If you’re planning a trip to Vukovar or already soaking up the atmosphere in this historic city, you’ve landed in the right place. I already explained that Vukovar is worth visiting, but let’s dive a bit deeper into this beautiful city.
I’m here to guide you through the top 12 must-visit spots in Vukovar that will truly enrich your experience.
This city, brimming with history, culture, and natural beauty, has a lot to offer. So, let’s dive in and explore what makes Vukovar a gem on the Danube.
12 Must-See Attractions in Vukovar, Croatia
Here are my top recommendations you should see when visiting Vukovar in Croatia.
12. Danube River Walkway
The Danube River Walkway is a haven for nature lovers and peace seekers. As you walk along this recently renovated path, you’re greeted by the tranquil beauty of the Danube River.
The serene environment, punctuated by the rhythmic flow of the river and the gentle rustling of the leaves, offers a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
11. The Memorial Center of Croatian War Veterans
Located in Borovo Naselje, on the famous Trpinjska cesta, is The Memorial Home of Croatian War Veterans. This small museum, which can be explored in just about 15-30 minutes, holds a significant piece of Vukovar’s history.
Inside, you’ll find a collection of artifacts, photographs, and personal items that tell the story of the city’s defenders during the war. Each item carries a tale of bravery, resilience, and the spirit of Vukovar’s people.
Adjacent to the museum, you’ll find a Serbian tank, a stark reminder of the battles fought on this very street. This tank, now silent and still, offers a unique photo opportunity. As you pose next to it, you’re not just taking a picture but capturing a moment of history and the spirit of Vukovar.
10. The Church of St. Phillip and St. James
Situated atop a hill in Vukovar, the Church of St. Phillip and St. James is a notable landmark that combines historical significance with architectural beauty.
This church, visible from various parts of the city, stands as a symbol of faith and resilience. Inside, you’ll find a peaceful space adorned with stained glass windows and traditional religious art.
Its location on the hill not only provides a panoramic view of the city but also adds to the serene and contemplative atmosphere. Whether you’re interested in architecture or history or seeking a quiet place for reflection, the Church of St. Phillip and St. James is a location that should not be missed.
9. City Center
The City Center of Vukovar is a vibrant hub that beautifully showcases the city’s Baroque architectural style. As you walk through the city center, you’ll be surrounded by beautifully renovated buildings that echo the city’s rich history.
Each structure tells a story of its own, reflecting the city’s past and its resilient spirit. The city center is not just about the buildings, it’s also a place where you can immerse yourself in the local culture, enjoy a cup of coffee in one of the charming cafes, or simply watch the world go by.
The City Center of Vukovar, with its blend of history and modernity, is a must-visit for every traveler.
8. Park Adica
Park Adica is more than just a green oasis in Vukovar; it’s a place where nature, leisure, and gastronomy come together. This expansive park offers a tranquil setting for relaxation, outdoor activities, and even a delightful culinary experience.
The park is home to a fantastic restaurant where you can indulge in local cuisine while enjoying the serene views. For those wishing to extend their stay, affordable bungalows are available, providing a unique opportunity to wake up surrounded by nature.
7. The White Cross
The White Cross, or Bijeli križ, is located at the confluence of the Vuka River with the Danube, offering a panoramic view of the mighty river. Erected in honor of all those who gave their lives for a free and independent Croatia, the monument is a work of Croatian sculptor Šime Vidulin from Pula.
The cross was installed in October 1998, a gift from the Croatian Navy of the Pula area. The entire structure, weighing 40 tons and standing 9.5 meters tall, is made of white stone. The base of the cross, shaped like an inverted trapezoid, is made of stone from Pazin.
The inscription on the cross, written in Glagolitic script, reads “Navik on živi ki zgine pošteno,” a line from a poem by Croatian nobleman Fran Krsto Frankopan. The phrase “Navik on živi ki zgine pošteno” translates to “He who dies honorably lives forever.”
