Wellness and Heritage: Varazdinske Toplice

By , 17 May 2017, 07:01 AM Varazdin County in Focus

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When you mention wellness and heritage in Croatia, Varazdinske Toplice is not to be missed. 

Croatia celebrates an important anniversary next year with the island of Hvar marking 150 years of organised tourism in Europe, the first such type of tourism in Europe on what became known as the 'Austrian Madeira', with the aristocracy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire heading down to Dalmatia to convalesce on the island famed for its recuperative climate, as guests of the newly formed Hvar Health Society.

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But while the Hvar Health Society may be the first official organised tourism in Europe, foreigners have been coming to Croatia a lot longer than that. Have a look around Croatia, and there are plenty of wellness centres around, but none so big or established as Varazdinske Toplice, less than an hour from Zagreb, and with an impressive heritage to match its magical therapeutic waters.

Above a wonderful video from the Varazdinske Toplice Tourist Board on life as it one was in the town, which still has a strong Austro-Hungarian feel, with its period buildings and cobblestone streets. Varazdinske Toplice in 1870.

But the town's heritage goes much further back than that...

Evidence of human existence here goes back to the discovery of evidence of Neolithic man in the limestone cave of Gradisce, dating back some 100,000 years, but the 'modern' history of the town can be traced back to the Pannonian-Illyrian tribe Jasi, who were living there prior to the arrival fo the Romans.

The Romans liked what they saw, with natural spa water at a constant temperature of 58C coming from a depth of 1800m, and the spa was used for four centuries. Modern excavation has made available some impressive evidence of the Roman era, and a tour of the town's museum and Roman ruins is an essential part of the Varazdinske Toplice experience. 

Varazdinske Toplice's modern role as a spa town began again almost 200 years ago, and it was regarded as one of the top spas in all Europe at the beginning of the 20th century, after which it fell into something of a decline.

That is now changing, and its hotels are once more full, its wellness programmes impressive, and it is an ideal weekend destination for those looking for a little recuperation – Slovenia, Austria, Hungary are all close by – as well of course for those looking for longer programmes.

Get more of a feel for the town and its heritage in the video below.

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Croatia Traffic Info

  • On the A1 motorway at Brinje tunnel in direction Split traffic is flowing with delays due to a traffic accident. During the day delays can be expected in roadwork areas. Weather conditions are favourable. Drivers are invited to keep distance and to adjust the speed to road conditions. One lane is free only/traffic is flowing in reduced lanes on the following motorways:-A1 Zagreb-Split-Ploče in Brinje and Mala Kapela tunnels in both directions till 10 June; -A2 Zagreb-Macelj between Jankomir and Zaprešić junctions 1st-4th km, between Sveti Križ Začretje and Krapina junctions 38th-41st km in both directions; -A3 Bregana-Lipovac at Kutina-Ilova bridge (106th km), between Kutina and Novska (117th-120th km) in both directions, between Popovača and Križ junctions (79th-78th km) in direction Zagreb; -A4 Zagreb-Goričan - till 9 June traffic is suspended in the entrance lane of Kraljevečki Novaki from direction Sesvete and Dugo Selo towards Ivanja Reka junction, there is a local detour; in the roadwork area traffic is flowing in reduced lanes; -A6 Rijeka-Zagreb at Svilno viaduct 78th-80th km between Orehovica and Čavle junctions in each direction till 1 June. Till 9 June between 9am and 10am, 8pm and 9pm traffic is occasionally suspended for about 15 minutes on Rijeka detour road at Rujevica junction in both directions. Due to roadworks traffic is suspended: -on the DC1 state road in Lučko (Zagreb); -on the DC8 Adriatic road at Posedarje; -on the DC6 state road, section Glina-Dvor border crossing, detour: Glina (DC37)-Petrinja-Hrvatska Kostajnica-Dvor; -on the DC47 Lipik-Novska state road at Jagma 7am-7pm. Traffic is regulated by traffic signals/one road lane is free only:-on the DC1 state road in Knin until 14 July; -on the DC1 state road at Klinča Sela, Tušilović and Mostanje; -on the DC8 Adriatic road on the section Kaštel Stari-Kaštel Gomilica, at Podstrana, on the section Zaton Doli-Bistrina; -on the DC66 Pula-Most Raša state road; -on the DC62 Veliki Prolog-Metković state road at Most Metković.
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  • During the day difficulties can be expected at the border crossings with Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Hungary due to traffic density and occasional additional controls. Inbound passenger traffic is dense at Kaštel, outbound at Kaštel and Plovanija. There are delays of 20 minutes. In outbound freight traffic there are delays at Bajakovo (2 km). Due to roadworks at Županja and Slavonski Brod border crossings delays can be expected. At Harmica border crossing traffic is allowed for vehicles up to 7,5 tonnes only.
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  • Ferries operate regularly.
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