Located between the rivers Drava and Mura, the green hills and fertile plains of the northernmost part of Croatia are to be found – the region is called Međimurje.
The rounded lush green hills are covered by deciduous forest and vineyards and offer splendid views and are perfect for a gastronomical and wine tastings. The fields are filled with grain, corn and potatoes and the inhabitants are known for the industrious labour and keep the local customs in high honour.
The region offers you anything you are looking for: Nature, Culture, Sports, Gastronomy and Wines, and Entertainment!
Međimurje is also called the flower garden of Croatia!
Nature in Međimurje
The region Međimurje can be roughly divided in two distinct parts – de upper hilly area and the lower plains creating a varied landscape with a wide diversity in flora and fauna. One half of Međimurje is enclosed by the meandering Mura river with its green and natural wild beauty, here deer, beavers and wild boar live in harmony in the floodplain forests. The Drava river on the other side is a source for renewable energy through it’s hydro-power central which created two artificial lakes. The lakes and rivers are a haven for fish, birds, insects and mammals, and many different species can be found here throughout the year.
The varied landscapes of Međimurje offers many opportunities to enjoy this natural environment, whether it be by hiking, cycling or canoeing you can go bird watching, and wildlife photographing. In the protected natural monument Bedekovićeve grabe (near the village Lopatinec) you can find one of the most endangered European butterfly species, the beautiful and Scarce Large Blue butterfly (Phengaris teleius) in the field flower rich wet meadows. And in the whole region sightings of roe deer, pheasants, birds of prey, owls, badgers and martens are common.
The fields and hills of Međimurje are show their unique features all year round, but most magnificent are the hills when they are full with spring and summer flowers! In May the sweet smell of the Acacia flowers linger around the deciduous forests, whereas in June the magnificent and often very large Tilia or Linden trees are in full bloom, it’s flowers are harvested and dried for making herbal tea.
Another kind of nature, is the cultivated ‘Zrinski Park’, surrounding the old castle in the centre of Čakovec, it boasts century old trees and is great for a leisurely stroll.
Culture and history
The region of Međimurje is inhabited from the Neolithic and Copper age up to the Bronze Age as is shown by many archaeological findings. The region can be seen as an island between the rivers Drava and Mura – Insula intra Dravam et Muram – as it was described in the 1st century AD by the well known Greek geographer Strabo. For centuries several aristocratic families have been rulers of this region and traces of their historic presence here are still evident. Among these ruling families are the counts of the Čak family, from whom the name of the town is derived, and of the Zrinski, Althan and Feštetić family.
The golden age of the region was during the reign of the Zrinski family and the cultural legacy, customs, folklore, music and more, are derived mainly from this period in history. The Čakovec Museum of Medjimurje and private collections of Stanko Trstenjak in Marof, Lucija Krnjak in Mačkovec as well as cultural associations’ collections in the villages Kotoriba, Sveta Marija, Mala Subotica and Podturen, show many items of the rich and diverse cultural history of the region.
Also religious buildings are worth a visit and with prior notice you can visit the St. Jerome’s Church in Štrigova with its outstanding fresco’s, St. Martin’s Church in Sveti Martin na Muri, St. Nicholas’s Church in Čakovec, Church of the Holy Trinity in Nedelišće, St. James’s Church in Prelog, Seven Sorrows of the BVM Church and St. Cross Church in Kotoriba.
Međimurje is the birthplace of many famous artists, musicians, writers, scientists, sportsmen and politicians, among them also Rudolf Steiner. The world famous philosopher and founder of antroposophy, Waldorf education, biodynamic agriculture, antroposophical medicine and organic architecture was born in the small village of Donji Kraljevec. In this village the Rudolf Steiner visitor centre is located.
Some interesting facts about Međimurje are that the first Croatian railway (Kotoriba – Pragersko) was opened in 1860 and it passed through Međimurje, and in the village Dunjkovec you can find a small museum related to this, called zbirka štrekari.
The first oil field exploiting raw oil in Croatia, and maybe even worldwide, was discovered in Peklenica, you can visit a replication of the oil drilling rig. On the website of ekoMuzej Mura you can find more information, also about the mill on the Mura river and more tourist attractions.
Međimurje is the perfect place for an active holiday, whether you like hiking, cycling, river rafting, horseback riding, tennis, paintball, quad bike riding, swimming in a thermal spa or the swimming pools of Čakovec, you can find facilities throughout the whole region. At several locations you can also hire bikes and in the summer months you can even hire electrical bikes in the centre of Čakovec.
more information you can find here
Food and Wine
The traditional cuisine of Međimurje has a long history and as a demonstration of this, there is a famous 17th century cookbook from the Zrinski court, containing many recipes of the regions authentic Baroque kitchen and illustrates the dishes as they used to be prepared for the noble family.
Some of the local dishes are pretepena juha (‘thick cream soup’), meso ‘z tiblice (cooked cured pork with lard packed and stored in a wooden barrel), Turoš cottage cheese, temfani picek (chicken in a cream sauce), žljičnjaci/trganci (type of pasta).
You can choose one of the local white wines to accompany your dish, like Graševina (Welschriesling), Moslavac (Furmint), Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Traminac (Gewurztraminer), Muscat Blanc and the local variety Pušipel, while red wine varieties are represented by Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
There are several restaurants throughout Međimurje that serve local dishes with accompanying wines of the region.
Wine and wine road
For some more wine tasting experience you can ride along the wine roads in the hills of Međimurje, where the cultivation of grapes and production of wine dates back to ancient times. Wine growing is mostly a family business in this region so most wineries are small and offer wine tastings in their own cellars.
The Wine Road is undoubtedly one of the most popular attractions in Međimurje, as the region is well known for it’s excellent white wines, the road consists of a 30 km itinerary with about thirty wine tasting establishments. Each winery is pointed out by brown road signs with a depiction of a grape and the name of the wine house. Do go and try the white wine Pušipel, as this wine variety is specific for the Međimurje region, and is a variety of the Moslavac grape. An annual wine festival is held in the end of may, called Urbanovo where local wineries present their new wines and medals are awarded to the most prestigious wines.
In Čakovec and surroundings a great diversity of cocktail lounge bars, coffee bars and night clubs are available for a pleasant night out. On weekends many bars offer life music performances, from rock to electronic music.
Tourist office of Međimurje – Turistička zajednica Međimurske županije
Address Ruđera Boškovića 2, Čakovec
Telephone +385 40 374 064