Međimurje County Travel Blog: Things To Do In Međimurje County
Međimurje County is the smallest county in Croatia. It shares a border with Slovenia in the northwest, Hungary in the east and just 30 kilometers of Slovenia separating it from Austria. While this area has seen few tourists in the past, that is slowly changing – hence why you’ve landed here with us. With just a 2-hour drive separating Međimurje County from Croatia’s capital Zagreb, visitors are discovering that a trip up north offers a breath of fresh air.
From castles and recreation to agriculture and cuisine, a rich culture and a wealth of history can be found here, along with age-old tales of dragons and devils, both of which have a long seeded past in the area’s folklore. It is home to the Mura and Drava rivers, and the epic Alps have their starting point in the hills. Not to mention, the gastronomic scene is superb. What beats fresh-off-the-farm food paired with fresh-from-the-vineyard wines? Before making the journey to Međimurje, make sure have all the travel necessities that will make your trip all that more comfortable.
Things To Do In Međimurje County
Travel The Wine Road
With a prime location near the Alpine foothills, the northwestern region of the county provides the perfect fertile conditions for wine-making. With over 30 wine cellars and vineyards along the area’s “wine road” (30 kilometers long), your wine tasting days can easily last into the night! Pušipel is a white grape variety the area is famous for, so be sure to give it a try!
A few of our winery favorites?
Approximately 20 kilometers northwest of Čakovec, in the village of Sveti Urban, peek into the 300-year-old wine cellar at Lovrec vineyard. Here you can admire the ancient wine presses of the family estate, sample many award-winning white wines and nibble on delicious homemade bread, local cheese, and salami.
Nestled between Sveti Martin Na Muri and Štrigova, is the village of Jurovčak. Here, in the hills, visitors will find the Hazić farm. Take in stunning views of the family’s vineyards and orchards. The Hazić wine house offers tours of their beautiful vineyard along with a chance to sample their award winning wines, Međimurje local delicacies and apple wine, juice and vinegar made from their own apple orchard.
Eat Local Specialties
Made with local, fresh-off-the-farm ingredients, the cuisine of Međimurje has become renowned, especially after receiving the 2015 EDEN award for local gastronomy. The traditional dishes of Međimurje date back to the 17th century, so try these original versions still made today.
- Pretepena juha – thick cream soup
- Meso ‘z tiblice – cooked cured meat packed in a wooden barrel
- Turoš – cottage cheese
- Temfani picek – chicken in a cream sauce, often served with buckwheat porridge
- Međimurska gibanica – layer cake, found in many cafes and bakeries
- Curke – white and black sausages
- Mlinici – a dried flatbread pasta served either as a side or main dish
Indulge In A Spa Treatment
Cleanse your mind, body and spirit with a day (or week!) at Spa Sveti Martin. This Spa and Wellness Centre offers some of the best treatments around. A trip to Međimurje County is not complete without at least venturing into one of the Temple of Life Pools at this spa. In fact, many people travel to this region just for a chance to soak in the healing thermo-mineral waters, some of the best in Europe.
If that isn’t enough to convince you, this luxurious spa offers guests a Turkish steam bath, dry and steam cabins, whirlpools, and an ice cave and cold dip pools for cooling off. Additionally, you can request over 30 types of massages and wraps, along with complete wellness programs designed for one day or multiple day, or even couple’s packages.
Visit The Transboundary UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
Also known as the Amazon of Europe, this cluster of protected areas (13 in total) is found along the Mura-Drava-Danube river systems and is shared by Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, and Slovenia. An area of great biodiversity, green forests, and lowland rivers, visitors can enjoy the beauty of this reserve via hiking, cycling or tour guided trips.
Many trails run through the reserve, making navigation easy. Wetlands are some of the most endangered biotopes in Europe, and this important reserve is among the last. With over 60 habitat types and more than 20,000 water birds (some of which are also endangered), this reserve’s mission is to maintain the ecosystem. Other important purposes include education, research and environmental monitoring of the flora and fauna that call it home. A “not to miss” site for anyone who enjoys bird-watching, connecting with nature, and the beautiful (bio)diversity of river life.
Visit Čakovec Castle
Near the city’s central square, Čakovec Castle is known to be one of the biggest fortifications in the region. The castle was built in the 13th century by the town’s namesake, Count Dmitar Cak. Over the years, natural disasters and subsequent renovations have led to the current baroque style design of the building.
Inside the main palace, visitors can enjoy the Museum of Međimurje Čakovec where 20,000 portraits, cultural and ethnographic collections are on display, most of them originating from the county itself. A walk around the atrium and surrounding park will give visitors a breath of fresh air while enjoying the lush greens of grass and trees surrounding the castle. Note, this is one of those castles that used to be surrounded by a moat… pretty cool fact for the kids!
