Slovenia may be small as a country but it’s extremely rich in its cultural traditions. Many of its towns and regions host events and festivals that visitors can enjoy all year long. With a vast selection of events, all types of Slovenia tourist attractions offer an unforgettable experience.
After all, you come here to make memories and make the most of your Slovenia travel experience. No matter the type of festivals and events you’re looking for, Slovenia’s rich cultural tradition and folklore will make an impression you won’t easily forget.
The door-to-door rounds of Kurenti, a traditional Slovenian carnival costume, have become part of the UNESCO list of
1. Carnival in Ptuj (February)
Filled with symbols and colors, Carnival in Ptuj is one of the oldest and nowadays most famous Slovenian festivals. Kurentovanje or Carnival takes place in February and lasts for 10 days. That’s when the town of Ptuj comes alive with cloaked figures, traditional masks, colors, and cowbells that echo through the streets. In 2017 this carnival was even added to the UNESCO cultural heritage list.
Ptuj is the oldest town in Slovenia and it is quite a sight. With a castle and a river, it makes it one of the most popular Slovenia attractions. During the cold days of February, the traditional figures or Kurents roam its streets in sheepskin costumes. They chase away the winter with colorful ribbons and wooden clubs. Originally, a Kurent was a god of hedonism and pleasure, but on the carnival, you can recognize two types of Kurents: those with horns and those with feathers.
The number of spectators grows each year; the festival has turned into an internationally recognized event. Actually, it became so international that it even attracted the attention of a Slovenian American community in Cleveland. They were so impressed by this festival that they have begun hosting their local version of the carnival in 2013.
2. Salt Pans Festival in Piran (April)
Have you ever seen a traditional way to make salt? The salt pans festival on the Slovenian coast is your chance. The festival takes place at two scenic yet separate locations.
In the Sečovlje Salt Pans National Park the visitors can get a unique first-hand experience, which enables them to observe the traditional art of salt-making. In a small yet charming town of Piran in Slovenian coast, you can then stroll through the salt fair, taste local delicacies, and observe the events that take place during the festival.
This festival was created as an attempt to revive and celebrate the art of salt-making, which used to be the most important source of income for many locals. The sole art of the salt-making is older than 700 years and you can get a chance to get a closer look at its secrets and curiosities.
A simple day trip from Ljubljana, Piran and its nearby salt flats can be easily combined into your itinerary of Slovenia walking tours.
3. Chocolate Festival in Radovljica (April)
The town of Radovljica may not be one of the most visited Slovenia tourist attractions, but its Chocolate festival is the largest chocolate event in Slovenia. The festival takes place in April and the visitors can try all sorts of chocolate based products and treats.
During the three days, the visitors can spoil themselves by trying different types of chocolate, observe one of many cooking shows and street performances. Since the town wants to offer only the best, they also add an additional special event to the festival as a surprise. We were able to observe a chocolate cocktail show, a chocolate catwalk show, and body painting workshop with chocolate. Whatever they have stored in for this year, you’ll have to find out on your own.
A charming town full of scenic views of the Slovenian Alps, Radovljica makes an easy day trip from Ljubljana, even though it’s best if you combine it with other attractions to get a better grasp of the country. Radovljica managed to preserve the design of a medieval town, which definitely adds to its beauty and charisma, and makes it a destination well-worth visiting.
4. Jurjevanje in Bela Krajina (June)
A festival of traditional dances and song, Jurjevanje claims to be the oldest folklore festival in Slovenia. Located in the beautiful Bela Krajina, this is a region dotted with vineyards, birches, and the river Kolpa, which was even proclaimed a European destination of Excellence.
During the five days of the festival, the visitors are able to experience different cultures, traditions, and music from all over the world. This festival is an old pre-Christian tradition, based on a spring holiday Jurjevo, or Saint George’s day. This is both a natural and cultural heritage and the festival takes place on seven different locations.
The visitor can observe or participate in creative and art workshops as well as the recreational sports. For those of you feeling particularly energetic, you are more than welcome to step up and dance alongside the folklore groups. You can observe the professionals do their magic dance or you can even learn how to do it on your own! If you try hard enough, you might even meet the “Green George”, a mythological hero of Spring!
