February is probably the best Winter month to visit Slovenia if you want to see different aspects of this beautiful country. Snow activities are made possible by the numerous snowfalls in the mountains, but the other parts of the country have other sides to offer. Come explore Slovenia at the end of February if you want to get a real sense of Slovenian tradition and culture.
Visiting Slovenia in February is a blessing for the adventurers who want to experience the quietness of the Julian Alps’ ski resorts and see the country awaken to Spring at the same time. This is the best month to enjoy the great Slovenian traditional carnivals and many other joyful events, activities, and landscapes.
Here is a selection of some of the top-tier experiences you will have to try while visiting this unique and still snowy country. The magical winter wonderland embraces the tradition of carnivals in February, allowing you to be transported into an enchanted world. It is a perfect period to travel to Slovenia with your family or significant other.
1. Discover Kurentovanje, Ptuj’s International Festival
Kurantovanje is the most specific and emblematic carnival of Slovenia and is internationally renowned for it. Every year, the beautiful city of Ptuj hosts eleven days of events that celebrate the beginning of Spring with fertility festivals that end with the famous Kurent parades. The Ptuj carnival is the biggest and most impressive one in the whole country.
Furthermore, the events are celebrated in an adorable medieval town located only 30 minutes away from Maribor. It means that you can come and enjoy the celebrations during your stay at Pohorje, Maribor’s area ski station. You will have the chance to enjoy both an entertaining show and the lovely streets and architecture of Ptuj. On the occasion of the 60th edition of the carnival, in 2020, the city of Ptuj was awarded the title of European Capital of Carnivals.
One hundred thousand participants gather every year in the beautiful historical center of the city to celebrate the ancient traditions of Kurantovanje. People come from all around the country, but also from everywhere in the World. They know that the Ptuj events were given the Lonely Planet award of 7th best festival of this kind in the World in 2016.
The story of Kurantovanje dates back to centuries ago. Every year, they celebrate the famous Kurenti that were born in this festival, as well as many other characters such as whip-crackers, spearsmen, plowmen, and also log-haulers, among many others. Kurent itself is known as the god of hedonism and unrestrained pleasures. He originates from the early Slavic tradition.
Its figure is popular at carnival times since its presence is supposed to chase Winter. Indeed, the story tells that the Kurenti are able to make it disappear by making noise with their wooden clubs. This legend and these characters are composing an essential part of the country’s living and ethnographic inheritance.
Since the creation of the Carnival by Hasl in 1960, the local habits and customs have been preserved and shown through the World thanks to the annual organization of these wonderful events. This carnival’s birth also permitted to modernize these traditions, notable thanks to the introduction of more modern and contemporary costumes that allow the inhabitants to expand the festival.
So if you stop by Slovenia in February, it would be a shame to miss this UNESCO-acclaimed event! And if you heard of this beautiful tradition and hesitate to see it, I advise you to come and see by yourself how unique and vital these events are. Feel free to bring your children: they will love to get to know many unusual and yet fantastic characters like the Kurenti!
2. Find out More about Slovenia’s Culinary Cuisine and Local Traditions by Eating a Delicious Krof
During the Carnival season in Slovenia, you will have the chance to enjoy a wonderful festive atmosphere, traditional music, and decorated streets. Still, the most fantastic highlights of all are the Carnival food. Furthermore, since Slovenians love to eat so much, getting to know their culinary habits and customs is an obligated stop.
Go to Slovenia to discover surprising takes on international culinary classics, such as the very popular donut. The Slovene version is no less than a culinary masterpiece, renowned internationally by the most refined connoisseurs. The Krof season is open every year from November to the end of February, so hurry up if you want to give it a try!
You can find many different versions of this dessert around the World, but it is also unique. The Krof is a very soft fried dough roll that is often compared to a doughnut but has no real equivalent in the World, except maybe for the German krapfen.
These kinds of doughnuts are traditionally filled with apricot jam and served uniquely at carnival time. Krof is incredibly appreciated in the week before the Lent festivities. You can find several versions of this sweetness all around the country. They are particularly popular with children, but this sweet dessert has the particularity to be really less greasy, and then more healthy than its American counterpart.
Follow the advice of many Slovenians and head to the Trojanski Krofi, which is supposed to make the best variation of it in the country. It was created in a roadside inn in Trojane, a small town north of the Sava Hills. The recipe dates back to the 1960s and has attracted many tourists between Styria and Ljubljana ever since, as these Krof are unusually large (almost twice as big as the others) and tasty.
