So grab a good guidebook—better yet, find a local guide—and discover the stories that this walkable city is waiting to reveal. A good place to begin is Tvrđa, a Habsburg star fortification with the largest collection of Baroque buildings in Croatia. In its time it was the largest Habsburg fortress on the border with the Ottoman Empire, protecting this gateway city from reinvasion. Tvrđa is home to the wonderful Museum of Slavonia, which contains many historical artifacts. While you’re there, don’t miss Crkva svetog Mihaela (the Church of St. Michael), built on the site of the Turkish Kasim-Pasha mosque; you can find yellow paving from the Ottoman period, and the church bells are said to ring every Friday at the exact moment of liberation from the Ottomans in 1687. And be sure to indulge in Croatian coffee culture at one of Tvrđa’s many outdoor cafés.
Then take a leisurely stroll to Europska avenija (European Avenue), lined with the elegant Secession-style Austrian manors that Osijek is famous for. Find a fresh snack or fill your shopping bag at Tržnica Osijek, the lively farmer’s market that features fruits and vegetables from some of the richest agricultural areas in all of Croatia. Finally head toward the main square, Ante Starčević Square, to visit Osijek’s stunning cathedral.