First day: old towns and old vines
Glavni Trg, Maribor’s main square in the old town, was once a market. WWII bombings severely damaged many of its pastel-colored buildings from the 14th century, but most have now regained their former glory, and there are plans to reintroduce a farmers’ market – a tradition dating back to the ‘medieval ages. Enjoy the terrace at Nana, a café serving brunches made with local ingredients such as pumpkin seeds and honey.
Next, head to Gosposka Ulica and Jurčičeva Cesta, the main shopping streets, to browse Idrija lace in Slovenski Zakladi or handmade souvenirs at ARTmijeMAR. Stock up on homemade vegan ice cream at Slaščičarna Ilich, a café dating back to 1909.
It would be remiss to visit Maribor without learning about its wine culture. A five-minute walk from Glavni Trg is the Vinag wine cellar, one of the largest and oldest underground vineyards in Slovenia. Walking through dimly lit tunnels lined with bottles and barrels is an adventure in itself, but the wine tasting, which takes place inside a room-sized concrete tank and involves walking your feet first through a metal hatch, is also quite an experience. For an additional fee, you can taste local cheeses with more wine, all by candlelight.
Then, cross the river to the Lent district to visit the Maison de la Vieille Vigne. Home to the oldest productive vine in the world (at the age of 400), this small museum tells the story of Slovenian winemaking and offers tastings and purchases.
There was a time when the district of Lent had little to attract visitors, but the growing number of wine and cocktail bars brings this historic riverside place to life. Vinoteka Maribor, housed in a former 16th-century fortress known as the Water Tower, offers an extensive list of ecological wines from the Podravje region, as well as views of the River Drava.
Just a short walk away, the newly renovated Piranha Cocktail Bureau serves some of the best cocktails in town from a menu of 277 spirits, while Kavarnica Rokaj, a bar where Queen and AC / DC posters adorn the walls, is the perfect place for Slovenians. craft beers with a generous rock ‘n’ roll edge.