9 Fairytale Castles to Visit in Croatia

Croatia is home to many fairytale-like castles, offering visitors the chance to step back in time and immerse themselves in the rich history of the region. One of the best regions for castle exploration is Hrvatsko Zagorje, an area filled with rolling hills, verdant landscapes, and several excellent wineries. Here are some of the best ancient castles in Croatia that you won’t want to miss.

Trakošćan Castle

Trakošćan Castle is one of the most famous castles in Croatia, located atop a steep hill in Hrvatsko Zagorje. The castle boasts beautiful gardens and a man-made lake and is less than an hour’s drive from the capital city of Zagreb, the Pilgrimage town of Maria Bistrica, and the baroque city of Varaždin. Originally built in the 13th century as an observation fortress, Trakošćan has changed hands numerous times over the last nine centuries and is now owned by the Croatian government. The castle is one of the best-preserved castles in Croatia, offering visitors a museum with a permanent collection of paintings, furniture, and other display items. You’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time as you walk through the fully set dining tables, study areas, and bedrooms complete with antique linens. The Knights’ room is the museum’s star attraction, with a collection of swords and firearms dating back to the 15th century.

Veliki Tabor Castle

Veliki Tabor Castle is another castle located in Hrvatsko Zagorje, overlooking the beautiful green valley of the same name. Although it is not the most grand of castles, with its plump and short appearance, Veliki Tabor Castle has a unique horseshoe-shaped design and is on the Croatia UNESCO Tentative list. The castle’s heartbreaking legend tells the story of the tragic love between Veronika, a peasant girl, and the castle’s nobleman Fridrih Celjski. The castle hosts various workshops and performances during peak season, allowing visitors to experience medieval life’s daily chatter.

Miljana Castle

Miljana Castle is a beauty among the castles of Hrvatsko Zagorje, dating back to the 16th century and once belonging to the Ratkay family. It is now one of the best-preserved old castles in Croatia, featuring an extensive collection of astrological paintings and a private art collection.

Klis Fortress

Klis Fortress is perched atop a cliff near a village with the same name, just outside Split. It is one of the oldest surviving forts in Croatia, dating back to the 2nd century BC when it was a stronghold of an Illyrian tribe. The fortress rose in importance and became the seat of the first Dukes of the Croatian Duchy and later the capital of the Croatian Kingdom. Klis Fortress’s strategic significance made it a popular place to live, and a village originated around the fortress during Venetian times. Today, Klis Fortress is one of Croatia’s most outstanding examples of defensive architecture, boasting three defensive stone walls and a fascinatingly long and diverse history.

Cetin Castle

Cetin Castle sits high on a hill overlooking the area, around three miles from Cetingrad. Although little is known about the actual castle itself, it dates back to around 1334 and offers fantastic views from the top.

Varaždin Castle

Varaždin Castle was built in the 12th century, predating the town of Varaždin, and underwent numerous renovations and transformations throughout time. Its square tower is the oldest part of the structure still standing today, and the architectural and interior styles are heavily influenced by the Renaissance

Veliki Brijun Island

The Islands of Brijuni National Park are a set of 14 small islands off the coast of Pula. Veliki Brijun Island is the largest and most visited. The island was once a presidential retreat during the rule of Yugoslavia’s Communist leader, Josip Broz Tito, and many world leaders and celebrities visited here, including Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

Veliki Brijun Island has a long history, dating back to the Roman Empire. It is also home to several historic buildings, including a Byzantine castrum and a Roman villa. The island’s most prominent structure is the 16th-century St. German Church, which offers breathtaking views of the surrounding area. The island is also home to several species of exotic animals, including elephants, zebras, and llamas.

Visitors can take a guided tour of the island, which includes visits to the historic buildings and a chance to see the exotic animals up close. The island is also a popular destination for swimming, sunbathing, and other water sports.

Ozalj Castle

Ozalj Castle is one of the oldest castles in Croatia, dating back to the 13th century. Located on the Kupa River in central Croatia, the castle has a rich history, having been owned by several prominent families throughout the centuries. It was also used as a military fortress during various wars.

Today, the castle is open to visitors, and guided tours are available. Visitors can explore the castle’s many rooms and halls, which feature a variety of exhibits on the castle’s history and the region’s culture. The castle is also surrounded by beautiful gardens, which are open to the public and offer stunning views of the surrounding area.

Kamerlengo Castle

Located in the coastal town of Trogir, Kamerlengo Castle is a medieval fortress that dates back to the 15th century. The castle was built by the Venetians to defend against the Ottoman Turks and is named after the Venetian word “camerlengo,” meaning treasurer.

Today, the castle is open to visitors and features several exhibits on the castle’s history and the region’s culture. Visitors can explore the castle’s many rooms and halls, including the castle tower, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding area. The castle is also surrounded by a beautiful park, which is open to the public and features several outdoor exhibits.


Croatia is home to many fairytale castles that offer visitors a glimpse into the country’s rich history and culture. From the grand halls of Trakošćan Castle to the exotic animals of Veliki Brijun Island, there is something for everyone to enjoy. So pack a picnic lunch, grab your camera, and take a step back in time to the days of kings, queens, and monarchal power

You might also like

Why You Should Visit Croatia in Winter: Best Things to Do

Discover the Best of Cres Island, Croatia

Šibenik, Croatia: A City of Sun, Sea, and Stone

What is the currency of Croatia?

1 thought on “9 Fairytale Castles to Visit in Croatia”

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top