15 things to do in Maribor (Slovenia)

In the Eastern Alps, Maribor is a mountain town with a strong winemaking tradition. To prove it, take a look at the old vine house, which, as the name suggests, is covered with an old vine. In fact, this is a very old vine that has been crawling along the building’s façade since the 1500s, and its stem looks like an ancient tree trunk. That vine is in the Lenten neighborhood, which backs the Delaware River and holds most of the oldest monuments.

Two must-see attractions are the Gothic cathedral and the castle, which has a museum that will keep you enthralled for hours. In a cauldron of viticulture, with the highest peaks in the south, Maribor is home to Slovenia’s largest ski resort, and the night ski runs showcase the city in lights hundreds of meters below.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Maribor:

1. Old Vine House

Old Vine House, Maribor

The Lent community next to Drava is home to the oldest fruiting vines in the world.

The 440-year-old factory follows the latticework on the facade of the historic building, its three tree trunks surrounded by iron railings.

The earliest record of the vine is from 1657, and it’s remarkable to think about all the disasters it has survived, from two world wars to phylloxera blight in the 1800s.

The vines bear “Blaufränkisch” grapes, producing 25 liters of wine every year, in small bottles for important visitors.

For example, Bill Clinton received a bottle when he visited in 1999. Appropriately, the building houses a museum about Styrian wines, with a special focus on this famous plant.

2. Glavni Trg

Glavni Trg, Maribor

Glavni Trg is the central square of Maribor and your starting point for learning about Maribor’s history.

Some of the city’s major monuments are located here, such as the Town Hall, the Plague Column and the former casino.

But most of the buildings on the square have some interesting pasts.

One of them has a pattern of apothecaries on the panels on its façade, which long ago was the city’s pharmacy.

Around the corner from Poštna Ulica is the Ludwigshof, a beautiful Jugendstil house built in 1905 by an industrialist family.The Friday morning farmers market resumes the square’s market tradition, selling seasonal fruits and vegetables, bread and pastries and other local delicacies, gibanica

3. Water tower

Water tower, Maribor

Standing alone on the Drava River, this stone tower once belonged to the city fortifications of Maribor.

It was proposed in the mid-16th century when a new defense system was devised to repel Turkish attacks.

Once the tower surpassed its military value, it was repurposed to store wine, becoming Slovenia’s oldest wine cellar in the process.

The role of the tower has not changed over the centuries: you can enjoy a few bottles of Styrian wine upstairs, or take a leisurely sip by the river.

4. Piramida

Piramida, Maribor

If you want to burn off some calories, there’s no better way than climbing the mountain’s vine-filled slopes.

If you’re a fast walker, you can reach the top of Piramida from the banks of the Delaware River in 30 minutes.

Until 1784, the hill was the base of the Upper Maribor caste, which was demolished at the end of the 18th century.

An obelisk replaced it, and after it was destroyed by lightning in 1821, a chapel became the only monument on the hilltop.

Check out the statue of the Virgin inside and enjoy views of Maribor and the Pohoye Mountains.

5. Maribor Cathedral

Maribor Cathedral

From the 1100s, the oldest part of Maribor Cathedral is in Romanesque style.

But when the city’s congregation proliferated in the Middle Ages, a Gothic overhaul took place.

Many naves and altars are from this period: the pointed arches, ribbed vaults and lancet windows of the apse are Gothic and rendered in local yellow sandstone.

The baroque tower was built in the 17th century and is open until 18:00 in summer.

A new stained glass window was designed to commemorate the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1999.

6. Plague Column

Plague Column, Maribor

At Glavni Trg, Maribor’s Plague Column commemorates the plague that broke out in 1680, which destroyed a third of the city. The first plague monument was erected a year later, but this magnificent column replaced it in 1743. is the craftsmanship on the Plague Column, it is considered one of the outstanding Baroque monuments in Slovenia.

Josef Straub was the sculptor who carved a Corinthian column with a golden statue of Mary resting on the capital.

The columns are made of marble and stand on marble bases with plaques and reliefs, surrounded by statues of saints.

The sculptures are reproductions, as the originals are kept outside the elements of the Maribor Regional Archives.

7. Maribor Castle

Maribor Castle

Now, if you’re looking for Maribor’s castle, you can’t be blamed for walking right past it.

That’s because it looks more like a palace.

In fact, the building only briefly served to reinforce the defenses of the northeastern wall.

Instead, it’s more of a gorgeous home that’s been updated and expanded over the centuries.

Construction of the castle began in the 1400s by Habsburg King Frederick III and was rebuilt several times until 1843. It combines Renaissance and Baroque designs, and the most beautiful element is the arcades on its upper floors.

Enter the regional museum below.

8. Maribor Regional Museum

Maribor Regional Museum

In its time, the interior of the castle was known for its extravagance, and you’ll see all the fuss in the palatial main staircase and ceremony hall, with its stunning ceiling frescoes, framed by extensive stucco decoration.

