Osijek is the 4th largest city in Croatia, located in eastern part of the country called Slavonia. It is frequently overlooked by tourists. Arguably the home of Croatia’s friendliest hosts and some of the finest examples of cuisine in the country influenced by Hungarian cuisine as it is Osijek's next door neighbor. Spicy stew, fish or meat one, slowly cooked on an open fire, “shake not stir” Čobanac and Fiš, are cuisine specialties of Slavonia. Slavonia is also responsible for producing some of Croatia's best delicacies, such as Slavonian kulen, nice wines and Osječko beer. First produced in 1697, Osijek made Osječko is the first Croatian beer ever produced and their lager is the best of all standard beers in Croatia. Their Osječki Crni Radler, black beer and lemon is also the country's best radler to help you cool off in the hot summer evening. While there enjoy a meal in a local restaurant and since Osijek is not overcrowded by tourism, that means that you will be eating, drinking and dancing with locals! Which is the best way to get to know the city, wouldn't you agree?
Slavonia is often called the granary of Croatia as it is the most fertile part of Croatia with long fields covered with all kind of crops, but somehow my heart melts when the sunflower fields are in bloom. Landscape view, flat and peaceful which takes your eye straight to horizon. If you ask locals about the hills or mountains, they will happily explain everything about the biggest mountain in Slavonija - a pumpkin!
Osijek may not have the sea, but as it is located at Drava river bank it provides a lovely promenade along it which can compete to some coastal cities. Osijek's promenade stretches down both sides of the river Drava for several kilometers. On the city side, you'll see families and couples taking an early evening stroll, rollerbladers and bicyclists. But, the opposite side is a part for those who wish to relax in a peaceful nature ambiance that Osijek offers.
There are three bridges across the Drava River in Osijek, the road bridge and the rail bridge, but the pedestrian one is actually a city's landmark. Opened in 1980s, this suspension bridge is used by walkers throughout the day, but it shows its spectacular beauty at night time when it is brilliantly lit in an ever changing spectrum of lights.
Osijek's co-cathedral is the tallest building in Croatia outside of Zagreb. It was built in a neo-Gothic style in year 1898. It is today the main landmark of Upper Town in Osijek where lovely baroque buildings are standing. Among them The Osijek National Theater is just across the Cathedral.
As you walk from Upper to Lowe Town in Osijek, choose the European avenue and enjoy its art nouveau buildings. Some of the best examples of art nouveau are located all along it, picturesque and grand.
But one of them is a must to see. Cinema URANIA.
It was built according to a project of architect Viktor Axmann in a year 1912. For this cinema project he was awarded at cinema architecture meeting in Vienna. It is considered one of the best examples of art nouveau architecture in Croatia. The building has kept its original purpose until today and many of locals love to enjoy movies at Urania.
Tvrđa – the oldest part of Osijek, is actually a citadel within the fortress, and that is what the name means. It was built in this manner to protect against the Ottomans. Today it hosts several schools, museums and a vivid night life of the city.
There are many more things to see in Osijek, join us on One Journey Four Countries tour and get acquainted with this hidden Croatian beauty.
Fun fact: Osijek is the first town in the area that got tram lines. Tram public transport got introduced in a year 1884, but until 1926 when they switch to electricity, it was pulled by horses.