When December comes, Slovenia embraces Winter and the magical Christmas times that adorn the country with shining lights and biscuit cookie smells. Snow falls everywhere in Slovenia: every street will be white while every restaurant and café will await you and offer a warm welcome. Make sure to pack a lot of Winter clothes, as explained in our article, and you will be able to enjoy at its best one of the best months to visit Slovenia!
When snow begins to fall in Slovenia, the country shows a whole new face to propose to you the best indoor and outdoor activities. There is something new to do every day in December, from cooking gingerbread cookies to assist in many Christmas concerts or markets where you will discover Slovenia’s loveliest traditions.
Let me show you the way through Slovenia’s thirteen best Winter activities you will be able to enjoy in December. This month of events in Slovenia is made for everyone, from outdoor adventurers to families, but also partygoers who want to spend a memorable night of New Year’s Eve in Slovenia.
1. Ljubljana’s December Festival: A Month of Magical Events
It would be a shame to miss a visit to Ljubljana at any time of the year, but the idea of discovering Snowy Slovenia without its enchanting capital should not cross your mind. By the beginning of December, the entire city is surrounded by Christmas lights and melodies, while the thematic holiday decorations surprise and amaze people every year.
The most fantastic part of Ljubljana’s Christmas events is the holiday market stalls. You will find lovely Slovenians selling beautiful souvenirs and handcrafted gifts in every street, especially on the central squares and alongside the beautiful Ljubljanica river. In front of this amazing sight, you have to take your time and enjoy the Slovenian slow and quiet way of life.
Ljubljana’s Christmas market is the best in the country, and it will provide everything you need, from warm winter clothing to Slovenian liquors, designer products, or traditional delights such as excellent local honey or various desserts.
If you are patient enough, you may come across Santa’s path: accompanied by St Nicholas and Father Frost, he will light up the eyes of children and their parents. Feel free to climb up to the castle to enjoy a fantastic view of Ljubljana!
2. Ice Skating Near Lake Bled
As a Winter lover, you may already be an ice skating enthusiast. It is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and a lovely family activity. What could be better than trying it in the fantastic frame of Bled? Even if the lake would be too dangerous to ice skate on, the city of Bled is rich in a long skating tradition. Hockey and ice bowling are also very popular.
Luckily, Bled benefits from many outdoor and indoor skating areas to satisfy everyone’s taste. The Bled Sports Hall is a nice venue located in Bled’s city center and offers a great variety of ice sports. You can borrow skates for figure skating or broomball training, but the best option would be to assist in a Disco Skating Friday, an occasional light laser and 1970s music event.
If you are more of an outdoor skater, the Bled Ice Skating Rink is made for you. Located on the terrace of Kavarna Park, this fantastic exterior venue provides the most beautiful view of Lake Bled. You will also find many other activities there, as well as fun events around salsa music and vibrant mascots, for example.
3. Spend New Year’s Eve in Maribor
If you want to spend the best New Year’s Eve ever with your friends and family while impressing all of your relatives at home, you should definitely spend the last night of the year in Maribor! The second biggest city of Slovenia has the oldest and most impressive New Year’s Eve tradition in the country.
Every year, thousands of visitors from all around Slovenia and abroad gather in the largest square of Slovenia for a fantastic night filled with concerts, Christmas lights, and many events or performances. The city is incredibly hospitable at this time of the year, thanks to the presence of many cheerful partygoers.
This celebration is an excellent opportunity to discover Slovenia’s best bands and singers, but also to taste what the country has to offer in terms of wines, champagne, and liquors. Moreover, the city of Maribor provides free buses every year during New Year’s Eve and the following morning: a great measure to enjoy Maribor’s tradition all night long!
The main events take place in Trg Leona Stuklja Square, in the center of Maribor.
4. Kranj “Cheerful December” Events
The beautiful city of Krank is located a few minutes away from Ljubljana. This lovely town in the north of the capital, and even if the festivities are smaller there, the fantastic atmosphere is just as worth it in Kranj. Prepare yourself for a beautiful month of culinary tastings, Christmas market, festive lights contests, and an unparalleled children program.