Admire Art Nouveau
Found in a little pedestrian street in Čakovec (King Tomislav 1) is the Trgovacki Casino. Built in 1903, not much is documented about this Trade Union Hall that was once a gathering place for those who had some gambling money. Today, visitors can admire the intricate facade and beautiful architecture that adorn the exterior of the casino.
It’s not likely you will be able to get inside, but it adds to the mystery of the building. The beauty lies in admiring the intricate exterior details (we suggest getting a view from all sides!) and the scale of the building in its entirety over a coffee or glass of wine at one of the many bars or cafes along the street.
See The Mill On The Mura
To appreciate the power of the river, a visit to the northernmost point in Croatia – the village of Žabnik – is an excellent option. Visitors can watch and listen to the old wooden mill on the Mura river. The millstone still creaks as though grinding flour with the river’s flow. This is an excellent example of local heritage and architecture.
Stroll along the Miller’s Path, where educational information about the river’s history and significance can be discovered at various points along the way, while basking in the untouched natural surroundings. Additional fun includes riding a real river ferry from bank to bank (no engines, sails or paddles here!) and a genuine fishing trip in traditional wooden boats.
Experience Both Upper And Lower Međimurje
To fully grasp the complexity of the county, we suggest spending a little time in both the upper and lower regions. Hills and vineyards scatter the countryside of the upper Međimurje area, whereas forests, fields, and creeks run through the lower Međimurje area. Both strikingly beautiful, both incredibly full of life and color, and both excellent to explore on foot or two wheels.
Whether it’s cycling, hunting, fishing, parachuting, hiking or mountaineering, sport is abundant in this region. There are more than 200 clubs, each specializing in one sport or another.
For cycling enthusiasts, both recreational and mountain routes exist. Recreational routes are perfect for the whole family, as the inclines are mild and the paths generally paved, with little to no traffic. Međimurje County is known for stunning scenery, and the bike routes here take visitors through many beautiful landscapes with viewpoints, restaurants and wine houses along the way. For mountain biking, various trekking trails are available for beginners up to the more advanced riders.
Fishing enthusiasts might want to visit one of the many clubs near the rivers Mura and Drava. A community known for great fishing experts is Nedelišće Municipality. Here, fishing is possible along the banks of the river Drava and in Črečan and Pušćine ponds. If you’re looking for a unique fishing experience, check out the fishing adventure offered in the village of Žabnik (near the mill). Head out in traditional wooden boats and try your luck in the backwaters of the Mura river.
If hiking or hill walking tickles your fancy, one of the most popular hiking and walking destinations is Mohokos. Mohokos is the highest peak of a hill range (the terminal easternmost slopes of the Alps), extending 20 kilometers across the northwestern part of the county. A hike to the summit brings with it views of vineyards, orchards, groves and meadows – excellent picture views around each turn.
Want to get your feet a little wet? Sign up for a rafting experience along the Mura and Drava rivers!
For those looking for an adrenaline rush, head to Sveti Martin Na Muri where quad bike rental and paintball adrenaline parks will give you hours of fast-paced excitement. Additionally, stop by the Spa & Sports Resort in town to check out the training facilities on offer. They have everything from martial arts to aerobics to recreational games. The facility is frequented by professional athletes training all over Europe as well as amateur and recreational sporting enthusiasts. For something on a smaller scale, gym and fitness centers, as well as volleyball and tennis courts, can be visited in both Nedelišće and Čakovec.
Međimurje County Accommodation
Međimurje County Apartments
For more freedom, space and flexibility, add apartments to your list of where to stay in Međimurje County. Apartments are hit and miss, though, so you must do your research. Find vacation rentals through places like Booking.com or you can take a more personal route and use an Airbnb host. Hosts are helpful and will give you local info, like where to eat and things to do in Međimurje County. Use this link to get a €18 credit when you join Airbnb.
Holiday Home Osme
This rental home, located in the village of Strigova, is an oasis of tranquility. Set in 2 acres of its own grounds, guests can enjoy vineyards, trees, flowers and fresh air right outside the door. Children and pets are welcome and will enjoy the outdoor space available to play in, along with a selection of toys, books, and movies. The garden is available for guest use, so throw some fresh veggies into your home-cooked meal, or, should you prefer, head down the hill to the town’s center for some local dining. Don’t forget to visit Toplice Sveti Martin – a thermal spa and waterpark – which is only five minutes away!
