01 Sep 2019, 08:00 AM

The second week of September brings a long-standing tradition to Kamnik, along with some 30,000 visitors, as the Days of National Costumes and Clothing Heritage (Dnevi narodnih noš in oblačilne dediščine) returns for its 47th edition, offering a full programme of ethnological, cultural and entertainment events all through the day and into the evening.

Named by the UK’s Guardian newspaper as among the top 20 traditional festivals in Europe, the focal event is always the parade of traditional national costumes, which this year takes place at 15:00 on Sunday, 8 September. This year the traditional Slovenian costumes will be joined by those from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, Turkey, Kosovo, Bulgaria and Austria, giving added interest to an already colourful event.

Beyond the parade there’s much for those interested in clothing, history, cultural heritage, music and more to enjoy, with exhibitions at various locations around town along with a traditional art and craft fair and demonstrations in the medieval part of town (5 – 8 September), folk dance and music on in Glavni trg (Saturday and Sunday), workshops for children, street music and an evening entertainment programme that includes live performances from Ansambel Domačini, Skupina Harmonk’n’roll, Skupina Špica, Obvezna smer, Manouche, and Andrej Šifrer, with videos below for your education and entertainment.

The full details are here and you’ll find that it’s a packed and varied festival – a great excuse to (re)visit the many charms of Kamnik and learn more about Slovenia.

28 Aug 2019, 11:30 AM

With its distinctive bottles and interesting names (Out of China is a way to teach non-Slovenes to say Ajdovščina, The Third Pill is a reference to Slavoj Žižek, Walter Wheat is from Breaking Bad, and so on), Pelicon is one of the leading names on the flourishing Slovenian craft beer scene. This Saturday, August 31, it will be celebrating its 6th birthday with a craft beer festival in its hometown, Ajdovščina, that promises “(almost) endless beer” to ticketholders - which (I checked) means you get to try everything.

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All our stories on craft beer in Slovenia are here

More than 40 different beers, foreign and domestic, are on offer, including some novelties and collaborations, with the aim being to highlight the full range of beers now bring produced – porters, sours, lambics and so on – rather than simply dozens of IPAs. There’s thus much for beer hunters to enjoy, while those looking for something different should seek out for Pelicon’s latest venture into the world of tonic water and gin collaborations.

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The event, which is also being supported by the Municipality of Ajdovščina, offers food and live music to go along with the beer, starting at 13:00 and ending at 22:00. Sunday morning, from 08:00 till noon, everyone can enjoy a “brewery breakfast” at the Pelicon Brewery showroom itself, with ticketholders getting the added bonus of some beer. More details (in Slovene) are on the brewery’s website.

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Pre-sale tickets are already available on the Olaii web portal and at all OMV service stations and 3dva Trafika across Slovenia.  The event will be held at MC Hiša mladih, mladinski center, Cesta IV. prekomorske 61, 5270 Ajdovščina.

26 Aug 2019, 17:19 PM

STA, 26 August 2019 - Kranjska Gora is introducing the first electric mountain bike network in Slovenia to promote sustainable mobility. Cyclists will be able to rent the bikes in nearby Gozd Martuljek and in the centre of Kranjska Gora.

Cycling is a very popular way of exploring the Upper Sava Valley. According to the local tourist information centre, it is the perfect way to experience what the Alpine destination has to offer.

"The Upper Sava Valley offers beautiful cycling routes under the shade of trees from the starting point Topolino in Slovenia across the Rateče border crossing to the Friuli Venezia Giulia region in Italy where you can see beautiful mountain peaks," they say.

Apart from promoting the idea of sustainable tourism and e-mobility, the mountain bike network offers an easier way to explore rugged areas and overcome long distances.

Kranjska Gora will be the first to establish the network of e-bikes in Slovenia in cooperation with the company Alp Adventures. Cyclists will be able to rent a custom-made bicycle via a mobile app Green4rent at the cost of six euro an hour or 39 euro per day.

The bikes will be initially available for rent at the Špik campsite in Gozd Martuljek and at the Alp Adventures rental shop in the centre of Kranjska Gora.

Next year, the municipality will expand its network by improving the system and setting up new renting spots. According to the director of the Kranjska Gora Tourist Board Blaž Veber, their wish is to offer the combination of bicycles and tourist buses in the future.

The tourist board included all the possibilities of public transport in the area of Julian Alps in one brochure this year.

"It will be very useful to our visitors because there are many transport possibilities in this area and we had not been able to get all the information about routes, prices, frequencies and stopping points in the past," explained Veber.

26 Aug 2019, 14:57 PM

If you have finished high school, are fluent in Slovenian, have knowledge of English and basic comprehension of another language, as well as good health and fitness, then you have the opportunity to apply for a job as one of the Ljubljana-based cabin crew for Adria Airways.

