STA, 30 March 2021 - Slovenia's latest restrictions on the crossing of borders ban all travel to high-risk countries save for a few exemptions. The interior minister says people not among the exemptions may leave the country - provided they pay a fine.
It is up to the attending police officer to determine whether a person who wishes to leave the country qualifies as one of the exemptions.
When they do not qualify but still wish to leave the country, officers simply give them a fine, which starts at 400 euros, and let them leave, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs told the press on Tuesday.
"You cannot physically lock people into the country," he said.
"I personally believe the restriction of movement, in so far as not being allowed to leave the country is concerned, is perfectly appropriate," he said.
The decree has already been challenged at the Constitutional Court by a group of owners of property in Croatia, who believe their property rights are being curtailed.
Hojs said that if the Constitutional Court decided the decree is not constitutional, the government would comply with the decision.
Under the decree, which entered into effect yesterday, travel to red-listed countries is banned for Slovenian residents.
There are two general exemptions - those who have had Covid and those who have been vaccinated - and a number of narrower exemptions, for example for hauliers, cross-border commuters and students, and for emergency services.
STA, 29 March 2021 - Toughened restrictions on Slovenia's borders entered into effect today in advance of an eleven-day lockdown kicking in on 1 April, while there are fewer exemptions and the testing requirement has been stepped up. The closure of some border crossings is already causing problems for daily commuters.
Except for a narrow list of exemptions, travel to all red-listed countries - all of Slovenia's neighbours are on the list - is prohibited and the mandatory ten-day quarantine upon entry from such countries cannot be prematurely ended with a test.
All passengers from red-listed countries will have to quarantine unless they show a PCR test made in an EU or Schengen-zone country in the last 48 hours.
A certificate of vaccination with the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccine, or proof that the person has had Covid-19 in the past six months, suffice as well, provided it has been issued in an EU or Schengen-zone country.
Some passengers may enter Slovenia without quarantining or testing: international hauliers, hauliers leaving or entering the country for no more than eight hours, persons in transit, diplomats, and youths under 13 commuting to school daily and their drivers.
There are also several groups of passengers who may avoid quarantine with a rapid or PCR test that is no more than seven days old. These include daily cross-border commuters, persons over 13 crossing the border to go to school and their drivers, owners of land on both sides of the border, and persons on emergency trips.
School children cannot be exempted from the quarantine or testing requirement when schools are closed.
Several border crossings closed today, causing problems to Slovenians commuting daily to work to neighbouring countries, foremost making their travel much longer.
Mayors from Koroška, a region bordering Austria, thus urged the government to open Vič, Holmec and Radelj 24 hours a day, meaning they are classified border crossings A, and all the other border crossing in the area from 5am to 11pm (classified as B).
They stressed that no border crossing in their region is open 24/7, while Vič and Holmec are open only between 5am and 11pm.
Opposition SD MP Jani Prednik, who comes from Koroška, addressed an initiative to the government to adopt "a rational and realistic border-crossing regime" for daily commuters and those who have to cross the border due to urgent matters.
All the news on covid and Slovenia
STA, 28 March 2021 - Slovenia will step up restrictions on its borders on Monday in advance of an eleven-day circuit-breaker lockdown over Easter (details), the government has decided.
Travel to red-listed countries - all of Slovenia's neighbours are on the red list - will be prohibited except for cross-border commuters, transit, goods and certain other emergency exemptions, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs told the press on Sunday.
Except for daily cross-border commuters, who already have to get tested every seven days with a rapid antigen test, all passengers will have to show a PCR test made in an EU or Schengen zone country to avoid mandatory quarantine.
In the interim period until school closure on 1 April, cross-border students will also be exempted.
A vaccination certificate or proof that the person has had Covid-19 in the past six months also suffice.
The reason why PCR tests now have to come from an EU or Schengen zone country is the "disproportionately high number of forged test results," in particular from Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, according to Interior Minister Aleš Hojs.
Hojs said a major reason why the measures on the border had to be beefed up to prevent an expected surge in travel over Easter, when many from the former Yugoslavia who work here go visit their family.
