What better way to spend a Valentine’s Day then by visiting a castle? That’s exactly what I did two years ago. How did I choose Ozalj castle? Well, I saw it featured in a magazine in an article about Croatian castles and convinced my husband to visit it with our friends. And it was the perfect day trip!
About Ozalj Castle
Ozalj is a small town roughly 66 km away from Croatian’s capital Zagreb and very near the Slovenian border. Its most famous period in the history was during the rule of the illustrious Croatian noble family Zrinski in the 17th century. Another notable resident of Ozalj was the Croatian deaf-mute painter Slava Raškaj who was born in Ozalj in 1877.
The medieval Old Town of Ozalj perched on the stone cliff above Kupa river was transformed into a beautiful castle in the 18th century. Ozalj castle changed many hands during the turbulent Croatian history. It was owned by the King in the 13th century and then by the noble families of Babonić, Frankopan, Zrinski, Perlas, Batthyany and Thurn and Taxis. Its current owners are the “Brethren of the Croatian Dragon” society who have opened it to the public.
Inside the Ozalj castle you can find a small museum and the library. The entry fee was 20 kuna which is just under 3€ at the time of my visit (Feb 2015).
Our visit to Ozalj castle
We drove through the snow covered landscape on our way to town Ozalj. But even before we reached our destination we saw some castle in a small village Ribnik and decided to stop there on our way back from Ozalj. What an unexpected find!
We arrived early to Ozalj castle (just before the opening times) and were among the rare visitors on that cold Valentine’s Day. We wandered for a while around the Castle’s courtyard before we entered the museum. There you can see weapons, furniture, documents and many other artifacts from the castle’s history. The castle itself consists of different fortresses and a big palace in the middle (the museum is here). Some parts are in better state than others but you can enter almost all of the buildings of the castle complex. The views of the river Kupa from the castle are stunning. Its emerald green colour was in beautiful contrast to snow-white surroundings.
After we’ve explored the castle to our heart’s content we crossed the road and climbed a small hill just across the castle. There’s St.Vitus church and the grave of the Croatian painter Slava Raškaj who was born in Ozalj. From up there you can see Ozalj castle quite well but if you want to take good photos you’ll be annoyed because of the TV dishes ruining otherwise a fine view. There’s not much else to do in Ozalj town after you’ve visited the castle.
It was already afternoon so we chose Žganjer restaurant in a nearby village and had an excellent meal (even got some mini doughnuts for free). It was time to go back but not before checking out the castle in Ribnik village which we saw from the car on our way to Ozalj.
Ribnik castle is a medieval castle and one of the rare examples of the so-called Water castle ( subdivision of the lowland castle). There wasn’t any tourist information sign around the castle and the castle itself was closed when we visited it. I’m not even sure whether it’s ever open to the public but it’s absolutely gorgeous from the outside and worth stopping by on your way to Ozalj castle.
All in all, it was such a perfect day trip! There are many wonderful castles in Croatia and I really should visit them all at some point 🙂 .
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