Due to its important location near the junction of the Drava and Danube rivers, this large and prosperous town (the fourth largest city in Croatia with a population around 120,000) bore much of the brunt of the recent conflict in the 1990s. Many fine buildings have been restored to their former glory, though do not be surprised to see some scars still remaining. Some buildings still have bullet holes or shrapnel markings in them, though like the local economy, the town is mostly back to where it was in pre-war days. Osijek is the largest city and the economic and the cultural centre of the eastern Croatian region of Slavonia, as well as the administrative center of Osijek-Baranja county.
Osijek is the major rail and road hub for all forms of transport in eastern Croatia.
Rail services to Osijek terminate at the grand 1880s railway building at the bottom edge of the central town. In addition to the numerous train services operate each day to Zagreb (including the new, high-speed tilt train which completes the journey in around 3 hours), there are services to Koprivnica and Rijeka as well as other local services within Croatia to places like Slavonski Brod and Đakovo. The Croatian Railways has information on train times and tickets. The railway station is being renovated and modernised. There are daily connections with places in the city area. There are also daily connections to Bizovac spa.
The bus station adjoins the train station and offers international as well as domestic services. Some of the many destinations on offer include Vukovar, Đakovo, Novi Sad, Belgrade, Pecs and Tuzla. Timetables, tickets and information are easily accessible. Panturist is the major bus operator out of Osijek and has listings of domestic and international bus travel - click on the vozni red icon. Central bus station is renovating and it will become the biggest one in south-eastern Europe. Bus companies Panturist, Polet, APP, Croatiatrans and many other smaller companies are daily connecting the city with all parts of the country.
In summer months, there are flights with Croatia Airlines from the Adriatic coast from Split and Dubrovnik to Osijek Airport (located some distance from the city). This can be very useful to save back-tracking through to Zagreb once again, or the very mountainous and windy journey through Bosnia. Buses and taxis connect the airport with the city center and hotels. There is also a secondary airport, used exclusively for sport and private flying purposes (Sport Airport Čepin). It is also used for exhibitions. When Pope John Paul II visited Croatia, this was the place where the service was held. The annual car-show is also held at this airport.
There is now an international service by Germanwings to Cologne and other German cities. Ryanair has started servicing flights to the United Kingdom and Germany. Egyptian Lotus Air is starting services in summer 2009., connecting the city with the city of Hurghada.
Main highways pass nearby to Osijek from Zagreb through to Belgrade (Beograd), and the pan-European corridor Vc from Budapest through to Sarajevo will see a new motorway added to the Croatian network, construction to be completed by 2010.
Highway A5 or Slavonika was opened 17.04.2009. It connects Osijek with the A3 highway which runs from Zagreb to the Serbian border.
Driving to Osijek is easy with good signposting from all directions, and there is on-street as well as lot parking in the town.
Osijek is divided into two main regions - the upper town (focusing on the city square, Trg Ante Starcevic), and Tvrđa, the preserved fortress town to the east of the town centre along the Drava River. The whole city has 12 districts/blocks: Upper Town, Lower Town, Fortress, New Town, South 1, South 2, Green Field, Retfala, New Retfala, Industrial District, Tvrdjavica and The Left Coast.
Osijek has a tram system dating back to 1884, and the three main lines connect the railway station, town square, Tvrđa, industrial district, all city borders (tickets can be bought from the driver, or you can purchase a BUTRA-universal bus/tram card for unlimited riding). The network is currently being completely overhauled and more than doubled in length, and the city's old trams are being modernized. Local buses fill the gaps where the trams do not run and are quite frequent. A map of the local transport system can be found on the Tourist Board's website. . You can also experience the ride with the oldest tram in Europe, which has been renovated for sightseeing tours. Buses are riding cca every 10-15 minutes in the city area, and every 20-25 minutes those which are connecting the settlements around the city (Tenja, Sarvas, Visnjevac, Josipovac, Cepin, Vladislavci, Bilje, Darda, Bizovac, Nemetin, Bijelo Brdo).
There are numerous bicycling routes all around the city, such as Donji grad-Bilje, Jug II.-Industrijska četvrt, and so on.
Taxis are serving the line within the main railway station/airport to the city center.
Otherwise, it is fairly straightforward and well-designed city to traverse by foot with few hills.
- Kino Europa. - modernist architecture
- Kino Urania. - secessionist architecture
- Europska Avenija (Europe Avenue). magnificent secession style buildings
- Tvrđa is the self-contained 18th-century Hapsburg defensive fortress just east of the city centre. This immaculately-preserved baroque military compound, designed by Maximillian de Gosseau in 1721, contains many fine buildings to view by day, and at night becomes the hotspot with bars and clubs. Luckily there was no damage during the recent conflict to the site, ensuring great viewing and photos. Tvrđa is based around the main square, Trg Svetog Trojstva, and the Museum of Slavonia is located here with artefacts throughout history as early as Roman times. There are also situated high schools, and university of Osijek. On the main square is also Archeological museum, and Music school. Fortress is also the place for a good night-life with numerous bars, discos and restaurants.
