Maribor in a glimpse
Maribor is the second most important centre and the second largest city of Slovenia. It has about 114.000 inhabitants who live embraced in its wine growing hills and the Mariborsko Pohorje mountain. Located near the Slovenian border with Austria, beside the Drava River and at the centre of five natural geographic regions, Maribor is the capital of Štajerska, the Slovenian Styria.
Maribor was first mentioned back in the 12th century. Though the city had been attacked by the Turks several times, it was constantly under the rule of the Austrian Habsburgs until the end of the World War I. After the war was over the city was claimed by both the Austrians and by the new state of Yugoslavia. Finally it fell to Yugoslavia. It was occupied by the Germans during World War II but became part of Yugoslavia again after the war was over. In 1975 the University of Maribor was founded and this has helped the city to become more and more an attractive, vibrant, student city. After Slovenia declared independence, back in 1991, the city suffered from the economic consequences.
Today, Maribor is a trans-regional financial, educational, trade and cultural centre. And since it is pleasantly small and lodged in the nature of Pohorje Mountain on the one side, the wine growing hills on the other, and with the river Drava wending its way through it, Maribor has grown into one of the country’s most important tourist destinations. Its key features are: the rich wine culture (the oldest vine in the world, numerous wine roads and wine cellars), the old town`s cultural offer (theatre, traditional events, galleries and museums), and the recreational activities (hiking, cycling and skiing).
Maribor is situated among the Pohorje Mountain, the Slovenske gorice Hills and the Kozjak Hills on the gravel terrace of the Drava Valley. The river Drava divides the city on the so-called left (north) and the right (south) bank. The city`s old town core is situated on the left bank of the river Drava. On north, Maribor is embraced with the town (wine-growing) hills, and on the south-western part of the city, the foothills of the Pohorje Mountain start to rise.
A good first stop in the city is "Infopeka" web, a information center which gives out free advice, free internet usage and free rent-a-bicycle. They can be found across the old bridge from the Glavni Trg, on the right side of the street.
Maribor is quite a small town, so it's easy to get around the city centre on foot. There are two tourist information centres in Maribor: one is located at Partizanska ulica 6a, just next to the Franciscan Church (the red-brick one). The other one is in the Old Vine House on Lent, the oldest part of the town next to the river embankment (at Vojašniška ulica 8). The tourist information centres are open every day, provide free maps, and will help you arrange accommodations. Maps of central Maribor (aerial photos) can also be found in the streets fitted on the walls of houses.
Maribor has an extensive bus network, but there is no need to use it unless you want to go to the outer districts of the city. For tourists, bus No. 6 is the most interesting one - it takes you under the Pohorje Mountain (lower station of the cable railway, hotels, apartments and campsites, wellness centre, restaurants, recreational activities: hiking, cycling and skiing etc.).
Some bus numbers are more regular (arriving at stops every 15 minutes) than others (arriving at stops every 30 - 45 minutes). The approximate operation time of the bus lines is from 5 am to 10.30 pm on weekdays and from 6 am to 10.30 pm on weekends. Two circulator buses run from Monday to Friday from 11.15 pm to 12 pm. Bus ticket can be purchased either on the bus (€ 1,10 for single-ride ticket) or in advance (2, 6, 10 or 20 ride ticket) in kiosks or at the Main Bus Station (at Mlinska ulica 1).
For visiting the wider surroundings of Maribor, local bus isn`t the best transportation choice due to rather irregular bus frequencies and poor bus links. Car rental recommended.
Travelling around Maribor region and its wider surroundings is best by car. Thus, you can fully enjoy the picturesque countryside and visit the most hidden corners of the Pohorje Mountain and the wine hills. There`s a good highway network around Maribor that directly connects the city with smaller places like Ptuj, Murska Sobota and Slovenska Bistrica. Regional roads are well maintained, as well.
If you go to the Maribor city centre by car, it might be difficult to find toll-free parking space during weekdays. Most of the inner city is covered by the "blue zone" that is payable. Alternatives are the parking garage below Trgovski center City (€ 1,50/hour), the Forum parking garage (€ 1,00/hour), or the Kolosej parking garage (€ 1,20/hour). Usually, the longer you stay, the cheaper it gets. A good chance to find toll-free space might be in the area of the Mestni park. During the day, free parking is also possible in shopping centre Europark. Otherwise, parking in the blue zone gets free after 5 pm and on weekends.
Maribor has a wide network of cyclepaths. Using a bike to get around, at least the central areas of Maribor, is one of the best choices. Bikes may be rented at the Tourist Information Centre, city hotels Piramida and Orel, cultural centre Pekarna - magdalenske mreže, the main train station, and at the cable railway station (under the Pohorje Mountain). Tourist Information Centre provides city map for cyclists who want to get to know the city from the bike and other cycling maps with cycling routes on the Pohorje Mountain and around the Maribor-Pohorje region. Maribor also hosts annual Mountain Biking World Championship on Pohorje Mountain.
Taxis are available 24h/7. You can go to a taxi rank (at the main train station at Partizanska cesta 50 and along the Svetozarevska street next to the Trg svobode square) or simply order one by phone. There are several taxi companies providing services for a reasonable price (about € 0,70/km), e.g. Taxi Micro, Taxi Štajerka, Taxi Plus etc.
Where to go out shopping
Be sure to buy a bottle of wine. Wine from region around and included Maribor is one of best in the world. Especially the white wine. You can buy good quality wine at wine producers or at the normal supermarkets. Buy "bučno olje" (pumpkin seed oil). This oil is typical for Austrian and Slovenian part of Styria and has a very unique and wonderful taste. You can buy good quality oil at the normal supermarkets.
There are many possibilities to go shopping in Maribor. Maribor is now a trans - regional shopping centre. Good places to shop are: Shopping in old city or in shopping centres as Europark, Tuš, Mercator, Qlandia or if you need furniture and gardening equipment the stores Rutar, Merkur, Bauhaus, Obi and BauMax.