Maribor’s modus vivendi is embodied in the oldest vine tree in the world that seems incredibly resilient and vigorous. The same can be said for Maribor’s meetings industry, which successfully defied the corona crisis and now awaits event organisers in a new, refreshed look. Maribor attracts events because of its status as a student city, representing the business, scientific, educational, cultural and political centre of Eastern Slovenia. The sharp contrast between the Drava plains and green forests of Pohorje results in the immense diversity of landscape and experiences. In addition, its rich cultural history and rolling wine hills make it one of Slovenia’s most recognisable destinations. While strolling the streets of the city centre, you can stumble upon pristine nature, as urban and rural go hand in hand in Maribor.
Winemaking has long been a staple of Maribor, reaching its pinnacle with the inception of the Meranovo wine estate. The founder, Archduke John of Habsburg-Lorraine, implemented the most modern winemaking techniques of the time. Soon, the vineyards gained such prominence that a winemaking school found its home in Meranovo. It was among the most distinguished in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Maribor meticulously continued the tradition, and event organisers can now observe it while visiting special venues or attending incentive experiences and culinary tours. The main tourist attraction, the Old Vine, symbolises the long and authentic wine culture of Maribor, the Štajerska region and Slovenia. Neither fire, vineyard pests that marked the end of many other vines, nor war harmed the durable vine tree.
NEED TO KNOW 2022
Maribor strode into the first year after the corona crisis with a slew of welcome novelties. Many of them include new accommodation and meeting capacities.
In April, the extensive renovation of Hotel Arena, now managed by Eurotas, concluded. The hotel was refurbished entirely, and the host venue of the World Cup skiing competition, the Snow Stadium, soon became a sought-after venue for event organisers. The hotel is ideal for incentive groups and the most demanding guests. Offering 74 rooms, the hotel recently hosted the Grand Tour team, whose show is set to air later this year.
Just before the summer season, Hotel B&B Maribor opened its doors. The three-star hotel offers modern urban infrastructure in 102 cosy rooms. The hotel became a hit among business guests because of its excellent value for money. Having reached maximum capacity after opening is a testament to its popularity.
An array of new attractions on Maribor’s long list of special venues opened recently. The Judgement Tower reopened in 2021, offering a smaller hall for events on the ground floor and space for social events on the first floor. This year, The Oldest Vine Museum welcomed its first guests. Suitable for organising events, the wine cellar in a former ice house is a particularly intriguing venue, whilst the museum’s atrium is appealing in warmer months. This year also marked the end of the comprehensive renovation of the Minorite monastery, home to the Maribor Puppet Theatre. The entire space with the nearby square is now suitable for hosting various events. The auditorium, set amid a former monastery garden, is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular venues in Maribor and can host 520 attendees.
According to Kongres Magazine’s categorisation, Maribor belongs in the category of M-sized destinations. Destinations in this category can host up to 1200 congress guests. The majority of them are regional centres and larger tourist cities. Maribor offers more than 750 hotel rooms in 20 hotels, while congress guests can also choose between numerous hotels in the surrounding area.
The epicentre of Slovenia’s best glamping resorts
Glamping has become a hit among congress guests. Guests can find some of the best Slovenia offers just a stone’s throw away from Maribor. The oldest among them is Glamping resort Chateau Ramšak, set at the foot of a picturesque vineyard in Počehova near Maribor. Amid a slew of newly-opened glamping resorts, the Chocolate Village by the river, a haven for chocolate lovers, edges out its competition with a chocolate-filled story and excellent location next to a protected regional park. The glamping resort is home to the legendary Teta Frida chocolate manufacturer, arguably one the best in Slovenia. Apart from tasting mouthwatering chocolate, guests can also sleep the night in a nest in the newly-opened Nesting Resort in Vodole near Maribor. The resort is located within the Sunny Paradise Estate, where guests can visit a wine fountain, try local wines or find the courage to go down a zip-line. In the heart of Pohorje, guests can sleep amid a forest paradise in The Wood of Sinic glamping, admiring the pristine nature from wooden houses with jacuzzis.
You can taste the region’s gastronomical culture by tasting traditional dishes offered by gastronomic providers in cottages. The local cuisine is hearty and centred around aromatic flavours. Signature dishes include the Pohorje stew, the Pohorje omelette, aromatic meat with local cheese and buckwheat žganci with fresh milk.