The government decree will be published in the Official Gazette today.
All our news on covid and Slovenia
STA, 28 March 2021 - A EuroNight train taking passengers from Slovakia's Bratislava via Vienna to Croatia's coastal city of Split later this year will cross Slovenia, with stops in the Slovenian towns of Maribor, Celje, Sevnica and Dobova.
The first train will leave Bratislava on 18 June before 4pm to arrive in Split next day before 10am, stopping in Slovenia late in the evening, according to the Austrian railways.
The route will be operated twice a week until mid-September, on Tuesdays and Fridays, with return rides scheduled for Wednesday and Saturday.
A return ticket costs less than 60 euro.
The EuroNight will offer car and motorbike transport yet only at train stations in Bratislava, Vienna and Split.
The Croatian tourist authorities hope the new route will enhance the number of Austrian tourists in the region of Dalmatia, in the south, whereas the majority of Austrians spending summer holidays in Croatia vacate more to the north, in Istria, the Bay of Kvarner and around Zadar.
STA, 24 March 2021 - Negative rapid antigen test result will no longer be accepted to avoid quarantine on entering Slovenia, while dual owners and lessees of land in bordering areas will no longer need a negative test every seven days to cross the border, under a decision taken by the government on Wednesday.
The decision means that only a negative result of a PCR test taken within the past 48 hours will qualify as proof to allow quarantine-free entry into the country or to end quarantine early.
The same as before, arrivals can also avoid quarantine if they produce proof that they had been vaccinated against Covid-19 or have recovered from the disease within the past six months.
Such proofs include a positive PCR test result older than 21 days but not older than six months or a doctor's note proving the person has recovered from Covid-19 but not more than six months since the onset of symptoms.
However, a negative rapid test result no older than seven days remains valid as proof to enter Slovenia quarantine-free for those crossing daily for work or school when they are older than 13, the persons brining students or pupils across the border to school, those having a medical appointment in Slovenia or are returning from an EU and Schengen country where they provided care or assistance.
Dual owners and lessees of land in bordering areas will no longer need a negative test result to tend to land or do farm work across the border if they return within ten hours.
The government also made some changes to the red list of countries or regions as a result of which all Austrian regions are red except for Vorarlberg, all Italian regions except for Sardinia, while in Spain Cantabria, Extremadura, Galicia, Balearic Islands, Murcia and Navarra are removed from the red list.
STA, 22 March 2021 - After a five-month break, Ljubljana Castle can again be accessed by funicular, but before buying a ticket, those yearning for a great view of Ljubljana have to prove that they are not infected with coronavirus, the city of Ljubljana's company operating the funicular said in a release.
The funicular was stopped on 24 October when the government tightened coronavirus restrictions as Slovenia entered the second wave of the epidemic, and except for five days in December, it remained closed until today.
The city of Ljubljana used the time for maintenance, thoroughly checking the entire funicular and the track.
Related: 25 things to know about Ljubljana Castle...
Following the check, the Ljubljanski Grad company obtained a permit and the funicular could resume operations today under the conditions valid for cableways.
Passengers have to produce a negative PCR or rapid test result not older than seven days, a certificate of vaccination, or a certificate of having recovered from Covid-19 not older than six months.
However, the company would like the funicular to be subject to rules applying to public transport where passengers do not have to prove their coronavirus status.
It has addressed a request to a relevant ministry but is still waiting for a reply.
Last year, Ljubljana Castle, one of the city's most popular sights, was closed for three and a half months, and visitor numbers plummeted by 76.5% to roughly 314,000 over 2019. The funicular, which was closed slightly longer, saw an even steeper drop, that of 83% to 97,600.
A rise in domestic tourists was recorded, yet foreign tourists still represented almost 60% of the total figure, the majority from Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.
STA, 15 March 2021 - Stricter rules to enter Slovenia have kicked in for several groups, including people commuting daily to work outside Slovenia, in an EU or Schengen country. From today, they only do not have to quarantine if they can produce a negative coronavirus test result not older than seven days. The measure applies to arrivals from red-listed countries.
