Once upon a time, between 1756 and 1776, the city of Varazdin served as the capital of Croatia. It was during this time that the city attracted the region’s best architects, designers and town planners. They built palaces, places of worship and turned it into the Baroque masterpiece you see today known as ‘little Vienna.’
The city centre buildings have been scrubbed, polished and maintained in a bid to obtain UNESCO protection for the city. No doubt by the time you finish this walking tour you’ll be signing the petition.
Like all classic Baroque cities, all roads lead to the main square so we start at the Trg (Square) of King Tomislav. The square is dominated by the Town Hall where you can take a peak inside and if you need some liquid fortification try The Office Bar at number 2, for the best cup of coffee in town.
Following the square to the south you will get to Pavlinska Ulica. Take a left turn here and then a right at the Varazdin Cathedral built in 1646 and onto Stepinca. At the cathedral notice the early-Baroque portal with bears the coat of arms of the Draskovic family, the same folks who once owned Trakoscan Castle.
You can cut diagonally across the park or follow the street until to reach Augusta Cesarca Ulica. Take a right and follow Augusta Cesarca until you get to the Croatian National Theatre.
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If you happen to be in Varazdin in September, try to take in a performance of the Varazdin Baroque Evenings, which take place over three to four weeks in September. The performances centre around the National Theatre but other venues across the city host musical evenings during the festival.
Another classic Varazdin event is Spancirfest which takes place at the end of August. You’ll find the city squares buzzing with modern street theatre, concerts and markets. A headlining act performing in an open-air arena in the park surrounding Varazdin castle.
After a look at the theatre it’s north up Ursulinska Ulica where on the corner of the Franciscan Square you find the fascinating World of Insects Entomological Collection. Continue along Franciscan Square for a peek at the Franciscan Church and Monastery of Saint John the Baptist, with it’s replica statue of Gregory of Nin, just like the one in Split.
From Greg continue on Ursulinska Ulica where opposite the pale pink facade of the Ursaline Church you’ll find the Square of Traditional Crafts. After a look at the free demonstrations and maybe a few souvenirs, take a right following the signs to Trg Miljenka Stancica and the Gallery of Old and Contemporary Masters.
Then it’s back to Ursulinska and continuing straight you’ll come to the drawbridge that leads you to the show-stopper Varazdin Castle and Town Museum. From the Castle in the north western corner follow Hallerova Aleja for about 300 meters till you get to the Varazdin Cemetery.
From here it’s back to the Castle, then right onto Ulica Stanka Vraza, till you get to Palatin on the corner of Ulica Brace Radic, for a late lunch and glass of wine.