Located 122km northeast of Ljubljana, Maribor is perched snugly on the Drava River between hillside vineyards and the Pohorje mountain range. Though beset by war and occupation, the old town’s beautiful architecture preserves myriad historical and cultural influences, and the nightlife is unrivalled outside of Ljubljana.
Maribor’s main attractions are condensed in a pedestrianized centre. Looming over Trg Svobode, the imposing, St Mary’s Franciscan church catches the eye first. Opposite the church, Maribor Castle houses the regional museum. Nearby delve into the labyrinth of underground catacombs that make up the Vinag Wine Cellar, stopping to sample some of the acclaimed vintages. On the western fringe of the pedestrianized zone sits the photogenic Slomškov trg, a serene, leafy opening surrounded by a few landmarks, including the university building and the elegant Slovene National Theatre. Opposite the university, and mimicking its distinct yellow colour, is the sixteenth-century Gothic Cathedral Church, with a bell tower that offers fantastic views to the edges of the city and beyond. South of Slomškov, another charming square, Glavni trg, epitomizes the hopscotch architectural styles of the city. Its centrepiece is the Baroque Plague Memorial, erected after the deadly disease wiped out a third of the town’s population in the seventeenth century.Read More
Between Glavni and the Drava River, the streets become narrow and uneven, as you enter the oldest part of town, Lent, which hosts a myriad of open-air events during the Lent festival in late June and early July each year, comprising two entertaining weeks of street theatre, dance performances and jazz, rock and classical concerts. It is here that the world’s oldest productive vine, a protected national monument, grows majestically outside the Old Vine House. Inside, a small exhibition complements the range of top-quality, reasonably priced vintages from the area.
Just a short bus ride or cycle southwest from the centre is the sprawling Pohorje mountain range. Take the hourly cable car up the slope, where – depending on the season – you can hike, mountain bike, horseride and ski, or simply sit and admire the glorious views of Maribor and the countryside surrounding it. The website http://www.pohorje.org has detailed information on activities in the area.