People commuting daily to work in one of the EU or Schengen-area countries can enter Slovenia without mandatory quarantine with a negative test result, a PCR or a rapid one, which is not older than seven days. They have to return within 14 hours after leaving Slovenia.
A negative test result is also obligatory for persons crossing the border for educational or research purposes in an EU or Schengen country. The person accompanying the one travelling for these purposes can enter Slovenia under the same conditions, but has to return immediately after dropping them off.
The new measure also applies to arrivals from another EU or Schengen zone country where they engage in day care or personal assistance, maintenance works on a private building or land, or in activity designed to eliminate risks to health, lives and property. They must return to Slovenia within 12 hours after crossing the border.
A negative test result is also obligatory for dual owners or lessees of land in bordering areas or on both sides of border who cross into a neighbouring country to do agricultural work; they have to return to Slovenia within ten hours.
Persons coming to Slovenia for a medical appointment need a negative test result too, and are obliged to leave the country upon completing it.
The government introduced this measure for most of these groups at the start of February, but soon softened it to apply only to persons arriving in Slovenia from EU or Schengen countries with a worse epidemiological situation than Slovenia.
For all the other arrivals from the red-listed countries quarantine is still compulsory, while it can be avoided with a negative test result; the PCR test must not be older than 48 hours since the swab was taken and the rapid antigen test not older than 24 hours.
Those who have already fallen ill with Covid-19 and recovered from it or have been vaccinated against coronavirus can enter Slovenia without restrictions.
The list of the groups that do not have to quarantine or produce a negative test upon entering Slovenia features a total of nine exceptions.
STA, 15 March 2021 - The Traffic Safety Agency (AVP) handed over 16 cardboard cut-outs of police officers holding radar guns that get drivers into thinking they are approaching an actual speed trap. The agency believes that putting them in certain critical road segments would improve safety as traffic is being intensified with the warmer weather.
AVP director Jože Hribar told the press on the occasion that, as warmer and clearer days were coming, traffic on Slovenian roads would only grow heavier, with the number of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle riders also increasing.
"Cut-outs of police officers make drivers slow down. The measure has shown to be very effective," he said, adding that statistics showed that speeds at locations where cut-outs were put were lower by as much as 20% than elsewhere.
Ivan Kapun, the head of the traffic police sector, noted that cut-outs had shown to be effective in the past, adding that, as the motorcycle season was approaching, traffic was expected to intensify around tourist destinations and on scenic roads.
The police will decide on their own where to put the cut-outs, and they already have certain sections in mind, including along the Soča river in the west, and the city of Koper on the sea coast, as well as other roads attractive to bikers.
"It is a more lenient approach that encourages drivers to respect road traffic rules before they even run into a police patrol. I hope we will be able to prevent many road casualties," added Kapun.
On the occasion, the AVP presented road safety statistics for this year, noting that the number of accidents that took place by 5 March was down by 39% compared to the same period last year. Eight people were killed, compared to 11 last year.
However, the statistics for pedestrians is worrying, as they have been involved in 66 traffic accidents this year, and four have been killed, and 13 sustained grave injuries and 34 light injuries. One pedestrian was killed in the same period last year.
STA, 15 March 2021 - Renovation work on the eastern tube of the Golovec tunnel, located on the south-eastern section of the Ljubljana ring road, got under way on Monday after work on the western tube was completed. The upgrade, during which the tube will be closed to traffic, is expected to take two months with replacement train transport available at discount prices.
The renovation comes after the western tube was already modernised last summer. The work on the second tube was supposed to start in summer this year, however national motorway company DARS decided to capitalise on an epidemic-driven decrease in road traffic and went ahead with the project earlier.
During the renovation, all traffic will be redirected to the western tube, however the tunnel will be off limit to vehicles heavier than 3.5 tonnes, which will have to opt for other sections of the ring road.
According to DARS, traffic will be organised in a 2+1 fashion, with the format adjusted to peak hour periods.
