Discover Croatia: Dubovac Castle
It’s been a while since my last Discover Croatia post and it’s also been a long time since our last day trip as a family. But it’s completely different to travel with an active toddler than a baby. Needless to say, I found it easier to travel with a baby and now regret not travelling more with my son when he was younger. However, that doesn’t mean that we won’t travel with him anymore. At the moment with him running in all directions and me being pregnant again the most simplest of walks can be difficult. Nevertheless, this day trip was great and our boy was on his best behaviour and really enjoyed exploring Dubovac Castle.
So, let’s write about Dubovac Castle. This castle is situated on a hill overlooking the town of Karlovac which is halfway between the capital of Croatia Zagreb and its biggest seaport Rijeka. Dubovac Castle is a Renaissance castle with Gothic elements whose oldest parts date back to the 13th century. The name of the castle originates from the word for an oak tree in Croatian language since it was surrounded by a large oak trees forest. There’s still a lot of greenery around the castle but not a proper forest.
We didn’t leave early since this was a short drive for us. You can actually see Dubovac Castle from the motorway and then just follow the sign for it when you enter Karlovac. Be careful though, if you enter Dubovac in your car’s navigation then it wil lead you just to the neighbourhood Dubovac in Karlovac, not the actual castle. There’s a car park right in front of the castle (actually, you can park in front of the main entrance and behind the castle too). We parked behind the castle and then walked around it to the main entrance choosing not to take the steps leading right up to the entrance of the castle. There’s a viewing point across the castle but you get better views of Karlovac from the tallest tower of the castle Branič kula. You can enter the castle’s courtyard for free and you’ll find there the restaurant Kaštel and the toilets. On your left side is the ticket office/souvenir shop where you can buy the tickets for the castle’s tower and its upper levels. The entry is really cheap (less than one euro and a half) and supposedly the ticket is valid for a few other museums in Karlovac too.
We bought the tickets (it’s free for young children) and climbed a lot of steps to the top of the square tower (Branič kula) of the castle. There’s a small exhibition in this part of the castle. Dubovac Castle has been renovated in the past few years but I think they could have done it better in some respects. In the chapel there are posters of former frescoes which I found weird. If they didn’t restore (or couldn’t ) the real thing then why bother with putting this on the walls?
Our son relentlessly climbed all the way to the top. There’s a small room with a big model of the surrounding area and all the castles in the vicinity. We’ve visited Ozalj Castle which is close to Karlovac too and of course the National Park of Plitvice isn’t too far either. You can step outside to the viewing deck of the tower. Our son ran around and around it joyfully. You can enjoy beautiful views of the castle and the town of Karlovac from up there. As I said before, there isn’t much to see inside the castle (furniture or other objects) but the views alone are well worth of your visit. As we climbed down from this tower we explored other levels (galleries) of the castle but all the doors were shut. There’s nothing else to see apart from the castle’s courtyard.
Our friends joined us for the lunch in the castle’s restaurant. But before the lunch we took a short walk from the castle to the pink church below it. We saw the church’s spire from the castle. Unfortunately, the church was closed so we just saw it from the outside but there’s an interesting view of Dubovac Castle from the church area. We had excellent lunch at the castle’s restaurant. You can also just have drinks there but not during lunch hours.
If you’re travelling with a baby, leave the stroller in your car or the castle’s courtyard and just carry your baby if it can’t walk yet. In my opinion, castles are always great choices for family travel especially if your child is a bit older and can learn about the history of the castle and its owners. Do you agree with me?
Our day trip didn’t finish at Dubovac Castle. After lunch we went to the open-air military museum Turanj where you can see tanks and other military vehicles and even an aircraft from the Homeland War. There’s also a museum building ( I guess that’s what it is) but it was closed. It was time for dessert so we went to the city center for some pancakes. It was a fun day trip!
Dubovac Castle is among one of the hidden gems of Croatia as are most places inland since all the visitors tend to come just to the beautiful seaside. If you want to discover more castles in Croatia check my older posts in Croatia category (plus you’ll see some gorgeous but lesser known islands too).
Would you like to visit Dubovac Castle?
Linking up with Scarlett and Catherine for Cultured kids #46