Last Updated on July 12, 2023 by Goya
Why You Must Visit Ptuj, Slovenia’s Oldest Town
Welcome to Ptuj, a hidden gem nestled in the northeastern part of Slovenia, where history comes alive amidst picturesque landscapes and architectural marvels. As the oldest town in the country, Ptuj boasts a rich past, charming medieval architecture, and a vibrant cultural scene that captivates travellers from around the world. This enchanting town is brimming with stories waiting to be discovered, offering visitors an unparalleled glimpse into Slovenia’s rich heritage.
This comprehensive guide will take you on a journey through the wonders of Ptuj, covering everything you need to know for a memorable visit. From practical information on how to get there and where to stay, to the best local dining options and things to do in Ptuj, to delving into the town’s fascinating history, exploring the origins of its most iconic landmarks and uncovering the secrets behind its enduring allure, there is much to cover!
So, without further ado, let’s embark on an unforgettable adventure and discover the magic of Ptuj, Slovenia’s timeless treasure.
How to Get to and Around Ptuj?
There are several ways to get to Ptuj, depending on your starting point and mode of transportation. If you’re flying into Slovenia, the closest airport is Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport, which is around 25 km away from Ptuj. Alternatively, you can fly into Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, which is about 120 km away and has more flights to choose from.
From either airport, you can take a bus or taxi to Ptuj. If travelling from the capital, you can take a train from Ljubljana to Ptuj, which takes around 2 hours — making it an ideal day trip destination. Another option is to rent a car and drive to Ptuj, which allows you to explore the surrounding area at your own pace.
Once you arrive in Ptuj, getting around the town is easy on foot, as many of the top attractions are located in the compact old town. Buses and taxis are also available for longer journeys or if you prefer not to walk.
Overall, there are several convenient options for getting to and around Ptuj, making it an easily accessible destination for travellers from all around.
Where to Stay in Ptuj?
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Ptuj offers a range of accommodations to suit different preferences and budgets. If you’re seeking a touch of history, consider staying within the medieval Old Town. Charming guesthouses and boutique hotels offer a unique experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in Ptuj’s rich heritage. Alternatively, there are modern hotels and guesthouses available both in the town centre and its surrounding areas, providing comfort and convenience.
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Where to Eat in Ptuj?
Ptuj boasts a diverse culinary scene that caters to all tastes. In the heart of the Old Town, you’ll find traditional Slovenian restaurants serving regional delicacies, where you can indulge in hearty stews, locally sourced meats, and delicious pastries… And of course, local wines! Ptuj is known for its wines, so be sure to pair your meals with a glass of the region’s renowned vintages.
Here are some recommendations to consider during your visit:
- Gostilna Ribič: Located near the Drava River, this traditional Slovenian restaurant offers a selection of local dishes, including grilled meats, fish, and seasonal specialities. The outdoor terrace provides a lovely view of the river.
- Gostilna Grabar: Sleek and elegant, this restaurant offers traditional Slovenian cuisine with a modern twist. The menu features a variety of meat, fish, and vegetarian dishes, as well as a selection of local wines.
- Gostilna Amadeus: A no-fuss family restaurant offering a mix of Slovenian and international dishes, using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.
Top 6 Things to Do in Ptuj
#1: Visit Ptuj Castle: A Majestic Fortress
If you are wondering what to do in Ptuj, you may want to begin your adventure with a visit to the iconic Ptuj Castle, a striking fortress that dominates its skyline. Dating back to the 12th century, this beautifully preserved castle houses the Ptuj Regional Museum, where you can delve into the town’s history and admire impressive art collections.
Don’t forget to climb the castle’s tower for panoramic views of the town and the surrounding countryside, providing a breathtaking backdrop for unforgettable photos.
#2: Explore the Ptuj Old Town: A Step Back in Time
Step into the enchanting Old Town of Ptuj and immerse yourself in its medieval ambience. Wander through its narrow, cobblestone streets lined with colourful facades, charming shops, and quaint cafés. Admire the Town Hall, an elegant Renaissance building, and marvel at the ornate architecture of the Dominican Monastery.
Losing yourself in the labyrinthine streets of Ptuj lined with beautifully preserved medieval and Renaissance buildings is one of the best things to do in Ptuj!
#3: Ptuj Ormož Regional Museum: Delve Into History
Don’t miss the Ptuj Ormož Regional Museum, housed in a former monastery to discover archaeological artefacts, historical exhibits, and interactive displays that offer insights into the town’s past. Explore the museum’s extensive collection of art, including works by renowned Slovenian artists.
#4: Ptuj Wine Cellars: Indulge in Slovenian Wines
Ptuj is located in the heart of Slovenia’s wine country, and a visit to its wine cellars is a must for wine enthusiasts. Discover the underground labyrinth of Ptuj Wine Cellars, one of the largest wine cellars in Slovenia. Join a guided tour to learn about the winemaking process, sample exquisite local wines, and experience the warm hospitality of the local vintners. Let the flavours of Ptuj’s excellent wines transport you to a world of pleasure and refinement.
#5: Ptuj Thermal Spa: Relaxation and Wellness
One of the best things to do in Ptuj is to head to the Ptuj Thermal Spa for a blissful retreat where you can unwind in soothing thermal waters and indulge in wellness treatments.
Rejuvenate your body and soul as you soak in the healing properties of the thermal baths, saunas, and wellness facilities. Pamper yourself with a range of massages and beauty treatments, allowing the stresses of everyday life to melt away in this tranquil oasis.
