7 Undiscovered Cities in Slavonia, Croatia
Want to see a different side of Croatia? Slavonia is the region for you. Through these seven cities, you’ll learn about its natural beauty, historic cities, and unique cuisine.
If you’re ready to immerse yourself in raw countryside beauty, traditional folklore, and fairytale-like streets, Slavonia, Croatia, is the hidden gem you’ve been looking for. Of this country’s four regions, it’s the least traveled path. But it’s time to change this.
Scroll down to discover the natural beauty and rich culture of the top seven cities in Slavonia. Plus, we have tips for packing, route planning, and the weather. Keep reading, and you’ll be a Croatia pro in minutes.
Slavonia, at a glance
Situated in the northeast of Croatia, Slavonia is a region most tourists skip. But as beautiful as the coastline is, this region’s authentic culture, rural villages, and warm hospitality should be on your list as well.
Slavonia is famous for its agricultural significance. However, the real star of the show is the local wine. This region is known for refreshing white wines from the Grasevina grape. Imagine sipping a cold glass while admiring rolling hills. Divine.
This area is also known for folklore and traditional festivals. There’s always music and dancing. If you want to connect with Croatia’s myths and legends, this is the place to do it.
Geographically, this region sits next to the Danube and Drava rivers and the Sava River on its south side. It borders Hungary, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The closer you reach the borders, the more unique the culture becomes!
A note before you book: Slavonia isn’t on the major Croatian tourist trail. So, don’t expect everyone to speak English! Some prior travel experience is helpful when visiting this region.
7 Cities In Slavonia, Croatia You Must Visit
Get ready to see Croatia’s non-tourist side. Here are the top seven cities in Slavonia to visit.
Vukovar, also known as the Heroic Town on the Danube, is a must-visit stop in Slavonia.
It’s on the Croatia-Serbia border and was significant in the 1990s Yugoslav Wars.
Today, life in Vukovar is peaceful, and the city is intact. But a few decades ago, it was completely different. Looking closely, you can see remnants of the war and the siege — just look at the destroyed water tower.
Vukovar is all about history and remembrance.
While here, you can visit Eltz Manor (an 18th-century Baroque palace), the Vukovar City Museum, Syrmia County Palace, and the church of Saint Nicholas.
Even the city center is beautiful. The exquisite buildings are from the Austro-Hungarian empire and still have their original facades.
Want to take a day trip to Serbia? You can jump from Vukovar to Belgrade in 2 hours and 40 minutes via bus. Don’t forget your passport!
Next up is Dakovo, a town in the center of Slavonia.
Compared to other cities in Slavonia, Dakovo is more remote and rustic — that’s precisely why you should visit. Here, you can enjoy a blend of natural beauty and traditional Croatian culture without bumping into big cruise ship tour groups (*ahem* Dubrovnik).
Highlights of Dakovo include:
- Dilji Mountain
- Dakovo Ethnographic Museum
- The city center
- St. Peter’s Cathedral
While here, book yourself into a Lipizzaner horse show. These happen at the Dakovo State Stud Farm all year round.
You can jump from Zagreb to Dakovo in approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes via bus. Perfect if you’re flying to the capital.
Introducing Požega, a Slavonian town situated between rolling hills and low mountains. If you’re dreaming of a countryside experience, you’ll find it here.
Fertile farmland, sprawling vineyards, and quaint villages surround Požega. In autumn, this area is dubbed the “Golden Valley,” thanks to the rich golden-yellow colors of the local flora. You’ll want a window seat on this journey.
Things to do in Požega include:
- Visiting family farms for produce tasting (wine, veal steaks, Slavonian ham and chutneys).
- Hiking up Požeška Gora Hill for unbeatable views of the Slavonian Mountains.
- Learning about the culture from the City Museum of Požega.
- Monastery of the Sisters of Charity
Many visitors choose to see the region by bicycle. This is the best way to get from tavern to tavern, but cycling with a belly full of hearty food and wine is easier said than done!
Zagreb to Požega takes 2.5 hours via bus. You can reach this countryside gem in no time.
If you want to dive into Slavonian history and folklore, Vinkovici is the town for you.
Fun Fact: Vinkovci has been inhabited for over 8,000 years — it’s the oldest inhabited town in Europe!
That’s right. Vinkovici dates back to the Neolithic age.
It’s also the birthplace of two Roman emperors (Valentinian I and Valens). It was part of the Ottoman and Habsburg Empires. In the 18th century, it became part of the Slavonia Military Frontier, and today, it’s part of independent Croatia. Wow.
Popular attractions in Vinkovci include:
- Saints Eusebius and Pollio Church
- Vinkovci Town Museum
- Church of St. Elias on Meraja
- Sopot Archaeology Park
Make sure you take a break and sample the local cuisine. Top dishes include goose, fish, and kulen (a sausage made from minced pork). You can wash these down with rakija, a Balkan fruit brandy.
Want to learn more about the Austro-Hungarian Empire? Skip from Vinkovci to Graz to discover Austria. Take your passport!
Slavonia isn’t just small country towns and rolling hills. Osijek is the fourth-largest city in Croatia and the largest in the region. Unsurprisingly, this makes it Slavonia’s cultural and economic center and the best place to visit for a night out.
Walking through the city streets, you’ll notice the distinct Viennese-style buildings. But if you look even closer, you’ll see bullet holes from the Yugoslav Wars. If you want to learn about the wars and pay your respects, Osijek should be on your list.
