Slavonski Brod is a city of around 60,000 people located in Eastern Croatia on the River Sava, 200 kilometres south-west of Zagreb, and about 95 kilometres south of the main city in this part of Croatia, Osijek. It is the seventh-largest city in the country and is based on the site of a Roman settlement that was called Marsonia, meaning marsh. Slavonski means Slavonian (the region of Croatia the city is in) and brod means boat, but the city’s name is thought to come from the word meaning “water crossing”.
The city is located just above the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina and on the opposite side of the River Sava (in Bosnia) is the city of Brod. The border over into Bosnia is sited in the south-west of the city.
History of Slavonski Brod
The favourable location of the city is such that there has long been a settlement of some kind here, with evidence of life from as far back as 8,000 years ago. As mentioned, the Roman settlement Marsonia was here, with Slavic peoples first settling in the area in the 6th century. The city was controlled by the Ottoman Empire from 1536 to 1691, when it then became part of the Austrian Empire. In the 18th century Brod Fortress was built (see below) which was part of a defensive system – alongside other nearby towns – against the Ottoman Empire.
The town prospered in the early part of the 20th century culturally and economically; in 1934 the city’s name was changed from Brod na Savi (meaning Brod on the Sava) to Slavonski Brod.
It was heavily bombed during World War II, particularly in 1944 and 1945, and 80% of the buildings in the city were damaged. Slavonski Brod was also targeted quite heavily during the Croatian War of Independence.
Getting to Slavonski Brod
The nearest airport to Slavonski Brod is Osijek Airport which has a limited number of flights to it – although there is a direct connection with the UK, with Ryanair‘s twice-weekly flights during the summer from London Stansted. For more choice, fly to Zagreb instead and then transfer to the main bus station (or train station) to make your onward journey.
There are numerous daily trains connecting Croatia’s capital with Slavonski Brod. Journey time ranges from 3 hours 30 minutes to over 4 hours, depending on which train you take. A one-way ticket costs €13-14. You can look up timetables and book tickets on the Croatian Railways website.
A faster option is to travel by bus, which utilises the A3 motorway. Again, there are many, many buses travelling between the two cities every day. Journey time is around 2 hours 30 minutes, and a one-way ticket costs €12-14.
There are a good number of buses per day from Osijek to Slavonski Brod, with a journey time of around one and a half hours. A one-way ticket costs around €9.
Getting to Slavonski Brod by road
Slavonski Brod happens to be very well positioned to several road connections, namely two motorways. The A3 motorway stretches from Zagreb (in fact, from Slovenia) right past the city and on into Serbia to Belgrade. The A5 motorway is also nearby; this motorway can be used for a fast connection to Osijek, but it will eventually be fully linked up to Hungary too. In the other direction, the A5 motorway connects with the A1 motorway in Bosnia; once that motorway is completed it can be used to drive to Sarajevo and Mostar, and on to the Croatian coast.
What to See and Do in Slavonski Brod
The city’s main attraction is the star-shaped Brod Fortress. As mentioned, it was constructed in the 18th century (between 1715 and 1780) and was intended to house up to 4,000 soldiers although it was never needed to serve as its intended defensive function. The Fortress was not well maintained in the 20th century and parts fell into disrepair – although it did serve as accommodation for the Yugoslav Army up until 1991.
The Baroque-style Franciscan Monastery was also constructed in the 18th century and is rather fortress-like too, with walls that are 2 metres thick. It is the largest church in Slavonia, with a beautiful interior.
The Tambura Museum is dedicated to this four-string, guitar-like folk instrument that is common in this part of Croatia. The museum tells the history of the instrument, as well as demonstrating how tamburas are made. You can try out some of the tools yourself!
The Ruzic Gallery contains around 400 artworks from Branko Ruzic, a famous Croatian artist and sculptor who was born in Slavonski Brod, as well as work from other prominent 20th-century Croatian artists.
The main square in the city is Ivana Brlic-Mazuranic Square, named after the Croatian children’s writer who lived in a house on the square.
Events in Slavonski Brod
Florafest takes place every May in Brod Fortress. Flower growers from all over Croatia come to show off their lovely flowers.
Brodsko kolo is a folklore festival that takes place every June; it was first held in 1962. It is one of the largest folk festivals in the region of Slavonia.
Pecenkijada takes place every October and is – get this – a massive pig roast! It is a very well-attended event.
Eating and Drinking in Slavonski Brod
The popular Podroom Grill is a hearty barbecue and grill kind of place, with heaps of tasty meat offerings available here.
Uno Restaurant is well known for its tasty pizzas but offers plenty more besides – from pasta dishes to BBQ meat, fish and steak too.
Restoran Zdenac offers a wide menu with typical meat, fish and pasta dishes, but is also open for breakfast. Very nice, modern interior.
Kuca Piva is as it sounds – a house of beer! Come here to try their many beer offerings; hearty food is available too.
Accommodation in Slavonski Brod
There is a small selection of hotels here, although plenty of private rooms, apartments and houses for rent too.
The 4-star Hotel Savus is right in the centre and offers smart and functional rooms if perhaps a touch on the old-fashioned side! Nevertheless, the location can’t be beaten. Another fairly centrally located 4-star option is the Art Hotel. Both of these hotels have their own restaurants.
Use the map below to search for accommodation in Slavonski Brod: