The Best Things to do in Ptuj, Slovenia

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The town of Ptuj in the north of Slovenia doesn’t get a lot of attention amongst international visitors, with many casting their sites on places like charming Ljubljana or idyllic Lake Bled. However, there are a number of things to do in Ptuj that make it very much worth visiting, even if only for a few hours or a day.

Set on the banks of the Drava River, Ptuj is a quaint and picturesque place that holds the title of “Slovenia’s oldest town.” Complete with a beautiful castle, gorgeous Art Nouveau architecture, historic sites a-plenty and a distinct lack of tourist crowds, Ptuj makes for an excellent day trip from Ljubljana or off-the-beaten-path destination to visit in Slovenia.

So if you’re considering visiting this lovely Slovenian city and are looking for the best things to do in Ptuj, then look no further. Hopefully, you will also be charmed by this beautiful little town and rush to add it to your Slovenia itinerary!

Is Ptuj Worth Visiting?

Before I jump into all of the great things to do in Ptuj, let’s answer a question that is sure to be on the top of your mind: is Ptuj even worth visiting? Well, my answer is a resounding yes and I will tell you why.

Sure, there are more popular places to visit in Slovenia that are certainly more well-known. However, Ptuj holds a charm and tranquillity that you won’t get in these more highly trafficked destinations.

Lovely Ptuj
Lovely Ptuj

Also, though it is small, there are actually a lot of things to do in Ptuj that can certainly keep visitors occupied as a day trip from Ljubljana or as a stopover if driving from Maribor.

All in all, Ptuj will take your heart with its charm and beauty and is absolutely worth adding to your itinerary if you can.

Getting To & Around Ptuj

Now that we’ve determined that Ptuj is indeed worth visiting, let’s discuss how to get to and around this beautiful town. Ptuj is located about 140 kilometres (87 miles) northeast of the capital of Ljubljana. If you choose to rent a car (browse for deals) and drive to Ptuj, it will take about 1.5 hours to reach there from the capital.

If you do end up driving your own vehicle to Ptuj, then you will find that parking is relatively ample (provided there aren’t any major events happening in the city) and there is even a free car park near the castle you can park in.

Once in Ptuj, you don’t need a vehicle to get around as the city is incredibly compact and everything of interest is reachable on foot.

Another option to reach Ptuj is by bus. There are countless buses that leave from Ljubljana to Ptuj each day and the journey time is about 2 hours. You can book in advance here or simply purchase a ticket at the bus station. There are also regional trains available from nearby cities in Slovenia.

Finally, it’s also possible to take an organised day trip to Pruj from Slovenia. This guided tour also includes a visit to Maribor and some nearby vineyards.

View of Ptuj from the castle
View of Ptuj from the castle

Things to do in Ptuj

Now that we’ve covered all of the necessary information needed to plan a trip to Ptuj, let’s talk about what to do once you’re there!

Ptuj Castle

No visit to Ptuj would be complete without heading to the focal point of the town’s skyline – the Ptuj Castle. Visiting the castle is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Ptuj and, honestly, if you only do one thing, it should be this.

The Ptuj Castle was originally constructed in the middle of the 12th century and it is sat atop a hill overlooking the city and the beautiful Drava River. The view from the castle itself is also incomparable – you can see the entire city along with some of the surrounding area.

The castle also acts as a museum where you can view historic art collections, furniture and tapestries. Entry into the museum is €8 for adults, with concessions available for students, youths and seniors.

Entrance to Ptuj Castle
Entrance to Ptuj Castle

Ptuj City Tower

Besides the castle, arguably the most iconic part of the Ptuj skyline is the striking City Tower. This tower, located in the city centre, is known for its beautiful pink baroque onion dome and clock on three sides.

Constructed in the 12th Century, this is an important landmark in Ptuj and, historically, it has acted as a watchtower to keep the city safe. You can get a great view of the tower from the castle and you can really appreciate its height and vastness from its base.

Also, at the base of the City Tower is another major landmark in Ptuj, the Orpheus Monument. This marble monument dates back to Roman times and stands at nearly 5 metres (16.4 feet) tall.