If you don’t pass through this region during your trip, do not panic! You can also try the take of Slascicarna Rasica bakery, which is located near Ljubljana. It offers a wide range of fillings, from marmalade to chocolate and vanilla cream.
3. Laufarija, another Famous Festival
The small town of Cerkno organizes every year in February a centuries-old impressive carnival meant to welcome in Spring. Visiting the famous festival of Cerkno will allow you to discover Laufarji’s birthplace. This is one of the most famous traditional figures in Slovenia, a unique character that usually wears a particular linden wood mask.
Cerkno’s carnival has been central in the construction of the locals’ and area’s identity. Their famous Laufarji had even been added to the register of Slovenia’s Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2012. For most people and now for the authority, the festival is now a living masterpiece of national importance.
If you visit Cerkno, you should not miss the main attractions, like Laufarji’s parade. It features about twenty-five characters that symbolize diverse groups of people with their weaknesses and different features. Pust is also a significant figure, with its moss and horns, but you can also see the Ivy Man, the Threaded Man, and the Old Man, among others.
4. Try a Natural Slovenian Hot Sping (or a Thermal Bath)
Tourists who are eager to discover Slovenia’s Winter wonderland might also want to be able to warm up during their February trip. Luckily for you, you can enjoy the country’s wonderful termes at any period of the year. Actually, it is even more satisfying to try a Thermal bath or a warm natural water bath when it is freezing everywhere else in Slovenia.
If you want to try a Slovenian spa, know that there are many of them that will suit your particular needs. Some are made for lovebirds who are looking for a romantic place, while some are specialized in family activities or wellness treatments. There is something to suit everyone in Slovenia. You have at least fifteen natural spas to try in the country, so you better start as soon as you can!
For those who crave more natural sources and environments, it is also possible to try natural warm springs such as in the Upper Carniolan area. Head to Dolenjske and Šmarješke Toplice for the best options in the country! They will indeed offer you a memorable Winter trip to Slovenia.
5. Rent a Ranch or a Chalet in the Countryside
In February, the weather starts being more welcoming, even if you still have the chance to assist in many snowfalls. After a trip to a ski resort, why would you not enjoy a weekend in the eastern part of Slovenia, where there are no more rainfalls, and you can appreciate the beautiful Slovenian countryside.
If you want to live an authentic Slovenian experience during your holidays, it is great to come in February. While the ski resorts are still pretty busy, the other parts of the territory are usually very quiet and peaceful, leaving you the chance to admire all of the country’s pleasant views without being disturbed.
You can also choose to rent a chalet in a more unknown part of Slovenia, but my best insider advice would be to book a week not far from Celje (about a half-hour drive) in the fantastic Ranč pri Geti. You will discover incredible landscapes of rolling hills and spend time in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by animals and breathtaking views.
You have to expect a really authentic stay in this beautiful ranch, accompanied by a llama, two goats, a horse, a dog, and a cat. In the main basement, you have access to electricity and cooking devices, but in the bedrooms, you will be able to enjoy a real return to the roots in a lovely frame: a wonderful wooden chalet.
6. Discover Slovenia’s Cultural Patrimony with Prešeren Day
As you can see it with the different carnivals taking place in February, this is the perfect month to discover the Slovenian culture and traditions. On the 8th of February, you will be able to assist in France Prešeren’s Day, a national cultural holiday that celebrates the legacy of Slovenia’s most famous poet.
This day marks the anniversary of the poet’s death in 1849. The national holiday was established during Yugoslavia in 1945. One of the goals was to develop the propagation of the Slovenian feeling and to create a national sense of belonging to a great folk and culture. Since 1991, the year of the independence of Slovenia, France Prešeren Day is a work-free day in Slovenia.
Ever since 1945, these celebrations have profoundly contributed to the Slovenian cultural consciousness and self-confidence as a nation. It is also the occasion to confer Slovenia’s highest cultural recognitions, the Prešeren Awards, and the Prešeren Fund Awards. These events take place on the eve of Prešeren Day, on the 7th of February.
The annual celebrations include a complete cultural and entertaining program held everywhere in the country and especially in the capital, but also all around the World. Indeed, Prešeren Day is still celebrated by the Slovenian diaspora.
