Why you should put Slavonia and Baranja in Croatia on your Bucket List
Editor’s be aware: Croatia just isn’t at the moment on the UK’s journey hall checklist, however we’ll replace this text when the steering modifications.
Did you know that wild brown bears nonetheless roam the forests of Slavonia? Or, that the area produces a few of Europe’s most interesting white wine?
Located between the Danube, Sava and Drava rivers in japanese Croatia, Slavonia, and close by Baranja, are lands of fertile plains and historical forests, steeped in custom and Seventeenth-century folklore.
Sunflowers in Slavonia (c) xbrchx
During the summer time months, the fields burst with sunflowers amid fairly, rural homes. The cities in Slavonia include many baroque mansions and church buildings constructed with autumnal colored bricks and painted in yellow hues.
There’s loads of conventional foody fare to pattern with influences from neighbouring international locations equivalent to Hungary and Serbia.
Discover Slavonia’s spectacular structure and folklore
Start off in Slavonski Brod (merely ‘Brod’ to the locals – that means ‘water crossing’) a historic metropolis that borders with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Slavonski Brod Fortress, an deserted stronghold from the 1700s that was designed to accommodate 4,000 troopers and 150 cannons, is effectively price a go to. It retains many preserved fortifications and inside you may also uncover a quite quirky museum, “House of Tambura”.
The museum traces the historical past of the Tambura, also called tamburica or tamburitza, a conventional string instrument of the area used to play people music.
Incidentally, if you are in Slavonski Brod in mid-June, remember to participate in the Brodsko Kolo Festival, a festivity of all issues Slavonian.
Close to Brod is the metropolis of Đakovo, dwelling to the spectacular St Peter’s Cathedral, which was constructed in the late 1800s in the Romanesque and Gothic kinds, with two bell towers standing 84m excessive.
If you love horses, you gained’t wish to miss a visit to the “Ergela” stud-farm in Đakovo, which was established in 1506 and breeds well-known Lipizzaner stallions, the masters of dressage. Here you can tour the Stallion Station, together with visits to the horse stables, outside racetrack and terrains for dressage and hurdle racing. There’s additionally each day music and dressage present.
It can be price spending half a day in Slavonia’s capital, Osijek, which additionally borders Baranja. The metropolis, a sea of orange roof tiles surrounded by lush, inexperienced fields, is definitely explored on foot, with loads of baroque-style buildings to admire as you discover. The spectacular sq., Trg Ante Starčevića, is featured on the 200 kuna banknote Tvrđa.
Head to the outdated city in the japanese a part of town and pay a go to to the 18th-century defensive fortress Tvrđa, which is constructed on the fitting financial institution of the River Drava. The fortress was constructed in medieval Osijek following the defeat of the Ottoman forces in 1687.
Top tip: Drive from Osijek to the Illok, the easternmost city of Croatia. Perched on a hill overlooking the Danube, the picturesque city is surrounded by vineyards and comprises a Sixteenth-century hammam (Turkish bathtub) from the Ottoman interval.
Want to increase your journey to Slavonia and Baranja?
Smart Travel supply a 7-day non-public tour of Slavonia and Baranja together with 4* lodging, native journey on a luxurious air-conditioned bus and a half-board meal plan. Prices begin from €900 and the tour contains visits to all of the cities talked about in this text together with a number of vineyards and alternatives to find native folklore and delicacies.
Getting again to nature
Take a while to calm down and unwind in considered one of Slavonia and Baranja’s nature parks. Papuk Nature Park is a UNESCO geopark that circles Papuk Mountain, Slavonia’s highest mountain at 953m at its peak.
It is an unlimited and stunning place to get misplaced in, with the prospect to find mountain lakes, caves, waterfalls and historical geological options – a Carcharodon Megalodon tooth was as soon as discovered right here the scale of a hand.
Highlights in the park embody Jankovac Forest Park, a beech forest with a excessive protecting standing as a result of its inhabitants of uncommon and endangered animals and mushrooms. Look out for deer, fox, bats and even wild boar. From right here you can hike to the Skakavac waterfall. In springtime, the waterfall can rise up to 10m extensive and might be essentially the most stunning waterfall in Papuk.
For a special nature expertise, go to the fantastically maintained Kopački rit Nature Park in Baranja, dwelling to considered one of Europe’s largest wetlands. The park is situated close to Osijek the place the Drava and Danube rivers meet and can both be explored on foot or by boat. Large herds of deer wander the park, and you can observe 300 completely different chook species, together with uncommon white-tailed eagles and black storks.
A style of Croatia
Slavonia is a land of abundance and hospitality, and conventional Slavonian delicacies is cooked for big teams of individuals to take pleasure in collectively.
Popular dishes embody “kulen”, a kind of flavoured sausage made from minced pork, and spicy fish or paprika stew cooked in a small cauldron. The greatest place to take pleasure in most of these dishes is in one of many villages in the Slavonian countryside.
Head to Baranjska kuća in Karanac, about 20km from Osijek, and tuck into heat shepherd’s pie cooked in a clay oven, or if you are feeling courageous, why not attempt snails cooked in nettle sauce? Either approach, you’ll obtain the warmest hospitality and there’s a superb probability there can be some conventional stay music to accompany your meal.
Time for wine!
Winegrowing in Slavonia and Baranja is a 1,800-year-old custom, and there may be an abundance of vineyards to tour and take pleasure in a scrumptious tipple.
The city of Kutjevo in Slavonia is a goldmine (or higher but, a “winemine”) for wine tasting, and comprises a medieval wine cellar courting to 1232.
Two of Slavonia’s prime wineries are additionally situated right here: Krauthaker, whose graševina and candy wines have gained many awards, and Enjingi, which specialises in organically produced wine together with Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc. Alternatively, Iilok can be a must-visit vacation spot for wine tasting.
Stay: In Karanac, e book your keep on the highy-rated 3* Apartments Ivica i Marica, with non-public bogs, free WiFi and free bike rental. Prices begin from £63 per night time.
Tour: Smart Travel supply a 7-day private tour of Slavonia and Baranja together with 4* lodging, native journey on a luxurious air-conditioned bus and a half-board meal plan. Prices begin from €900 and the tour contains visits to all of the cities talked about in this text together with a number of vineyards and alternatives to find native folklore and delicacies.
Getting there: Fly to Zagreb and from there you can take a 5-hour practice or 3-hour bus to Brod, or it takes simply over 2 hours by automobile.