Ex-Yu Aviation, the best site for news on flights in the region, reports that Wizz Air will end its service between Charleroi, Belgium and Ljubljana for the winter season. The last scheduled flight is on 26 October. This will leave the budget carrier with just one service to the Slovenian capital, connecting Ljubljana with London’s Luton Airport, although this will be upgraded with the use of a 230-seat A321 instead of the current 180-seat Airbus A320.
All our stories on flights to and from Slovenia are here
STA, 7 August 2019 - Ill-shod tourists attempting to scale Slovenia's highest peak are a major headache for mountain rescuers, but the Slovenian Alpine Museum has made it sure they can do that in a safe way with the help of virtual reality.
The institution, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, boasts a new addition to its state-of-the-art collection, providing a magical 3D experience of descending Mount Triglav.
Visitors, be it in flip-flops or whatever their preferred choice of footwear, are now able to use a virtual reality zipline to descend the 2864-metre mountain and land in front of the museum.
They simply buckle a safety belt, sit down, put on 3D goggles and start the journey down the mountain.
During a couple of minutes, visitors are able to do a 360-degree spin and admire the neighbouring mountains and valleys while eagles are passing them by.
The zipline descent is included in the museum ticket and has so far elicited a positive response.
The best website for regional aviation news, Ex-Yu Aviation, reports that All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s largest carrier, will be returning to Ljubljana later this month, with two direct flights being operated for Japan’s largest tour operator.
Flight NH1951 will fly from Osaka Kansai International to Ljubljana on August 31, departing at 13:05 and landing in Slovenia at 18:5 the same day. The second flight, NH1955, will go from Tokyo to Ljubljana and leave Narita Airport at 09:00 on September 14, arriving at Ljubljana Airport at 14:00. The service will be operated using a wide-body Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
In June of this year the Slovenian State Secretary at the Ministry for Economy and Technological Development, Aleš Cantarutti, received a visit from Yoshihiro Seki, Japan's Minister for Economy, Commerce and Industry, in which they discussed the plans for more regular nonstop flights between the two countries. More on this story, including ANA’s new flights to Croatia, can be found at Ex-Yu Aviation.
STA, 3 August 2019 - Long tailbacks of holiday traffic are reported from across the country this Saturday and a similar situation is also expected on Sunday and next weekend, as the tourist season peaks. The longest waiting time is still reported from the border crossing Gruškovje with Croatia, where drivers have to wait more than two hours.
Reports of several-kilometre tailbacks of traffic have been coming in all day and the jams still persist.
The queue of vehicles before Gruškovje was 3.5 kilometres long during the day but now it is still some 1.5 kilometre long, according to the Traffic Information Centre.
A six-kilometre tailback is reported before the Karavnke tunnel from Austria. In the direction of Austria, the tailback is even longer, at seven kilometres.
Jams are also being reported from the border crossings of Sečovlje, Starod, Jelšane, Metlika, Dragonja and at the regional roads Portorož-Strunjan-Izola in both directions.
The situation is being made worse by several accidents.
STA, 1 August 2019 - TrNOVfest, the successor to the Trnfest annual summer festival in Ljubljana's Trnovo borough, will open on Thursday with concerts by the bands Hamo & Tribute to Love and Buržuazija, followed up by shows every evening until the end of August.
The popular festival open-air venue in Karunova Street will also notably see performances by Rambo Amadeus, Zabranjeno Pušenje, Noctiferia, Nipke and N'toko, Soul Fingers and Zaklonišče Prepeva, among others.
The 28th festival, marking the 99th anniversary of the Trnovo Culture Centre, which hosts the festival, will conclude on 31 August with concerts by Tabu and Traffic Religion.
In addition to getting a new name, what is also new about the festival, which used to be free of charge, is tickets, costing five euros.
Iztok Kurnik told the STA on behalf of the organisers that they wanted to offer a diverse programme and explained that payable tickets had been introduced in order to cover the security costs.
