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Central Croatia is the continental part of the country. It borders with Bosnia and Herzegovina in the south and Slovenia and Hungary in the north. It takes up a little more than a third of the country's territory and contains almost half of its population. This region is densely populated, urban, and economically developed.
Central Croatia is divided up into smaller regions which include Zagreb and its suburbs, Medjimurje, Zagorje and Podravina. Some of the larger cities in these regions are Zagreb, Varazdin, Cakovec, Koprivnica, Bjelovar, Karlovac, Sisak, Krizevci, Velika Gorica, Petrinja, Samobor, Zapresic, Krapina, Ivanec.
Tourism in Central Croatia includes congressional and business tourism and rural tourism. Rural tourism is especially developed in the northern part of continental Croatia and offers everything from accommodations in apartments, pansions, and rooms to wonderful traditional cuisines as well as activities such as horseback riding, hunting and sports fishing. Congressional and business tourism is mostly developed in Zagreb where many conventions and symposiums are held.
Central Croatia is rich in cultural and historical heritage. It can be seen in the many castles, churches and monuments which are spread throughout this region. Tourism here is developing more and more and as a result many castles are being restored and opened to the public. They also offer accommodations as well as many restaurants, café bars, taverns and visits to wine-cellars. Two well known castles are Trakoscan and Veliki Tabor.
Another aspect of tourism in this region is religious tourism. Visitors come from all over the world to take part in a pilgrimage to Marija Bistrica which is a well known pilgrimage center in Croatia.
This whole region has a number of natural thermal springs which have developed into beautiful resorts. Some of the better known resorts are Stubicke toplice (springs), Krapinske toplice, Tuheljske toplice and Varazdinske toplice.
Zagreb is the largest city in the country as well as the nation's capital. It is located at the foot of Mt. Medvednice and next to the longest river in the country, the river Sava.
One attractive tourist destination known for its many castles is Varazdin. The city is surrounded by beautiful vineyards which cascade over the surrounding hills.
Situated in the centre of Medjimurje is the city of Cakovec. It is the most populated and developed city in Medimurje. The oldest part of the city as well as its main tourist attraction is the restored Stari Grad (Old City).
Samobor has a long-lived tradition in tourism and excursions which began in the year 1242. It is located west of Zagreb on the slopes of the Zumberacki hills. Here visitors can enjoy walks on Mt. Tepec along the promenade Anindol and visit the small chapel of St. Ana which is the city's patroness.
Karlovac is 55km south of Zagreb and it is called the city on four rivers – the rivers Kupa, Korana, Mreznica and Dobra. It best accommodates tourists in transit for it is located by the main highway which connects Zagreb to the Adriatic coastline. The Vrbanic gardens and the Marmont tree-line are preserved horticultural monuments and the Banski Moravci, which are just east of the city, are a special biological preserve.
The most important city in zagorje is Krapina. It is located near the river Krapincica and sits in between the hills of Brezovica and Strahincica. Here remains of the Krapina caveman have been found which prove the city has been inhabited since the Old Stone Age.
Ivanec is located 20km southwest of Varazdin. Tourism in Hrvatsko Zagorje (Croatian Hills) has great potential. It is near the Alps, the inner Dinarids and the Pannonian region and there are many hot springs throughout the area which are quite valued.
Bjelovar is in the centre of the Bjelovar region. It is a young city which was established in the year 1756 for a military frontier. It is located on the Bilogore hill-side in between the rivers Plavnica and Bjelovacka.
Krizevci is one of the oldest cities in northern Croatia. It is located on the southern slopes of the Kalnicki hills and at the base of the Lepavinski pass which is the most favourable passageway between Podravina and Posavina.
Velika Gorica is in Turopolja and its earlier colonization has been proven by archeological findings from prehistoric time, ancient times, and the Middle Ages. Many of its castles have been restored and turned into hotels and restaurants.
Tourism in Central Croatia offers a little variety to Croatia's tourist industry. An interesting characteristic is the traditional wooden house which inhabitants call kleti. This region is also home to many hunting grounds and offers a number of gastronomic specialties including venison. For an active holiday guests can enjoy rafting on the river Kupa, hiking and mountain climbing.