Old enough to be full of monuments and attractions, Slovenia’s second-largest city also offers the perfect ski area for an inexpensive winter vacation. In this guide we will find out what to do and what to see in Maribor, Lower Styria.
Visit Maribor: travel guide
Maribor It is the second largest city in Slovenia and represents the economic and cultural center of the eastern part of the country. With its ancient history, the town it is very rich in testimonies of the past, monuments and attractions located especially in its charming Old City. Crossed by the Drava River, the historic center of Maribor also has a beautiful waterfront where you can take romantic walks.
A bustling university centre, this charming medieval town is not only ideal for culture vultures, as a few kilometers away stands the Pohorje, the mountain group which is home to the largest ski area of Slovenia and which in summer becomes a destination for cyclists and hikers thanks to a dense network of trails and routes.
Maribor: the story
Maribor it was first mentioned as a castle in 1164, as a settlement in 1209 and as a town in 1254. The settlement was founded by the Slavs and soon, around its Castlethe village began to develop and quickly obtained the privileges of a merchant center and finally the privileges of town thanks to the flourishing trades which here concerned above all viticulture and craftsmanship.
Maribor, like most of the ethnic Slovene territory, remained under Habsburg rule until 1918, when military officer Rudolf Maister handed the city over to the nascent state of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs who later united with the Kingdom of Serbia to form the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In 1991 Maribor is part of independent Slovenia.
Maribor: attractions and places of interest
Not just medieval architecture. Maribor it is also a modern and well-developed center for tourist supply and reception. Surrounded by the green forests of Pohorje and the picturesque hills covered with vineyards, there are many activities and experiences to try in and around Maribor. Lovers of wine and good food will not be disappointed, as will lovers of nature and outdoor activities.
After this quick introduction, let’s now take a closer look what to do and see in Maribor, attractions and places of interest not to be missed.
Maribor ski area: ski slopes and ski lifts
In Maribor there is the Mariborsko Pohorje – Maribor ski resort. The ski area is 6 km from the center and is the largest in Slovenia. Most ski and snowboarding 41.5 km of slopes are available while 17 modern ski lifts transport skiers. The winter sports area is between 328 and 1,327 meters above sea level. The winter season opens in mid-December and continues until the end of March. The vast majority of ski slopes it’s an easy level, there are 13 km of red runs and 5 km of black.
In the Maribor Ski Resort there is also the longest night ski run in Slovenia, while for cross-country skiing there is a 6 km long run in untouched nature. The ski area Pohorje – Maribor has particularly established itself as a popular family ski resort. Indeed, here it is possible to spend white weeks at a low price: the adult ski day pass varies from 12 to 40 euros depending on the services chosen.
Old Town – Maribor
The historic center of Maribor it is a real medieval gem where you can admire monuments and noble palaces. Among the remains of the city walls that surround the old part, we find the Judgment Towermedieval fortified tower with Renaissance additions, the Water tower, from the late Renaissance, stands near the Drava River and the Jewish Tower. The latter is also part of the Jewish quarter, with the Synagogue of Maribor, built in the 14th century and which today represents the second oldest synagogue in Europe.
Trg Glavni it is the main square of Maribor. It is surrounded by some of the city’s main buildings such as the city hallwhich owes its Renaissance appearance to the Italian master craftsmen who worked there between 1563 and 1565, the Kuzno znamenje, the Baroque-style column erected to celebrate the end of the plague that decimated the population of Maribor towards the end of the 17th century. Just behind the old town is Or Mestni parkthe large city park with avenues between woods, ponds and small lakes and many naturalistic attractions.
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist – Maribor
The Maribor Cathedral it is dedicated to San Giovanni Battista and is located in the historic center. The building of worship was originally Romanesque in style as it dates back to the end of the 12th century, although it was remodeled over the following centuries, adding Gothic and Baroque elements and architecture. Maribor Cathedral houses the tomb of Bishop Anton Martin Slomšek, the first Slovenian Blessed.
The steeple of the church it can be visited by climbing its 162 steps, after which one arrives at the panoramic platform where one can ring the bell of wishes. At the foot of this cult building opens one of the most evocative squares in the city, Slomsek Square. Surrounded by elegant buildings. Here are also the university buildings, the libraries, the National Theater and the art galleries.
Castle and Regional Museum – Maribor
The Maribor Castle it is a baroque style palace. It was probably built towards the end of the 15th century as the city’s second castle, since the original medieval castle, of which ruins remain today and which represents the nucleus from which Maribor developed, was located on the hill north of the city.
The building houses the important Maribor Regional Museum which exhibits collections that trace the history of the city and the region, from prehistory to recent times, delving into certain moments of particular importance. Among the most interesting sections: the archaeological and pharmaceutical collection, the collection of weapons, paintings and statues, that of uniforms and civilian clothes. At the Kino Partizan cinema, you can visit a collection of antique furniture and a collection of carpentry equipment.
Old Vine House and Lent Quarter – Maribor
The oldest and perhaps the most evocative part of the Old City of Maribor is the Lent Quarter, where in the Middle Ages was an important river port and distribution center for goods, wines and handicrafts that made the city’s fortune. Today Lent is a romantic neighborhood where you can stroll along the Drava River among cafes, cafes and picturesque views.
In Lent is the Old Vine House. Its name comes from the fact that, clinging tenaciously to its white facade, the Stara trta has been growing for more than four centuries, listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest vine in the world. The ancient vine, planted in the late Middle Ages when Maribor was besieged by the Turks, symbolizes the rich wine culture of MariborStyria and Slovenia.
Island of Maribor
Just outside of town, heading northwest, you will come across theMaribor Island, an oasis of peace and a green lung of rare beauty. It is a natural river island. It can be reached by leaving the car in the car park provided for this purpose or on foot, following the trails from the riverside that depart directly from the historic center. Access to the island is by crossing the pedestrian bridge.
Once you arrive, you are immediately greeted by the nature trails that wind through the woods and wet and marshy areas. Along the routes you can encounter about 15 species of trees and 20 species of shrubs and more than 75 species of aquatic birds, including 31 nesting species. on theMaribor Island in summer a beach with a bathing establishment is open.
Excursions in Maribor: Bike Park Pohorje and Piramida Hill
On the Pohorje mountain, in addition to making magnificent excursions in nature, you can visit the Bike park equipped with many descents and slopes in the woods. These are downhill slopes, but there are others suitable for everyone, even families with children. For the more experienced, however, there is the almost 3 kilometer red track and the mythical track for professional cyclists which has hosted the mountain bike world championships since 1999.
To the north of the city, just behind the historic center, stands the greenery pyramid hill, a curious pyramid-shaped hill. This place, in addition to lending itself easily excursions and nature walks, it is also important from a cultural and historical point of view. In fact, this is where the remains of the old and first Castle medieval town from which Maribor developed in the 11th century. From the hill, you can enjoy a magnificent panoramic view of the city skyline, the surrounding countryside and the Drava River.