10 citadels and historic villages to discover Croatia’s history

Korčula en Croatie

Discover Croatia’s citadels and villages and embark on a journey steeped in history and hidden treasures.

Croatia abounds in historic wonders that will take you back in time. From majestic citadels to picturesque villages, each site tells a fascinating story and offers an authentic immersion in the country’s heritage. Set in magnificent landscapes, these architectural gems bear witness to Croatia’s rich cultural heritage. Let yourself be seduced by the enchanting atmosphere and the relics of yesteryear that characterize these historic Croatian citadels and villages.

Pazin Castle

Centre historique de Pazin en Croatie

Shutterstock – Goran_safarek

Among Croatia’s citadels and historic villages, Pazin Castle is a perfectly preserved medieval fortress. Located in the Istria region, it is a remarkable site. Perched on a rocky promontory, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Pazincica river valley. The picturesque lanes and stone houses will take you back to another era. Exciting activities await you, such as zip-lining and a visit to the Pazinska jama cave.

Dubovac Castle

Château de Dubovac en Croatie

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Built in the 13th century and rebuilt in the 16th century in Renaissance style, Dubovac Castle harmoniously blends history and aesthetics. Located on a hilltop in Karlovac, just 50 km from Zagreb, the castle now houses a hotel and restaurant overlooking the Kupa Valley. In the guard tower, immerse yourself in Dubovac’s mysterious past. It houses a permanent exhibition of documents and archives recounting the fortress’s eventful history.

In mid-May, during the Foire de la Seigneurie, the castle and its surrounding countryside once again welcome knights and craftsmen. It’s an opportunity to sample medieval gastronomy and enjoy traditional activities.

Ozalj Castle

Château d’Ozalj en Croatie

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Built on a cliff overlooking the Kupa Valley, Ozalj Castle is one of Croatia’s most famous fortresses. Witness to the famous 17th-century  » Zrinski-Frankopan conspiracy « , this medieval castle is a veritable nugget, housing a small museum and library.

Veliki Tabor Castle

Château de Veliki Tabor en Croatie

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Majestically set on a green hill, Veliki Tabor Castle awaits you. Its name, « big camp » in Croatian, recalls its vital defensive role in the past. It served as a refuge for local inhabitants in the event of an attack. Today, this imposing fortress still retains its original appearance, inviting you to step back into the region’s medieval history.

Stroll through the fortified complex of Veliki Tabor Castle, and you’ll discover a museum recounting its turbulent past. A richly decorated chapel is also visible. It invites you to a contemplative pause, where you can admire the artistic treasures that have survived the centuries.

The medieval ramparts at Motovun

Motovun en Croatie

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During your visit to the citadels and villages of Croatia, make your way to Motovun. It’s a charming historic village in Istria, just an hour’s drive from Rijeka. Surrounded by medieval ramparts and perched 277 m above sea level, it offers panoramic views over the magnificent vineyards of the Mirna river valley.

In Motovun’s restaurants and local stores, you can taste local wines and savor quality truffles, a culinary specialty not to be missed. Every year in July, the village hosts the Motovun Film Festival, a key event for all film lovers.

Authentic atmosphere in Kumrovec

Village de Kumrovec en Croatie

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Visit Kumrovec and discover Croatia’s enchanting history. Nestled in the Zagorje hills, this village is located near the Sutla River. Kumrovec is known as the birthplace of Josip Broz Tito, the Communist dictator of Yugoslavia. As you explore this village-museum, you’ll have the chance to visit his birthplace, now a museum.

You’ll be captivated by Kumrovec’s authentic atmosphere and its perfectly preserved wooden houses, witnesses of 19th-century architecture. Just an hour’s drive north of Zagreb, near the Slovenian border, Kumrovec is an ideal destination for history buffs.

The fortress of Klis

Forteresse de Klis en Croatie

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The Klis fortress, located in the Dalmatian village of Klis, offers a journey back to the heart of the Middle Ages. Founded in the 2nd century, this fortress has witnessed the different influences that have marked the country’s history. It passed in turn under the control of the Illyrians, Croats, Venetians, Turks and Austrian Habsburgs, before reverting to the Croats in the 20th century.

The Klis fortress gained popularity thanks to its participation in the Game of Thrones series, where it was used as the backdrop for the town of Meeren. From its ramparts, visitors can contemplate a sublime view of the entire Dalmatian coast.

Kamerlengo Castle

Château de Kamerlengo en Croatie

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Kamerlengo Castle, located in Trogir on the Dalmatian coast, was founded by the Venetians in the 15th century. Its name is a reminder of the Venetian influence that marked this region.

Stroll through the narrow streets of the old town and let yourself be transported back to a bygone era. From majestic churches to impressive palaces, every street corner reveals architectural treasures and immerses you in a 100% medieval atmosphere. You’ll also be charmed by the magnificent panorama of the Adriatic Sea.

Osijek citadel

Citadelle d'Osijek en Croatie

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Located in Osijek, Slavonia, the citadel of the same name boasts an imposing 18th-century fortress. It also offers a unique view of the surrounding marshlands and the Drava River. Built by the Austro-Hungarians to protect the city center, it bears witness to the strategic importance of the region at the time. Explore its thick walls and well-preserved bastions and immerse yourself in Croatian history.

In addition to the citadel, discover the charming old town of Gornji Grad and its cobbled streets. Osijek’s museums also offer a captivating insight into the region’s past and culture. Ideally situated halfway between Zagreb, Budapest and Belgrade, Osijek is a strategic stopover on your Balkan tour.

The fortified village of Korčula

Korčula en Croatie

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Discover the citadel and historic village of Korčula, located on the Croatian island of the same name. This small fortified town has existed since the 10th century and is included on Unesco’s tentative list in the cultural heritage category. The Venetians gave Korčula its present-day architecture and town planning in the 15th century, turning it into a historical gem.

Surrounded by ramparts, the old town is a veritable labyrinth of fishbone-shaped streets, providing optimal air circulation and protection from strong winds. The surrounding landscape is equally impressive, with a turquoise peninsula facing the Sveti Ilija mountain.

Immerse yourself in Croatian history as you explore these charming historic villages and citadels. Do you know of a village that’s missing from our selection? Share your suggestions in the comments below.