At the northernmost point of the Republic of Croatia, near a little place called Žabnik, the river Mura turns the impressive wheel of a wooden river mill. It is a unique example of traditional architectural heritage both in Croatia and in the broader region. The water murmur and the creaking sound of grindstone bring visitors back to the long gone 1902 when flour was grinded for the first time on that floating “oldster”. Around the mill, in an idyllic natural surrounding, a “Miller’s instructive path” has been built. Apart from offering a walk in the intact nature, this instructive path also presents a multitude of interesting information about natural and traditional heritage of the Significant Landscape of the river Mura. There is also a river raftthat, just like a perpetuum mobile, takes people and vehiclesfrom one river bank to the other, with no motor, sails or oars. The river Mura and its numerous backwaters offer a possibility to experience a true fishing adventure or a “light rafting” in traditional wooden boats. Not far from there, there is a place called Križovec where a natural-science collection is situated.
Sveti Martin Thermal Resort proudly bears the following names: the best, the best-looking and the biggest thermal resort in Croatia. It earned those compliments in the last two years by receiving the Golden Plaque for improving the quality of tourist offer, awarded by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and the Croatian Television. It was also awarded the Green Flower of Croatia with golden border by the Croatian Tourist Board, in the category of the best-looking thermal resort. A modern inner pool with thermal and plain water, numerous water effects in the biggest complex of open pools in Croatia, a wellness centre, convention halls, a shopping centre, four star apartments, several restaurants, a pub, playgrounds for several sports, organized trips, a variety of animation and entertainment, as well as many other programmes – all of the abovementioned fully justifies the name “the biggest thermal resort in Croatia”. The vicinity of the resort is also exceptional. For five consecutive times, Sveti Martin na Muri (St. Martin on the Mura river) was presented the award for one of the best-looking little places in continental Croatia by the Croatian Tourist Board. Within the EDEN project (European Destinations of Excellence), Sveti Martin na Muri was included among the ten best rural destinations in Europe.
Info: www.toplicesvetimartin.hr, +385 40 371 111, www.svetimartin.hr
The town of Čakovec is situated almost in the centre of Međimurje. The old Romans located their resting-place Aquama (wet town) in this area. The 13th century cronicles have a record of the timber “Čakov tower”, as a precursor to today’s town and its name. The Zrinski family, together with other rulers in the 16th and the 17thcentury turned the tower into an unconquerable and sumptuous wasserburg (a castle encircled by a moat) around which a free royal city was about to emerge. Surrounded by the park and its green leaves, the historical centre has been preserved until the present day. Around this core, a town made to human measure has emerged. Excellent communications, the most modern infrastructure, beautiful horticulture, economic progress, a dynamic cultural and sports life – all of these contribute to a cosy living of about twenty thousand inhabitants. Besides the historic core, the tourists are presented with an excellent gastronomic offer, swimming pools, various sports fields, rich night life and interesting occasions throughout the year.
The entire Međimurje is covered with hunting areas carefully managed by the local hunting associations. The feathered gamebirds are predominant in the hunting-grounds, for example pheasants, partridges, wild geese and ducks. Rabbit and deer game huntings also make an interesting experience. The hunting associations provide excellent hunting preparations together with the accompanying logistics.
In Međimurje, over 12,250 acres of fishing waters are available for sport fishing. The most attractive microlocations are the following ones: the hydroelectric power plant canal near Donja Dubrava, “Marina” near Prelog, the “Zrinski” canal near Kuršanec, gravel pits near Ivanovec and Turščišće, backwaters of the river Mura near Križovec and Žabnik, the bed of the river Mura from Novakovec to Podturen, near Kotoriba, the mouth or the small river Trnava into the Mura near Goričan. The most common fish living in the abovementioned, as well as in many other waters are: tench, crucian carp, chiton, crucian carp, trout-perch, catfish, pike, asp, chub, carp, amur, bream, nose carp, barbel and others. The fishing licence is obtainable at the fishing associations and fishing tackle shops.
In Međimurje, handicrafts used to be one of the most important means of survival. However, at the same time they were a medium for an artistic expression of the “common” people. The best way to experience the county’s rich heritage is by following the “Tradition Road”. The road connects a dozen of workshops presenting traditional handicrafts (potter, weaver in a loom, woodcarver, gardener in a traditional garden, weaver, carnival mask carver, traditional cuisine chef, river miller). By a prior telephone appointment, visitors can have a look around the workshop and at the same time they can get actively involved in the crafts (individually or in a group) by making a souvenir or an useful item with their own hands. At the centre of the tradition road there is a “Gallery & Educational Centre” whose collection presents a history of handicraft tradition in Međimurje. Both the “Road” and the buildings are marked by tourist signs.
From the mid 16 to the mid 17 century Međimurje was governed by the Zrinski noble family. The Zrinski became a part of Croatian and European history due to their military feats in the wars against the Turks, but also as poets, gastronomers, politicians, plotters and finally, as tragedians. The biographies of the family members resemble true historical ballads which even present Hollywood scriptwriters themselves wouldn’t create better. Today, the attractive historical military unit named “Zrinska garda” (The Zrinski Guard) evokes their glorious past. In the palace of The Old City of the Zrinski Family there is now the Museum of the Međimurje County Čakovec which , apart from the collection dedicated to the Zrinski family, houses a rich archaeological, historical and ethnographic collection as well as an art gallery. In the place called Šenkovec there are remnants of the Zrinski mausoleum, and in Gornji Kuršanec there is a memorial to the death of Nikola Zrinski.
Tradition has it that the Romans were the first to plant grapevines on the gentle hills of Međimurje. Today, good asphalt roads, connecting about thirty wine cellars and tasting rooms, run through the picturesque landscape streaked with more than 2,500 acres of vineyards. There, one can taste excellentwhite wines(Sauvignon, Moslavac, Chardonnay, Welschriesling, Rhine Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Traminer, Zeleni Silvanac, Yellow Muscat…) and some red wines (Pinot blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon…). The wines range from excellent blend wines, through high quality sort wines, to superior predicates – late harvestand ice wines. Wine tastings in nicely furnished tasting rooms offer a possibility to taste traditional home-made cold cuts. Individual visits to wine cellars and tasting rooms should be appointed by phone at least a few hours prior to the arrival. Individual visits to the wine road can be made by car, by bike or on foot. Except by car, organised tourist groups can visit the wine road by a special wine train. All access routes and facilities are marked by tourist signs. The wine quality and tasting rooms design place this wine road to the very top of Croatian enological offer. As a result, in 2007 it was proclaimed the best product of continental Croatia.