Slovenia is a little gem nestled in Europe’s heart, surrounded by the Julian Alps and the Adriatic Coast. It has many kinds of different landscapes and activities to offer, so it is a bit hard to figure when you will enjoy this wonderful country at its most. However, even if every month offers significant upsides, September is hard to compete with.
You cannot go wrong if you choose to visit Slovenia in September. The weather is still warm and sunny, the tourist’s crowds will not bother you anymore, and even locals are going back to work. This is one of the best months to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking or swimming, and many fantastic events are organized.
Here is a top 15 of the many things you should experiment while traveling in Slovenia during the month of September, between nature shots, festive events, and traditional experiences. Plus, the prices of hotels and tourist attractions have started to lessen so you will have the chance to try more activities than ever!
1. Spend a Weekend at Bohinj during Cow’s Ball
The most impressive and picturesque yearly event that takes place in Slovenia in September is the Cow’s Ball, without a doubt. Since the 1950s, this traditional festival is organized in the beautiful valley of Bohinj. It comes from the Slovenian tradition of farmers welcoming the herdsmen and herdswomen when cows return from their pastures in the mountains.
Ever since around mid-September, a festive weekend celebrates this custom with the organization of many events. This is the perfect time and place to enjoy and discover Slovenian music and folk dance, but also to drink and eat well with Slovenians at the end of the tourist season.
A cheese and wine festival takes place, and many small workshops or documentary projections are hold to make you learn more about cheesemaking or about the beginning of this festival.
The most exciting part of this festival is probably to see the many cows that adorn beautiful flowers. The herdsmen and women who accompany them also wear traditional clothes and carry all of their equipment necessary to live on the pastures and produce cheese.
This is one of the most authentic and festive events that take place in Slovenia. It is also an excellent base to enjoy the quietness of an almost undiscovered and not crowded place that offers one of the most picturesque spots in Slovenia, Bohinj Lake.
2. Assist in the Slovenian Film Festival in Portorož
The Slovenian Film Festival offers you the perfect opportunity to discover the Slovenian Adriatic Coast during September. These three to five days (according to the annual cinema production) of cultural events occur every year at the end of the month in the beautiful city of Koper, surrounded by the sea.
This festival is primary in the European cinema world. It is a great chance to assist in exciting screenings and awards ceremonies, but also many conferences that will make you learn more about film production, scriptwriting, or again acting. It takes place annually since 1991 under the name of Slovene Film Marathon, with roots that take us back to the first Slovene film week, first organized in Celje in 1973.
This week of events is the result of the work of the Slovenian film center and is staged at the Portorož Auditorium. Assisting in it is one of your best options if you wish to learn more about Slovenia’s domestic production in the fields of television and film. Every year, it attracts many professionals of the industry from all around the world.
3. Enjoy the Quietness of Piran
Piran is definitely the most beautiful gem of the Slovenian Adriatic coast and is worth visiting every time of the year. However, September seems like the best period to discover this beautiful medieval city surrounded by sea, fortifications, and that gives you amazing views on both Croatia and Italy.
Indeed, while it is quite a struggle to find affordable accommodation in Piran during the tourist season, the prices are starting to become more decent. Furthermore, the city is less crowded, which allows you to enjoy the quietness of the place, but without having a sense of being in a ghost town: about 18 000 inhabitants live there throughout the year.
The weather is still ideal with shining sun and amazing water that is still warm enough to enjoy swimming – all of it with the most impressive views. You will have the chance to go up to one of the city steeples without having to worry about the crowd, and I’ll guarantee you will take amazing photos of the beautiful square Tartini.
4. Discover Maribor through the Old Vine Festival
Maribor is Slovenia’s capital of wine, and September happens to be the perfect month to learn more about this ancient tradition. Inside the heart of the city’s historical center, Lent, you will have the chance to visit the home of the world’s oldest living vineyard, a 450 years old plant named Žametovka. This plant’s location is called the Old Vine House and is also a museum that you definitely have to visit.
