Nestled in the Sutla River valley near the Slovenian border, the village of Kumrovec has been transformed into an open-air ethnographic museum. A re-creation of a 19th-century village, the Staro Selo Museum features 40 restored houses and barns made of pressed earth and wood. The village was also the birthplace of Josip Broz Tito, the former president of Yugoslavia. His house is now a museum containing original furniture, letters from foreign leaders and memorabilia, with a life-sized bronze sculpture outside.
With a stream bubbling through the idyllic setting, the museum presents a vivid glimpse of peasant traditions and village life. These hiže (traditional Zagorje huts) are now filled with furniture, mannequins, toys, wine presses and baker’s tools (all accompanied by English captions) in order to evoke the region’s traditional arts, crafts and customs. On some weekends (April to September) the museum hosts demonstrations of blacksmithing, candlemaking, pottery making and flax weaving. For Tito's birthday, on 25 May, the village comes alive with devotees from all over former Yugoslavia.
It's best to visit with your own transport as there are only two daily buses running between Zagreb and Kumrovec (57KN, 1¼ hours; weekdays only).