While in Osijek, you should explore the Tvrda. This part of the city dates back to the Middle Ages and was transformed into a fortress by the Austrians.
You can also visit the nearby Kopacki Rit Nature Park, Osijek Zoo (the largest in the country), the Museum of Slavonia, the Church of St. Anthony, and the Upper Town.
Fancy region-hopping? If you head from Osijek to Porec, you can travel from Slavonia to coastal Istria.
This takes 8.5 hours via bus. You’ll see the sea in no time.
Situated in the south of Slavonia, Slavonski Brod marks the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This city is known for its iconic Brod Fortress. This formidable building was created in 1714, and you can still visit it today. Within the fortress, you’ll find the Tambura Museum, which is packed with multimedia exhibits and interactive workshops.
If you want to see the heart of Slavonski Brod, head to the Korzo town square. This historic square is massive, and those with a keen eye will notice it’s even larger than Zagreb’s Jelacic Square. This is a great place to sip freshly brewed coffee while taking in Croatian life.
Pro tip: In the winter, Korzo Square has a small ice rink. Don’t miss it!
Other popular things to do in Slavonski Brod include:
- City center walking tours
- Slavonski Brod cemetery
- Bike tours
- Tasting local Tiritilli cookies (sweet cookies made with fruit jams, walnuts, and poppy seeds)
Want to compare the squares? Zagreb to Slavonski Brod only takes 2 hours and 15 minutes by bus.
Last but not least is Lipik. This little town is on the eastern border of Slavonia and is not as well known as the larger cities on this list. But it’s a must-see spot for genuine small-town life.
Most visitors in Lipik stop by to take in the country view, enjoy local spas, and generally detox from busy modern life. It’s also a hotspot for fishing enthusiasts, as you can fish in the nearby Pjeskara and Raminac lakes.
You can also explore stunning churches, such as the Church of St. Catherine the Martyr and the Virgin in Gaj and the Church of St. Anthony in Antunovac.
Since it’s a small town, Lipik isn’t as connected as Croatia’s big cities. It’s easiest to get to if you own a car, so add this to your road trip itinerary. Zagreb to Lipik takes just under two hours via car or taxi.
Alternative must-see places in Slavonia
Traveling for longer? Here are some other top places you need to see in Slavonia.
- Papuk – Papuk is the largest mountain in the region, and you’ll find it next to Pozega. The area is a member of the European Geoparks Network and UNESCO’s Global Geoparks Network, proving its prowess. Perfect for hikers, nature lovers, and explorers.
- Karanac — Situated 30 minutes north of Osijek, Karanac initially looks like a standard small town. But it’s actually a cultural hub tourists flock to. Here, you can admire preserved old-fashioned architecture, sip on local wines, and feast on traditional foods (such as snails in nettle sauce or fried locust flowers!)
- Kopački Rit Nature Park — Located northwest of Osijek, the Kopački Rit Nature Park is a true hidden gem. This swamp park boasts 238 hectares of pristine wetland and over different species of birds. A visit here is like a trip to a different planet.
Weather in Slavonia, Croatia
Know before you go. Here’s the lowdown on the annual forecast in Slavonia, Croatia.
This region is moderately warm and has a rainy continental climate. The warmest month is July, when temperatures average around 22°C/72°F. It does get hotter, but these warm spells aren’t consistent.
Most of the year, Slavonia sees temperatures of 10 to 12°C (50 to 54°F). So, bring a few layers and an umbrella for maximum comfort.
If you’re traveling in the winter, prepare to wrap up warm. Unlike Croatia’s coastal areas, Slavonia sees average temperatures from 1 to 5°C (33.8 to 41°F). The coldest months are December to January.
Packing list for vacations in Slavonia, Croatia
Your Slavonia packing list will ultimately rely on which season you visit. However, these are some essentials you’ll need for every Croatian holiday.
- Waterproof camera
- Comfortable footwear
- Croatian phrasebook (or Google translate!)
- Money belt
- Plug converters
- Daily SPF — skincare is vital whatever the weather
- Travel water bottle
Map of the cities in Slavonia, Croatia
Familiar with Slavonia? No stress if not. Here’s a visual guide to the northeastern region.
How to get to Slavonia, Croatia
You’ll need to get to Slavonia before you take on these destinations! Here are the most common routes to note.
If you’re flying in from another country, you’ll likely arrive at Zagreb Airport (ZAG). You can make your way into the region by traveling from Zagreb to Osijek. This only takes about 3 hours and 45 minutes via bus.
Osijek is a great central hub for your Slavonian travels. One of the most popular routes is from Osijek to Slavonski Brod, which takes two hours via bus.
Do you want to travel the Dalmatian coast before you visit? No stress. Dubrovnik to Osijek takes just under 14 hours by bus. You can also travel from Split to Osijek in 11 hours. Ideal if you want the best of the seaside and rural life.
The bottom line: Planning an unforgettable trip to the cities in Slavonia
Slavonia, Croatia, is an exquisite historical region waiting to be explored. From sprawling countryside views to architecture fit for royals, this corner of the world is packed with hidden surprises that’ll leave you with lifelong memories — and some epic Instagram photos.
Packing your suitcase? Note down Bookaway’s Croatian travel routes before you leave.
Croatia has four regions: Croatia Proper, Istria, Dalmatia, and Slavonia. Within these four regions are twenty counties.
Osijek is the largest city in Slavonia, Croatia. It has a population of 100,000+ residents and is the cultural and economic center of the northeastern region.
Slavonia is the northeastern region of Croatia. It borders Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Hungary but is not part of these countries.