What not to miss and which wineries you should definitely visit if you are visiting Maribor in Slovenia? Where to go for a wine tasting when in Maribor the second biggest city in Slovenia for only 48 hours? It is THE place to set your camp if you plan to visit the biggest winemaking region of Podravje in this beautiful european country.
How to travel to Maribor?
Maribor is well connected with international airports in Ljubljana (Slovenia), Zagreb (Croatia) and Graz (Austria). All airports are 45 minutes to 1.5 hours drive away if you rent a car.
When to visit?
Basically you will not be wrong if you will be visiting all year round. In winter you can also ski on the Pohorje mountain slopes just above the city. If you will visit Maribor in July and August it will be pretty quiet as people are mostly enjoying their summer vacation so be prepared to slow down. Enjoy empty streets which can be very nice as you will be mostly interested in drinking wine at the wineries around the city so no need for crowded parties after a lot of great wines 😉
So what should you see, taste and experience if you are in Maribor for only two days?
1. The Oldest Vine in The World
Yes! Maribor has the oldest vine that is still giving grapes every year. It is more then 400 years old and it is the absolute must see and take a selfie spot!
“The Old Vine” as it is known has become one of the main Slovenian landmarks when it won a place in the Guinness World Records and became, officially, the oldest vine in the world. You can visit a small museum (free entrance) and also have a wine tasting there.
If you will be visiting Maribor in the fall then don’t miss the Old Vine Festival with the ceremonial grape harvest of the Old Vine and the biggest public St. Martin’s celebration in Slovenia (October 1st to November 11th).
2. Vinag wine cellar
Dive into Maribor’s underworld. The cellar is one of the largest and oldest wine cellars in Europe with 20 km2 and 2.5 km underground tunnels, big wooden barrels, enormous concrete cisterns etc. Unfortunately a lot of the glory from yesterday is not in the operation anymore but you can still arrange the visit and a tasting. As the huge Vinag cellar is just below the old city centre (Trg Svobode) you can imagine the smell of the whole Maribor city centre in the time of the wine fermentation process every fall. Unfortunately this belongs to the past. Until someone finds a way to relaunch this production in its full glory again.
3. Joannes Protner
Boštjan Protner and his family are producing absolutely the best rieslings in Slovenia. Just above the city of Maribor and a couple of km from the city centre. Hop in a taxi and in less than 10 minutes you will be enjoying beautiful nature and wonderful wine full of terroir and character. I’m sure Boštjan will not forget to welcome you with his awesome rose sparkling wine before you will start enjoying his range of great rieslings but be sure not to miss also one of the best Pinot noir wines of the region.
4. Piramida hill and Horvat wines
It’s a short hike or better walk to Pyramid hill or Piramida as it is called in local language but be sure not to miss the opportunity to see Maribor from above. The best time to do that is just before the sunset. Especially in summer time you will appreciate light breeze that will refresh you and the vines in the vineyard. After the view be sure to sit back and relax in an improvised bar and order a refreshing “Špricar” (wine with mineral water) to cool you down (bar is open only in summer).
When you are done relaxing and enjoying the nature and špricar take a walk through the Piramida forest and head down to the vineyards of Horvat family for some great local wine. You can also arrange tasty local food there (from cold cuts to a full x course dinner). Be sure to call in advance and be sure that Sabina or Andrej (Horvat) will give you proper directions to this local path through the forest and the vineyards.
5. The heart shaped road and Gaube wines
When you are in Maribor for 24 hours this will be a bit harder but with 48 hours to spend I would definitely recommend you to come to Špičnik and take a selfie or use this spot to propose to your better half 😉 The road is a very popular spot and this picture is almost over used nowadays in all Slovenian promotion material.
Just be sure to buy a bottle or two from the owners of the viewpoint (Dreisiebner family) as you will be literally in their courtyard. Their wine is nothing special so don’t get too excited. The view pays off for the OK wine you are buying. After you publish the selfie to IG and FB it’s time to stop at Gaube family for a proper tasting.
All of Gaube wines are really good, most of them with international awards so try to sample as much as you can 😉 Gaube wines are a great proof of this local appellation that is mostly producing white, fresh, fruity, zesty whites. Ask also to try Kaspar if you are more into matured wines. You can also stop for a wonderful lunch prepared by the winemaker’s wife Klavdija.
There is so much more to see in Maribor and around it is actually very hard to choose just a couple od things to see and a handful of winemakers to visit. More about other great winemakers around Maribor soon …