Maribor is the unfashionable member of the Slovenian family, but it's hardly the ugly sister - more like Cinderella, once you look under the workman-like exterior and uncover a lovely little Austro-Hungarian gem. Despite being the nation’s second-largest city, Maribor has only about a third of the population of Ljubljana and often feels more like an overgrown provincial town.
It has no unmissable sights but oozes charm thanks to its delightfully patchy Old Town along the Drava River. Pedestrianised central streets buzz with cafes and student life and the riverside Lent district hosts a major summer arts festival. The city is renowned for wine, skiing and wilderness and what is more, the whole city is dirt cheap. You'll find the city a hard place to spend money. A coffee that wouldn't be out of place in Milan or Paris costs just 1.10€, while a bottle of the region's famous white wine will set you back just a couple of euros more.