The positions are full time, open to applicants with from 0 to 1 year of work experience, and the deadline to send in your CV is 22 September (2019). More details – in Slovenian – can be found here.

20 Aug 2019, 13:00 PM

Over at Brian Gerow has written a great account of a mountain biking trip to Slovenia based at Ecohotel Koroš in Jamnica, the first Mountain Bike Hotel in the country.

The story is in two parts, over and underground, with the latter taking place along a 2.5km track in an abandoned lead mine (Mežica Mine), an adventure that’s only for the most confident mountain bikers.

Above ground Ecohotel Koroš has many less challenging tracks to explore, and the site is slowly gaining a place on the international circuit, having been part of the Enduro World Series in 2018 and hosting the event again in 2020.

You can learn a lot more about cycling in Jamnica (very close to the Austrian border) in the original story, while the website of Ecohotel Koroš can be found here.

19 Aug 2019, 09:20 AM

STA, 18 August 2019 - Slovenia's oldest town, Ptuj, will set the stage for the 23rd annual Days of Poetry and Wine (Dnevi Poezije in Vina) between 21 and 24 August, although the festival and accompanying events will spill over to 18 other towns in Slovenia and across the border.

The festival will feature 20 established poets from across the globe with Serbian poet Radmila Lazić and Chinese poet Bei Dao as the guests of honour and Germany as the country in focus.

Pre-festival poetry readings will start on Sunday, 18 August, in Petanjci in the Prekmurje region in the north-east, followed by an event in Ljutomer on Monday where poets participating in a poetry translation workshop will present their translations to the public.

The next day will see events in a number of villages and towns across the country, including an event at Ljubljana's riverside Špica and poetry reading on a boat on the river Ljubljanica.

The official opening in Ptuj on Wednesday will see Ilija Trojanow, the multi-award winning Bulgarian-German author, read his Open Letter to Europe.

"Trojanow is truly global citizen; being of Bulgarian descent, he writes in German, lives in Austria, grew up in South Africa and writes his poetry in English. His are in fact three mother tongues," says the festival director Aleš Šteger.

Since 2017 the festival has picked a prominent European thinker each year to write a letter reflecting on Europe, which is then sent to European institutions and published by various media. "We've been assured that it'll be translated into at least 12 languages," said Šteger.

A total of 60 events such as poetry readings, poetry duels, workshops for children, concerts, carnival promenades, art installations will be accompanied by a selection of finest wines.

For the first time the festival will feature readings by young authors and poetry for breakfast. In a first time it will also visit the Carthusian Monastery of Žiče.

Exceptional international poetry that comes to life in the intimate spaces of old gardens and squares attracts almost 10,000 visitors from Slovenia and abroad to the festival each year, the organizers say.

Most of the events are being held in Slovenian and English and all except for one are admission free. Proceeds from the tickets for the poetry duel will go to studio for young talents.

Since 2014, the festival has been part of the European poetry platform Versopolis, which is dedicated to the promotion of poetry internationally.

The full programme can be found here

18 Aug 2019, 15:24 PM

August 18, 2019

The seventh edition of the Floating Castle Festival, with about 25 daily shows, with music and stage performances (including puppet shows for kids) is about to take place in the Slovenian Littoral between August 26 and 31 (2019).  

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Floating castle, also known as Ethno Histeria until 2014, became Floating Castle On the Road for this year, since it recently lost its headquarters at the beautiful but slightly remote location of Snežnik Castle, which might not be that bad after all since now the festival has moved a bit closer to the broader public again. The first four days will take place at four quaint Istrian villages not far away from coastal capital of Koper/Capodistria. Also, anyone who’d like to avoid getting lost on the countryside roads can reserve a seat on the so called Džumbus Bus, which will be driving from Ukmar Square (Koper) to the location of a day for a price of 5 EUR for a return ticket. For reservations contact Maja at 041 778 061.

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Once there, shows are free but visitors are encouraged to donate 2 EUR to a hat.

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In case you’d like to spend the night nearby, there are rooms available (here) and four separate grounds for camping as well (click here for details).

On Friday, August 30, the festival will move to the streets of Koper and on Saturday, the festival summer will conclude at the festival’s origin, Snežnik Castle.

For venues, the line up, contact and further details please visit the festival’s website.

17 Aug 2019, 16:00 PM

STA, 16 August 2019 - The National Institute of Public Health (NIPH) has been notified that golden-brown algae have multiplied at Lake Bled. Bathers should therefore avoid water activities where the algae are visibly present and take a shower after bathing.

