As the one-time capital of 18th-century Croatia, Varaždin boasts a strategic location on the Drava River, close by the Slovenian and Hungarian borders. A popular day trip destination from Zagreb, the lively Baroque town is a charming example of a traditional Croatian settlement, renowned for its exquisite architecture. Varaždin is also known for its long-standing affiliation with the arts, showcased by the 10-day open-air arts festival held each August and the prestigious Varazdin Baroque Evenings held throughout September.
The visual highlight of Varaždin is its array of painstakingly restored Baroque buildings, many of which date back to the town's reign as capital, and earned the town its nickname of 'Little Vienna.' The striking 16th-century Town Hall, flanked by uniformed grenadiers; the rococo-style Sermage Palace, now home to the Gallery of Old and Contemporary Masters; and the pastel-hued facades that line the central Kralja Tomislava square, are all notable landmarks, but the star attraction is the fanciful 14th-century Stari Grad fortress, which now houses the Town Museum.