Koprivnica is a small town located in northeastern Croatia, only about 20km away from the border with Hungary. With a population of about 31,000 people, the town is the capital of Koprivnica-Krizevci County and the region of Podravina. A rather small place, we can’t claim it’s the most interesting location in Croatia – however, its pretty and welcoming town square, and quirky items of interest (such as its name!) make it a pleasant place to stop and visit for a few hours.
Koprivnica is where the major food company Podravka was founded (in 1934) and is still based today. You may have come across its famous, blue-packaged Vegeta “flavour-enhancer” that pretty much every home cook in Croatia uses in all savoury meals!
The general region is also where naive art – art produced by an artist with no formal training – hails from, and you may notice naive art depictions when you visit.
Koprivnica also holds a special place in our hearts as it is where Visit Croatia’s family is from!
Let’s talk about nettles…
We can’t not address the name of the town! Kopriva in Croatian means nettle, and this is a plant that was (and is!) in abundance in this region. Not the most flattering of names, it has to be said – but something that the town has now fully embraced. Nettles have medicinal and nutritional benefits and be can used for health and wellness reasons as well as in food and drink items. When you visit Koprivnica, be sure to try any nettle-based food you see on the menu, or pick up a bottle of the locally made nettle liqueur! (Trust me, it’s worth trying!)
Getting to Koprivnica
The best Croatian airport to fly to reach Koprivnica is Zagreb Airport; not only is this the closest airport but there’s a significant number of flights to here from all across Europe – and even further beyond.
Given its proximity to the Hungarian border, an alternative would be to fly to Budapest. Budapest Airport isn’t obviously the closest airport but the train from Budapest to Zagreb makes a stop in Koprivnica.
Somewhat unusually for Croatia, train is a great option for travelling to Koprivnica! There are regular, daily, direct trains from Zagreb to the town; journey time is 1 hour 15 to 1 hour 45 minutes depending on which train you get.
You can also travel by train from Varazdin (journey time under one hour) and Osijek (journey time just under four hours), and from nearby towns such as Krizevci (30 minutes) and Cakovec (one hour).
If you wish to travel from elsewhere in Croatia – such as from the coast – to Koprivnica, we’d recommend travelling first to Zagreb and then making your way from there.
Head to the Croatian Railways website to look up timetables and to buy train tickets.
There is only one bus per day from Zagreb, and the journey time is 2 hours and 15 minutes. You can see the timetable and buy tickets on the Zagreb Bus Station website.
What to See and Do in Koprivnica
The Koprivnica Town Museum tells the story of the history of the town through a wide variety of artefacts.
Be sure to take a stroll through the pretty town park, just off the main square Zrinski Trg. Make your way to the pavilion in the centre; at the edge of the park, you will find St Nicholas Church.
If you are interested in finding out more about naive art, head to the nearby town of Hlebine to visit the Josip Generalic Gallery.
As you will have likely realised, this part of Croatia is a loonnnng way from the coast. If you’re here on a hot day, why not make like the locals do the head to Lake Soderica? Dip into the lake for a refreshing swim, lie in the sun, or enjoy refreshments and sporting activities for a fun day out.
Eating and Drinking in Koprivnica
Head to Pivnica Kralus (Kralus Brewery) just on the main square for some very tasty local fare in a traditional setting…washed down with some beer too, of course!
Restoran Stagelj is another place to try the local cuisine; their menu has a wide choice that’s quite heavy on the meat. Pizza available too.
All around the main square by the town park you’ll see a number of cafes full to the brim of locals enjoying a coffee and a chat with their friends. We’d suggest picking any, or try Caffe Bar Art Koprivnica in particular.
Head to Vintage Bar for wine and cocktails, and parties on Fridays!
Accommodation in Koprivnica
There are only four hotels in the town, both somewhat basic 3-star options. The Hotel Podravina has a great location right in the centre of the town, as does the Hotel Bijela Kuca. Hotel Zrinski is more on the outskirts but popular with visitors. The Hotel Zlatan is outside of the town itself, but would be a good option if you travelling by car.
If there’s a big group of you visiting the area, check out the modern and stylish House Brulo which sleeps 10 and has its own heated outdoor pool!
There’s also a good selection of private apartments available for travellers. You can see these and also more options for places to stay on our Accommodation in Northeastern Croatia page.
Events in Croatia
One of the best-known events in Koprivnica and this region in general – and well known throughout the country, in fact – is the Rennaisance Festival, held every August. This large-scale, multi-day event transforms part of the town to Renaissance times; you’ll find spectacles such as knights’ games, medieval crafts and food and drink, medieval music and performers, a falconry show and more!
Every Easter, the main square hosts giant Easter eggs painted in naive art depictions, an art style which hails from this part of Croatia. (These famous Easter eggs often “tour the world”go on tour”, popping up in other Croatian cities and further afield.) They really are beautiful, and well worth seeing in person.
Imanje Kapronca is a local, family-run company that produces award-winning (by Great Taste, no less) flavoured cordials and drinks. Do check out their products!