3-Star Međimurje County Hotels
Located in the little farming town of Puscine, just a short drive from Čakovec, you will find this quaint hotel. Friendly staff, clean and comfortable rooms, and an incredibly filling buffet breakfast are highlights to look forward to when staying at Mamica Pansion. The restaurant on site also serves incredibly delicious local specialties, including palatschinken – pancakes similar to a crêpe. They are a must try when dining at the hotel! If you are traveling with little ones, the hotel also offers childcare services and has a playground where kids can use up that extra energy.
Local tip: Ask for a room with a window facing the field to enjoy the wonderful views.
Hotel Panorama Prelog
Hotel Panorama is a family, sport and bike hotel located in the little town of Prelog. It is joined with the sports and recreational center DG Sport and lies next to the largest artificial lake in the area, making it perfect for those looking for an active holiday. Single, double and adjoining rooms as well as suites are available. Each of those comfortable rooms is equipped with Wi-Fi, LCD TV, a mini-bar and a sizable bathroom. An onsite spa offers guests Finnish and Turkish saunas, while sports massages can also be arranged. The hotel restaurant fare is both local and international, but if you are in the mood for something more casual, the hotel pizzeria and cafe bar have some delicious family-friendly options as well.
Located in the center of Prelog, this hotel is housed in a 200-year-old building and boasts a beautiful view of the town center, including the beautiful St. Jacob’s Church. Modern and urban, Hotel Prelog has 12 rooms, a breakfast-serving restaurant and a parking area for guests. Modern touches to the rooms include air-conditioning, satellite TVs, internet, mini-bars, hairdryers and modern bathrooms. The close proximity to the Drava river makes this an excellent option for those looking to explore the local area.
4-Star Međimurje County Hotels
Spa & Sport Resort Sveti Martin
Located in Sveti Martin in Muri, this resort has it all. Whether you need a family apartment to accommodate your large group or prefer a modern hotel room, both are available here.
Apartments Regina are pet-friendly and located near a beautiful woodland. Complete with household appliances, kitchen and dining areas, you will feel right at home with the luxurious space these apartments offer.
Hotel Spa Golfer offers guests elegant room options with modern amenities and gorgeous bathrooms. Free internet comes with the room rental and paying a little more will get you a beautiful terrace view over the glorious Međimurje countryside.
Regardless of whether you stay in an apartment or hotel room, all guests are welcome to dine at the resort’s five restaurants, which serve everything from traditional local dishes to pub-style pizzas. You can spend your days enjoying the resort’s indoor and outdoor pools, sun terraces, aqua-park with water slides, loads of sporting activities, and, we can’t forget, the wonderful spa offering over 30 types of massages, wraps and baths.
Međimurje County Restaurants
If you are looking for a place to celebrate a special occasion, this is it. Four kilometers north of Čakovec is an old oak house, home to Mala Hiža. The cuisine is based on the indigenous dishes of Međimurje with a few modern twists. Menus are seasonal, depending on what’s fresh and local, and the wine list is stocked with over 200 Croatian labels. You will spend a bit of cash here, but the food is fantastic and the atmosphere delightful and unpretentious! This restaurant has often been proclaimed as one of Croatia’s best by guests. Give it a try and let us know if you agree!
If you want to feel like you’ve stepped off the grid for afternoon tea or a leisurely meal, this restaurant in Lopatinec is for you. The building is made out of logs and situated away from the bustle of the city. The atmosphere is refreshing and feels like a treehouse escape. Serving great local specialties with many area ingredients at affordable prices, it’s a restaurant you can’t miss if traveling nearby.
Resturant Medimurski Dvori
Another delightful stop to make in Lopatinec is this quaint restaurant. As is typical of most restaurants in the area, dishes are traditional regional fare and are made using local ingredients. The prices here are excellent for the quantity of food served. So relax, grab a spot by the wood-burning fireplace, and enjoy some truly excellent Croatian cuisine. Don’t forget to enjoy pear schnapps at the end of your meal. It’s a guest favorite!
Does dining on a veranda overlooking a gorgeous valley and the hills beyond sound like your style? The only thing that might make it better would be sunset, a glass of wine, and delectable bites. You can have it all at this homey establishment in Strigova. Soups, meat, fish, salads, and desserts are each crafted using ingredients from the restaurant’s farm, garden, orchard and the wooded areas nearby. Enjoy a glass of wine from the Jakopić winery, along with other great selections from winemakers along the Međimurje wine road. Prices are reasonable, and guests go back time and again to enjoy this unique dining experience.