#6: Drava River: Take a Stroll
Take a leisurely stroll along the banks of the picturesque Drava River, which runs through Ptuj. Enjoy the tranquillity and admire the charming views. You can also take a guided tour to explore the river further and appreciate the surrounding natural beauty.
History of Ptuj
Ptuj’s storied history spans over two millennia, with its origins dating back to the Roman era. Once a significant military stronghold and trade centre, Ptuj was known as Poetovio during Roman times. Its strategic location along the Drava River enabled it to flourish as a hub for both trade and defence. Over the centuries, Ptuj witnessed various invasions and rulers, including the Huns, Ostrogoths, Magyars, and the Holy Roman Empire. Each of these successive powers left their mark on the town, contributing to Ptuj’s rich cultural tapestry and architectural legacy.
As you wander through the picturesque streets of Ptuj, the remnants of its ancient past are unmistakable. The remarkably preserved Roman walls and gateways, such as the Mithraic Temple and the Orpheus Monument, stand as testaments to the town’s significance during the Roman Empire. In the heart of the old town, you’ll find the stunning Ptuj Castle, perched atop a hill and offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. This majestic fortress houses an impressive collection of artefacts and artwork that chronicles Ptuj’s intriguing history. The medieval Old Town Square, with its beautifully preserved buildings like the Town Hall and St. George’s Church, further showcases Ptuj’s historical charm and architectural prowess. As you explore these captivating sites, you’ll undoubtedly feel as though you’ve stepped back in time, immersing yourself in the enduring allure of Ptuj’s past.
A Ptuj Highlight: Kurent Festival
If you have the opportunity to visit Ptuj in late winter, then don’t miss the traditional “Kurent” festival — or Kurentovanje, which celebrates the end of winter and the awakening of spring. It is not only one of the oldest and most renowned carnivals in Europe but also a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage event.
Experience the town come alive with vibrant parades, colourful costumes, and lively music as locals and visitors alike celebrate this ancient tradition. Immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of Ptuj’s cultural heritage, join the festivities, and witness the unique fusion of history, culture, and joyful revelry.
DID YOU KNOW?
Enchanting Ptuj also hosts the Days of Poetry and Wine, an annual literary and cultural event that takes place in August. This renowned festival brings together acclaimed poets, writers, and artists from around the world to celebrate the beauty of poetry and the art of winemaking. Set against the backdrop of Ptuj’s historic streets and picturesque vineyards, the event features captivating poetry readings, engaging literary discussions, and workshops led by international and local talents. Visitors can also indulge in the region’s finest wines during tastings and wine-pairing sessions that complement the creative atmosphere.
The Days of Poetry and Wine not only showcase the artistic side of Ptuj but also foster a sense of community and connection among participants and attendees, further enriching the town’s vibrant cultural landscape.
Why Visit Ptuj?
As the oldest town in Slovenia, Ptuj offers an enchanting blend of history, culture, and relaxation that captivates the hearts of travellers from around the world. From wandering through its majestic castle and medieval streets to savouring the region’s exquisite wines and unwinding at the thermal spa, Ptuj promises a unique and unforgettable experience.
Ptuj is more than just a historic town; it’s a living museum of European history where every corner holds a story waiting to be discovered. The town’s crown jewel, Ptuj Castle, proudly overlooks the landscape from its hilltop perch, while the awe-inspiring Roman artefact nestled within the centre gives a nod to the town’s Roman roots. Beyond its historical landmarks, Ptuj takes pride in its thriving wine region and Terme Ptuj thermal spa, offering visitors opportunities to indulge their senses and rejuvenate their spirits.
The true essence of Ptuj lies in its vibrant local culture and traditions that breathe life into the town. Throughout the year, Ptuj hosts an array of festivals and events, such as the renowned Kurentovanje, where locals don colourful masks and costumes to chase away winter and embrace the arrival of spring, or the Days of Poetry and Wine, which pays tribute to the region’s long-standing wine-making traditions.
So, what are you waiting for? Come and immerse yourself in the magic of Ptuj, Slovenia’s historic gem, and create memories that will last a lifetime basking in its timeless beauty and warm Slovenian hospitality.
FAQ: Visiting Ptuj, Slovenia
Where is Ptuj Located?
Ptuj is located in Eastern Slovenia, on the Drava River. It’s part of the Styria region.
Are There Flights to Ptuj?
While there are flights to Slovenia, Ptuj itself doesn’t have an airport. The closest major airport is in Ljubljana. Travellers can then reach Ptuj via other transportation methods such as train, bus, or car.
Is Ptuj Worth a Visit?
Yes, Ptuj is definitely worth a visit, especially for second-time visitors to Slovenia. As the country’s oldest town, it offers a unique perspective on Slovenian history and culture. Its charming architecture, fascinating monuments, and vibrant local life make Ptuj a perfect destination for those wanting to explore beyond the more well-known Slovenian sites.
What to See in Ptuj?
Ptuj, the oldest city in Slovenia, offers a variety of attractions. Key highlights include Ptuj Castle, offering panoramic views of the town, and the Dominican and Minorite Monasteries. The Orpheus Monument, a well-preserved Roman tombstone, is also a must-see. Visitors can enjoy a walk along the Drava River, explore the colourful lanes of the old town and visit the Ptuj Regional Museum for a glimpse into the area’s history.
How Do You Pronounce Ptuj?
“Ptuj” is pronounced as “P-too-ee” (or [ˈptuːi̯]). The “P” is not silent, and the “j” at the end sounds like an “ee”.
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