However, it is particularly worth it to go there in September because it will allow you to assist in many wine-related events that usually occur in the middle or at the end of the month. The Old Vine House indeed organizes in September or October its annual Old Vine Festival. This is an unmissable experience for all the gourmets and wine lovers who wish to discover more about winemaking and wine traditions. You will have the opportunity to enjoy an amazing culinary marketplace that pays a particular tribute to beekeeping and cheesemaking traditions.
If you are eager to learn more about Maribor’s tradition, do not hesitate to check this article about Slovenia’s oldest vineyard and the wine tradition in Maribor: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fsC33IqjTigY2S_So9EREU8HpzGNUYy-7EgnV_wamUw/edit#heading=h.278aomlypb1f
5. Go for a Hike in Velika Planina
Visiting Slovenia is worth it even if the only place you go is Velika Planina, which is a unique and impressive picturesque spot that will offer you the best hike of your life. Located among the Kamnik and Savinja Alps, Velika Planina is a 1500m high mountain plateau where you can admire ancient herdsmen settlements that are particularly authentic.
If you come there by the beginning of September, you will have the chance to admire these beautiful pastures that house a cattle of lovely cows that adorn picturesque bells. The 8th of September marks the return of the cows to the valley before the first frosts.
At this time of the year, you will enjoy at its most its magnificent views on the Alpine mounts, the tiny habitations of the herdsmen, and the incredible biodiversity of the place. The pastures covered with beautiful wildflowers are definitely worth the walk and sight.
6. Head to the Soca Valley for a Shot of Adrenaline
The Soca Valley is the place to go during your September Slovenian trip if you are an adrenaline junkie. More than amazing landscapes and impressively clear and turquoise water, the Soca river and its valley are a paradise for fun and adventurous outdoor activities.
September is the best time of the year to go hiking in this valley. It will also allow you to assist in the Soca Valley Hiking Festival that takes place every year between mid-September and the beginning of October. Many hiking trips that can be suitable for families or adventure lovers are organized during this period.
Other kinds of attractions are also programmed, such as culinary workshops, lectures, exhibitions, and visits to local museums. It is also the best place in Slovenia if you are fond of water sports. The beautiful Soca River proposes the best kayaking and canyoning experiences ever. If you are crazier about climbing, you will also get the opportunity to be rewarded with one of the many zip-lining spots in order to go back down quickly.
7. Benefit from the Last Open Kitchens in Ljubljana
Every Friday from mid-March to October, the central market square at Pogačarjev in Ljubljana hosts the Open Kitchen famous attraction, also called Odprta Kuhna. You can find there a great variety of stands – about fifty – that will give you a taste of both Slovenian culinary tradition and world cuisine.
September will allow you to enjoy this mouth-watering culinary offer but without having to wait in line at every stand because of the tourist crowd. Then, you will appreciate even more the local meat or fish dishes and many street food specialties such as burek. The open market also proposes a large offer of Slovenian drinks and vegetarian or vegan options that are to die for.
The fact of visiting the place when tourism is low is adding more authenticity, and it may permit you to talk more with the locals and impregnate the pleasant feeling given by this simple but festive attraction.
8. Learn More about Slovenia’s Grape Harvest Tradition through Festivals
If your quest through Slovenia’s wine tradition was not fulfilled with the Old Vine Festival in Maribor, the country has many other attractions and events to offer you. Indeed, Slovenia is a wine country, and September is the perfect time of the year if you want to assist in many wine-related events, especially concerning the harvest tradition.
Besides or after taking the more traditional Slovenian wine routes, I recommend that your next stop be in the small town of Lendava. Every year in early September, it hosts an ethnological and culinary festival of events that take place all around town to celebrate the grape harvest.
You will have the chance to taste the city’s fine wines but also to assist in a traditional procession all around the old town. It is also a great place to experience the Slovenian folklore, with the costumes, customs, music, and traditional dances that you will spot there. The events also include a program specifically for kids and late parties.
9. Have a Taste of Slovenia with the Beer Fest Maribor
Every year at the end of September, the city of Maribor houses an amazing Beer Festival. It usually lasts a weekend, full of events, celebrations, and unavoidably tons of beer tastings. It is an excellent opportunity to discover that Slovenia is also a beer country, the favorite alcoholic drink of Slovenians.
