Varaždin, with its 18th-century baroque churches and town houses, makes a manageable day trip from the capital. Stari Grad, a well-preserved 16th-century castle surrounded by grassy ramparts, now housing a museum, is the main attraction. The best time to visit is autumn, when the trees take on russet hues complementing the pink and ochre façades. If you’re lucky, you’ll also catch the renowned Varaždin Baroque Evenings music festival, staged late September to early October. There’s a town tourist office (Ivana Padovca 3, T042-201005, http://www.tourism-varazdin.hr) .
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