In Slovenia both the outdoor events and activities and the cultural life are very rich but every time of the year has its own specifics. But no matter what the weather is like, Slovenia is one of the nicest destinations around.
Trenta Valley in Spring. Flickr/Bernd Thaller.
Spring is that season when people and nature come to life and positive energy is all around. Slovenia is well known for home gardening and as soon as the snow starts melting, Slovenes are ready to prepare soil for producing their own vegetables. People in Slovenia are becoming increasingly aware of how important it is to have the original indigenous varieties. Plants from the local environment are more resistant to pests and thrive better.
Spring is the time when people need to be especially careful on the roads, as the motorcyclists start the new season. It is important to know that in Slovenia all motorbikes and cars must display a Vignette on their windscreen when using any designated Motorway. Without one you will be fined if detected.
In Slovenia we say that in the spring you should dress on the principle of the onion. In the morning, when it’s still chilly, you put on multiple layers of the clothes on and during the day, when it warms up a little bit, you eventually take off one by one. The temperature between the Mediterranean and the other parts of the country vary and days by the sea are warmer although very often the strong wind Burja is blowing and cools the air eventually. The weather forecast becomes the most important news in the spring as everybody is trying to catch the first warm sunny rays.
Spring is the best season for those who like eating fresh asparagus. For gourmets, asparagus is a real treat and it’s also beneficial for your health. Well prepared dish of this early spring plant with a glass of Slovenian famous wine Teran is pure pleasure. From April to May, there are many restaurants and tourist farms especially in the Karst region where you can enjoy varieties of different asparagus dishes. Early spring also attract locals to go out, to the meddows, and try to pick some dandelion for lunch. The first fresh salad of the season is invigorating.
Easter has been an important feast for the people in Slovenia for the centuries. The biggest Christian holiday starts on Ash Wednesday and at Easter the tables at everybody’s home was laden as on no other occasion: ham, bread, horseradish and special potica: cakes that are colourful decorated with eggs called “pirhi”.
After the cold winter days skiers are even more eager to hit the ski slopes around Slovenia: Kranjska gora, Krvavec, Vogel or Kanin, because it is not so cold anymore and the days are longer. Hikers up in the mountains also need to be mindful of the snow and avalanches which become a threat during that time of the year.
In the northeast, namely in Ptuj, one of the biggest traditional carnivals in Slovenia takes place: Kurentovanje. The huge mascots of the festival are enlisted on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. According to folklore, Kurents chase away winter by jumping and making noise and they bring spring, light, abundance and all good to the land.
A glimpse of Ljubljana during summer. Flickr/biosynthesis24.
Summer is the high season in Slovenia, no matter how you look at it. For two months the schools are closed, the prices are higher and tourists are exploring every part of the country. You can hardly find an available table in a restaurant or in a bar without making reservations.
No matter where you are in Slovenia, you will encounter are many traditional music, film, theatre and food festivals during the summer. You have endless possibilities of spending quality time with family, friends or by yourself. Sometimes it is hard to decide which event you will join since every festival is interesting in its own way. Hiking season is blossoming and Slovenian people try to spend as much time outdoors as they can: hiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing or jogging. Picnicking by the rivers or around the lakes is very popular and that activity comes with an amazing smell of grilled meat and fried potatoes. During the summer, the nature is green and fresh, water is nicely warm for swimming and people are more relaxed than ever.
All over the country, in the central, Alpine, Mediterranean or Pannonian part of Slovenia the temperatures soar into the 80F. In the mountains, especially for the alpine north west, are a bit cooler and usually award travelers with a nice breeze. Short and sharp storm activities with lightning might appear in the late afternoons. In direct sunlight it’s recommended to wear a hat and put a sunscreen on the exposed parts of the body. Clothes should be light, short sleeves and sandals or flip flops are must have.
When the summer is just about to begin and the branches of the cherry trees are bending under the weight of the dark red fruit, the cherry festival in Brda takes place.
Surrounded by vineyards and orchards you can enjoy beautiful views, tasty food or chat with nice locals who will proudly share traditional stories with you and offer you a glass of wine.
The Beer and flowers Festival has taken place in Laško, where the oldest brewery in Slovenia is originated, since 1963. During all these years, more than 2650000 gallons of famous Zlatorog beer have been consumed.
Every third weekend in July the lovely riverside city of Savinja becomes the centre of the country where you can eat and drink and dance and sing. In the second largest city in Slovenia, Maribor, the largest multicultural summer festival in this part of Europe takes place. The Lent Festival is the opportunity of getting together, enjoying the music and other experiences, spending quality time with friends and family. For a whole week in June at over 40 locations across the city by the Drava river you can visit different events far around and experience art and culture outdoors in streets and squares.
