Train travel from Maribor to North east (Ormoz, Ljutomer, Murska Sobota) is time consuming when on the other hand quite okay way to explore Slovenian countryside from a distance, especially if you have lot of time.
When you would need 40 min to get to Ljutomer by car, you need almost 2 hrs by train: it takes you pass Ptuj, then Ormoz and Ljutomer (and if you want, go to Murska Sobota). Local train stops at every train stop and after the school it gets full of high school students so its best to avoid it then.
Ticket is almost 6 Euro for an adult.
Weekends and holidays train connections are bad. The last one to the east leaves 15.25.
Other than that... you get direct connection to Vienna (daily), Ljubljana (most frequent and fast, depends on train type it can take 1,5 hr for the ICS or almost 3 when you take local train with changing opritons). All the way to Koper directly.
Then Zagreb (with changes and another way to make the otherwise short distance long, because it will go via Zidani most in the middle Slovenia, where you will change to ZG-LJ bound train).
Of course it's possible to get nearly anywhere else from Maribor but you have to make conncetions (good luck with that!).
Unfortunatelly buses are not much better alternative (and are more expensive). Connections are only good for Murska Sobota direction on weekdays (students again) and MB region. With those facts, see the reason why every one wants (and needs) a car for most normal daily travel to/from school, jobs, anything ... if you are lucky to live in city, you can use bike.
We got to Ljubljana by plane. Friend of ours was waiting for us and took us to Maribor by car. Maribor has the airport but since Ljubljana airport is close, it is not economical to have the both of them open.
There is a good train conation from Ljubljana to Maribor.
there is a free of charge telephone on which you can order taxi and beleve me it is realy cheap way of geting around. Number is 0801112. You do not nead any calling numbers in front. You can call it from telephone boxes without the cash or cards or from your mobile.
As it tourned out, we went by car and had to get the Austrian toll sticker and the Slovenian one.
The Austrain one can be bought at many gas stations along the motorway to Austria ( ten days for 7,90), the Slovenian one only at some. Even in Graz , where the border to Slovenia is very close, we weren't able to get it at a gas station but were sent to a service area at the motorway instead.
It also proved to be impossible to get a city map of Maribor in Graz.
Our navigation system doesn't have any Slovenian maps and we felt we'd need a good map.
A few km before the border there was a service area, where we got the vignette for Slovenia (one week for 15 Euro).
Had we known before we'd go by car, we could have got the vignettes and paid the toll for the tunnels in Austria in advance at the ADAC, the German automobile club.
Don't enter Slovenia without the vignette, there are people checking with binoculars if the car has it. The same is done when you leave the country again and from what I heard the fine is quite high.
Be careful if you rent a holiday apartment for one week, from Saturday to Saturday. By the second Saturday you will enter the second week of the vignette. According to the automobile club quite a lot of tourists had to pay the fine when leaving Slovenia, because they had figured from Saturday to Saturday it's one week only.
Some road distances to Maribor from:
- Vaduz (Liechtenstein): 662 kms.
- Athens (Greece): 1.601 kms.
- Madrid (Spain): 2.185 kms.
- Porto (Portugal): 2.603 kms.
Checking the website, you’ll find more road distances together with the driving times and the best routes.
Since up until the very last minute we had planned to go by train, I can tell you about the train tickets:
There is a special from Germany to Slovenia, but the route to Maribor involves two changes, in Bischofshofen and Graz. We only had a short time in Bischofshofen between trains and I wasn't sure if we'd make it. The next train would have got us to Graz too late to continue to Maribor, so we decided to stay in Graz overnight.
We booked the Austria special and were going to buy the Slovenia special in Graz. Thank you, Lotharscheer, for telling me about it in the forum.
Travel between towns by train is somehow better than travel by bus but there's no rail network everywhere (or it's not feasible) and sometimes you have already missed the last train - so, how about buses, then?
Unfortunatelly you will see that bus network had gone worse recently - especially if you want to travel in school holidays time (25th June - 31 August) or weekends.
Many connections got more rare (cost saving strategy - it doesn't concern them how you'll get home late or how some tourist can possibly reach one destination) and some lines were deducted. It will become an art how to travel by local transport here - and probaly you'll give up trying if you will have to wait many hours to get the bus into some 'obscure' yet interesting places (say Radgona-Bad Radkersburg or Radenci or Lendava or Pohorje hills by bus).
If you need or want to travel somewhere more than 25 km from Maribor, get in the station in the morning (bus station on-line system is hassle and takes time to find where they have information) or give them a call to confirm there are any busues within your planned time of travel. If you wish to return the same day don't forget to ask about return connection - or you'll have to walk back (or hitch hike or take a taxi).
Good news: there's 3 pm bus to Ljutomer via Radgona daily (by Avigo form Gorica company), no matter if holiday or working day). But if you want to go back by bus to Maribor you'll have to stay overnight in Ljutomer. Or take a train but you won't have much time for anything.
Is there life after death? Can Slovenian railways survive? Anyway, we are all very proud of our pendolino trains. I enjoy the ride with them. On this picture you can see the railway bridge and just when you get across the river Drava there is the train station. So as soon as you see the river Drava (or Europark building which is just on this side), get your bags ready. For pendolino pictures, check the website I have found (hope it lasts). For
Slovenian trains are punctual, clean and sometimes even exceed western standradts. The Intercity Slovenia, which is used on the route between Maribor and Ljubljana only, is the flagship of the slovenian railway company and takes only 1 hour and 50 minutes for the trip. The price is around 12,50 EUR - a little more expensive than a bus tour, but surely time saving.
Unfortunately, the slovenian train network is not very dense and except for this route, frequencies are very low. So if you do not want to travel from Ljubljana, the bus is a more recommended mean of travel for Maribor.
The train station is quite some distance away from the city centre. It’s about a 750m, 10 minute walk which is a bit gruelling if you’re carrying a heavy backpack like I was! I came to Maribor on the ICS express train from Ljubljana which took about 1.75hrs. The journey is very scenic as you pass along the Sava River valley which has some high hills and lush forests. After visiting Maribor I then took another ICS train back to Ljubljana and then onto Postojna to visit the caves. I think this train eventually went onto Venice.
The bus station, designed by the architects Borut Pecenko and Ivo Goropevšek, was built in 1989. An interesting, long hall with a transparent roof covers the platforms for local, interurban and international buses as well as catering premises and shops. It’s located on the way into the city centre from the train station.
This bus was the only one I took whilst I was in Maribor and is very useful. It leaves from outside the City Castle in Grajski trg and goes to the Fontana Spa Complex. It takes about 10 minutes and costs 100 SIT. Buses leave every 35-40 minutes.
Though you can travel by train to get from major city to city, it's still best to go by car.
You definitely need a car to really enjoy the vinska cesta or wine route. Walking is fine around the towns and buses would take you easily from town to town but really, there are no parking problems, and a car is most certainly the first choice.
Irish budget airline Ryanair hav started a 3 times weekly flight into Maribor from London Stansted. Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday currently. Flight time around 2 hours, book early for very good prices.
By air: Maribor is best served by Graz International airport (Austria), 40 km Northwest of the city. There are additional air services via Ljubljana International Airport (Brnik), 100 km west of Maribor, Klagenfurt (Austria) 90 km north of Maribor and Zagreb (Croatia) 100 km Southeast of Maribor. Additional charter flights will be organised from Frankfurt to Maribor. Please contact your local travel agency or our official travel agency on how to find the best way to get to Maribor.