed in the center of town in Varazdin!
Saturday mornings are usually bustling at the square. People visit the markets, catch up with friends over coffee, and stroll around enjoying the lively vibe of the city. There is also the march of the guard on Saturdays in front of the main hall, so if you’re in town, it’s an interesting thing to see!
3. Grgur Ninski Statue
The statue was made by the famous Croatian sculptor, Ivan Mestrovic, and was erected in 1932.
It’s believed that if you rub the statue’s toe, it will bring you good luck. You’ll see that the toe has actually changed colors as a result of everyone trying to rub a little luck into their lives.
It’s a fun monument and iconic figure to learn about and visit.
4. Varazdin cemetery
One of the most beautiful cemeteries in Croatia (and even throughout Europe) is the Varazdin Cemetery. It was established in 1773, and with the unique architecture and captivating artistic works throughout, it’s a very interesting place to see.
Its perennial architecture is stunning and was the benefit of Herman Haller, who was the cemetery manager in 1905. He turned the cemetery into a park by planting various new plant species throughout.
The entire cemetery and park grounds are very well landscaped and maintained, with a unique blend of nature, monuments and landscaped shrubbery.
5. Varazdin's Cathedral(The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary)
Not only is it a church & cathedral, but it also doubles as a concert hall in Varazdin with its stunning organ, and ability to host an orchestra!
Pope John Paul II actually transformed the church into a cathedral in 1997, so it holds an even greater significance to the people of Varazdin.
6. Angels Museum
There are actually no entrance fees, so you can walk through, admire the beauty for free! They do sell little gifts, though, if you’re looking to pick up some gifts for friends back home.
7. Traditional Crafts Square
The Traditional Crafts Square is located near the Ursuline Church, and here you can really feel the city’s old traditions. You can even test your skills in hat-making, for example.
There are so many unique handy-crafts, as well as local food products to sample and buy. You certainly won’t leave empty handed if you visit this fascinating square!
Operating hours are as follows:
Monday – closed
Tuesdays – Saturdays -10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday – 1-6 p.m.
8. The City Market
This way, you’ll always get the juiciest, freshest products, so because of this, you’ll only find seasonal products. Don’t expect to get strawberries in the fall ;)
There are hundreds of farmers selling their fresh produce as well as flowers, milk and other locally grown products.
One amazing thing to note is that the market is actually energy efficient, with a solar plant that generates its electricity.
Where to Eat in Varazdin
To start, we just want to give you our best recommendation for coffee and dessert, which is Kavana Grofica Marica! All of the desserts are amazing, we’ve tried many, and you can’t go wrong! It’s also centrally located, right on the main square with lovely views.
Whatever you order, you won’t regret it. I like to sit on the terrace outside and enjoy the views!
Palatin is a great, cozy place with excellent food and service. The atmosphere is warm, with a beautiful interior. It’s ideal any occasion from a typical family dinner, to a business meeting over lunch, or even a family event.
The food is done very well, they have excellent seafood, as well as steak and potatoes. I tried the pumpkin ginger soup in the fall for an appetizer, and it was absolutely delicious!
The service is attentive, professional and friendly, too. All in all, a great restaurant to eat at if you find yourself in Varazdin!
3. Kneginecka hiza
This lovely restaurant is set in a sweet wooden house, with a quiet garden and very cozy atmosphere. The decor is very cute, right down to the traditional-style door knobs!
It’s a family run restaurant with excellent, professional service. It’s not right in the city, so it’s a little more peaceful than other places in town, and the prices are fair.
They serve the most delicious, traditional Croatian food (as well as some great burgers if you’re craving a classic American dish :) If you’re in the mood for something soothing, though, don’t miss the wild mushroom soup!
I should also mention, there’s a little playground on the first floor, so your kids can play while you have an after-meal coffee or tea :)
4. Restoran Angelus
If you’re seeking a restaurant with a great location, Restoran Angelus will provide! It’s in the shade, near the park, and a little bit away from the crowds with a nice cozy atmosphere.
The food is excellent with a variety of dishes including traditional food, pasta, fish, pizza & more (the artichoke pizza is wonderful!).
The staff is very friendly and professional, and the prices are decent!
5. Restaurant Bedem
If you’re searching for traditional Croatian food, Restaurant Bedem’s a great choice! They have a great ambiance, with a wonderful location, looking onto the old fortress.
They have very affordable daily specials with either meat, fish or vegetarian based dishes (which are very well put together).
I really liked the pork file, which was crusted with pumpkin seeds. It was tender, juicy and full of flavor. The traditional turkey & mlinci meal is also an excellent choice, and very Croatian :)
All in all, it’s great food for a great price with a great view!
We hope you’ve found this post insightful for your upcoming visit to Varazdin! There is so much history and culture squeezed into this stunning city, you won’t regret your visit.
My personal favorite things to do include walking around the high banks surrounding the castle, stopping for coffee at a cafe, then heading to the craft square to pick up some locally made products.
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