Head on East or Hedonist ?
In Croatia, in Slavonia and Baranja, it means the same!
Much less recognized than some other parts of Croatia, Slavonia and Baranja are so overwhelming, generous, and hospitable. Let us take you to the East of Croatia, utterly different than what you expect. HeadOnEast (of) Croatia and let yourself be pampered by the best hosts Croatia can offer!
Osijek-Baranja County is in east Croatia around the lower flow of the Drava River before its confluence into the Danube near Aljmaš.
To make it more understandable and straightforward (if geography is not your cup of tea 🙂 Croatian Baranja and a part of Slavonia are actually the Osijek area.
The last intact swamps in Europe, vast wheat fields, fruitful vineyards, and centuries-old oak forests that’s Osijek-Baranja County, an abundance of magical natural beauties and scenery cultivated by man.
It’s surrounded by two great Pannonian rivers, the fickle Drava and the mighty Danube.
Head on East or Hedonist
The valley rises in the south towards the Krndija, the Papuk, and the Dilj hills. It barely noticeable blends with the Erdut and the Bansko Hill, also known as the “Mountain “of Baranja ( it’s only 243 meters high!!!!). It borders on North with Hungary and on East with Serbia.
In Đakovo you’ll enjoy a herd of Lipizzaner horses galloping and enjoying their unconstrained freedom in the picturesque countryside. The horses are excellent performers during the “Đakovački vezovi “parade, a cultural and folklore performance with a long tradition. The horse’s neighing is united with the joyful singing of bećarac, a traditional Slavonian musical ensemble, and with clashes of sabers from a ritual dance of the Gorjani village beauties. They are also known as “ljelje “. “Ljelje” are UNESCO’s protected as a part of intangible cultural heritage. An inevitable part of the parade in Đakovo is passing next to the Cathedral of Saint Peter, one of Croatia’s most famous sacral buildings.
Osijek is the center of Slavonia and Baranja! Nor too big, nor too small, rich with social and cultural events, airy and surrounded with natural beauties. Since ancient times, the area of the Pannonian Basin was a hotspot of civilization.
The historic Croatian wineries
The majority of historic Croatian wineries and the largest wine cellar, the largest vineyard, the biggest barrel in use, and top boutique wineries, unforgettable sights and aromas are in Slavonia and Baranja?
I bet you didn’t know that!
Wine lovers will find their heaven! Four vineyards dominate the region: Feričanci on the west, the Đakovo vineyards are southern, the northern are the vineyards of Baranja, and the eastern, the Erdut vineyards. Baranja and Erdut vineyards are considered the homeland of “the wines from the Danube “due to their unique location.
The short journey from farm to fork is one of the primary reasons for the attractive colors, aroma, and flavors of Slavonia and Baranja. The local culinary tradition consists of venison, different fish delicacies (fish soup known as “fiš stew,” carp on a stick), different stews such as “paprikaš “and “čobanac, “also farmer’s food such as beans in a pot and dishes made from pasta. Preserved meat slices and homemade processed meat such as Kulen (Kulin), Kulenova Seka, sausages, pork rinds, and bacon are incredibly respected.
They say that the energy of green color eliminates the feeling of restraint, creating a soothing effect. Why wait then – only ten kilometers from Osijek, in the far southeast of Baranja, there is a green oasis – the Nature Park Kopački rit, the oldest one in Croatia (1976). Swamps, damp lawns, river sleeves, meanders, and sandbars make the magic zone one of the last pristine European wetlands. The area of the Rit is the most extensive nursery and hatchery of fish in the Danube region, as well as an important ornithological reserve.
About 140 bird species nesting at Kopački rit every year, many of them linger here during seasonal intercontinental migrations. To explore Kopački rit, guests can go canoeing, bird watching, a photo safari, listen to deer below, or rent boats and bikes, maybe even recreational fishing.
As the center of the region, Osijek is well connected by a highway, railroad, and airport to the rest of Croatia and Europe.
A true hedonist
But, if you are a true hedonist-adventurer, come by motorcycle, bicycle, or boat. Enjoy the roads of cyclists and cyclo-tourists towards nature parks, picnic spots, or Saturday lunches in the countryside. It’s good to know: The region is bordered by two EuroVelo routes, no. 6 (Atlantic-Black Sea) and no. 13 (Iron Curtain Trail).
The most significant value of Slavonia and Baranja are people – famous for their honest smile and wide open arms for a warm welcome. If you HEAD ON EAST, you’ll become, as we all do, the loudest PR agent of the Slavonija and Baranja’s flavors, scents, and colors.
The rhythm delightfully slowed down the astonishing symbiosis of traditional and modern. The big hearts of people in Slavonia and the charm of people in Baranja are the most excellent values of eastern Croatia.