It is excellently well-preserved and the carvings on it depict the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Believed to originally be a tombstone, it now has its home at the base of the City Tower.

Ptuj City Tower
Ptuj City Tower

Minorite Monastery

Located a little bit of a walk away from the tower is the beautiful Minorite Monastery. This gorgeous baroque church was established initially in the 13th century as a place for Franciscan Monks to study and worship. However, the church that you see today was built in the 17th century.

The church itself is incredibly striking and it is also well known for the plague pillar, which was erected to commemorate all of the people whose lives were lost due to the bubonic plague in the 17th century.

Minorite Monastery
Minorite Monastery

Mestni Trg

Of course, no visit to any European town is complete without taking in the main square. The same is true for Ptuj.

There are two major squares in this Slovenian city, Sloveneski Trg — which is home to the City Tower and the Orpheus Monument — and Mestni Trg, which is much bigger and lined with beautiful buildings and the odd cafe.

The main site in the Mestni Trg is definitely the Town Hall building. This gorgeous structure is one of many of its style in Ptuj, but this one, in particular, is great for capturing a photo or two. It truly exemplifies the beauty of this charming town.

In front of the Town Hall is the St Florian Monument. Erected in 1745, this was built as a protector against fire, of which the city was ravaged by many in the 17th Century.

Ptuj's Town Hall
Ptuj’s Town Hall

Dominican Monastery

Another top cultural site to take in when visiting Ptuj is the beautiful Dominican Monastery. Established in the 13th Century, this was constructed as a place for Dominican monks to pray and study. The monastery encompasses a large area and it is a peaceful and lovely place to visit.

It is especially known for its gorgeous church with an incredibly beautiful facade. This is another example of just how incredible the architecture is in Ptuj and how worth a visit here can be if only to take in a beautiful and peaceful Slovenian city without the crowds of tourists that places like Ljubljana can attract.

Dominican Monastery
Dominican Monastery

Walk Along the Drava

Once you’ve taken in all of these cultural and historic sites, take the time to admire the beautiful skyline of Ptuj from the River Drava.

Ptuj looks absolutely gorgeous from the other side of the river and there are countless bridges and a nice walking path where you can take in the view and enjoy a leisurely stroll.

This is also an opportune moment to snap a number of photos of the charming town so you can remember your trip to Ptuj for years to come.

Ptuj from across the River Drava
Ptuj from across the River Drava

Admire the Architecture

Crossing back across the river, now’s the time to let your feet guide you and wander around the alleys and smaller streets in the city.

The architecture in Ptuj is absolutely stunning and you’re sure to find some hidden gems and simply beautiful buildings around every corner, so long as you take the time to get a little bit lost.

The good thing is that Ptuj is quite small and compact so it doesn’t matter where you end up wandering off to, you’re not going to be too far from anything and it’s very difficult to get too lost!

An example of Ptuj's lovely architecture
An example of Ptuj’s lovely architecture

Where to Stay in Ptuj

If you’ve decided that you’d like to stay the night in Ptuj rather than simply treating it as a stop off or a day trip, there are a few options available to you. So if you’re wondering where to stay in Ptuj, then make sure to have a look at these suggestions:

Bed & Breakfast Šilak – This cosy bed and breakfast is located in a historic building only 50 metres away from the Drava in the centre of Ptuj. They have a range of rooms available (all ensuite) and a great breakfast included each morning. Click here to see their availability

Apartma Domenika – If you’d rather have your own private apartment rather than stay in a hotel or B&B, then this is a great option for you. This one-bedroom apartment is located in a quiet building in the city centre and is spacious, clean and well-equipped. Click here to see their availability

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Ptuj hotels!

Quiet streets of Ptuj
Quiet streets of Ptuj

There are lots of things to do in Ptuj, Slovenia to keep you occupied for a day trip or even an overnight visit. This beautiful little city is truly a hidden gem and deserves to be on more itinerary to this lovely nation.

Are you considering visiting Ptuj? Have any questions about the city? Let us know in the comments!

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Maggie is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from the US, she has lived in five different countries and has travelled to dozens more, both solo and with her partner, Michael. She particularly loves exploring Spain and spending time in the Caucasus and the Baltics. Read more about Maggie

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