Ptuj

History buffs will not be disappointed on a trip to Ptuj, a northeastern Slovenian city close to Maribor, and reputed to be the oldest city in Slovenia. With settlement dating back to the Stone Age, Ptuj has been in the hands of the Romans, Slavic kingdoms, Austria-Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Nazi Germany, and finally the independent Slovenia. Many of the historical buildings in Ptuj are protected monuments, and any traveler interested in seeing the architectural and cultural heritage of the Slovenian Southeast will find Ptuj fascinating.

In addition to historical wonders, the scenery around Ptuj is delightful, with the red roofs of the town rising up from green hills, the meandering Drava river, and the largest reservoir in Slovenia, Ptuj Lake. The beautiful scenery is perfect for hiking, boating in the Drava river (or even river-surfing!), fishing and other outdoor activities. With thermal waters also a part of Ptuj's attractions, visitors can also indulge in a spa in Ptuj and relax in the healthy mineral waters. Staying in Ptuj is very enjoyable, with several excellent options for a Ptuj Slovenia hotel with the requisite friendly hospitality and beautiful historic surroundings.

A visit to Ptuj will not be complete with a stop at Ptuj Castle, one of the most attractive historic buildings in the town. Built with additions from the fourteenth century to the eighteenth century, the architecture of Ptuj Castle is a combination of styles from various periods. The castle museum contains many period pieces as well as a collection of furniture and tapestries, and it houses particularly interesting exhibitions during the Kurenti festival in the spring. Visitors can walk up to Ptuj Castle from a path close to an old Dominican Monastery that now houses the Archaeological Museum, with artifacts, statuary, and carvings for those inclined to learn about the history of Slovenia.

The heritage of Ptuj is apparent in the residential streets, with medieval mansions sharing narrow alleys with Baroque edifices. A good place to start a tour of Ptuj is the attractive main street, Prešernova cesta, where the Priory Church of St George is located along with several beautiful frescoes. In the center of town there are also several good choices for a Ptuj Slovenia hotel, including the charming and well-priced Hotel Mitra. The center of the city is also where you will find several cafés that turn into clubs and bars by night in Ptuj's happening and diverse nightlife.

Travelers in search of some pampering should pay a visit to Terme Thermal Health Resort, the largest and most popular spa in Ptuj. Not only does the Terme Resort have varied health treatments, saunas, and thermal baths, it also has a range of family friendly attractions, including the outdoor Thermal World water park and six indoor pools. Visitors looking for an alternative to a Ptuj Slovenia hotel may also wish to consider staying at the Terme Resort's campground where they can camp in the great outdoors. There are other choices as well for a spa in Ptuj, such as spas within the popular hotels downtown, but Terme is definitely the first choice for the ultimate spa experience.

If you are fortunate enough to visit Ptuj during the spring, you may catch the ten-day Kurenti Spring Festival. Kurent is the Slavic god of hedonism, and in the spring, masked figures dressed in sheepskin parade the streets, making noise with bells and sticks to scare away both winter and evil spirits. The Kurenti Festival makes an already charming town even livelier and gives tourists an opportunity to experience local culture in full swing.

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