In Kranj, the figure of Prešeren, Slovenia’s most significant poet, is honored every year. You will have the chance to hear some of its best verses while admiring the numerous ice sculptures and Christmas decorations. Kranj is a great place to relax, far from the big cities boiling and from work.
Make sure to share this fantastic opportunity with your loved ones, but also to meet people: Slovenians are very warm people, and they will be more than happy to share their memorable traditions with you! Who knows, they might give you the secret of their wonderful Potica recipe!
Contact: +386 (0)4 238 04 50 / email@example.com
Website for more information: https://www.visitkranj.com/sl/preserni-december-kranj
5. Have a Great Culinary Experience in Velenje Underground
One of the best things about December is undoubtedly food. Whatever your beliefs are, the Winter season is back: this is a beautiful time to enjoy the most plentiful culinary delights. Slovenia makes no exception. In this great country, you will soon notice that local food is also one of the most impressive highlights!
For a memorable culinary experience combined with an unusual adventure through Slovenia’s curiosities, the Velenje Underground is absolutely perfect! There, you will find a surprising cuisine inspired by the Slovenian Coal Mining Museum. This amazing scene combines an industrial frame and Slovenia’s top-notch gastronomic offer, all inside the country’s deepest dining room.
To get there, you will have the chance to take Slovenia’s oldest lift. It will be rewarded with a delicious four-course meal cooked by some of the best chefs in the country, from Vila Herberstein. Make sure to reserve for a totally unique experience!
Contact: 03 896 17 15 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Website and Reservations: http://www.velenje-tourism.si/dozivetja/velenje-underground
6. Enjoy a Month of Festivities in Maribor
Aside from the unparalleled New Year’s events, Maribor also hosts a whole month program of festivities in its historic walls. The Vilinsko Mesto festival, or Fairy City in English, includes everything from fairs to various open-air concerts and parties all around the most impressive square in Slovenia, Trg Leon Štukelj.
The Elf city is notably a festival of lights, highlighted by numerous puppet shows or again intriguing creative workshops and street theaters. This amazing program usually begins at the end of November and lasts until the great New Year’s Eve event. It is one of your last chances to enjoy the area before the freezing Winter.
In 2020, the events will take place between November 27th and December 28th. A great occasion to meet tourists and locals in every street, square, and courtyard!
Maribor centre, Vetrinje Mansion
Contact: +386 2 23 46 611 / email@example.com
7. Skiing in Kranjska Gora or Lake Bohinj
In December, snow begins to cover every corner of Slovenia. This is the best time of the year to try one of the country’s fantastic ski resorts, located almost everywhere in Slovenia. However, the fine connoisseurs will advise you to discover first the lovely city of Kranjska Gora and its incredible Slopes, or Lake Bohinj’s surroundings.
The Slovenian mountains are the Julian Alps, a fantastic place and frame to discover the country’s winter sports tradition. Here are some links for ones of the best ski resorts in Slovenia:
Kranjska Gora Tourist Board: Kolodvorska 1c, 4280 Kranjska Gora
Contact: +386 (0)4 5809 443 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Vogel Ski Center: 4265 Ukanc, near Bohinj Lake
Contact: +386 (0) 4 572 97 12
8. Discover the Slovenian Traditions in a Small Village like Radovljica
December is usually seen as a privileged period to reconnect with a relaxing life, surrounded by your family and friends. Discovering Slovenia at this time of the year can be incredibly pleasing if you want to spend some time in a small, human-sized town, with the impression of living inside a Christmas TV movie?
It is also your chance to visit more secret places in Slovenia after its most beautiful mountains and lakes. In a small town like Radovljica, which is ideally located right next to Bled Lake, you can find out about the local’s traditions and culture, and overall a whole other side of the country.
This lovely village is perfect for enjoying a hot chocolate at your window while seeing the snowfall. You can learn more by consulting the local tourist board website: https://www.radolca.si/?gclid=CjwKCAjw_NX7BRA1EiwA2dpg0mNsLxSJXVB7QTAHG4t5ML13LOM6w_3h_iSuUyIkpbg34Ac6yv6JyhoCq4QQAvD_BwE
9. Try Ski Jumping in Ljubljana (Mostec)
Ever since the founding of Ljubljana’s ski jumping club in 1970, the Slovenian capital complex is used every time the snowfalls allow it. However, one of the most enjoyable recreational spots in the capital of Slovenia is Mostec. This wooded area located in the heart of Tivoli Park, next to Ljubljana zoo, is an amazing playground in December.
