Another European Capital of Culture 2012!
Maribor can be found in the northeast corner of Slovenia and sits between the Pohorje Mountains and its beautiful wine growing hills, with the river Drava drifting its way through the centre, splitting the city in two. It’s a perfect spot for a long weekend – there is culture, magificent countryside, a great night life, you name it, you can do it here!
Take a walk along the banks of the river and through the lively streets and squares of this city, where you can gaze upon medieval towers and the remains of the city’s historic walls. Walk around Glavni trg, the largest of Maribor’s squares, home to the Plague Memorial, the Town Hall, Aloysius Church and Casino Maribor. Grajski trg is a truly sumptious square, on the doorstep of Maribor Castle, where you will find the Regional Museum. Although Maribor is Slovenia’s second largest city and is relatively small by European standards, there is plenty to see and do here!
The Old Vine
Located on the left bank of the Drava River and in front of a house in the Lent Quarter of Maribor, the ‘Old Vine’ is over 400 years old and is so registered in the Guinness Book of Records! The Old Vine House is a veritable temple of viticulture, offering tastings of wine from all over the Štajerska region, as well as selling delicious Slovene chocolate and handmade pralines. Slovenia, in particular in the northeast of the
country, has a rich winemaking culture and ‘From Vine to Wine’ events take place in the town throughout the year. The most eagerly anticipated event is the ritual grape harvest at the end of September, known as the ‘Festival of the Old Vine’. If you are a bit of wine buff, you can easily spend a day here.
Dating back to the 16th century, the Water Tower was built to combat Turkish raids and secure the southeast part of the city walls. Previously, the southern part of the city walls was guarded by two such round towers, including the predecessor of the Water Tower, known as the Gunpowder Tower. Located just off one of the oldest streets in the town, it is now split into two floors; the lower level is a wine shop selling some of the region’s best wines, while the upper floor is dedicated entirely to wine tasting in a large round room with a high ceiling, reminiscent of a medieval banqueting hall.
To the north of the town is Maribor’s city park which together with three ponds, Piramida (Pyramid) Hill and Kalvarija (Cavalry) Hill spans over 12 acres. Enjoy feeding swans and ducks and look out for terrapins! For a closer encounter with them and hundreds of species of fish, amphibians, insects and some of the world’s most poisonous snakes, so a visit to the Aquarium is a great way to spend a few hours. The park is also home to some fearless squirrels who have no qualms about invading your personal space and your sandwich bag! Once you’ve finished admiring all the wildlife, take a stroll up Piramida Hill for possibly the most stunning views of the whole city!
Wherever and whenever you choose to travel in Slovenia, it’s important to pack for its diverse weather. Winters are relatively cold and the average temperature for this time of year hovers just around freezing but it’s also the driest time. Over the course of the year the temperature typically varies from -4°C in the coldest months (January and February) to a warm 27°C in the summer months.
Slovenian food is influenced by Balkan, German and Italian cuisine, with lots of bacon, pork, potatoes, beans, mushrooms, eggs and cabbage. Popular dishes include pleskavica (a burger stuffed with cheese and mushroom), Kranjska klobasa (a Slovenian sausage similar to a kielbasa) and Pohorje pršut (prosciutto), all of which are perfect with a glass of something good. Even if you are spending a day in Mestini Park you can still sample some lovely Slovenian cuisine as the Gostilna Pri Treh Ribnikih restaurant, sited at the upper end of the city park, right by the Three Ponds – forks at the ready.