Osijek has a well-earned reputation for being the most relaxing of Croatian cities. Its inhabitants are notoriously laid-back and welcoming, its city centre is full of parks, and the stick-around-a-while-longer quality of its cafes and restaurants stands as a warning to anyone who thinks that life is there to be hurried. Walking is a pleasure rather than a burden in a predominantly low-rise centre whose skyline is periodically punctured by some unusual architectural treat. And if you’re not much of a walker, then don’t forget that the flat nature of the terrain ensures that Osijek is very much a bicycle-lovers’ kind of place. It is also the only city outside Zagreb that has a tram network, with two lines that take you almost everywhere you need to go in the city centre.
Osijek is also a major university town, providing a seemingly endless supply of young people who will decide what to do with the rest of their lives just as soon as they’ve had a few more drinks. There are some excellent bars, pub and clubs, with prices a fraction of what they are in Zagreb or on the Adriatic coast. The fact that the city centre comes in two parts – Gornji Grad to the west and Tvrđa to the east – gives a night on the town an extra flavour: on warm summer nights there’s a constant stream of people flowing along the riverfront between the outdoor bars of Zimska luka and the pubs and clubs of the Tvrđa district a kilometre or so downstream.
Osijek is very much the capital of the Croatian southeast, an up-and-coming tourism centre that is increasingly well celebrated for its distinctive local cuisine and boutique wineries. There are also signs that Osijek is beginning to punch its cultural weight: the Croatian National Theatre in Osijek’s ground-breaking production of Unterstadt, staged in the open air during the Osijek Cultural Summer, won the best production in 2012’s Teatr.hr awards; while Osijek-based design team Lega-Lega are becoming a major nationwide retailer of T-Shirts and stationery, opening shops in Dubrovnik and Zagreb.
Hotel Osijek - The impressive Hotel Osijek is situated in the pedestrianized centre next to the banks of the Drava River. It offers panoramic views, fine cuisine, a spa area and free Wi-Fi. All of the spacious rooms are air-conditioned and feature a cable TV with international channels. Fine Croatian and international cuisine is served in the restaurants of the Osijek Hotel and the café offers a wide range of delicious cakes and ice cream. Spa facilities include a sauna, a steam bath, a jacuzzi and a fitness area.
Address: Šamačka 4, 31000 Osijek More information
Vienna Apartments - Vienna Accommodation provides peaceful surroundings in the centre of Osijek. It offers air-conditioned accommodation and free Wi-Fi. A spacious courtyard with a fish pond and a fountain is located on site. The house features hand built classical furniture. Rooms and apartments feature a flat-screen TV, a kettle and a minibar. Private bathroom provides free toiletries, a hairdryer and complimentary slippers. Within 500 metres, guests can find many restaurants, cafes, markets and historical sites. Croatian National Theatre, Tvrđa Fortress and Drava River Promenade are all within walking distance. Osijek Zoo and Aquarium spreads over 11 ha of land and can be reached in 2 km via the floating bridge. Nature Park Kopački Rit is 15 km away and the charming Baranja Wine Roads can be reached in a 30-minute drive.
Address: Stjepana Radića 26a, 31000 Osijek More information
Apartmani Postic - Apartments Postic are set in 2 locations in Osijek town centre, near the main square. All apartments feature a modern kitchen, free Wi-Fi and a flat-screen satellite TV. The kitchens are fully equipped and there is also a work desk in all of these stylish, modern apartments. You can also make use of the garden. Free parking is available at a car park near the Postic apartments.
Address: K. A. Stepinca 38a and Gundulićeva 36b, 31000 Osijek More information
Hotel Waldinger - Offering elegant rooms with free Wi-Fi, free parking and free use of the fitness area, Hotel Waldinger is just a 2-minute walk from the main square of Osijek. It has 2 restaurants and a café. All the rooms have a work desk and a comfortable seating area. The sauna can be used at an extra charge. Restaurant Club Waldinger is a modern restaurant with contemporary cuisine. It specialties in steaks and features a vareity of wines from its own wine cellar. The national restaurant called "The Town's Cellar" offers traditional dishes, including fresh water fish, traditional meat dishes and other local specialties. The Waldinger Hotel is within easy walking distance from Osijek's cultural sights. The charming promenade by the River Drava can be reached in a 3-minute walk, while the Tvrđa Fortress is a 15-minute walk away.
