About Eastern Slovenia
Slovenia's second city, Maribor, is located on the Drava river and was primarily founded to protect the region against the Magyars, a castle was built on the hill in the 12th century. The river proved a magnet for trade, particularly wine and timber which was transported in both directions. The city really took off once it became connected by rail to Vienna (in 1846). The old town has an interesting cluster of attractive and well-preserved, colourful Baroque facades and perhaps its most prominent building is the City castle which houses the regional museum. Nearby is the Vinag Wine Cellars where we recommend making a reservation for a tour with tasting, it is one of the largest in central Europe (2.5kms of tunnels store 5.5 million litres of wine).
One short excursion of note is the fabulous riverside promenade to Maribor Island (on foot or by bicycle), a popular summer bathing spot with two outdoor pools, open from June to September. Keen cyclists may also wish to venture a little further to the hills of Maribor Pohorje, a cable car accesses the higher levels and the Bike Park Pohorje has a 4km downhill run.
Located on the flat, fertile plain of the river Drava, Ptuj, since ancient times, has been one of the most important crossroads in Europe. Numerous solders and traders passed through Poetovio (today know as Ptuj) and the town had 30,000 inhabitants at its peak. Until the 15th century Ptuj was one of the most important towns in the region and it is this rich history which lures numerous tourists to Ptuj. The town's image has been shaped by numerous rich wine traders and growers. Its historical feel and atmosphere today was preserved, accidentally, by its failure to be included on the new railway network that brought Maribor closer to the centre of the Hapsburg empire once it became linked to Vienna.
Ptuj today is filled with cobbled streets, lined with Baroque and Gothic buildings and dominated from above by the 12th Century castle. Discovering the past requires a balance, you can relax by swimming in one of the numerous pools and thermal baths nearby, particularly the Moravske Toplice. For wine lovers Ptuj is in the centre of one of the most fabulous wine regions of Slovenia - the Haloze Hills; Ptuj's wine cellars such as the Vinska Klet will be an unforgettable treat.
Head out along the Haloze Hills Wine route and visit Borl Castle, the village of Ptujska Gora and then branch off to visit other wine routes such as Ljutomer and Mura roads. This corner of Slovenia comes up against the Croatian and Hungarian borders and the region has been influenced by these cultures and peoples.
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Hotels to visit
The Hotel Mitra offers comfort and tradition in the historical centre of Ptuj. A typical small city hotel combining rich tradition and a contemporary approach.