The ancient Romans called the town of Daruvar (pop. 9,815) Aquae Balissae—and they knew a good spa site when they saw one. On the forested slopes of the Papuk Hills, 68 km (42 miles) northwest of Požega and just west of Papuk National Park, Daruvar is Slavonia's prettiest place to sit and soak. The present-day face of Daruvar's center—including an imposing two-story baroque manor house—took shape from 1760 to 1777 within the estate of Count Antun Jankovič. Beyond having two 18th-century baroque churches also worth a look, Daruvar and some nearby villages carry the unusual distinction of being home to Croatia's largest population of ethnic Czechs—many of whom still speak their native tongue and observe Czech customs. In this light, it is not surprising that Daruvar is also the home of a major brewery that produces Staročeško pivo Old Bohemian Beer—based on an old Czech recipe, of course. You can reach Daruvar by train or bus from Požega, but if you have a car available,
that is by far the more convenient option.
Daruvarske Toplice. Among other buildings with which the family endowed Daruvar are the key structures of its spa, Daruvarske Toplice, which they built between 1810 and 1818 on the foundations of the very baths the Romans once enjoyed. Celebrated for its mildly alkaline water, which is said to be good for treating various ailments, the bath complex also includes a large park full of rare old trees. You can stay on-site at one of their two accommodations, seek a variety of health and wellness treatments, or just spend a couple of hours relaxing in the Finnish and Turkish saunas and three thermal pools. Julijev park, 43500. 043/623–623. www.daruvarske-toplice.hr. 29 Kn for entrance to pools. Baths open 8 am–9 pm.