It is fantastic to spend this day in Slovenia with the locals, and it also allows you to enter freely all the museums and galleries managed by the State or the municipalities. This is a perfect occasion to learn more about Slovenia’s literary culture and to spend a playful day during your holidays.
7. Try Slovenia’s Powder Snow with Some Ski Activities and other Winter Sports
Join Most Slovenians and go have a fun ski ride on Slovenian Julian Alps. Sports are very important in Slovenia, but Winter sports are truly an institution in the country. You should wait for the Spring to visit Slovenia if you are not fond of winter activities and snow. However, if you want to prolonge the magic moment of Winter, Slovenia in February is made for you!
Head to a ski resort in Kranjska Gora or Pohorje, or only to Bled or Bohinj to take an adrenaline shot of winter sports. Skiing, Snowboarding, or again Ski jumping are wildly popular and affordable. Slovenia is the perfect destination for ski holidays.
Between the breathtaking snowy sceneries and the wide range of winter activities offered everywhere in the country (since the only ⅕ of Slovenia is flat), you cannot go wrong by choosing this beautiful land. However, make sure not to go too far in the east or also south if you want to enjoy the snow at its most.
8. Visit a Beautiful Slovenian Snowy Castle for a Magical Experience
While planning your trip to Slovenia, you probably came across some photos of beautiful medieval castles nestled in green oasis and breathtaking landscapes. But you may not have seen yet how beautiful they can look under the snow! Slovenia’s five hundred castles have many riches to offer, and it includes unique sceneries of Winter wonderlands.
If you are eager to visit Bled Lake when it is frozen, you will also be amazed by its beautiful fortress. Do not miss a visit to this fantastic ancient castle, that will provide you a great view of the Lake’s Church of Assumption. Its impressive walls are even more beautiful under the snow.
You can also pay a visit to the World’s most giant castle that is partly in a cave, the wonderful castle of Predjama. Snow gives it a very particular vibe: you will feel like you are launched into the magical World of Narnia or Dracula.
If you are looking for the best view of Ljubljana Castle under the snow, you have to climb up to the Neboticnik terrace. From this fantastic viewpoint, which was the oldest building in Yugoslavia, you will be able to shot the best photos of this breathtaking castle. If you can, climb the castle’s hill to discover its wonderful Winter atmosphere.
9. Climb (or Take Pictures!) of a Breathtaking Frozen Waterfall
Slovenia is a country of adventurers. You can especially feel it in Winter times, when everyone straps on their skis or snowboards, and climbs the snowy mountains, but also when people hike, climb, run, or cycle all year long. However, one of the favorite adrenaline-activity of Slovenians remains Ice Climbing, a unique Winter discipline.
Every adrenaline junkie can experience this experience in Slovenia. No matter your age or sportive abilities, you will find a spot made for you. Many Ice Climbing activities are offered around Ljubljana or again Bled, so you really should consider giving it a try!
If you are an advanced athlete, you can also think about the impressive Boka Waterfall, Slovenia’s biggest one. It is kind of a challenge, and it will give you the opportunity to visit the wonderful Soca Valley and admire its emerald green river.
10. Visit Ljubljana and Enjoy its Dragon Festival
If you have the time to visit the beautiful capital of Slovenia, try to stop there during the town’s Dragon Festival. Ljubljana also has its own version of the Slovenian carnival, and it is unparalleled in the country. The Shrovetide parade is its most impressive feature and showcases the traditional local celebrations. It comes with a broad program of cultural and entertaining events around a theme that changes every year.
This carnival gets more renowned every year thanks to its fantastic ambassador, a wonderful dragon mascot that symbolizes the capital of Slovenia. While discovering the streets of Ljubljana, do not be surprised if you come across a giant green dragon and numerous people wearing colorful masks.
Tourists from all around the country and locals make sure to assist in these fantastic events at the end of February. Take a trip to the capital if you want to enjoy a familial event highlighted by the presence of local pagan figures, such as the kurents Laufarji and Morostarji. They are really important for Slovenians, so that is an excellent way to get to know them.
Make the most of Winter in February!
As long as you are a snow and winter sports enthusiast, you will be delighted with your Winter stay in Slovenia. But coming to Slovenia at this time of the year offers you the unique opportunity to combine this experience with the discovery of national habits and customs, which are for some of them listed as Living Patrimony of the Unesco. You will not regret choosing February.
If you are especially interested in Slovenian carnivals and events, you can check our dedicated article and find out more about local traditions, parades, and even culinary specialties!