Međimurje is sometimes called the “flower garden of Croatia,” not just because of its fertile land, but because of its cultural, historical, and economic contributions to the nation’s heritage. The region lies northeast of Varaždin and makes up the extreme northern part of Croatia where it borders Slovenia and Hungary. Međimurje’s western half is characterized by gently rolling hills, vineyards, and orchards; in the east, flat, fertile farmland contributes a large portion of the country’s grain and vegetable production.

The town of Čakovec is just 92km (55 miles) from Zagreb and is Međimurje’s largest population center. The town’s baronial 17th-century castle, which houses a museum, has been largely eclipsed by a slickly updated town square, centering on a fountain and ringed by stores, restaurants, and bars.

Dragons & Devils -- Dragons (pozoj) and devils are synonymous in the Medimurje, where tales of the scary beasts abound. There is one about a green pozoj from Cakovic that causes earthquakes and natural disasters, a black pozoj from Sv. Juraj na Bregu, that supposedly was killed by St. George, and a folk legend about a pit in Donja Dubrava where a pozoj (the devil) supposedly lives. The Donja Dubrava pozoj is closely associated with the mouths of three rivers, the Drava, the Mura, and the Trnava. The legend also mentions kace, serpents with nine tails and heads that turn into princes if their wishes are fulfilled.