Bela Krajina is not as touristy as are some of the other Slovenia attractions, but that doesn’t mean you’ll feel neglected. The region itself has a lot to offer but most importantly, you will not leave hungry as there’s always a good glass of wine and a tasty local delicacy available to all visitors.
IDRIJA LACE as a fashion accessory – unique and trendy handmade pieces
5. Idrija Lace Festival (June)
A small town of Idrija comes to life every June with its Lace Festival. Dedicated to the traditional crafts of lace-making, this is one of the signature traditions of Idrija.
During three days, the visitors are welcome to observe the traditional lace-making process on the streets of Idrija. This festival is accompanied by a variety of other activities; creative workshops and a rich entertainment program. No one returns without a souvenir, either the bobbin lace or some other handmade craft.
While Idrija is well-hidden from the rest of the country, it has slowly been growing as one of quite popular Slovenia attractions. While the festival is definitely an attraction well-worth visiting, the visitors can enjoy other sights of Idrija as well. The town, after all, boasts
BRDA CHERRY FESTIVAL – organic and delicious cherries from Slovenia
6. Cherry Festival in Goriška Brda (June)
Cultural, ethnological, and sports activities all come together at the annual Cherry Festival in the Goriška Brda region. This is both a popular and a very tasty event that has been slowly turning into a well-recognized Slovenia tourist destination.
With a long cultural tradition, the Cherry Festival is located in the region that is also known as the Slovene Tuscany. Your visit can easily be turned into one of Ljubljana day trips, even though you can also combine it with other Slovenia travel destinations. For a whole week, the visitors can take part in one of the hiking activities along the hills of the Goriška Brda region, observe the traditional art of wine-making, or taste one (or more) of the local wines.
Those who are feeling a bit creative can try one of the many culinary specialties, all made with cherries. The visitors have a wide table of options to choose from, all to their liking: desserts with cherries, main dishes with cherries, and even prosciutto with cherries. Yes, these small red fruits are everywhere and the best part about it is that they’re all grown locally and organically.
MOST NA SOCI – JUMPS IN EMERALD SOCA RIVER during festival time
7. Night at the Lake Festival in Soča Valley (June)
Set in a stunning scenery of the Soča
Night on the Lake festival hosts many cultural, music, and entertaining events. The most popular one is the traditional jump from the bridge into the Soča river which is a spectacular sight but not an activity for the faint-hearted. There are always local dishes that are worth a taste and greatly contribute to the overall Soča experience.
This is an excellent stop on a Soča valley tour. This area offers a number of other possibilities, so make sure to bring your camera because you’ll be
COW’S BALL IN BOHINJ VALLEY, JULIAN ALPS
8. Cow’s ball in Bohinj (September)
One of the oldest Slovenian traditions, cow’s ball is an annual celebration that takes place in September in the Bohinj valley. This event is easily included in one of the day trips from Ljubljana.
Located in the Alpine region, the festival celebrates an end of the pasture season in the mountains. The cows and their herdsmen return to the valley where they spent the summer. The visitors can observe the return of the cows, enjoy local food and drink, accompanied by local music. This is an open-air festival, surrounded by the lush scenery of the Alps.
ADVENT IN LJUBLJANA IS THE PLACE TO VISIT – WARM YOURSELF UP WITH THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT
9. Advent season in Ljubljana (December)
The capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana transforms into a magical fairyland with lights glowing on every corner. Every December, a festive fair takes over the streets and squares in the center of Ljubljana, offering food and traditional winter drinks to its visitors.
December may be a bleak and cold month, but Ljubljana manages to conquer the darkness of winter. With a whole month of festivities and activities, such as open-air concerts, an annual Christmas Art market, a New Year’s Eve celebration in the open, this unique capital is full of dancing vivid colors.
Take a walk through the vibrant city with a guided tour for an insight into Slovenia’s culture, observe the charming castle on the hill, or get lost in the cobbled streets full of vintage cafes. Either way, don’t forget to have a cup of hot mulled wine to keep you warm in lively but cold streets of Ljubljana.