Address: Županijska 8, 31000 Osijek More information
The co-cathedral -The co-cathedral dominates the whole city centre of the town and could be seen from the far distance. It is the tallest building in Osijek and very probably the tallest in the whole region of Slavonija. Imagine the view from its top in particularly if knowing that Slavoija is predominatelly very flat area.
Tvrdja - Old part of the town - Tvrdja (The Fortress) is the oldest part of Osijek, built at the strategically important point next to the Drava river crossing. After it was ruled by Ottomans for 161 years the fortress was reconquered and redesigned by Austrian rulers of Croatia in the 17th and 18th century. The main plan of the fortress was made by Austrian engineer Eugen count of Gosseau. Tvrdja in Osijek was, along with Slavonski Brod fortress and Karlovac fortress, one of the most important military points of south-eastern borders of Austro-Hungarian empire. Military post in Tvrdja lasted till the 1990s when the Yugoslav army finally left buildings they were occupying. Nowadays Tvrdja has several museums, cultural institutions, schools and faculties. There are plans for most of the faculties of the Osijek University to be housed here in the future.
The Holy Trinity Square - The Holy Trinity square is the central place in Tvrdja. Simply by following changes of the name of the square one can follow the history of this place. First it was known as the Weinplatz (Wine square), later it was named Parade Square, Main Square, Franz Joseph Square, Holy Trinity Square, Karadjordjevic square, Partisan square...... finally to get back its old name in 1992. Important military buildings were built around the square in the 18th and 19th century, as well as several palaces and tradesmen houses. The square is dominated by the Holy Trinity Column and two public water wells - Wasserbrunnen built in red stone. (Osijek was the first town in Slavonia to get municipal water supply system in early 18th century). Today the City Museum and the Rectorate of the Osijek University are located in the buildings around the square.
The Water Gate - Porta Aquatica (The Water Gate) are the only remaining gates of Tvrdja, and were built in 1715 during the works on the bastions and walls around Tvrdja. The Water Gates are located on the northern side of Tvrdja, leading towards the Drava river. Inside the gates there is a small memorial dedicated to general Johann Stehan von Beckers, the builder of Tvrdja.
The Water Tower -The massive walls of the Fortress are best visible on its northern side, where they didn't have to make space for roads and new constructions. In the northern bastion the Water Tower is the only still remaining watch tower. Probably it wasn't demolished because it also had its role in the water supply system that was built in the 18th century.
Drava promenade - The promenade is lined with flower boxes with cafe tables inserted in between, making it an ideal place to sit and relax in warm sunny days. The promenade is very popular for walking, cycling and jogging. A chain pedestrian bridge connects it with the other bank of Drava where ZOO and a watersports centre "Copacabana" are located. While the ZOO did not totally recover after the war (many animals found their shelter in European zoos and were never brought back) "Kopika" is very popular among local people in the summer months.
Main square - The triangular square named after Ante Starcevic is the central square in Osijek. Recently it was refurbished, not very successfully though. The main feature of the square are way-too-expensive benches and a fountain that sprays water all over the place in irregular intervals. The square is surrounded by 19th and 20th century buildings, and below the stone surface there is a small shopping mall, too small to deserve such pompous glass entrances that are to be found on three corners of the square.
Sakuntala park - Sakuntala park (also known as Setaliste Petra Preradovica) is located in the center of Osijek, between the main square and European avenue. It is another green oasis that Osijek is so proud of, bringing the themes of exotic mythology in a busy urban environment.
European Avenue - Europska avenija (Avenue of Europe) is the main street that connects main square with Tvrdja and Donji Grad (Lower town). On its northern side there is a row of Secession (Art Nouveau) houses with front-gardens. These richly decorated buildings were built between 1903 and 1906 and make the most important Secession complex to be found in Croatia. This tree-lined avenue with broad walkways is one of the most pleasant places to walk and admire the beauty of the old Turn-of-the-century architecture.