If you’re staying in Čakovec and are looking for a place to have dinner, consider Restoran Barok. This popular and award-winning restaurant serves a huge variety of dishes, from soups, pastas and risottos to various chicken and beef dishes. If you like meat, definitely try one of their mouthwatering beefsteaks. Additionally, their wine list complements each dish perfectly, while its atmospheric interior creates a homey and peaceful dining environment.
Another excellent place to grab a bite to eat in Čakovec is Trattoria Rustica. Located in the town center, this cozy establishment is a wonderful spot for traditional down-to-earth Croatian food in a no-nonsense setting. A great place for children, too, it comes highly recommended.
Coffee Bars In Međimurje County
- Caffe Bar Cvek. Simple, unpretentious, and delicious are the best words to describe this little cafe in Čakovec. Pastries, cakes, coffees and reasonable prices will make you happy that you stopped. The local specialty is gibanica, a traditional cake filled with sweet or savory ingredients. We suggest you give it a try!
Bars In Međimurje County
- Caffe Bar Arcus. Allow the cocktail masters of this Čakovec bar to set the tone for your evening with one of the many amazing cocktails served here. Sip your drink on the summer terrace, enjoy the live DJ (weekends only) and relax!
- The Old City Pub. In the mood for some good ole’ pub food and beer? Head just outside of the county line to Varazdin’s Old City Pub. Serving up some mean burgers, burritos, pizza and more along with a cold adult beverage, it’s the perfect spot for a chill evening with friends.
Međimurje County Events And Festivals
This traditional, carnival-like event takes place in the county’s largest city, Čakovec, during February. Throw on a colorful mask and join in the public festivities that include many rituals passed on through the centuries. Parades, feasts, fairs, and processions are all held to drive off the demons of winter and to bring merriment, color and light to the region.
Held in Čakovec from 30 July to 5 August, this annual fair celebrates traditional products of the region for visitors to both purchase and learn the behind-the-scenes process of how they are made. During the fair, guests can sample delicious, local foods from Međimurje County while enjoying entertainment on the main stage. Dig a little deeper into the culture and tradition of this region at this event.
Wicker And Fish Days
Taking place in Kotoriba, this traditional event celebrates the rich pastime of catching and preparing fish. Grilled carp is made for attendees to sample, and many other attractions are available in the municipality, such as ethnology collections and local products on display in the street.
Vincekov Pohod (St. Vincent’s Walking Tour)
Step out with good company to enjoy a walking tour of the upper Međimurje vineyards in honor of St. Vincent (the patron saint of winegrowers). During this event, visitors will enjoy sampling the incredible wine from the region while hiking through the beautiful and fertile wine-growing hills where these wines are produced.
Summer In Zrinski Town
Summer is an excellent time to visit Međimurje county, especially for visiting Zrinski Town. During the summer, the town puts on an event filled with concerts, films, theater plays and other various exhibitions that will make anyone who loves the arts smile. Take in a show or listen to some music while celebrating the warmth of summer with locals and visitors alike.
Traveling To Međimurje County
Getting to the county from Central and Eastern European countries as well as larger Croatian cities is quite easy.
Multiple bus lines run throughout Croatia to the county and once in Međimurje you will find many local routes connecting the villages. To help estimate the time and cost, a ride from Zagreb to Čakovec will last approximately 2.5 hrs and cost you about 70 HRK.
Three railroads run through the county. M501 connects Međimurje with Hungary and Slovenia; R201 connects Čakovec with Varaždin and Zagreb; and L101 connects Čakovec with Mursko Središće and Lendava (a town in Slovenia). The most used railway junction in the region is the railway station Čakovec, which includes a border crossing and customs and is centrally located only a kilometer from the town center.
If traveling by car, the A4 motorway is a convenient road, taking you all the way from Zagreb to Hungary with easy access to both Čakovec and Prelog along the way via the village of Sveti Križ. If traveling from cities along the Adriatic coast, hop on the A1 motorway until it connects to the A4 in Zagreb. Alternatively, if moving from southern parts of Slavonia or Serbia, take the A3 motorway to Zagreb before connecting to the A4.
Also important to note, the A4 motorway contains the Goričan Border Crossing and the Zrinski Bridge, checkpoints for entrance into the country. Other routes available include the 209 state road, which connects Čakovec to the Mursko Središće border crossing and heads all the way to Austria; the D20 state road, which connects Varaždin, Čakovec, Prelog and Donja Dubrava; and the 208 state road that connects Čakovec to the Trnovec border crossing.
Traveling To Further Destinations
Traveling on after a visit to Međimurje County is as easy as catching any of the trains, buses or highway routes that originally got you there. Most likely, you’ll be traveling on to Zagreb, Varaždin or further on to the coast. Wondering what other areas of Croatia you should explore this year? Let us help!
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