My hometown Maribor is second largest city in Slovenia. It is located at the North-Eastern part of the country, in Slovenian Syria (Štajerska) region. Nested between the Pohorje Hill at one side and wine-growing hills at the other is a lovely place worth visiting.
Here is the pick of things to do, I usually recommend to my friends who would like to visit Maribor:
- See the Old Vine (Stara Trta) and sample Slovenian wines at the Old Vine House
Maribor is located in the heart of the Slovenian wine growing region and has long tradition of wine growing. It is not surprising, its main attraction is an Old Vine (Stara Trta) – the oldest grape-producing vine in the world. It still produces between 35 and 55 kg grapes and about 25 litres of red wine per year. Planted more than 400 years ago near the banks of the river Drava it is officially recognised by the Guiness World Book of Records as the oldest vine in the world.
The Old Vine House – the house that held the vine houses an information centre where visitors can learn about the viniculture heritage of the area. There you can also taste some local wines and buy them as souvenirs.
Tip: Visit the annual harvest ceremony with official cutting of the vine, music, dancing, and even more wine tasting.
- Climb up the Piramida Hill
Piramida Hill is a 386 m high summit northeast of the City Park. It is the place where the first Maribor castle was located before it was demolished in a series of the misfortunes. Recent archeological dig uncovered the basis of the castle which can be seen without an admission. There is also a small chapel at the site.
To get to the top take a route through the city vineyard. Enjoy easy ascent and the panoramic view to Maribor.
- Climb up the Cathedral Tower
Maribor Cathedral is located in the western part of the Old Town, at the Slomškov Square (Slomškov trg). This church, dedicated to St John the Baptist, was built in 12th century and is the oldest church in Maribor. Climb the steps to the 57 m high bell tower and enjoy the panoramic views over Maribor.
- Attend the Lent Festival
Lent Festival is summer festival held every year in the last week of June. For two weeks, different stages all around Maribor are lift up for numerous concerts, street theatre, theatre and dance performances, stand-up shows, creative workshops, and sports events. There is something for every taste. Either you attend one of the events or you just stroll around the city, you’ll enjoy the festival atmosphere. This is the time of the year when Maribor become alive.
Con: Festival Lent is only held once a year.
- Walk along the banks of river Drava
Lent is located on the banks of river Drava and is one of the oldest parts of the town. Walk along the river will take you pass some of the major Maribor sights: Judgment Tower, Minorite Monastery, Old Bridge, Water Tower, Jewish Tower and Synagogue. Start your walk by the one of the defence towers of the city walls – the 14th century Judgment Tower – the tower which got its name after the witch trials which sentences were pronounced here. Continue your walk to the Water Tower, passing the Old Vine, Old Bridge and Minorite Monastery, a 13 century monastery nowadays serving as the puppet theatre. Back from the waterfront, see the main buildings of medieval Jewish quarter: the Jewish Tower and Synagogue. Conclude your walk in a wine-bar inside the Water Tower with a cup of local wine.
- Stroll around the City Park (Mestni Park)
City Park is a lovely arboretum located just few blocks away from the Old Town. Stroll pass the green lawns, flower beds, ponds and statues or sit and relax at one of numerous benches.
- Be active at Pohorje
Pohorje is the south-easternmost part of the Central Alps. There are many things to do in all seasons: skiing, cross-country skiing, sledding, winter-hiking, hiking, mountain biking, testing your adrenalin skills at adrenaline park, riding a summer sledge run in the summer, etc. There is something for everyone.
Pro: Pohorje is easy accessible from Maribor city centre. City bus no. 6 takes you right to the lower station of Pohorje cable car.
- Visit Museum of National Liberation (Muzej narodne osvoboditve Maribor)
Museum of National Liberation is dedicated to the modern history of Maribor and North-Eastern Slovenia. It is located a block away from the City Park, in a lovely mansion built in mid-1890s. Visit, if you want to learn more about different aspects of Slovenian contemporary history!
- See the Main Square (Glavni trg) and Castle Square (Grajski trg)
The Main Square and the Castle Square are both located in the centre of the old town. Main Square features the 16th century Town Hall, Plague Pillar – a baroque monument commemorating the severe plague which had hit Maribor very hard in the 17th century.
Castle Square is located at the centre of the Old Town. Its main features are a 17th century monument dedicated to St. Florian, a patron of firefighters and Maribor Castle, nowadays a home to the Regional Museum of Maribor. The castle was built in 15th century, but was after rebuild many times. It is not spectacular, as some castles, but it is a mixture of different architectural styles, like the rest of the Maribor Old Town. The square is lined with restaurants, bars and coffee shops. Join the locals and take a cup of coffee at one of them.
- Stroll around Stražun Forrest
Stražun forrest is a 210 ha large green space popular with the locals for walking, jogging and relaxing. When walking under the treetops of trees you might meet deers, squirrels or some other forrest animals.
Though Maribor might not be as spectacular as some other cities, it is still special. It will always have a special place in my heart. After all, it is a place where I was born and raised, a place I will always call home.