The Drava river during autumn. Flickr/Marco Verch.
Linden tree is one of the nine Slovenian icons and fall is the last chance before the winter, to sit beneath one, on a wooden bench, eat and rest during picking grapes. There are three main wine regions in Slovenia: Primorska, Dolenjska and Štajerska and in the fall, everything revolves around wine. Vineyards all over the country come alive, you can hear the sounds of the traditional clapper among the vine plants. It announces the beginning of the ripening of grapes in the end of summer and at the same time it bows the birds away. In the fall when harvesting is completed the farmers put it away.
The geographical position of Slovenia also enables the cultivation of fruit trees which today are gaining more and more importance. Old varieties of apple trees can be tasted on the second week of October in the Kozjansko landscape park. You should go to Podsreda and try a glass of fresh apple juice straight from the barrel.
In mid-November, you can visit the feast of persimmon where the locals offer specialities made of this “fruit of the gods” in the immediate vicinity of the Strunjan salt pans on the Slovenian coast. In the Strunjan valley, there are almost one third of all persimmon plantations in Slovenia, and quality crops are the result of particularly mild sub-mediterranean climate, rich land and plenty of love.
In the fall you should spend a relaxing weekend on a guest farm, where a traditional farming family will be happy to host you and show you their world. After a busy day of helping them with cooking jams, making fruit juice or do some work on the fields you can try sleeping in a hayloft. Imagine!
Another special Slovenian custom is the osmica. This excellent remnant of the Habsburg tradition is very clear: eight days a year, farms are allowed to sell their surplus wine, ham and other products tax-free. The custom has been retained to the present day and you can expect wine, delicious homemade food and local sweet specialities such as potica, štrudel or štruklji.
September in Slovenia is pretty warm with average temperatures couple degrees lower than in the summertime. October brings just another drop of temperature around 50F in alpine regions and 40F on the rest regions. In November it usually continues to cool which means opening of skiing season of most alpine resorts.
While coming to Slovenia in the fall, you should be prepared to have either very nice weather or rainy days with storms and strong wind. So, warm and light clothes are the answer to the “what to wear” question.
When snowflakes start to fall from the sky and it is getting colder, nature is ready to rest. Flickr/heavysunlight.
Who would give up the unforgettable opportunities having fun skiing, cross-country skiing, ski touring or traversing the snow with snowshoes? Adrenaline-packed adventures, such as riding on a snowmobile, a snowbike or descending along the snowy surface on a mountain bike are also available during the winter. For those who prefer climbing steep slopes rather than staying on the ground, there are a few natural and artificial waterfalls where ice climbing is possible. Do you want to ice skate on the lakes or in the ice skating rinks in the most Slovenian cities, or experience sledding which is one of the most popular activities on snow for all generations? Maybe you just want to make a snowman before wrapping yourself in a cosy blanket and sit by the fireplace having a cup of tea. In Slovenia there are many ways spending time outdoors in the winter but you can also choose calming and relaxing times in spas all over the country as well. The best possible way is combining both, and why not?
Bitterly cold weather arrives in most of the country in the winter time and only but the coast there are more sunny moments. That is because of the wind Burja, which can blow up to 124 miles per hour, mostly in Vipava Valley and the Karst region in the western part of Slovenia. Burja can cause big problems on the roads as snow drifts frequently occur and blocking off roads. Due to the lowest temperatures of the year it is recommended to put on warm clothes and waterproof shoes.
And there comes New year’s eve. Enjoy its charm in Slovenia and make lots of unforgettable memories. Wherever you are, inside, in the park, on the street, in the cave, by the sea, in the east or west, north or south, you will have great time. In December, holiday markets become the centre of social events in the cities, as people like to meet by the wooden stalls selling warm drinks and delicious food. You can hear music everywhere, people dancing and having fun.
But before you come to Slovenia you should listen to the Slovenian polka, called “Na Golici”, composed by Slavko Avsenik in the 1954. It is considered to be the most played instrumental tune in the world and it takes the name from the Slovenian mountain Golica, a 6024 ft high peak in the western Karawanks, on the border between Slovenia and Austria. Even if you are not a fan of this kind of music, when you come to Slovenia and spend some time up in the mountains or down in the cities, you will without a doubt hear this theme. And you will love it.
The best travel recommendations come from locals. Check out these Wanderguides from Slovenia by locals sharing their travel tips and hidden gems.