This festival will give you a taste of beer tradition in Slovenia. It will make you discover great microbreweries from all around the countries and even from neighboring countries such as Austria and Hungary. Beyond the fun in drinking lots of delicious beers, this event is perfect if you want to spend a festive weekend filled with dance, music, and food.
On the night of Saturday, the celebrations usually last until 1 pm, to let you enjoy this eventful night in the heart of Maribor.
10. Reach for the Sky with the Hot Air Balloon Championship
Let’s suppose you are visiting Slovenia in the second half of September 2020. In that case, you have to stop by the city of Murska Sobota and enjoy the fact that Slovenia was chosen the host the 24th World Hot Air Balloon Championship. Beyond being a fantastic competition attended by worldwide hot air balloon competitors, it is impressive to watch all of these flying engines in the Slovenian sky.
If you are not there between the 16th and 29th of September 2020, you can still enjoy the magic of a hot air balloon and go for a trip up in the air. To learn more about the Slovenian offer and prices, you can check this full article about hot air ballooning in the country: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1w9t1p3YMRCVBPm7TPvQF_Km4WK6LaS7II7rnllA0mbI/edit
11. Discover and Shoot Photos of the Triglav National Park
If you have the soul of a photographer but do not want to suffer the cold of the end of Autumn, the month of September is your best shot to capture the beautiful fall colors that the Triglav National Park adorns at this time of the year.
In this fantastic gem of nature between water, forest, and mountains, you will have the chance to appreciate the wonders of the Slovenian landscapes in colorful explosions of orange, yellow, and red. The show is spectacular and will offer you unparalleled hiking memories.
12. Try Mushroom Hunting
A fun activity to do by the beginning of Fall one of Slovenia’s most popular national sports: mushroom picking. The frenzy intensifies each year around September when every local goes hunting ceps or many other forest fruits. Indeed, the country is a heaven for mushroom lovers – which means at least every Slovenian – since Slovenia’s forests are gifted with an extensive range of varieties.
You can easily access those picking trails and forest paths on your own, or choose to take a guided tour with a guide that will warn you about poisonous mushrooms and give you some tips and knowledge about this Slovenian tradition. Whatever you do, make sure to pick no more than 2kg each at once!
13. Treat Yourself with the International Festival of Desserts
The Sweet teeth will not be disappointing in visiting Slovenia in December: this is your dream opportunity to enjoy Sweet Istria, the International festival of desserts and sweet products that takes place every year in Koper. The numerous visitors from all around Slovenia and beyond can participate in many conferences and workshops according to the rich cultural offer.
In 2019, it was the 11th anniversary of this festival, which is the biggest of its kind in Slovenia. It usually takes place on a weekend at the end of the month. The highlight of the festival is undoubtedly the tasting of both innovative and traditional desserts and sweets from there and all around the world, with the possibility to buy tasting coupons for a small amount of money. Several sweet contests are also worth the sight.
14. Go for a walk (and Swim) at Bled
In September, this is not too late to pick up your swimsuit and go for a visit to Lake Bled. The waters are still warm enough to swim, but you can also rent a paddle, a kayak, or even a traditional boat of the área called pletna to enjoy the lake that is way quieter at this time of the year.
I also recommend you taste the iconic Bled cream cake in the comfort of the Cafe Belvedere, a picturesque place that offers a fantastic view of the lake. It is also rich in history as it was one of Tito’s favorite spots in Bled.
15. Take a Historical Trip to Kobarid
If you are more fond of historical holidays, September is a great month to explore the country and follow the steps of history through the municipality of Kobarid. This place is indeed the theater of an eventful past, as it is known for the Battle of Caporetto that took place in 1917 during World War I.
You will then have the chance to visit its museum that is definitely worth the sight: it indeed won the Council of Europe award in 1993. Beyond this, the municipality and its landscapes are genuinely beautiful and should not be missed.
September in Slovenia
Whenever you come to Slovenia, you will live a fantastic experience that will make you wish to come back anyway. However, the many upsides of September should finish to convince you if you are still hesitating since I cannot think of any downside to this period of the year.
Plus, if you visit Slovenia in September, this is also a perfect time to discover the country’s numerous wonders by bike. Do not hesitate to book a bike tour of the quiet and warm city of Ljubljana!