Urbanovo in Međimurje has grown into something much more than a "weekend wine festival"

It is an excellent example of strategic thinking and destination development.

Author  Goran Rihelj

16. May 2024.

In mid-May, Štrigova becomes a wine center and hosts the event Urbanovo 2024.

It is a key event in Međimurje, which is primarily dedicated to wine. Already today and tomorrow, the program starts with the International wine evaluation, and until May 19, Urban's Gourmet Week will last.

Organized by the association Hortus Croatiae a rich program has been designed for all lovers of Međimurje wines. The highlight of the Urbanovo 2024 event is certainly three-day Pushipela Festival.

In the House of Culture in Štrigova from Friday 17 to Sunday 19 May the Pushipela Festival is held. According to announcements, visitors will be able to taste over three days more than 170 labels of premium wines from 24 wineries. It is an opportunity to get to know the best wines of Međimurje winemakers and to meet business partners, restaurateurs and sommeliers with exhibiting winemakers.

"I will not exaggerate if I say that Urbanovo is among the three leading wine festivals in Croatia - in terms of the quality of the wine, the program and the beauty of the region where it is held. Media interest and the interest of guests grow every year. This is truly evidenced by the fact that the available rooms during Urban's duration is gone, all capacities are booked." pointed out the director of the Tourist Board of Međimurje County, Rudi Grula.

All capacities are booked - this is imperative and proof of how they are manifestation motive of arrival and a great "channel" for branding destinations. Of course, this takes time, for an event to be accepted on the market and to reach the point of motivation for coming and for the available capacities to be booked.

That's why investment u investment manifestations, and not the cost. 

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Urbanovo in Međimurje has grown into something much more than a "wine weekend festival". It is an excellent example of strategic thinking and destination development.

Although the Pushipela Festival is the highlight of this event, it is preceded by the International Wine Judging, which took place on May 3 and 4 and Urban's Gourmet week from May 3 to 19, during which the restaurants involved in the project offer food combined with top wines from Međimurje winemakers. The restaurants that have prepared special menus perfectly paired with the wines of Međimurje winemakers are: Bistro Beška, Restaurant Bajzovi dvori, Restaurant & Bar Boccone, Restaurant Mala Hiža, Restaurant Mamica and Restaurant Stari grad.

From May 17 to Sunday, May 19 the Pushipela Festival takes place, and the Urban Festival ends Open cellars May 24 and 25, where visitors can expect various culinary treats in addition to excellent wines.

So we are no longer talking about one weekend, but practically the entire month of May, in which Međimurje is branded and communicated as a region of top wine, food and entertainment or the Međimurje way of life. 

There is also an additional accompanying program as part of Urban's. From the exhibition History of winemaking in Liburnia, Wine & smile quiz, Cooking show by Bajzovi dvori & Marko Palfi, International caricature exhibition to Urbanovo WINE RUN. 

Excellent combination of a new means of arrival in Međimurje and a means of moving around the destination

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"We will wait five years for the project to become self-sustainable", said Rudi Grula, director of the TZ Međimurje community when he started the Hop on, Hop Off bus project. And that is realistically the only serious approach.

In 2021, Međimurje launched an innovative concept - Hop on, Hop off bus ( HOHO ) or Bus on the move, which is being introduced for the first time, even in Europe, for one entire destination.

/ / / Međimurje breaks up again! The destination's new innovative product - Bus on the move or Međimurje on the move - is starting

Often, some destination projects are launched and after the announcement or after a few months, the development stops because they are not sustainable or because of the inexperience of those who lead them. Such destination projects, especially on the continent, need time to be accepted on the market, fit into itineraries and become self-sustaining. Some never will, but they play an important role in the development of the destination, so they are co-financed due to the overall added value. 

Basically, a special focus is placed on the Hop on, Hop Off bus, from cooperation with agencies to connection with events. And it primarily functions as a separate project with a clear timetable. No cancellation, even if the car is empty. I want to emphasize that with such projects, they must be developed in a targeted manner and connected with other activities, promoted, etc., and not just launched and waiting for a "miracle" that will never happen by itself. Everything requires management and a broader vision. 

Also, the The Hop on, Hop Off bus is also part of Urban's. Don't neglect enjoying Međimurje wines and later driving, there is a Hop on, Hop Off bus that takes care of you - the "informal" message to the guests is clear. 

Part of Urban's is also "the green train of Međimurje" which drives from Zagreb to Čakovec, and which was recently sold out as part of the campaign "with booze in green Međimurje". Arriving by train in Čakovec, the visitors mentioned above await there Hop on, Hop Off bus which drives directly to The Strigos.

/ / / By combining sustainable tourism, the slow travel concept and volunteerism, Međimurje represents a new step forward in tourism development

/ / / Međimurje sold out the first sustainable and volunteer tourism product in just two days - 'with booze in green Međimurje'

Thus, Hop on, Hop Off bus and train got a new role and an excellent sustainable agenda as part of Urban.

Let's not forget that a bus of about 50 people leaves a much smaller carbon footprint than 25 or 50 cars. And of course there is also the element that visitors can relax and enjoy the wine, which is the main goal, and not think about how to get back to the accommodation. 

An excellent combination of different products that complement each other and add new value. 

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Of course, Urbanovo also digitized, from the digital program to the purchase of tickets. Tickets of 25 euros per person for the Pushipela Festival are charged through eventima.hr

Or rather, they were charged BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL SOLD OUT. One more SOLD OUT moment in Međimurje. See for yourself at eventim: Pushipela Festival - Urbanovo

Also, there is another more than interesting detail - DI go to Urbanovo or personal activation of Međimurians living in Zagreb.

Members of the Society of Međimuraci in Zagreb, faithful to the values ​​of their homeland, gathered their members on May 06 friends in Zagreb, and in a special way announced the new edition of Urbanov. In the Oio Vivo & Wine bar, a Međimurje wine list, decorated with decanters, was presented to numerous visitors.

"Urbanovo is not just a wine festival, it is an event that positions Međimurje at the top of the Croatian tourist map. With a rich program that started with international wine judging, and will culminate with the Pushipela Festival, Urbanovo offers something for everyone" pointed out the president of the Hortus Croatiae Association of winegrowers and winemakers Robert Horvath.

"We hold the presentation under the motto I come to Urbanovo, because we are a native community that cherishes and promotes Međimurje culture in the heart of Croatia. We are proud to be able to support this event and invite all our members, friends, as well as the general public to visit Međimurje and experience the diversity and wealth that our region offers.", said the president of the Society of Međimurac in Zagreb Matija Kikelj.

Visitors had the opportunity to taste Međimurje wines and learn why they are famous, which is the best invitation to Urbanovo - the Pushipela festival in 2024. And that's how the word spreads among friends and business partners. And what is an important element - this is personal.

Because as we know, the local population (even those who have moved to another region, but still respect their place of birth) are the best ambassadors of tourism. 

All information and details about the program can be found at website, To Instagram i Facebook Urban's social networks.

Author  Goran Rihelj

16. May 2024.