NIPH reports that the algae can be spotted as brown coloured areas. The institute also advises against bathing in areas where the algae are present or sitting on dried algae on the lake shore.

The bathers should also take a shower after bathing. In case of allergic reactions such as skin irritation or breathing difficulties the bathers should seek medical assistance.

Špela Remec Rekar from the Slovenian Environment Agency, who monitors the state of Lake Bled, pointed out that the ecological state of the lake, which was always in good or solid condition, is worsening.

The expansion of tourism and an increase in the number of fishermen and bathers are the reason for this.

The Municipality of Bled is working on minimising the environmental effects on the lake. This year the municipality completed the construction of sewers and will gradually close the roads by the lake for traffic.

Some of the areas are closed off for bathing now, with Romana Purkart from the Bled Tourist Board "inviting bathers to the Grajsko bathing area that provides the needed infrastructure along with environmentally friendly sunscreen".

15 Aug 2019, 18:25 PM

The BBC Travel website has a long and interesting article that takes a deep dive into the story of the Swiss healer Arnold Rikli, whose work in Bled drew health tourists from all over Europe more than 150 years ago.

Related: How to spend from 4 to 48 hours in Bled…

So while the author, Mahima A Jain, does go up Mala Osojnica for sunrise, this is a story about Bled that doesn’t mention the church on the island or kremsnita, and touches on the Castle only to note it has an exhibition in Rikli.

As the article says:

Riki was the founder of a naturopathic and hydropathic healing regimen, a form of alternative medicine that avoided pharmaceuticals, and instead relied on the four elements of nature – sun, water, air and earth – for treating illness.

The regimen was one of physical activity, from early morning hikes to sunbathing, exercises in the fresh air to the use of cold, warm and steam baths to purify and strengthen the body. Evenings were for social activities, and all patients were prescribed eight hours of sleep.

It sounds idyllic, and it’s a fascinating story that connects with the current state of health tourism in Bled. It’s here we’ll also note the outsize contribution of Slovenia’s spas to its tourist industry as a whole, with spa towns second only to the alps when it came to the number of overnight stays in 2018, at 4.49 million for the Alps and 3.49 million for spa resorts.

15 Aug 2019, 12:36 PM

The luxury travel advisors Virtuoso, “the leading global network of agencies specializing in luxury and experiential travel”, has given out 18 awards to destination, cruise and lifestyle partners who it sees as offering outstanding products and services, as well as excellent collaboration with its members, in the areas of boutique and top quality tourism.

The winners cover the world, from the US to Oceania, with the Slovenian Tourist Board (Slovenske turistične organizacije - STO) picking up an award for Hottest Destination of the Year. STO was also nominated for the title of Tourism Board of the Year, which it lost to Switzerland.

The awards were given out as part of Virtuoso Travel Week, which takes place in Las Vegas between 10 and 16 August, and provides a venue for more than 6,000 tourism professionals to meet, make connections and do business, with the STO scheduled to have more than 230 meetings at the event.

All our travel and tourism stories are here

12 Aug 2019, 10:03 AM

Almost every visitor to Ljubljana will pass by Ljubljana Central Market (Osrednja ljubljanska Tržnica) at least once, but not everyone will explore it, and that’s a shame as it’s the right size to spend an hour or pottering around, or can you be more focused and nip in and out for fresh produce, bread, cheese, nuts and other snacks.

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The market in 1910. Wikimedia

It’s an old institution that remains at the heart of the city, where people come to buy ingredients for their kitchens, along with most of the city’s best restaurants. It’s also the perfect base from which to explore other parts of the city, with many of the “must-see” ones nearby, and the fact that it’s best in the morning to the afternoon means you can make it a goal for the first half of the day, with lots of places to eat and drink on both sides of the river.

The market itself is on the Castle side of the river, and the extended area runs from Dragon Bridge to Triple Bridge, or along the edge of Plečnik’s Arcades, the two-level structure with all the columns on one side of the river.

Check out our weekly guide to What's On in Ljubljana

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On the Castle side of the market you’ll see a statue from 1889. That’s Valentin Vodnik (1758 -1819), the first Slovenian poet, who the square is named after. In 1895 an earthquake destroyed the old monastery with college for girls that stood near here, and an outdoor market was then established. The present market building and arcades were designed by Jože Plečnik through the 1930s, and was built between 1940 and 1942.

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This was envisaged as a working market and remains one, despite the encroaching tourist character of the area. Come here and you can see how the city shops for fruit, vegetables and more. Here you can buy goods directly from the producers, with items sourced from all over the country, and find competing varieties of local specialties to compare. Like the city itself the whole thing is rather small, there’s no real danger of getting lost and there’s a lot of pleasure to be had by just wandering around and seeing what’s happening.

