10 things to do in Maribor, Slovenia’s second city

From dumpling tasting to hiking, this recent Capital of Culture equals Ljubljana in terms of things to do

Pavlo Fedykovych
Friday 20 December 2019 09:59 GMT

With a charming old town, rich wine culture and untouched nature a stone’s throw from the action, Slovenia’s second city may be one of the most interesting destinations you’ve never heard of.

Here are 10 must-do activities in Maribor.

See the oldest grapevine in the world

Plenty of cities are known for their wine production, but Maribor has something the others don’t: a 400-year-old grapevine, officially the world’s oldest. It’s right in the old town, intertwined with medieval building the Old Vine House. Inside you can find out more about the viticultural history of the region while doing a tasting tour.

Marvel at the old town

With pretty narrow streets, elegant squares and beautiful architecture, Maribor’s old town is the perfect setting for a leisurely stroll. Admire the different architectural eras that come together, from the medieval Judgement and Water towers to the baroque grandeur of Maribor Castle and the Gothic brilliance of Maribor Cathedral. The easygoing old town’s laid-back vibes are best appreciated with a cup of coffee at one of the terraces overlooking the magnificent Glavni Trg (Main Square).

Cycling along Maribor’s Drava River
Cycling along Maribor’s Drava River

Visit the local museums

The European Capital of Culture in 2012, Maribor has plenty to offer culture-craving visitors. The Regional Museum, set in the castle, has exhibitions ranging from fine art to postcard collections – but the real showstopper is the spectacular painted Knight’s Hall, with a lovely adjacent loggia. The Photography Museum, meanwhile, exhibits more than 1,100 cameras, film cameras and projectors.

Have fun at the festivals

The Lent Festival happens every summer in Maribor
The Lent Festival happens every summer in Maribor

Every year, at the end of June, the city hosts Lent Festival, which features theatre, opera, ballet, jazz, classical music and dance performances spread over two weeks. BB King, James Brown and Ray Charles have all performed there.

Another top event is the Street Food Market; running from 29-31 August, it gathers more than 40 street-food joints together to give visitors the ultimate tasting experience.

Get out and about

Proximity to untouched nature is what makes Maribor unique. The expansive City Park feels more like a forest than an urban park, ideal for long walks along the three ponds, picnics under the branches of ancient trees and seeing wildlife up close at the local terrarium and aquarium. Continue your Maribor outdoor adventure by taking the Pohorska Vzpenjaca cable car just outside the city, where breathtaking views of the wider Pohorje region await.

Explore by bike

Cycle along Maribor’s Drava River up to the Pohorje Mountain Range, passing pastoral landscapes and stopping in the historic towns of Ruse and Fala. There’s a map to help plan an excursion.

Get acquainted with Slovenian cuisine

Typical local pastries in Maribor
Typical local pastries in Maribor

To start your culinary tour, head to Malca Mimogrede: be sure to try žlikrofi, traditional Slovenian dough dumplings with a potato filling. Menuless Mak Restaurant serves unexpected interpretations of local cuisine, while those on a budget can grab grilled meat at popular street food purveyor Okrepčevalnica Šiš.

Discover the vivid bar scene

Party on the roof? LUFT 360° is the city’s best rooftop-bar, with a great drink selection and feel-good vibes. Elsewhere, a cosy riverside terrace, high-quality cocktails and 277 spirits on the menu make Piranha Cocktail Bureau the perfect spot for a trendy evening drink. When it comes to sampling local wines, LeVino Wine Bar has you covered, boasting a serious Slovenian wine collection and stylish design.

Have a stomp about Maribor City Park
Have a stomp about Maribor City Park

Check out local artisan stores

For all things local and handmade, ARTmijeMAR in the heart of the old town has a great selection of souvenirs, hailing from more than 200 Slovenian artisans.

E2RD Gallery, a handcrafted jewellery boutique created by designer Bojana Kovacic Zemljic, is a rising star in Slovenia’s artisan scene.

Check out the architecture

Built in 1913, the grandiose steel-arched Old Bridge is a quintessential part of Maribor’s landscape – the site for a perfect photo op.

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