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Clare
Clare

Day 10: Varaždin

Our plan for today was to visit the town of Varaždin, located about 50 miles to the north of Zagreb. We had visited here once before, in 2013, but that was during winter, so I thought it would be fun to see it in summer too :)  You can get to Varaždin either by bus or by train; the bus is quicker, so probably most people's preferred option, but I like travelling by train and remembered it as a very scenic journey from last time around, so we decided to give the bus a miss.

Part of the reason that the train is so slow is that it doesn't seem to take an entirely direct route to Varaždin. The other reason is that it stops at an incredible number of stations en route, many of which were so small that they looked more like bus stops in the middle of nowhere than actual train stations. It was indeed a pretty journey though, taking us through a hilly and forested countryside.

We arrived in Varaždin just after 11.30 and faced the same problem as last time we were here: not being able to find the town centre, because it isn't signposted from the station. Luckily I could just about remember the direction we had taken last time and we soon had confirmation that we were on the right track when we came across Varaždin's beautiful pink cathedral.

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The cathedral is not far away from the town's main square.

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At the far end of the square is the town hall.

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The centre of town is full of colourful little streets and we wandered around them for a while.

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There are several colourful churches too.

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Eventually we got a glimpse of the town's most striking sight: the castle.

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It really only was a glimpse: the castle is hidden behind these big embankments, which were built to help protect it from the Ottomans.

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You have to climb a path up the embankments to get a better view :)

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You can then follow the path around the top of the embankments and see the castle from all angles.

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A castle was first built here in the twelfth century.

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It was significantly rebuilt during the sixteenth century, giving it the form it takes today.

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It's a lovely place to stroll around in the sunshine, and it was definitely warmer than last time we were here :) 

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Once we'd seen the castle, we walked around the streets of Varaždin once more, on the look-out for a place to have lunch.

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I remembered the previous meal we'd had in Varaždin as being a cheap one and sure enough, when we found a restaurant we weren't disappointed.

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We had a feast of spaghetti bolognese and bread, followed by chocolate pancakes and coffee, and accompanied by water, wine and beer... and all for the price of 175 kuna (approximately £20)!

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There was just time for a final walk around Varaždin before it was time to start the long train journey back to Zagreb.

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We've had a fun few days in Croatia :) Tomorrow we will be moving on to the final country of this holiday: Slovenia!

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