The cross is set on a dark stone pedestal, and the top part of the structure, including the Latin cross, is made of white stone from the island of Brač. The front side of the cross is decorated with Croatian interlace or “pleter” in medium relief. The White Cross is a powerful symbol of sacrifice and resilience, a must-visit for anyone seeking to understand the depth of Vukovar’s history.
6. Castle Eltz
Castle Eltz or Dvorac Eltz, a baroque castle on the banks of the Danube in Vukovar, is a testament to the city’s rich history. Built in 1749 by Count Anzelmo Kazimir Eltz, it’s a significant example of baroque-classicist architecture in continental Croatia.
The castle was heavily damaged during the aggression of the Serbian and Yugoslav armies on Croatia in 1991 but has since been restored, with the project completed in 2011.
Since 1968, the castle has housed the Vukovar City Museum. The museum features local collections, the Bauer Collection and art gallery, the Memorial Museum dedicated to Nobel laureate Leopold (Lavoslav) Ružička, and the Museum of Recent History.
It offers visitors a deep dive into the city’s past, from archaeological finds to modern Croatian art, making it a must-visit for anyone interested in the cultural heritage of Vukovar.
5. Vučedol Culture Museum
The Vučedol Culture Museum, established in 2013, is a national museum in Croatia dedicated to the significant Vučedol culture, which flourished during the Eneolithic period. Located at the base of the Vinograd Streim plateau, the museum showcases the lifestyle and achievements of the Vučedol culture across 19 rooms.
The exhibits cover a wide range of themes, from geology, agriculture, and metallurgy to religion and the contemporary world. Visitors can gain a comprehensive understanding of this ancient culture, which had a profound influence on twelve modern European countries.
One of the museum’s highlights is the Vučedol Dove, a renowned ceramic vessel from the 3rd millennium BC. This artifact, symbolizing a bird on a nest, is one of the most recognized symbols of the Vučedol culture. The museum also hosts various cultural events, contributing to the rich heritage of the city.
4. Memorial Cemetery Vukovar
The Memorial Cemetery of Homeland War Victims in Vukovar, the largest mass grave in Croatia and Europe since World War II, is a solemn testament to the lives lost during the Homeland War. The cemetery, established in 1998, is located on the eastern approach to Vukovar. The entire area, once an overgrown forest covering 60,000 m2, had to be demined and cleared before it could serve as a final resting place for the victims of the war.
938 white crosses, each representing an exhumed body, solemnly mark the landscape of the cemetery. A central monument, made of patinated bronze, features an “airy” cross and an eternal flame. Two crosses are set apart in the cemetery, one for the youngest victim of the Homeland War, who was only six months old, and one for the oldest victim, a woman who was 104 years old.
The Memorial Cemetery is a place of remembrance and respect, a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made during a tragic period in Croatian history. Visitors come here to pay their respects and remember the lives lost during the Homeland War.
3. Ovčara Memorial Center
The Ovčara Memorial Center, located five kilometers southeast of Vukovar, stands as a somber reminder of the largest war crime committed during the Croatian War of Independence. The site, a farm named Ovčara, was transformed into a prison camp for non-Serbian civilians and wounded soldiers from the city and its surroundings in September 1991.
On November 20, over 260 Croatian defenders and civilians were transported from the Vukovar hospital to a hangar at the farm. Upon arrival, their personal belongings and valuables were confiscated, and they were subjected to brutal beatings and torture. The survivors were driven to a location near the hangar later that evening, where a mass grave had been prepared. Two hundred of them were executed and buried without any markings.
Today, the hangar has been converted into the Ovčara Memorial Center, a place that preserves the memory of the victims. The center serves as a stark reminder of the atrocities committed during the war and stands as a testament to the resilience and courage of the Croatian people.
