If Croatia has been in the news for several years now, especially for the beauty of its coastal cities with a Venetian atmosphere and its beaches that attract tourists in large numbers in the summer, it should not be forgotten that it is actually the whole country that is full of wonders.
The Medimurje region, bounded by the Mur River to the north and the Drava River to the south, is located at the point where the borders of Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary meet in the northern part of the country. There are three main towns, Čakovec, Prelog and Mursko Središće, where it is good to stroll to discover the heritage and local atmosphere, but also charming small villages
Nature, on the other hand, consists of green plains and hillsides, as well as lakes and rivers that await outdoor enthusiasts. Rich gastronomy and wine route, spa region, museums and unusual places, Medimurje County is a destination of choice in Croatia to slow down time, contemplate, do sports and awaken the palate. A region to discover.
Heritage and history in Medimurje
In the Medimurje region, one takes pleasure in stopping in towns that are human-sized and not lacking in curiosities. Čakovec, an important historical center in northern Croatia, reveals pretty streets with colorful facades. The town is famous for its medieval fortifications, St. Nicholas Church and seven-century-old castle , which houses the Medimurje County Museum, whose superb collection consists of no less than 17,000 items that provide a better understanding of the history of the place and beyond, of the entire region. On the banks of the Drava River, Prolog is another small Medimurje town full of charm with the imposing and original Church of St. James the Apostle in its center. There are also many sports activities in the beautiful days. For those who are interested in religious heritage, there are many buildings to visit in Medimurje, and while you can visit churches such as the Church of St. Jerome in Strigova and the Church of the Holy Trinity in Nedelišće, you can also stop by intimate towns where you can enjoy the local life. You should also not hesitate to drive along the roads of Medimurje County for the pleasure of stopping in villages revealing architectural treasures. Not far from Čakovec, Pribislavec is home to the magnificent Feštetić Castle. Having belonged to the Zrinski family until the end of the 17th century, its beautiful neo-Gothic architecture is worth a look. Also to quench the thirst of architecture lovers, the Tkalec Manor, located not far from Strigova, is another remarkable building with its pale yellow facade and arcades. It is located on top of a hill and offers a beautiful view of the green areas of Upper Medimurje. Finally, while walking along the Mur River, you will not be surprised to find an old wooden mill floating on the water, which fits perfectly into the surrounding natural landscape.
In terms of museums, there is a place that allows you to learn about the history of the natural environment of the Medimurje region. It is the Ecomuseum Medimurje Malo. It presents an interesting exhibition and a multitude of interactive experiences to better understand the peculiarities of nature between the rivers Mur and Drava, the way in which men have exploited it, but also the need to preserve it to continue to enjoy one of the most rejuvenating environments in Croatia. But also the interactive multimedia museums: The Treasure of Međimurje in Čakovec and the Ecomuseum of Međimurje Malo (Ecomuseum little Međimurje), which consists of a dozen interpretive centers spread throughout the region.
The Medimurje, nature and outdoor activities
It's no wonder that the Medimurje region is considered the garden of Croatia. It is a region of rolling hills and plains that offers a great setting for hiking and biking. The Mur-Drave Regional Park occupies a quarter of the county. Declared a cross-border biosphere reserve along the rivers Drave, Mur and Danube by UNESCO, this river area is nicknamed the Amazon of Europe. The Mur is one of the few rivers to have retained its natural course. It flows through flooded forests where the trees take on surprising shapes.
There are also puddles with green lentils, and you can listen to the sound of frogs and a multitude of birds that flood the branches and fly through the sky. The regional park is home to European white-tailed eagles, among others. It also serves as a nesting ground for many threatened and protected bird species. Among them, the bank swallow, the black stork and the little tern. Otters and beavers can also be seen along the way
In Križovec, a small village that is part of the urban area of Mursko Središće, there is a brand new museum that provides a more detailed look at the high value of the natural environment of Medimurje: the "Visitors Centre Between Two Waters". The center consists of two galleries with modern facilities that celebrate nature and the need to protect species. You can also learn more about the great people who have left their mark on the area between the Mur and the Drava
There are workshops for children and nature outings for families. The place is a reference for anyone interested in Medimurje and its rich biodiversity.