A selection of Maribor’s authentic products is marketed under the brand ‘Our Finest’. The certificate guarantees uniqueness within a specific geographical origin. All products and services under the brand are certified according to strict standards and criteria with respect to traditional values, local materials, produce and ingredients. Some of Maribor’s traditional products that have been inspiring for generations include hand-knitted woollen socks, handmade pottery, and crocheted embroidery. The contemporarily designed products are inspired by stories from Maribor’s rich cultural heritage. Local culinary specialities from the destination include pumpkin oil, various dairy products, honey and top-quality white wines.
Pohorje is interlaced with countless hiking routes. Among them, the Slovenian Mountain Trail is one of the oldest hiking trails in Europe. It takes explorers all the way from Maribor to Ankaran on the Slovenian coastline. A group embarking on the journey is a remarkable experience. Pohorje has become the centre of mountain biking in Slovenia in the past years. Descending down a hill where a skiing world cup takes place is a unique adrenaline experience. Beginners, families, advanced riders and professionals will find the right path for themselves. Stretching 14 kilometres, the Bike Park Pohorje is the largest of its kind in Slovenia.
The comprehensive offer is enriched by an adrenaline park (Betnava, Vurberk), an adrenaline ride called Pohorje Jet and the Zip-line Bee Flying (Vodole). We dare say Pohorje is among Slovenia’s most developed and attractive incentive destinations.
BEST INCENTIVE IDEA
The second largest city in Slovenia, Maribor, was the rebel capital of Slovenian rock’n’roll in the sixties. Called the Manchester of Yugoslavia, Maribor was inventing new rock bands on the music scene day after day. In the past few years, Maribor became one of the Slovenian gastronomic centres after a culinary revival. The Maribor Tourist Board created an ideal rock product dubbed Rock’n’Roll of flavours. It comprises an interpreted guided tour across Maribor, visiting several intriguing local providers. Everything starts and ends with wine in Maribor. The rock experience is no exception, as rock songs echo in front of the World’s Oldest Vine while attendees drink exquisite wine. The path leads on to the Fudo restaurant where bon vivants convene. Rock music accompanies the group, and their next stop, HI KO FI, is home to the premier baristas in Maribor, where coffee lovers can enjoy a hot brew. The tour continues in the castle, where guests virtually toast while indulging in festive menus from various historical periods. To conclude the culinary tour, guests visit the LeVino Wine Bar, the transdisciplinary centre GT22 and Restaurant Mak. At the moment, these are the hottest culinary spots in the city that can be complemented with a visit to the new Oldest Vine Museum.
The organisers of the tour promise you will get to encounter iconic chefs and musicians of Maribor, taste exquisite wines and travel in time when Maribor was the capital of Slovenian rock’n’roll.
BEST KEPT SECRETS
Next to a cluster of classic venues, Maribor features numerous venues connected with the hundred-plus-year-old winemaking tradition of the city. Lent, the former wharf on the Drava river, boasts a diversity of bars, thus making it a perfect choice for “wine & dine around”. Moreover, Lent can serve as a starting point for discovering the city’s wine stories. The quickest way to feel the wine tradition is by visiting the Old Vine House and the nearby Oldest Vine Museum. Both locations can capacitate smaller congress groups. The Old Vine House is a medieval house where the world’s oldest vine grows, while the museum is another among several captivating locations for event organisers.
You can decide to host your event in the Vinag wine cellar, aged 174 years, in the heart of Maribor. Under the city, tunnels stretch over two kilometres, covering an area of 20.000 m2. A speciality is the grand Wine Hall and the Dveri Pax wine cellar. In addition, the 450 years old chateau at the Jarenina estate can become an ideal location for guided wine tours and superb cuisine.
Rounding off the extensive list is the immensely popular Doppler Wine House. Hosting an event at their estate is a unique experience, appreciated by organisers of corporate events and weddings.
Teta Frida is one of Maribor’s most beloved spots for lovers of good coffee and desserts. Aunt Frida is, in fact, a real person who contributed a number of ideas that helped incite Auntie Frida’s Chocolate Caffé with her amazement of desserts and pastries. The venue prepares classic desserts with a modern twist. The chocolate-centred factory earned numerous awards and accolades. Among others, they were awarded the prestigious international award for chocolate and chocolate products from the Academy of Chocolate. Competing against more than 1200 global chocolate factories, two of their products received two coveted awards. Thus, Teta Frida’s products are among the best chocolates globally. Even sweeter than the chocolates themselves is that by purchasing their products, we contribute to their sustainable environmental aspirations. Thus, we can no longer imagine Maribor without relishing their pralines, chocolate bars, čok’n’rolls or trying biscuits, hot chocolate and other sweet products.
