During your stay in Požega, we invite you to visit and explore some of the other interesting places not too far away. Explore the city countryside, the Golden valley as the ancient Romans named it thanks to the golden drops of wine from the nearby vineyards, or try some mountaineering around the green hillsides of the Papuk Mountain ring.
The Velika municipality
The village of Velika with some 6000 residents lays 12 kilometers north from Požega, at an elevation of 273 meters above the sea. Its position beneath the hillsides of the Papuk Mountain gives the area a distinct look of a mountainous place so it resembles the Croatian region of Gorski Kotar much more than the mostly lowland region of Slavonia.
In the village centre, next to the Veličanka creek, you’ll find the medieval church of St. Augustin with its unique bellower which was used as a fortress to defend against the Ottoman invasion in the 15th century. Just above the village, on a hillside, you’ll see another reminder of the turbulent middle ages, the still majestic ruin of the “Velički grad” fortress.
Walking, mountaineering, rock climbing, horse riding, cycling, camping, paragliding, hunting and fishing, are part of the rich tourist offer of Velika and the Papuk mountain.
During the summer months, Velika attracts visitors who like to relax by taking a bath in the hot springs located just beneath the Lapjak mountain lodge. Throughout the year tourist visit the nearby Papuk Nature Park with Velika being one of the starting points of many tourist and mountaineering routes, all the way to the top of the mountain which lays just less than 1000 meters. The Papuk Mountain once stood as an island in the ancient Pannonian Sea and that interesting geological period can be experienced in the Park’s visitor’s centre named “The Pannonian Sea House”. There you can get to know some of the long-extinct plant and animal species such as the fearful Megalodon shark.
The town of Kutjevo
With a population of just above 6000 people, this picturesque town lies at the southern hillsides of the Krndija Mountain, some 25 km northwest from Požega. This area is a world-famous wine country and Kutjevo is considered to be the “historical capital” of wine in Croatia.
The wine grapes have been cultivated here since the times of the ancient Illyrian tribes and the Old Roman Empire. In 1232 the Cistercian monks built their monastery with a vast wine cellar beneath their palace, which is still in use today.
The best-known wine which made Kutjevo famous is the white sort “Graševina” (Italian Riesling), which has been cultivated to perfection by the local winegrowers resulting in high quality and wines, including the wines of late and ice-harvest.
Kutjevo is a city of rich traditions most of which are linked with the production of wine. That is also the reason why the best known and most visited town events take place during the two most important dates for the winegrowers – St. Vincent’s Day in January and St. Martin’s Day in November.
The town of Pleternica
Pleternica is a small town of about 11000 people located on the banks of the river Orljava and the hillsides of the Požeška Gora and Dilj Gora hills, some 13 km east from Požega.
Even though the city’s modern-looking parish church of St. Nicholas with its dominating tower was rebuilt after the 2nd World War, just next to the town in the village of Drenovac you can visit the interesting fortified Romanesque-Gothic church of St. Demetrious from the 13th century. On the hill above the town, you can also visit the ruins of the medieval castle named “Viškovački grad” which is also a very nice picnic place.
The well-known natural symbol of Pleternica is the waterfall on the river Orljava with the small hydroelectric power plant from which the city gets the electricity needed for all the streetlamps.
Many interesting traditional events take place in Pleternica year-round, but the most important event happens every year on the day of “Our Lady of Tears” at the end of August with thousands of visitors.
The town of Lipik
Lipik is a picturesque little town located along the river Pakra, at the foothills of the Psunj Mountain, some 50 km west from Požega. Because throughout history it merged with the nearby town of Pakrac both could be called the “Twin Cities”.
Lipik is best known for the thermo-mineral springs discovered by the ancient Romans which were turned into a spa resort during the 18th century and became and very famous during the 19th century thru ought Central Europe. Buildings from that period, the times of by many romanticized Austro-Hungarian Empire, such as the “Kursalon” and the “Wandelbahn” with the vast park, still attract many visitors even though some were severely damaged during the Homeland War in 1991 and are currently under reconstruction.
Today the hot water which originates at the depth of 240 meters with a constant temperature of 64ºC attracts not only tourists in search of wellness treatments and relaxing in the swimming pools but serves also those in need of medicinal rehabilitation and patients with neurological, traumatic, and rheumatic problems.
Since the 19th century, the same springs are for the production of one of the most famous bottled mineral water in Croatia and the neighbouring countries, the legendary Studenac sparkling water.
Lipik is also famous for the long tradition of horse-breeding, especially the noble Lipizzaner horses so one of the places you should not miss there are the stables of the State Stud Farm Lipik.
The town of Pakrac
Pakrac is a pretty little town located at the foothills of the Psunj and Papuk mountains, 50 km west from Požega. Since Pakrac is practically merged with the nearby spa-town of Lipik, both could be named the “Twin Cities”.
In the past the Pakrac estates were owned by the Knights Templar and the Hospitaler Knights, the noble House of Talovac, the counts of the House of Celjski, the famous Croatian dukes of the House of Zrinski and the Counts of the House of Janković during whose rule in the 19th century Pakrac became one of the most important towns in western Slavonia.
It is interesting to know that it was right here in Pakrac where the first official money mint in Croatia was established in the 13th century.
Because of the destructions during the Homeland War of 1991, many city sights are still under reconstruction. The most prominent sights are the baroque Catholic parish church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the baroque-byzantine Orthodox cathedral of the Holy Trinity.
Papuk Nature Park
Papuk is the largest of the five low and medium-high mountains that make up the hilly circle of west Slavonia with the highest peak reaching 953 meters above sea level. It is best known for the dense forests that rise from the fertile plains of the Drava River in the north, rich geological history, and the vast vineyards that grow on its southern foothills in the so-called “Golden Valley” of Požega.
In the heart of the “Papuk Nature Park”, which also covers parts of Krndija Mountain, lays the “Jankovac Park Forest”, the most visited excursion and picnic site in eastern Croatia. With its crystal clear lakes and cascades of playful waterfalls, it resembles the much larger, world-known “Plitvice National Park”.
The Papuk Mountain is very interesting both to tourists and scientists because of the rich flora and fauna of the alpine type, which is untypical for the mostly lowland region of Slavonia. While in the lower altitudes deciduous forests prevail, closer to the hilltops evergreen forests prevail.
In the Park, numerous sites tell the story of the turbulent geological history of the area. One such is the “Rupnica” site with the columns of cooled magma, similar to the ones in the world-famous Giant’s Causeway in Ireland. For that reason, Papuk is part of the UNESCO network of Geo-parks.
Next to the natural wonders of Papuk, there are also interesting historical sites that tell the story of the people who live in and around the mountain. One should not miss visiting the numerous medieval ruins, among which the best preserved are the fortresses Ružica Grad in Orahovica, Velički Grad in Velika and the Fortified church complex in Kaptol, all within 10 to 50 km away from Požega.
The best place from where to start your visit to the Park is in the spa-town of Velika, some 12 km north from Požega. In the visitor’s centre named the “House of the Pannonian Sea”, tourists can find out more about the times when Papuk was one of the islands in the ancient Pannonian Sea, home to one of the world’s best-known predators, the Megalodon shark.
Papuk Nature Park Tourist Information
“The House of the Pannonian Sea” visitors centre
Address: Ulica Stjepana Radića 46, 34300 Velika
Tel: 00385 (0)34 313 030
“Jankovac Park Forest” mountain lodge and restaurant
Tel: 00385 (0)33 898 70 15; 00385 (0)98 9842 375