You might frown at this complex set of syllables, but omen non est nomen in this case, and this beautiful green county will definitely make you feel anything but annoyed. This county is the smallest, but also the most densely populated county in Croatia (excluding the City of Zagreb). The Mura and Drava Rivers are the veins of the county, and they form the Mura-Drava Regional Park, which spreads to four other counties, and comprises one fourth of Međimurje County. The county borders both Slovenia and Hungary, and 30 km of Slovenian territory separate it from Austria, so it’s had a strategic importance during history, especially during the Ottoman era when it played a crucial role in preventing Ottoman expansion.
The region is divided into Upper and Lower Međimurje; with Alpine slopes belonging to Upper Međimurje and the flat Pannonian Plain being part of Lower Međimurje. The former is famous for its vineyards and top quality wine, while the latter is mostly agriculture land.
This is where the first railroad tracks in Croatia were laid (in 1860) and where oil was found for the first time in Croatia.
The seat and the biggest city is Čakovec, winner of one of the tidiest and greenest cities in continental Croatia award, and also one of the 10 cities with the highest GDP in Croatia. Its notable sights include Čakovec Castle (a medieval castle dating back to the 13th ct) located in Zrinski Park, Secesijska palača (a Secession-style palace), and Saint Nicholas’ Church.
However, the quality Međimurje is most famed for nowadays is its enogastronomy. The vineyards here produce extraordinary wines which, paired with unique delicacies, create an exceptional foodie experience. The experts at Visit Međimurje recommend you try the following: pretepena juha (thick cream soup), meso 'z tiblice (cooked cured meat packed in a wooden barrel), Turoš cottage cheese, temfani picek (chicken in a cream sauce) with buckwheat porridge, and međimurska gibanica (layer cake). The wines you shouldn’t miss include Graševina (Welschriesling), Moslavac (Furmint), Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Traminac (Gewurztraminer), Muscat Blanc and the Bordeaux varietals.
Watch a video on Upper Međimurje below:
It takes 2:30 h and costs around 70 kn to get to Čakovec from Zagreb. You can click here for the buses, or you can book a wonderful tour with Zagrebites. The tour includes a visit to two wineries, meeting the winemakers, and trying the delicious Međimurje specialties for lunch. As the agency suggests, get to know Međimurje bite by bite.