The rural areas of Medimurje are ideal for outdoor activities. There is hiking and biking of course. But those who wish to do so can also reach an airfield to observe the landscape from the sky or take part in a rafting session on the Mur. The green plains of the Medimurje region also let appear here and there small lakes, and two unmissable artificial lakes: HE Čakovec and Dubrava. Two unmissable sites to enjoy water sports.
And then, you can't visit Medimurje County without going to Mađerkin breg in Robadje, one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the country. It is here that a staircase hill offers a spectacular viewpoint that extends to no less than four countries: Slovenia, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia
Relaxation and food
While strolling through the towns and nature of Medimurje is soothing, the region also has a great place to take care of your body and mind. Terme Sveti Martin is a resort that offers visitors the opportunity to spend a few days in a room in the middle of an exceptional natural setting in the northernmost part of the Medimurje region. You can enjoy the beautiful outdoor and indoor pools for swimming and the spa for relaxing in the sauna, steam room and whirlpool. Massages, mindfulness meditation sessions and discussions with doctors also allow you to take stock of your health and the protocols to be put in place to feel better. It is also a place where balanced meals are offered and prepared with food from local producers. Here, well-being is considered in its entirety.
Moreover, the gastronomy is excellent in Medimurje. The nature and the climatic conditions allow the cultivation of high quality products. Thus, from markets to restaurants with the "Međimurje Golden Gourmet" label, one has the opportunity to fill the basket with fresh vegetables and taste some local specialties
For foodies, one of them is Medimurje's gibanica, a luscious multi-layered cake made of apples, poppies, nuts and cheese. A tasty dessert that evokes orchards and the countryside. Also for epicureans, Medimurje offers the possibility to follow a wine route. In the Upper Medimurje, the hilly landscape is covered with perfectly maintained vineyards. Travelers stop at wineries, talk to winemakers and participate in local wine tastings. Both reds and whites are grown here. But if there was only one to try, it would be without a doubt the one made from the Pušipel grape. A prestigious white wine, lively and light, with subtle fruity citrus aromas and mineral notes.
When is it ready?
Spring and autumn are two mild and pleasant seasons to visit Medimurje. It is also possible to visit in summer, when it is much less crowded than on the coast.
A trip of at least one week is recommended to visit the Medimurje region
It is enough time to travel by train from Zagreb and to discover cities, villages and natural landscapes. It also allows you to take the wine route and to enjoy outdoor activities.
Croatia has a lower standard of living than France. Count on 60 € for a cheap hotel in town and 70 € for a more upscale hotel. A night at a local's house costs about 50 €. You can eat very well in a restaurant with a budget of 13-14 €
The Medimurje region is a perfect destination for those who want to reconnect with nature and do outdoor activities. The county welcomes couples, families and groups of friends who also want to visit typical and not too crowded towns. People come to Medimurje to relax and enjoy slow tourism.
A destination that has a lot to offer: heritage, green nature, outdoor activities, vineyards, gastronomy.
A region open to all budgets, especially if you take the time to organize and book in advance.
A territory much less frequented than the Croatian coast in summer
It isnot always easy to communicate with the language barrier.
It can be very hot at times in summer.
How to get there
By car. It is possible to reach Medimurje from France through Italy and Slovenia
Train + ferry. It is possible to take the train from Paris to Zagreb, and then go to Čakovec. But the trip is very long, more than 20 hours.
By plane. A flight by plane takes 2 hours from Paris to Zagreb. Then you can take the train to reach Medimurje.
Medimurje County Tourist Office - More information on the site
40 000 Čakovec
Tel. +385 0 (40) 310 071
Hotels at very good prices are available through the major booking sites. Homestays offer a more authentic experience.