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Slovenia’s UK travel connections opened up by new London flight route

Slovenia's national airline has chosen the UK as the destination of its new route, marking the first time the airline has flown from Maribor in 16 years. From 1st June until October 2015, London Southend Airport will be scheduling three flights a week to Maribor; Slovenia’s second largest city.

Ljubljana is quickly becoming one of the most popular European destinations, so it’s the perfect time for the UK to broaden its horizons with new flights to its sister city, Maribor, in the northeast of Slovenia. The city is just 11km from the Austrian border yet stands apart with its own fascinating history, famous events and culinary delights.  Maribor was  European Capital of Culture in 2012, and is renowned for its Lent International Summer Festival. This major arts festival takes place annually for two weeks at the end of June, attracting theatre, opera, ballet and jazz musicians from all over the world, as well as thousands of international visitors.

As an eminent wine growing area, Maribor is home to one of the biggest and oldest classic wine cellars in Europe (at more than 20,000 square meters / 215,000 square feet) which rests right underneath the city.

Maribor is also famously home to the oldest grape vine in the world (as verified by the Guinness Book of World Records) which has been growing fruit for over 400 years. Here visitors can enjoy wine trials, walks and exhibitions and each year the city throws grand celebrations dedicated to the famous plant, such as ‘Pruning of the Old Vine’ festival.

In September, the Old Vine Festival  marks the beginning of the harvest of the oldest vine; feasts and celebrations take place throughout the streets of Maribor as the town comes alive with music and entertainment. On this day, thousands of visitors arrive in the city with folklorists, viticulturists and chefs creating delicious food from the autumn harvest. 

Maribor is a fantastic base for cycling or hiking with the River Drava plains or Haloze wine hills nearby with truly stunning scenery. The area is surrounded by pure water lakes with fantastic opportunities for wildlife spotting in completely unspoilt nature – you may even be able to spot the largest butterfly in Europe.  

The city is also only 30 minutes drive away from the oldest town in Slovenia, Ptuj, which sits beneath a magnificent castle and famous for its yearly costume carnival with Kurenti. Here you’ll find ancient wine cellars, historic churches, museums and thermal spas which makes the small city a fantastic day trip option from Maribor for its relaxing atmosphere. Alternatively, the capital, Ljubljana, is only 1.5 hour drive and a trip to the gorgeous coastline takes approximately 2.5 hours. 

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