You will have the chance to rest in the place’s guest house, which provides good food and drinks as well as many activities including ping pong, pétanque, and badminton.
The view from the ski jumps are breathtaking, and this is also a great starting point for many trails all around Ljubljana. The most impressive and significant one is the Path of Remembrance and Comradeship: it encircles the city following the barbed wire path that was set up around Ljubljana during World War II.
10. Assist in Portorož’s Sparkling Wine Festival
December may be a chilly month, but it does not mean that you should not go and visit the wonderful Slovenian coast. There is something very peaceful and quiet about an empty seaside resort like Piran, and you will still benefit from superb views on both Croatia and Italy.
Coming to the Adriatic Coast in December also means that you will be able to assist in one of the most important events of the year in the area. The Chrystall Hall of the Hotel Kempinski Palace, located in the seaside town of Portorož, hosts the 8th Sparkling Wine Festival on 26th December 2020.
This is an unparalleled opportunity to discover the crop’s cream of sparkling wines, coming from 30 different producers installed in Austria, Italy, Croatia, France, and Slovenia. More than a hundred kinds of sparkling wines will be showcased. If you want to assist in the event, know that the pre-sale tickets are sold out for the 2020 edition, but that you can still buy a ticket on the place and date of the event. It will cost 25 euros for one person.
11. Ski Jumping and other Worldwide Ski Events in Planica
As a fan of ski and other winter sports, you will be pleased to learn that Slovenia hosts many world competitions annually. If you come to Planica in December 2020, you are right in time to assist in many events and competitions. This lovely valley also hosts the highest ski jumping center in the world.
Planica has become an absolute reference in terms of ski training centers, and many world records have been recorded throughout the years since 1930. This place is an eventful must-see in Slovenia!
Website for the Events: https://www.planica.si/en
12. Get Warm in a Slovenian Therme
If you were looking for snow, relaxation, and peacefulness in Slovenia, you came to the right place! The country has an abundance of thermal baths, the absolute go-to for people who want to escape the cold and have a good time in a healing pool. Fifteen of them are certified as natural spas in Slovenia, and you cannot go wrong with any of them.
They can be enjoyed at any time of the year, but there is something comforting about diving in hot water while it is freezing and snowing outside, right? All of the spa facilities also offer many health, beauty, and wellness treatments that will make you remember your Slovenian trip forever.
You can especially try the Terme Dobrna Spa: it was built in 1403 and remained the most popular one in Slovenia. Terme Ptuj or Zrece are also particularly famous and convenient if you want to have a great time alone or with your partner. Travelers with kids can check our article about Slovenian spas for both adults and children.
13. Spend an Eventful Christmas Day in Bled
If you are one of the lucky tourists who have the chance to spend Christmas in Slovenia, I advise you to discover the astonishing Slovenian Christmas legends in Bled. At this time of the year, the lake is more beautiful than ever, and many events are organized around the place. Moreover, the entrance is totally free!
Around 5 pm, locals and tourists gather around the legend tellers that relate the story of Bled’s sunken bell on Christmas Afternoon. The legend begins 500 years ago when a widow created a bell for her late husband with all the gold and silver on the island. Because of a storm, the bell sank into the lake while behind transported in a boat. All the people on board died, so the Pope created a new memorial bell in their honor.
It is now installed in the church, so you can ring it to honor the Virgin Mary. The legend says that if you make a wish and ring the bell three times, your dream will come true.
Come to Slovenia in December!
Altogether, Slovenia is a great month to discover Slovenia. It is the perfect time to enjoy the country’s customs and legends, culinary tradition, impressive outdoors and activities, and its beautiful cities like Ljubljana, Maribor, or Kranj. Visiting Slovenia at the beginning of Winter will offer you the best Christmas month ever!
If you want to get more ideas of experiences to make when it’s snowing or raining, you can also check our article about rainy days activities in Ljubljana!