- Co-Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul This is the tallest church in Croatia and has a spire of 90m. The Co-Cathedral was planned by Josip Juraj Strossmayer, and the internal stonework is by renouned Austrian sculptor Hauser. The church contains many stunning stained glass windows and a large, fine-sounding pipe organ constructed by the Walcher firm of Linz, Austria. Co-Cathedral is often place for big concerts of classical and religious music.
- Croatian National Theatre, Zupanijska Ul. A beautiful building designed in 1886 and severely damaged in the recent conflict. A painstaking restoration has restored it to its former glory, though shortly afterwards a McDonald's restaurant opened up on the ground floor. Shows, concerts and opera are performed weekly.
- Promenada is located along the banks of the Drava River and is a pleasant walk past the marina, cafes, and parklands. In the Winter port are also many bars, and the second tallest building in the city, Hotel Osijek (4 star hotel)
- Pejacevic Castle is located on the edge of the Upper Town and on the entrance to Retfala district. Part of the castle is owned by Little siters of St. Mary, and they will be delighted to show you the whole castle and around it. Do not be afraid of the dog in the yard, which is a pet of the nuns. There are around 10 sisters in the convent, with few candidates.
- The Municipal Park of King Petar Krešimir IV and the Tomislav Park date from the beginning of the 20th century, and are protected national landmarks. They are excellent place for a relaxing break after walking around the city.
- Church of St. Roch is a little church in the Upper Town, and it is the first Catholic church built after Ottoman Empire ruled the city.
- Church of St. Michael is the second biggest church in the city, built in high baroque and royal style, by models from Vienna and Budapest. Priest lives right next door, and he will proudly take you inside the church, and explain everything about the past, style, and some interesting facts about the church. On the square in the front of the church can be seen traces where was before over hundred years ago a Muslim mosque.
- Water Gate the only remained entrance to the Fortress from Habsburg Empire times. Near the Gate is a path to the Fortress walls which are surrounding 3/4 of the Fortress
- City Area Administration Palace is situated just across the street from the Croatian National Theatre, quite near the main city square.
- Zoo, Sjevernodravska obala 1, ☎ +385 31 285234, fax: +385 31 214784, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 9AM-5PM, tickets stop being sold at 4PM. The largest zoo park in Croatia, with lots of species of animals.
- Visit the Franciscan monastery of St. Cross, situated in Tvrdja (Fortress). Franciscan monks will be delighted to show you the beautiful church, with interior decorated in high baroque style. They can also take you to see the rich monastery library. Franciscans are very, very polite and they will help you if you have any questions, not only about the monastery, also about the city.
- There are numerous shops and mall centres across the city, such as Esseker Centre, Emezetta, Ipercoop, Kaufland, Interspar, Mercator etc. Company Konzum has shops and market centres all around the city, and it is really easy to notice them.
- Go with a bicycle on a route from Osijek to village Bilje (cca 10km from Osijek), and explore the beauty of golden fields and green forests. NB! Pay attention on "Mine field" signs, and do not go in the forests on your own.
- Visit numerous festivals in the city: Osijek Cultural Summer; Autumn in Tvrdja; Osijek Beer Festival; UFO - Urban Fest Osijek; Kristfest; Festival of Tamburitza music
- If you would like to see some excellent folk dance shows, there are two very good folk ensembles holding concerts around not only the city and country, also in the world. HKUD "Osijek 1862." and HKUD "Zeljeznicar" are one of the best folk ensembles in the country.
- Visit the open market place, right in the centre of the city. Explore the thrilling feeling while walking through a mass of people, sounds of offers to buy something, two grandmas arguing whose stuff is more better, sexier or with high quality.
- Visit the factory of chocolate "Kandit" which is one of the biggest in the country, and it is well known for the rich and full taste of candies and chocolate
- In summer time, refreshment can be found in the open-air swimming pools on a river beach called Copacabana, or Kopika. And the best thing is, it is free. If you prefer closed swimming pools, there are also City pools, in the southern district of the city.
- Osijek has one of the best night-life in the country. Discos and bars are open during the day and night.
- Handmade ethno souvenirs can be bought in a little shop "Rukotvorine" not far from the Croatian National Theatre. Antiquity shops and souvenirs shops are all around the city
- There are several traditional instrument shops around the city
- Traditional table cloths can be found on the city market for a very low and reasonable price
- CD and computer shops are also situated around the city
- Clothes and shoes can be both in numerous shops around the city. For example: Mango, Castello, S.Oliver, WGW, New Yorker, Beneton, Armani, Esseker Centre, NAMA, and several underground shops, under the main city square
- Fresh and delicious food can be found on every open-air market place
- Numerous pizzerias all around the city. Ones with a special atmosphere are El Paso in the Winter Port, and Galija on the upper coast of the river Drava
- Traditional food restaurants are situated mostly in the Fortress
- Fresh bread and "burek" can be bought in every single bakery. Every single street has at least one bakery
- Leganini, Sv. L.B. Mandića 31, 31000 Osijek, ☎ +385-31 29 74 99. Open 08:00-22:00, Sunday: Closed. “Lega” means “pal” in the Osijek dialect. The motto of this “friendly café” is “Try something new,” meaning a sandwich wrap instead of čevapi or pljeskavica. The flat bread is made to order, then wrapped around your choice of meats, sauces and fresh vegetables. Located on the way into town on the route from Đakovo highway, this is a good place for a quick bite if you’re hungry after a long drive. They also deliver.