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The bulk of the outdoor market is taken up with fruit and vegetable stalls. Terms to look out for here are bio and ekološka, which and ecological.

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Prices are clearly marked, and no bargaining is expected

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The other side of the market is taken up with clothes, shoes and bags, plus a line of herbs and young plants, a place selling wooden / woven goods. The place selling wooden / woven goods is next to a Trafika, where you can get cigarettes. Next to that there’s a tourist information centre

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At each end of the market there are large tourist information centres. The one at Dragon Bridge is busier, while you can rent bikes from the one at Krekov trg 4, opposite the funicular. (Bike rental June – September 08:00 to 21:00, April, May, October 08:00 to 19:00.

This corner of the market opens up onto Krekov trg, with the Puppet Theatre opposite, and along the side the Vodnikov hram restaurant – selling Slovenian food – Čokl, a good coffee store, and Daktari, a great café bar that sometimes has live music. Next to this is the funicular.

If you’d prefer to walk up to the Castle then there are various paths from the Old Town that are fun to discover and explore if you live here. The one nearest here is just after Vodnikov hram, down the side street that goes up hill. Seeing Verba – a “yugostaligia” labour of love – will let you know you’re in the right place. Follow the path straight up for the direct route, and take the one on the left for a longer, more scenic route. Note that Castle Hill changes with the seasons, and one aspect of this is the quality of the paths. Heels aren’t recommended.

Related: How to spend from 4 to 48 hours in Ljubljana

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At the Dragon Bridge end there are some stalls selling fresh fast food, with fish a popular choice. From here you can turn left, walk to the bakery and be in the middle of the ethnic food centre of Trubarjeva cesta. Or downriver on the Castle side and if the market didn’t meet your needs then there’s a pretty good Spar and Hofer a short walk away, the latter staying open later and on Sundays. Note that no alcohol is sold in stores after 21:00. The same building also has a Lekarna to get your prescription filled (as does Prešeren Square).

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One side, by the covered market ,  has a milk vending machine– get a bottle and choose the amount. Next to this you can buy votive candles.

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There are two small doors to enter the covered market (Pokrita tržnica). In here you’ll find a climate controlled space that’s especially welcome on hot or cold days. Along with the air conditioning there’s bread, cheese, nuts, dried fruit, salami, cookies, chocolates and so on. A great place to stock up before a hike or for hotel room snacks.

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A cafe bar without a sign called Magda is next door that has a good menu. Note they sometimes have NSFW art on the walls so choose your seat with care if that could be an issue. The nearby Butchers' Bridge, with all the “lovers’ locks”, connects the market with part of the riverside that has some nice bars with a view of the Castle and Arcades.

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There’s a small fountain with drinking water in the middle of the market and the Arcades (not all winter. The nearest public bathrooms are under Butcher’s Bridge or Triple Bridge.

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Photo: Open Kitchen

On the Triple Bridge side of the covered market is Pogačar Square (Pogačarjev trg). This is home to certain irregular markets, so take a look and see what’s happening. In the warmer months it hosts Open Kitchen, a popular food market, every Friday, lunch till late, while in December there’s a Christmas market.

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Running along the side of the cathedral there’s a line of flower stalls, along with places selling the forest foods of berries and mushrooms. There’s an ATM here, on by the Tourist Information Centre, and another in Prešeren Square. You can also go downstairs in the Arcades and get closer to the water. There’s a restaurant and a fish market (Ribarnica. Near here there’s a stall that sells herbal remedies.

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Photo: Neža Loštrek

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Photo: Neža Loštrek

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Photo: Neža Loštrek

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All along the side of the market next to the river there are Plečnik’s Arcades. Here you’ll find cafés and restaurants along with stores selling meat, dairy, and deli goods.

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Bear and donkey salami are on the menu. Bears are protected in Slovenia, but there is a cull to keep the numbers manageable. The place below sells horsemeat.

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The row along the Arcades has two lines of varied souvenir and novelty stalls, with something to delight and/or appal everyone.

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The signs reflect the changing customers for some stalls

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Like Slovenia itself, this part of town is an intense mixture of smaller and more approachable features that you can find in other places, but here they have a greater concentration, and can give you the feeling of getting to know the place very well in just a few days.

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Homemade schnapps and wild mushrooms

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The open-air section of the market is open weekdays 6:00-18:00, Saturday 6:00-16:00 during summer, 6:00-16:00 in winter; Sundays and holidays closed The covered section is open weekdays 7:00-16:00, Saturday 7:00-14:00. The part under Plečnik's Arcades is open weekdays 7:00-16:00, Saturday 7:00-14:00.

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