The eastern tube will be closed to traffic until 15 May. During the next two months, DARS will offer, in association with rail operator Slovenske Železnice, a discount of 50% on train tickets for Kočevje-Ljubljana and Novo Mesto-Ljubljana lines.
Drivers will be notified of any renovation-related congestion via online platforms, media and special signs situated at the main intersections on the ring road.
Slovenian builder Kolektor CPG is in charge of the entire project, whose price tag is estimated at EUR 8.56 million, VAT excluded.
DARS explained that the renovation was very much needed since it was the first since the tunnel opened in 1999. The eastern tube will get the same facelift as the western did last summer - replacing concrete with asphalt and setting up LED lighting and a thermal traffic detection system for traffic incidents, among other things.
What also lies in store is an upgrade of a link road connecting the BTC shopping district and motorway. DARS entrusted the project to Slovenian Trgograd and its Croatian partner GP Krk for more than EUR 2 million, VAT excluded.
STA, 8 March 2021 - A cross-border partnership between Slovenia and Hungary has upgraded a network of 344 kilometres of bike paths as part of Iron Curtain Cycling, a EUR 2.3 million project designed to boost cycling tourism in the border area.
Partner organisations on both sides of the border spent three and a half years setting up the network of paths along EuroVelo 13, a bike route running along the Iron Curtain. The project was co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
The route through Slovenia. Screenshot: eurovelo.com
Apart from marking the paths, the initiative also helped developed cycling-friendly services and cross-border cycling packages for tourists, the Murska Sobota public Institute for Culture, Tourism and Sport said in a press release on Monday.
New “Bike Slovenia Green” Tours Take You from Kranjska Gora to Koper, Train Ride Included
A mobile app has been created and cycling maps in four languages, moreover, a number of events have been organised dedicated to related topics, while local tourism establishments and guides have participated in special training and workshops.
The area now boasts 21 cycling centres on both sides of the border, featuring rest stops and bike rental services with total capacity of 59 conventional bikes and 19 electric bikes, as well as rooms for travellers.
You can learn more about the part that runs through Slovenia here
STA, 4 March 2020 - Slovenia will step up health checks on its borders starting on Monday. It plans to reintroduce checkpoints on internal EU borders, which were scrapped in mid-February, and tighten quarantine rules for arrivals, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs told the press on Thursday.
"The government is particularly concerned about [coronavirus] variants from South Africa and from countries in which some variants have not been explored and we have no way of knowing how they will react to vaccines," he said.
There will be three kinds of border checks on Slovenia's borders with Austria, Hungary and Italy, designated as A, B and C.
Checkpoints A will be open around-the clock. They will be on major crossings Karavanke, Ljubelj, Šentilj, Gornja Radgona and Gederovci on the border with Austria, Dolga Vas and Pince on the border with Hungary, and Vrtojba, Fernetiči and Škofije on the border with Italy.
B-rated checkpoints will be open on designated hours; an updated list thereof will be available on government web pages. C-rated checkpoints are intended for owners of land on both sides of the border. They will be open around the clock and checks will be performed randomly.
The second major change concerns quarantine for arrivals into Slovenia.
All those who do not produce proof of vaccination, proof they have already had Covid-19, or a negative test will be required to quarantine and may end the quarantine after five days with a negative test; presently, they are allowed to test the next day to end their quarantine.
All those who may now cross the border on a daily basis, in particular cross-border commuters and students, will have to get tested every seven days. The requirement will be waived for children under 13. Additional testing sites will be put up, in particular on the border with Italy, Hojs said.
Some changes were also made to the list of red countries that are considered risky. Certain regions of Italy (the Aosta Valley, Sardinia and Sicily), Austria (Vorarlberg), Spain (Extremadura, Balearic Islands and Canary Islands) and France (Guyana and Martinique) are no longer red, while Finland's only red regions are Helsinki-Uusimaa and Aland, and so are Greece's Attica and West Greece, and Norway's Oslo.
Cuba was added to the list of risky third countries.