Trakošćan Castle – the pearl of Croatian Zagorje

A fairy-tale site brimming with tradition, legends, and untouched nature

Deep in the heart of Croatian Zagorje, near Varaždin, there lies a beautiful castle with a park and a lake, which captivates the eye of domestic and foreign tourists. Trakošćan Castle is one of the most romantic and fairy tale-like sites you have ever seen, with a nearly 800-year history behind it. Trakošćan Castle is a cultural and historic monument of exceptional significance and one of few edifices in Croatia with its own preserved holdings; it was built in the late 13th century within the defence system of northwest Croatia as a smaller-scale observation post for monitoring the route between Ptuj and Bednja Valley. For over half a century, it has featured a museum with a treasured collection of paintings, furniture, weaponry, and valuables from the Renaissance period all the way to Historicism. All items, displayed in the original spatial units, serve to represent the aristocratic life of Trakošćan and the Drašković family.

Alongside the beauty of the castle itself, it is important to note that its surroundings have also been landscaped to an extent that makes this locality one of the more frequented castles in Croatia. The castle’s surroundings have been modelled as a forest park, featuring an artificial lake, meadows, and clusters of trees and shrubs, which together make up a harmonious unit. The forest is abundant with coniferous and deciduous trees that give it exceptional colourfulness, especially in autumn. The route around Trakošćan Lake features an educational trail which gives insight into the natural assets of Trakošćan’s forest park and the surrounding area. It is 5 kilometres long and can be viewed by taking a leisurely walk of around two hours. It consists of 20 educational points, including a fishing hut acting as an info point and intended for rest during the walk. According to the legend, Trakošćan was named after the Thracian fort (arx Thacorum) which is said to have existed in Antiquity. Another preserved lore tells us that it was named after the knights of Drachenstein, who reigned over the territory in the early medieval period.

Trakošćan is a cultural asset, a protected historical unit consisting of the castle, the surrounding edifices, the park and the forest park with the lake, and is one of the most beautiful and representative castles in Croatia. It is situated in Croatian Zagorje, 23 kilometres northeast of Krapina and 40 kilometres southwest of Varaždin. Catering facilities are found at the foot of the castle, so you can enjoy local produce and the traditional dishes of Zagorje. The stroll around the beautiful lake, enjoying the forest air, the interesting history and exceptional gastronomy are all ideal reasons for a weekend excursion and getaway from the city. Trakošćan is a castle that never ceases to amaze, and its development and recognisability as a tourist destination has also been supported by HEP Group with its 300th electric car charging station, which began to operate in October 2021.

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