First moved in at the end of the 19th century, the museum details the cultural history, archaeology and ethnology of the area.

This is a huge treasure chest filled with eye-catching items such as Frankish swords from 1200-1300, Celtic weapons from the Iron Age, coins from the Roman era, ceremonial banners, 19th century photography and traceability Paintings to the 1300s.

For a look at primitive medicine, the pharmacy exhibit features pots, scales, mortars and cupboards dating back to the 1600s.

9. Maribor Synagogue

Maribor Synagogue

One of the oldest synagogues in Europe is located in Židovska Ulica (Jewish Street), a medieval ghetto of Maribor.

This synagogue, which dates back to the 1300s, is also one of only two remaining in the country.

In the Middle Ages, the solitary building was part of an enclave that contained a ritual bath, a Talmud school, a rabbi’s house and a cemetery.

The Jews were expelled from Maribor in 1497, after which the synagogue was turned into a church, then a military warehouse, and finally a private residence, before returning to its original role.

The modest but historic building is now a cultural center and museum housing the city’s Jewish artifacts.

10. Mestney Park

Maribor Mesteni Park

The lower part of Maribor’s main park is embedded in the urban fabric, with tree-lined avenues, sculptures, lawns and space for concerts on summer weekends.

There’s also an aquarium with over 120 fresh and saltwater species, and a terrarium inhabited by poisonous and other reptiles.

But the park also continues up the slope for a few kilometers, into the countryside, where forests and vineyards meet.

At the transition to these more wilderness are three large ponds, the lowest of which has a stately gazebo and boathouse on its south side.

11. National Liberation Museum

National Liberation Museum, Maribor

At the beginning of the 20th century, Maribor experienced some of the most turbulent decades in its history.

In the early 1900s, eight out of 10 households spoke German, and by World War II, the town was on the radar of the Nazis, who vowed to make it German again.

The museum documents the wartime Germanization effort, detailing the Nazi occupation and narrating partisan activities in the Lower Styrian Heights from 1941-44. All of this information is conveyed through graphics and photos, with some artefacts such as uniforms, cold-weather equipment and posters for added color.

12. Viticulture

Vinag wine cellar, Maribor

Maribor has more than 260 sunny days a year, with warm summers and cool winters, perfect for growing wine grapes.

This tradition is old and rich, and there are many points of contact if you want to learn more.

The Vinag cellars are exciting, the entrance below Liberty Square leads to a 2.5km long tunnel filled with metal vats and wooden barrels, one of the oldest in Europe.

The Old Vine Festival is held throughout the fall, with parties, wine tastings and food markets.

This covers the birthday of 19th-century bishop Anton Martin Slomsek, who is now the patron saint of winemakers.

In summer, you should rent a bike and head to the picturesque countryside to taste wine at Ramsak Winery, Meranovo Estate and more.

13. Skiing

Maribor Pohoye

Immediately south of Maribor is the largest ski resort in Slovenia, in the Maribor Pohoye Mountains, which reach a maximum altitude of over 1,300 meters.

There are 42 kilometers of pistes in three different areas, more than half of which are blue, neat and shallow.

Good news if you’re just starting out.

About 10 km of the pistes are also equipped for night skiing, when the north-facing slopes are lit with romantic views of Maribor.

When the resort hosts the slalom and giant slalom of the “Golden Fox” Alpine Skiing World Cup, there are also first-class competitions uphill.

14. Lent

Lent, Maribor

The name of this cultural event has nothing to do with the time of year, but refers to the riverside community of the old part of Maribor.

The festival arrives at the end of June, when huge stands will be erected on the river bank facing the stage.

Call it a cliché, but whether you like opera, ballet, jazz or pop, rock and dance music, there is something for everyone.

There’s also entertainment for the kids, and the grounds around Maribor host countless fringe events.

You will also have the opportunity to immerse yourself in Slovenian culture at folk concerts, theatrical performances and street food stalls.

In its first decade after its launch in 1993, the Lent Festival hosted legends such as Ray Charles and James Brown, and in 2017 Bob Geldof was a special guest.

15. Delaware Boat Tour

Delaware boat tour

End your summer stay in Maribor with a lazy cruise along the Drava.

Your boat, Dravska Vila, has a viewing platform on the stairs and a bar below, so you can have a cold drink as you roll on the Lent embankment and its historical monuments.

You can book a 45-minute boat trip to the Studenici footbridge, or venture out into the countryside to Maribor Island, a wooded nature reserve with a leisure centre at its heart.

Maybe you want to make your river trip more realistic, in which case you can sail the Drava on a raft.

The loggers in Maribor ride the logs from the Kozjak and Pohrje mountains to Belgrade and Osijek.

Where to stay: The best hotels in Maribor, Slovenia
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