Exploring the Lesser Visited Castles of Croatia

Croatia is famous for its coastline, UNESCO Heritage Sites such as Plitvice Lakes, amazing nature and so much more. The country is divided into the continental and the coastal sides, where the different regions were once under different rulings and hence gave rise to slightly different influences in terms of architecture and food. However, one thing that remains the same throughout the whole country is that you will be able to find castles everywhere. Although the Zagorje region has always been known for its numerous castles, you will find castles even on islands such as Hvar and Brač. 

Tourists have heard of Trakošćan Castle, Veliki Tabor and the likes. It is always packaged as a day trip from Zagreb with some wine tasting sessions in the region. I took a chance to explore by myself and I found that Croatia has an abundance of castle ruins, some which are well preserved and worth a little hike during the weekends. 

Samobor Stari Grad

A short 15-min walk from the center of Samobor, you will find the beautiful ruins of the Samobor Castle which was built in the 13th century. It is located on the top of Tepec hill, so you will need to take a short steep hike through the forest, with directions marked and you can see the majestic castle, so you do not need to worry about losing your way. Alternatively, you can hike or drive up to the Tepec viewpoint where you will get a view of Samobor, the castle and the surroundings. Remember to end your visit with a samoborska kremšnita.

By the way, did you know that this was one of the filming sites of Armour of God where Jackie Chan did a dangerous stunt and almost died?


Located 430m above sea level, Milengrad was believed to be built in the 14th century. It takes a 25-minute walk to the top of the mountain outcrop of Ivanščica. You will be greeted by a description board and a hut with tables and chairs, which are kindly maintained by Bratovština Milengrad. Now, we can only see some markings where the outer walls used to be, with the inner parts still preserved. This was due to the numerous attacks by the Ottomans.

Especially during spring days when the weather is nice, it is great to have a picnic here on the weekends. The path is clearly marked out and it is not too steep, so it is definitely suitable for everyone. 


Located 405 m above sea level on Koštel, this is one of the hiking trails on the Kuna Gora. An easy 30-minute walk brings you to the top. Although the castle ruin has a few entrances, only the west entrance is accessible. On the land that it sits on, you can see how it used to be a large castle, which is unfortunately mostly damaged while the battery tower remains the best preserved from the rest of it.

If you plan to visit, stop your car at Crkva Sv. Mirko and from there, you head towards the forest where the paths are clearly marked out. This is only accessible by foot. Just before reaching the castle, there is a flight of stairs. 

The three castle ruins are located near Zagreb and accessible by easy walk. I would highly recommend checking them out so you get to experience a different side of Croatia. It is a great excursion for families during the weekends. Of course, there are far more castle ruins than these, such as Susedgrad in Zagreb, Ružica grad in Slavonia, Čačvina castle in Dalmatia and so on. As mentioned before, castles can be found everywhere in Croatia and it is up to you to explore.


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