The specialty of Slavonia is undoubtably food.
With culinary influences from all directions, and a love of spicy food, Osijek has many great restaurants serving traditional Croatian cuisine. Two specialties of the area include riblji paprikas (fish stew with hand-made noodles) or kulen (spicy sausages). Going out to eat in restaurants in Osijek is often far better value than in other large Croatian cities, though for those who insist on self-catering there is a supermarket and an open-air market between the town square and railway station.
- "Matrix Bar" (Fortress)
- "Q Club" (Fortress)
- "Strossmayer" (Strossmayer Street)
- "Kavana Waldinger" (Zupanijska Street)
- "Patrick Pub" (Fortress)
- "Luna" (Fortress)
- "Big Ben" (Fortress)
- "Oxygen bar"
- "S.Co.Bar" formerly known as famous Voodoo bar
- "Old Bridge Pub" (Fortress)
- "Bastion" (Fortress)
- "Vinoteka Vinita" (Strossmayer Street)
- Osijek has the oldest beer brewery in Croatia, which was founded in year 1687. Brewery is producing not only beer, but also non-alcoholic drinks.
- Price of one beer is cca 1.5-1.75 Euro (10-13 kuna) per bottle (0.5l). In every bar is a big menu of beers, domestic and imported ones.
- Bars and discos serve various drinks, from wines, whiskeys, traditional rakija, cocktails and etc.
- No age limit for bars or discos. Only for night-clubs
- Hotel Osijek, Šamačka 4, ☎ +385 31 230 333, fax: +385 31 230 444, e-mail: email@example.com. Hotel Osijek has got 140 rooms, and 7 apartments. The hotel is located on the river bank of the Drava river in the center of the city.
- Hotel Waldinger, Županijska ul. 8, Tel: +385 31 250 450 (Fax: +385 31 250 453, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) .
- Hotel Central, Trg A. Starčevića 6, ☎ +385 31 283 399, fax: +385 31 283 891, e-mail: email@example.com. Hotel Central is located at the central square of the city.
- Zoo Hotel, Tvrđavica, ☎ +385 31 22 99 22, fax: +385 31 22 99 11, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. As stated by the name the Zoo Hotel is located at the Osijek Zoo.
- Hotel Villa Ariston, Kačićeva 6, ☎ +385 31 251-351, fax: +385 31 251-350, e-mail: email@example.com. Hotel Ariston is located close to the bus and railwaystation.
- Hotel Mursa, B. Kačića 2/a, +385 31 207 640.
- Hotel Millenium, Kralja Petra Svacica 12, +385 31 53 13 30
- Hotel Silver, Martina Divalta 84, +385 31 58 25 35
- Guesthouse Maksimilian, Franjevacka 12 - Fortress/Tvrdja, +385 31 497 567, www.maksimilian.hr. Good value for the price.
- Youth Hostel Tufna, Franje Kuhača 10/I, [www.tufna.hr]
- slavonika, postanska 26,josipovac, ☎ +385 95 88 44 111, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Rent cheap whole house with many free services: Bikes fly rods computer in every room wi fi internet table-tenis darts solar shower chairs for sun grill (broiler, kettle, spit) parasol large table for a terrace various board games (chess, cards, jumbo, monopoly ...) vegetables (gratis basket ecologically grown vegetables from our greenhouses, in season) Badminton...
- There are natural thermal spas just to the west of Osijek in the town of Bizovac. They provide much better value than spas closer to Zagreb or Varazdin, and see fewer tourists. The spa is easily accessible by train or bus.
- The town of Vukovar is less than an hour away and buses leave very regularly (almost every hour, 7 days a week). This town was completely blown up in the recent conflict due to being on the border of Croatia and Serbia and having a mixed-ethnic population, and provides the visitor with a fascinating (if not sobering) view on the war.
- Đakovo and its enormous Cathedral are a half-hour to the south of Osijek. Besides the beautiful Cathedral which completely dominates the town, there are Lipizzaner horses being trained just on the edge of the city (a great morning's viewing), and every year in July is the annual folk and embroidery festival which attracts visitors from far and wide.
- The Kopački Rit is the biggest natural wetlands in Europe and the birdlife is spectacular. This enormous nature park, located around 15km north of Osijek where the Danube and Drava rivers flow into one another, is a great day out in the countryside - though bring some insect repellent as the mosquitos do bite!! There is no public transport to the park, so take the local bus to Bilje and its a 2-3km walk.