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  • Pazin Kaštel (Istria): One of the best-preserved castles in Istria, this is a surprising attraction in the interior. Pazin Kaštel is next to one of the scariest-looking gorges you’ll ever see, a feature that was conveniently utilized as a dumping ground (literally) for enemies of whomever controlled the castle. What may be Croatia’s best ethnographic museum is inside.  
  • Stari Grad (Varaždin): This Gothic Renaissance defensive complex includes a castle and the Varaždin Town Museum. It’s also this Baroque town’s best attraction. The museum is an excellent showcase for artwork and historical items, and the multilingual docents are happy to help visitors.  
  • Trakošćan Castle (near Varaždin): North of Zagreb is one of Croatia’s most visited sites and one of its most impressive castles—from the outside. The grounds are extensive and the structure is everything you’d expect a storybook castle to be, with stone walls, turrets, and a drawbridge. Inside, renovations have been less than meticulous, and sometimes border on tacky. Trakošćan is worth the trip if for no other reason than to ponder the plastic deer mounted on the walls outside the entrance.  
  • Veliki Tabor (Zagorje Region): North of Zagreb is this imposing, solid brick fortress that looks like the place where Rapunzel let down her hair. Veliki Tabor has its own legends, including murder, mayhem, and a ghost. While the exterior of the 12th-century structure looks like it could withstand a nuclear attack, the inside is still under partial renovation.  

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.