The most alluring part of their story is the innovative workshops dubbed “Chocolate is an experience”. By attending the workshop, you will get insight into how chocolate goes from the cocoa beans to the final delicious product you will make yourself. A maximum of 50 attendees can take part in the workshop.
TOP EVENTS IN 2022
12. 5. – 14. 5. 2022: 7th Congress of Preventive Medicine
The 7th Congress of Preventive Medicine hosted by the Slovenian Preventive Medicine Society took place during challenging times. The speakers at the event discussed how the covid-19 pandemic represents one of the biggest challenges of modern times and a window of opportunity.
16. 5. 2022 – 18. 5. 2022: PODIM 2022 Conference in Maribor
PODIM is a nonprofit platform founded in 1980 to change attitudes towards innovation. The event has evolved into the most influential startup & tech event in the CEE region, where innovation meets business opportunities and capital. The event is a key regional platform for enabling learning and networking in the most valuable and time-efficient way.
2. 6. – 3. 6. 2022: IRDO International Conference
The international conference of the IRDO institute highlights topics relating to social responsibility. Since 2006, it has been creating a rich research tradition in developing social responsibility. The event strives to strengthen social responsibility in Slovenia.
4. 7. – 13. 7. 2022: 22nd International Student Conference SCiM
The SCiM Student Conference in Maribor (SCiM) is an international student conference held annually in Maribor. Each year, more than 60 students from around the world gather at the 10-day event to attend different lectures and workshops and discuss important issues of society and youth. The main purpose of the conference is to unite students from several countries in one place, where they have the opportunity to gain new knowledge.
7. 9. 2022 – 8. 9. 2022 OTS2022: 25th OTS Conference
The OTS conference has been fulfilling its mission for twenty-five years, thus providing a platform for exchanging practical experience and knowledge to use modern technologies and approaches for the development of information solutions. The event aims to enable the progress of organisations by implementing new technologies.
11. 9. 2022 – 15. 9. 2022: Maribor Graph Theory Conference (MGTC2022)
The MGTC conference will be devoted to all areas of graph theory and related topics. During the conference, set to be held in person, the organisers will prepare several special surprises. The event will also celebrate the 60th birthday of Sandi Klavžar, a renowned Slovenian mathematician.
25. 11. 2022 – 26. 11. 2022: 12th Maribor Congress of General Medicine
The Maribor Congress of General Medicine was designed with an emphasis on the presentation of professional and organisational content that is important for the work of a family medicine doctor. The event will foster interdisciplinary development and cooperation.
Michelin Star in Kungota
Hiša Denk in Kungota is a culinary paradise awarded with a Michelin star. It is located 13 kilometres from Maribor. World-class cuisine by Gregor Vračko is one of the reasons why Maribor is visited by foodies from around the world.
Mitja Špes: “A brand new event develops with the destination”
Mitja Špes, CEO of Factumevent, delved into the gastronomic scene in Maribor and how organising a Street Food Market fosters the city’s development. Mitja also discussed what Maribor is missing to become a leading regional destination. He said: “I think that the culinary scene in Maribor is sought-after and our events are always very well attended. In fact, we have an excellent reputation for good attendance at any destination. Thus, it is no surprise there is tremendous interest in organising a Street Food Market in Maribor.”
Matej Rus: “We are ranked among the top 30 startups and technology events in Europe”
Matej Rus, Head of PODIM Conference, one of the top startups and technology events in Europe, discussed how the conference gained prominence and why the platform facilitates the growth of the regional meetings industry. Matej said: “In regard to the conference, the participants appreciate our quality of service. Above all, how well we communicate during, at and after the conference. They are also satisfied with the quality of investors and speakers who are all experienced serial entrepreneurs and come to PODIM with a desire to network.”
Jure Struc: “We can expect Maribor to become a leading destination”
Kongres Magazine chatted with Jure Struc, Director of Maribor Tourist Board, who is co-creating the future of Maribor as a prospective meeting destination. Jure Struc talked about the novelties in Maribor and what makes the destination competitive. He commented: “Maribor needs to prove itself as an excellent event host on the international scene and thus attract event organisers. I see immense potential in working closely with other cities and leading tourist and congress organisations.”
MTLG EVALUATION 2021
DESTINATION FINAL GRADE
|MARIBOR INDIVIDUAL GRADES 2021|
|Natural and cultural factors||4.75|
|General and transport infrastructure||4.63|
|ICCA index - worldwide ranking||1.25|
|Numbeo Quality of life Index||3.64|
|Numbeo Safety Index||4.42|
|ACI Airport Connectivity Index||3.19|
|Nomad List Overall Score||3.92|