Ptuj – The Oldest Recorded City of Slovenia
Are you a lover of history, art, or music and looking for your next travel destination for your European vacation? Look no further because the small, charming European town of Ptuj in Slovenia makes sure you dabble your artistic sense and gets your creativity going like nowhere else.
You can choose to visit Ptuj during one of its festivals – and there are many – or during the Fashion Week Project, it has every year, of course, if fashion is your thing. You can simply go to Ptuj for its beautiful nature and historical landmarks – from castles to a city tower.
For whatever reason, you decide to add Ptuj to your bucket list, here is our travel guide to make sure you have all the necessary information before you head out on your awesome, fun-filled vacation to Ptuj.
Ptuj is a medieval town in northeastern Slovenia. The town was formed from a military fort during the Roman empire. It’s actually the oldest recorded city in Slovenia.
Ptuj enchants visitors with its mysterious passages and unforgettable scenery. When one walks the cobblestone streets of Ptuj, one feels the spirits of the past all around them. This and the many landmarks create the perfect reason for any traveler to visit the oldest town in Slovenia.
Why visit Ptuj
There are other reasons to visit this medieval town. From history to art and music with never-ending festivals and fairs, there is always something new to experience.
The City of festivals
Ptuj is known as the “City of Festivals” for the many festivals that it hosts throughout the year.
There is always an occasion for a festival in Ptuj during any of the seasons of the year, and they are perfect for the wine lovers. Almost all of the festivals include some form or dedication to wine tasting.
Like at the Salon Sauvignon – a wine festival dedicated to the great Sauvignon wines from Slovenia and international. Or, food tasting at the Specialties of Slovene Farms festival – dedicated to tasting Slovenian food, wine, and spirits. And if you are a logophile, then the Days of Poetry and Wine festival should be on your bucket list.
In between all these wine tasting festivals, there are other awesome fairs that bring in a large audience to Ptuj. It has something for everyone – a contemporary art festival, a medieval festival, a Roman fair, and even one of the top 10 carnival celebrations in the world, Kurentovanje.
Art and Music Scene in Ptuj
As mentioned before, Ptuj is has a vast art and music scene. The town loves and embraces all forms of creativity. Ptuj has a contemporary art festival that is great for aesthetes or art enthusiasts and a poetry festival for literature lovers. The town, also, has several cool café bars with music themes and active music scene.
Public Transportation and Parking in Ptuj
How to get around Ptuj? Where to find parking and how much does it cost to park in Ptuj? These are all important questions that need answers for any traveler that plans to visit this cool Slovenian town.
Ptuj is not the most expensive city in Slovenia when it comes to parking. However, free parking is limited and it’s the furthest from the old town in Ptuj. We parked our car for free at the allocated parking lot for the Ptuj Castle, which in turn determined our first travel destination stop in Ptuj.
Getting to Ptuj from Ljubljana
If you can’t rent a car to drive from Ljubljana, then you can use the bus or take a train to get to Ptuj. There is a direct train that goes from Ljubljana to Ptuj with a journey time of around two and a half hours – five times a day – at a reasonable rate of around 10 euros for a one-way adult ticket. Yes, they do have discounts for children, students, and seniors.
For a longer journey of approximately three hours, you can catch a couple of busses that take you from Ljubljana to Malibor and then Ptuj.
Getting to Ptuj from Kranj
For those that don’t have a car or won’t be renting one, you can reach Ptuj from Kranj via train. The journey takes about three and a half hours, so preparation is key to exploring the old town if you are going only for half a day because of the long travel duration.
Public Transport in Ptuj
We didn’t use public transport in Ptuj, since we drove with our own car. However, the train station is not too far from the old town of Ptuj, which you can explore on foot.
Things to see in Ptuj
- Ptuj Castle (Slovenian: Ptujski grad) – this is the most popular attraction in Ptuj. None can visit this small, charming medieval town in Slovenia and not check out the castle. It has amazing panoramic views of the town. The museum in the castle holds many musical and military artifacts collected throughout time.
- Turnishche Castle (Slovenian: Grad Turnishche) – The Turnishche castle was built on the place of a wooden fortress that was erected to keep out the Turkish invasion in the middle ages in Ptuj. Today the castle shows off its beautiful renaissance style with baroque architecture. Around the compound, there is a park, wild meadows, and magnificent, yet peaceful Slovenian nature.
- City Tower (Slovenian: Mestni stolp) – funny story about the City Tower of Ptuj is that even though it has four sides, there are only three clocks on the tower. The locals of the town decided not to place the fourth clock in the direction of the castle owners because the castle owners didn’t want to contribute money to the building of the clocks. The City Tower cannot be missed due to its interesting roof-shape and color.
- Town Hall (Slovenian: Mestna hisha) – the Town Hall is located in the old town’s center. There are a lot of cafes around it, where local drink their morning coffees and read their newspapers. By the afternoon, the places around the town hall are packed with tourists taking a break from exploring Ptuj. The Town Hall is filled on Saturdays for weddings that locals love to attend.
- Ptuj City Theatre (Slovenian: Mestno gledalishche Ptuj) – this is one of the smallest theaters in Slovenia but holds a high recognition within the theatre world of Slovenia and abroad. It has a neoclassical look after reconstruction from a wooden construction in the 18th
- Ivan Potric Public Library (Slovenian: Knjizhnica) – The library is housed in the Small Castle and it’s called the Ivan Potric Public Library. The library contains books as early as the 15th century and it’s one of the most beautiful libraries in Europe.
- Orpheus Monument (Slovenian: Orfejev spomenik) – this marble statue was erected for the mayor of Poetovio, present-day Ptuj, in the 2nd century – Marcus Valerius Verus,
- Florian Monument (Slovenian: Florjanov spomenik) – this monument was erected in 1745 because the residents of Ptuj prayed to St. Florian to protect them from future fires. The town was previously damaged by several fires and the people in constant fear of new fires.
- Dominican (Slovenian: Dominikanski samostan) and Minorite Monasteries (Slovenian: Minoritski samostan) – The Dominican monastery was built by Matilda of the Lords of Ptuj in the early 1200s. Today it serves as a cultural venue, which hosts the Specialties of Slovene Farms festival. The Minorite Monastery hosts summer festivals. It also has a spectacular library that holds more than 5,000 books.
- Church of St. George (Slovenian: Cerkev sv. Jurija) – built in the 12th century with a combination of gothic and baroque architecture style. The church itself has an amazing interior and holds many artistic styles of work, including a statue of the city’s patron St. George killing the dragon. St. George is a very important patron within in the Eastern Orthodox religion and the Slavic portion of the Balkan Peninsula.
- Mithraeum III (Slovenian: Mitrej) – holds many artifacts and monuments related to the Mithraic mystery, also known as Mithraism. Mithraism is a religion centered on the god Mithras during the Roman Empire. Mithraeum III was built during the 3rd century, where soldiers of the Roman Empire performed mysterious rituals intended only for men.
Be sure to check out the Museum Ormoz that is in the center of the old town. The entrance is free and has awesome local artifacts, facts, and tour guides for the town.
Food and Drinks
The old town’s square has several cafes and restaurants, right by the Town Hall, and down the street toward the Orpheus Monument. If you are into burgers we recommend to try Hamburger Hill. The meat and buns are huge but absolutely delicious.
If you are interested in other travel destination reviews, check these out:
- Ljubljana, Slovenia – A City Where a Single Bridge Takes You to a Different Lifetime
- Taste Local Slovenian Cuisine with BiteMojo’s Ljubljana Food Tour
- Budapest Hungary – The Ultimate Budapest Guide