Štajerska and Posavje

Our journey through the regions of Slovenia now takes us towards the north-east, across the River Sava and on to Štajerska. There are areas known as Posavje and Bizeljsko. Near the town of Brežice lies the renowned Terme Čatež thermal spa and health resort, where the warm springs were discovered in 1797. In the immediate vicinity of the resort stands the 16th century Mokrice Castle, which now offers luxury tourist services, including a golf course and riding grounds.  

Maribor

Maribor, the capital of the Štajerska region. Photo: S. Jeršič and B. Jakše - Jeršič

Maribor and its surroundings, the Valley of the River Drava and Kozjak, constitute another fascinating area. Maribor is the second largest city in Slovenia and the capital of the Štajerska region. The city lies between wine-producing hills and the forested slopes of the Pohorje Mountains. The symbiosis of the city and the vine is confirmed by the 400-year old vine of the local žametovka variety, which grows in the Lent Quarter of the town on the left bank of the River Drava. It is thought to be the oldest vine in the world. Maribor is also Slovenia’s second largest university centre. In the winter, the hillsides of the picturesque Pohorje range become excellent ski slopes. Each year, Maribor hosts the Golden Fox Women’s Alpine Skiing World Cup race.

Maribor Pohorje Slovenia - European Capital of Culture 2012 - VIDEO 

Celje

The second largest town in Štajerska is Celje, once the seat of the Counts of Cilli, an influential aristocratic dynasty from the 15th century. The town's glorious past is reflected in the ruins of the mighty castle, once the largest in Slovenia. Today, Celje is one of Slovenia’s most dynamic and quickly developing towns, which hosts, among other events, an annual International Trade Fair, the largest business and trade fair in the south-east Europe.

Celje is also a good starting point for a visit to the Šaleška and Savinjska Valleys. In the lower Savinjska Valley, hop cultivation has been one of the main agricultural activities since the 19th century, while the upper part of the Valley is particularly interesting as a developing tourist destination: it is the starting point for mountain hiking excursions in the Savinjska Alps. The Šaleška Valley is known for the Gorenje Company, which is based in the town of Velenje.

Kozjansko

Characteristic sight in the Kozjansko Regional Park. Photo: S. Jeršič and B. Jakše - Jeršič

Kozjansko is one of the less developed parts of Slovenia. But nowadays, this can also be its advantage, as the unspoilt landscape offers quality produce, such as old apple varieties grown in orchards surrounded by meadowlands, characteristic sights in the Kozjansko Regional Park. Nearby, next to the small town of Podčetrtek, there is a thermal health and spa resort known as Terme Olimia.

Haloze

'Kurent', the most known carnival mask in Slovenia.

Hilly Haloze is a fertile wine-producing area where, among other varieties, the laški rizling and renski rizling  grapes are grown, producing top-quality wines. In the middle of the Ptujsko polje Plain, on the banks of the River Drava stands the town of Ptuj, formerly a Roman military outpost and one of Slovenia’s oldest towns. The most prominent feature of the town is its medieval castle. Ptuj is famous for its carnival festival known as Ptujsko kurentovanje. The event is named after the most recognisable carnival figure of the Ptujsko polje, Haloze and Slovenske gorice areas: the kurent or korant. The town boasts a reputable wine cellar which, like the nearby Monastery of Friars Minor Conventual to which it is has close links, was built in the 12th century.

The glass art at Rogaška presents tradition and the highest quality of the glass products. Photo: Rogaška Archive

This part of Slovenia is also known for the health resort town of Rogaška Slatina, with a mineral water therapy tradition spanning four hundred years. The health resort flourished in the second half of the 19th century, today it is a modern health resort town. The town also has a rich glassmaking tradition, with the Steklarna Rogaška, a Glassmaking School, and certain smaller glassworks.

Wineyards. Photo: STO archive

Prlekija and Slovenske gorice

Prlekija and Slovenske gorice are known for their top-quality wines. The capital of Prlekija is Ljutomer, also a focal point for the breeding of the Standardbred trotters used for harness races. Slovenske gorice is a picturesque land of rolling hills and plains lying between the rivers Mura and Drava. Radenci is an important local centre due to its springs of Radenska mineral water and health and spa tourism.