Let's discover Ptuj the oldest recorded town in Slovenia, located in the East. Its charming old center is protected by the Ptuj castle which offers stunning views and a great museum. Below is my guide to help you plan your visit to Ptuj Slovenia.
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Visit Ptuj Slovenia in Video
Let's start with a short video to give you a feel for what it is like to visit Ptuj Slovenia. You will see the river, the old streets, the castle and its museums...
Facts and Best views of Ptuj old town
Ptuj History in a Nutshell
- Ptuj is the oldest recorded city in Slovenia. There are evidence that it has been inhabited since the late Stone Age.
- It has a long and rich history because it is located at a strategic crossing of the Drava River
- In the Roman Empire, it was a Military fort. It was named Poetovium.
- Later is became part of the Austria-Hungarian Empire
Read more about the history here
One of the best viewpoint is from the pedestrian bridge crossing the river:
- At the top of the town is the Ptuj Castle protecting the 2 monasteries at the bottom: Diminican and Minorite
- The Drava River marks the limit at the bottom
- The town has a triangular silhouette
- Today the castle is a stronghold rebuilt in the 18th and 19th century
I think it is one of the best old towns and places to visit in Slovenia.
My favorite view is from the fortification walls of the castle. Look at the panoramas below with the red roofs, the river and the greenery of the surrounding wine region:
Photos and things to do in Ptuj continues after the informaiton to plan your visit to Ptuj.
PLANNING TIPS - Visit Ptuj Slovenia
How to get to Ptuj Town
- Ptuj is located to the East of Slovenia, just South of Maribor
- Easily accessed by car
- Ljubljana to Ptuj - 1h30 drive
- Maribor to Ptuj - 35 min drive
Ptuj town and castle, along with many other beautiful places, are included in my eBook: The Road Trip Guide-Slovenia.
It is a practical tool to plan your trip with maps, photos, planning tips, GPS coordinates...
East Slovenia Tour
If you don't want to drive, you can book a day tour from Ljubljana that covers Maribor, Ptuj and the beautiful Zice Monastery - check out program and book
- The old town of Ptuj is not that big. I recommend planning one day to explore the old town and visit the museum in the castle
- Plan more time if you enjoy wine and vineyards, because the region is famous for it
- There is limited parking space in the old town.
- If you are not spending the night, you can park across the river, and walk to the city
Where to stay in Ptuj - Hotels & Accommodations
I stayed at one of the most hotel in the city: Hotel Mitra.
First written records date back to 1777. At the end of the 18th century, it became the first coffeehouse in town. It was modified in a neo-baroque style at the end of the 19th century and became a hotel.
After WWII it was the national officer's home and it turned back into a hotel in 1988.
It was welcoming and charming. Loved the spa area, the inside terrace and the delicious breakfast. Here are some of my photos:
You can also check out the best rated accommodations in Ptuj
Castle of Ptuj - Access + outside
The medievcal stronghold was first built in the 11th century under the archdiocese of Salzburg. But it was rebuilt to what it is today in the 18th and 19th centuries.
It is located at the top of the hill.
You can reach the castle either from the center via narrow street and a covered staircase.
Or you can use the side slope from the Dominican monastery. However note that this path is not flat at all, it is made of round rocks and very bad for the ankles. I think the stairs are better.
Once inside the fortification wall, you have to get your ticket from the museum shop in what looks like stables.
And then you can enter the castle itself where the regional museum is housed.
Visiting the Ptuj Castle Museum
The inside of the Ptuj castle has been turned into a Museum in 1945, one of the largest in the region.
Furniture and way of life
The first part of the museum allow you to visit the living quarters of the castle and imagine life as it was with some old pieces of furnitures. Most pieces are from the Herbestein legacy spanning from 16th to 20th century.
On the second floor is the Castle gallery with paintings from the 16th to the 18th century. They cover portraits of noble families, landscapes and religious or mythological scenes.
Musical Instrument collection
An entire section of the museum is dedicated to musical instruments of all ages. This is the richest such collection in Slovenia with around 300 pieces. The collection is well presented in various rooms, with recordings playing the background. It ends with the displays of stunning pianos.
There is even a Roman double flute from the 2nd or 3rd century.
At the end you have to find one of the museum person, to open the access to the collection of arms room. Inside you can see more than 500 pieces with armours and weapons. They date back from the 15th to the 20th century.
Other things to do in Ptuj
You should also take the time to walk around the town of Ptuj. It has charming streets with colorful building and other things to discover.
In the main street, not far from the City Tower, you can find the visitor center where you can get a map of the city.
It includes the location of all the points of interest and short explanations at the back.
To get oriented, always try to find the top of the City tower. It is the most distinctive landmark (apart from the castle). It has an onion shaperooftop and roman reliefs built into it.
Pay attention to it and you will see it has only 3 clock despite having 4 sides 🙂 It is because the castle owner did not want to contribute to the building of the tower. So in the direction of the castle, there is no clock...
At the foot of the City tower is the Orpheus Monument which is a Roman Tombstone from the 2nd Century.
It is a marble statue, a 5m tall monolith, erected for the mayor of Poetovio.
In the Middle-ages it was used for public punishment.
Built in the 13th century, the minorite monastery was heavily damaged in fires and war bombings. It is now reconstructed and hoses a library. It has a great inner courtyard with arcades.
Founded in 1230, the Dominican monastery was disbanded in 1785. It has a strange architecture with gothic and baroque elements. It is now a cultural venue.
The yellow town hall is one of the most massive buildings in the Ptuj. It dates back to the beginning of the 20th century and was imagined by architect Max Ferstl.
Other Things to do in the Ptuj Region
If you want to visit the eastern region of Slovenia, Ptuj can be a good place to stay. From there you can explore:
- The vineyards
- The town of Maribor (2nd largest town in Slovenia)
- Many (many) stunning small churches including Ptujska Gora, a pilgrimage location
- Olimje castle/monastery, more to the South at the border with Croatia - home to the oldest pharmacy in Slovenia
- Zagreb, which is only 1h30 drive away
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