10 Enchanting Castles in Croatia: A Journey Back in Time
Croatia is a country steeped in rich history, stunning landscapes, and awe-inspiring Croatian castles. From coastal fortresses to inland medieval strongholds, the castles in Croatia offer a captivating glimpse into its past.
When traveling around this world-class holiday destination, you’ll encounter many historic cities and fascinating sights that offer a window back in time. Join us as we embark on a journey across the country to explore the captivating tales behind some of the best castles in Croatia:
Located close to Zagreb
If you find yourself in the capital of Croatia, then you can’t miss taking a short trip to one of Croatia’s most beautiful castles, Trakošćan Castle. This castle is a fairytale-like gem surrounded by luscious green and floral spaces. It boasts a diverse blend of architectural styles, ranging from Gothic to Renaissance.
When exploring this Croatian castle, make sure to leave time on your tour to take a stroll through its well-manicured gardens, visit the museum within its walls, and experience the charm of a long bygone era.
Located in Varazdin
Varazdin Castle is a stunning example of Baroque architecture both inside and out. Originally built as a fortress back in the 12th century, it has since been transformed into an elegant residence. As you venture through the many beautifully furnished rooms and chambers of this Croatian castle, complete with exquisite period furnishings, it will feel as though you have been transported back to the days when noble families resided here.
There is an extensive collection of Croatian art and historical artifacts on show at this attraction which is sure to pique any history buff’s interest. You can also explore the Varazdin City Museum here at Varazdin Castle which delves into the city’s rich heritage.
Book a custom tour with our travel specialists today to explore Varazdin Castle on your next vacation to Croatia.
Veliki Tabor Castle
Located in the Zagorje region of Croatia
Perched high on a hill overlooking the picturesque Croatian countryside, awaits a captivating medieval fortress, with its high defensive walls, towers, and well-maintained courtyards which are shrouded in folklore and local legends, including the tragic story of Veronika Desinićka.
Veliki Tabor Castle showcases a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, with chambers inside full of period furnishings and intricate artwork that visitors can enjoy exploring on guided tours. Today the castle serves as a cultural heritage site and museum where visitors can find historical-themed souvenirs and learn more about this stunning Croatian castle’s history.
Located on the banks of the Kupa River
Ozalj Castle stands as one of the oldest and most charming Croatian castles found in the country. It can be found perched on a stone cliff above the Kupa River, around 146m above the bank. First mentions of this castle date back as far as 1244 with it famously being the joint castle of the noble Croatian families of Frankopan and Zrinski.
Over the years, this Croatian castle has undergone various architectural transformations over the centuries, resulting in the iconic fortification we see today. Now it is home to the Ozalj Museum and library which is open to visitors who wish to explore its historical exhibits and enjoy the serene beauty of the surrounding landscapes.
Located in Senj
The Nehaj Fortress is a striking Renaissance-era fortress built in the 16th century by Uskok Captain Ivan Lenkovic to defend the southern border against Ottoman invasions. It can be found perched atop a hill overlooking the Adriatic Sea and the town of Senj. Visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the town below the incredible fortress.
Many castles in Croatia are no longer inhabited or used for their primary objective of defence, and Nehaj Fortress is no exception to this. Today, the iconic Croatian castle serves as a museum, providing guests with insight into the town’s long and complicated history and maritime heritage.
Located near the city of Split
A formidable stronghold with centuries of history held within its walls, Fortress Klis is possibly one of the most famous castles in Croatia. Visitors can take a short trip from the city of Split to see this magnificent castle in person. Perched high on a rocky ridge, it offers commanding views of the surrounding landscape, including the Dalmatian coast and nearby mountains.
This fortress has witnessed numerous battles and sieges throughout its existence, serving as a strategic defence point against various invaders. When visiting this popular landmark, ensure you take the time to fully explore its well-preserved fortifications, and climb its towers as you walk in the footsteps of ancient warriors.
Add this incredible landmark to your Croatian vacation. Speak to our travel experts to start planning your next adventure today.
Located in the village of Donji Miholjac
Castle Mailáth is considered one of the best-preserved castles in Croatia, with its origins dating back to the 19th century. It showcases a stunning blend of architectural styles, including Neo-Gothic and Renaissance Revival elements. The castle originally belonged to the prominent eponymous Hungarian noble family, Mailáth, and where the family resided for many generations.
With its grand façade, ornate detailing, and beautifully landscaped gardens, Castle Mailáth is a true architectural gem. Although the inside of this Croatian castle is not open to the public, its exterior exudes a captivating charm and perfectly encapsulates the aristocratic history of the region.
Located in the town of Stari Grad on the island of Hvar
Tvrdalj Castle is a remarkable Renaissance fortress built in the 16th century and formerly the residence of the renowned Croatian poet and nobleman, Petar Hektorović. This well-preserved Croatian castle offers a unique blend of architectural styles which combine defensive features with elegant residential elements.
Throughout your tour of the inside of this castle, you can explore many historical rooms, including the poet’s living quarters and the famous Fish Pond, where Hektorović cultivated fish and contemplated life’s complexities.
Located near the town of Cetingrad
Cetin Castle holds a significant place in the country’s history and offers an interesting glimpse into its medieval past. Dating back to the 14th century, this Croatia castle played a crucial role in defending the region and controlling important trade routes.
Visitors can find this medieval fortress on a hilltop overlooking the picturesque Cetina River Valley. During your visit, you’ll have the opportunity to walk around its historic walls, towers, and courtyards, gaining insights into the architectural prowess and military strategies of the time.
Located in the coastal town of Trogir
Built in the 15th century by the Venetians, Kamerlengo Castle served as a strategic stronghold and a seat of power for centuries. The castle boasts impressive stone walls and high towers, which offer panoramic views of the sparkling Adriatic Sea, the picturesque town of Trogir, and the surrounding landscapes.
Today, guests can enjoy exploring the well-preserved interiors of Kamerlengo Castle which are full of many intriguing exhibits and displays that depict the castle’s rich history. This castle has possibly one of the best views out of all of the Croatian castles on our list and is definitely one you won’t want to miss on your Croatian vacation.
Booking a tour to explore the best Croatian castles
Ready to start your adventure? The castles in Croatia stand as timeless witnesses to the country’s captivating history. With well-preserved structures, splendid interiors, and breathtaking locations, these Croatian castles are an unparalleled glimpse into the country’s rich heritage.
To explore some of these Croatian castles and much more, get in touch with our specialists today. Our team of travel experts can help you create the ultimate Croatian vacation, including the option to create a bespoke tour that is completely customized to your itinerary preferences. Or why not explore some of our pre-planned tours which include a variety of these castles on their tour itineraries?
Start discovering the fascinating country of Croatia by booking a tour with us today.