2. Vukovar Hospital Museum
The Vukovar Hospital Museum is a poignant reminder of the city’s turbulent past during the Croatian War of Independence. Despite the large Red Cross emblem displayed on its roof, signaling its status as a protected site under the Geneva Conventions, the hospital was under constant enemy fire during the siege of Vukovar. Medical staff and patients were forced to relocate to the hospital’s basement, where they worked and lived in inadequate conditions, lacking necessary medical equipment.
On November 20, 1991, over 260 people were taken from the hospital by the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA). These individuals were subsequently killed at Ovčara or other locations, and many are still unaccounted for today. This act of violence is a stark reminder of the brutalities of war and the disregard for international humanitarian law.
Today, the hospital’s basement serves as a museum, offering visitors a multimedia presentation about the hospital during the siege of Vukovar and a faithful reconstruction of the basement during the city’s siege. The museum stands as a testament to the resilience of the hospital’s staff and patients and serves as a memorial to those who were taken from the hospital and killed.
1. Vukovar Water Tower
The Vukovar Water Tower, a significant symbol of the city’s suffering during the Battle of Vukovar and the Croatian War of Independence, began its construction in 1962 and started functioning as a water reservoir in 1968. It was built as a replacement for the previous water tower in the city center, which could not meet the growing needs of the expanding city. The tower, standing 50 meters tall with a water capacity of 2200 cubic meters, was one of the largest structures of its kind in Europe at the time of its construction.
During the Battle of Vukovar in 1991, the water tower was a frequent target of artillery and was hit more than 600 times during the siege. Despite the heavy damage, the tower remained standing, becoming a symbol of the city’s resistance and suffering.
After the war, the tower was not reconstructed but was instead preserved as a memorial to the city’s pain and endurance during the war. The holes from the projectiles were not repaired but were left visible behind glass walls as a permanent reminder of the destruction.
In recent years, the tower has been converted into a museum with a restaurant. The tower officially opened on October 30, 2020, and was opened to the public the following day.
It features memorial stairs, a memorial room, and a viewing platform. The area around the tower has also been developed, with an amphitheater with 100 seats, a children’s playground, a café, and landscaping around the tower area. On March 10, 2021, the Vukovar Water Tower officially became a member of the World Federation of Great Towers.
A Few Extra Attractions to Consider
While the top 12 places offer a comprehensive experience of Vukovar, if you’re already visiting the city, there are a few more attractions that are worth considering.
These additional sites provide a deeper understanding of the city’s history, culture, and natural beauty:
- Memorial Centre of Homeland War: This center is dedicated to preserving the memory of the Homeland War. It houses a collection of exhibits and personal stories that provide a deeper understanding of the conflict and its impact on Vukovar.
- Birth House of Lavoslav Ružička: Visit the birthplace of Lavoslav Ružička, the renowned chemist and Nobel laureate. This site offers a glimpse into the life and accomplishments of one of Vukovar’s most famous sons.
- Phoenix Monument: This monument, symbolizing the city’s rebirth and resilience after the war, is a powerful testament to the spirit of Vukovar. It’s a reminder of the city’s ability to rise from the ashes and rebuild.
- Vukovar Ada: This river island on the Danube is a popular spot for relaxation and recreation. With its sandy beaches and picnic spots, it’s a perfect place for a family outing or a quiet day in nature.
- Theater Hrvatski Dom Vukovar: This theater is a hub of cultural activity in Vukovar. From plays to concerts, it hosts a variety of performances that showcase the city’s vibrant arts scene.
- Old Water Tower: While the renovated Vukovar Water Tower is a popular attraction, the Old Water Tower also holds historical significance. It stands as a reminder of the city’s past and the resilience of its people.
Each of these additional attractions adds a unique dimension to your Vukovar experience, making your visit even more enriching and memorable.
While the top 12 places offer a comprehensive tour of Vukovar, don’t miss out on the additional attractions that provide a deeper dive into the city’s rich history and vibrant culture.
Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a curious traveler, Vukovar has something for everyone.
One of the best things about these attractions is that whenever you decide to come to Vukovar, they’re open.