Unlike the previous years, the festival will not come to a close with the traditional street festival Emonska Promenada at the end of August.
The 19th Emonska Promenada will have a different concept and take place in a different location, on the Shoemakers' Bridge in the centre of Ljubljana. It will be held between 22 and 24 August.
The latest edition of the Henley Passport Index has come out, based on the number of destinations a particular passport holder can access without a prior visa (either visa free or on landing). The ranking is based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
In first place are Japan and Singapore, which can freely access an incredible 189 of the world’s 195 countries (including the Holy See and the State of Palestine, with 197 if you count Taiwan and Kosovo). In second place are Germany, Finland and South Korea (187), and in third Denmark, Italy and Luxembourg.
Slovenia comes a little further down the list, in 10th place, along with Latvia and Slovakia.
Picking out a few other countries of interest to our readers, both the United States and United Kingdom are in 6th place, with access to 183 destinations. Croatia is 20th, with 167 visa free options, Serbia 41st (31), North Macedonia 46th (123), and Bosnia and Herzegovina 51st (116).
A PDF of the full report can be found here
STA, 31 July 2019 - Slovenian tourism continued to boom in the first half of the year. Arrivals were up by over 6% compared to the same period last year to 2.6 million, with accommodation facilities recording 6.3 million nights, an increase of 10%, fresh statistics show.
While domestic arrivals increased just 3% to 733,000, foreign arrivals increased by almost 8% to 1.8 million, mostly due to increases in arrivals from the most important source countries.
There was a 13.5% increase in the number of guests from Germany, with arrivals from Austria and Italy rising by almost 6% and 3%, respectively, the Statistics Office said on Wednesday.
The picture for nights spent at tourist accommodation establishments is similar: foreigners spent 4.3 million nights in Slovenia, a rise of over 6%, while nights by domestic visitors were roughly flat at just over two million.
Among the largest source countries, the biggest increases were recorded for guests from Germany, Austria and Italy.
More details on this data can be found here
STA, 31 July 2019 - A four-day music festival will start in the idyllic village of Fara in the south on Wednesday, including camping on the Kolpa river. The long list of bands that will entertain the crowd includes Asian Dub Foundation, Soulfly, Skindred and Inner Circle.
The first evening of the Castle Kolpa Music Festival will be dominated by Slovenian bands performing on only one stage, while in the following three days, fans will be able to choose from a variety of music genres playing on three stages.
On Thursday, Dub Fx from Austria, Skindred from the UK and Slovenia's Elvis Jackson will take the main Dragon Stage in prime time.
The stars of Friday night will be Jamaican reggae band Inner Circle from Jamaica, Slovenia's rock band Siddharta and Croatia's pop punk band Psihomodo Pop.
American heavy metal band Soulfly and English electronica band that combines rapcore, dub, dancehall, ragga and South Asian music, Asian Dub Foundation, will take the main stage on Saturday.
The Beach Stage will offer Acroyoga and impro shows during the day, and DJs in the evenings, while the Arena Experience stage will be the place to go for electronic music fans. The stars there will be Dutch musicians Jay Hardway and Sander van Doorn, and Slovenia's Umek.
The organisers have also prepared a variety of activities to keep visitors entertained during the day. Apart from Acroyoga and impro shows, they will be able to enjoy in an outdoor cinema, take part in various workshops or play football or volleyball.
The festival’s website is here
The Overjam International Reggae Festival is back for the heat of the summer in the cool of Sotočje, ad event located between the two mountain rivers, the Tolminka and Soča.
The name says reggae but the festival’s reach is a little broader than that, taking in related subcultures such as ska, drum n bass, dub and dancehall. The full line-up can be seen on this page, with the headline acts being Alborosie & Shengen Clan, Cali P, Junior Kelly, Israel Vibration, Queen Ifrica, Zion Train, Ward 21 and Ziggi Mastah - Dubtafari Sound, plus support from many more, making it a long weekend that’s worth considering if you’re looking for great a place to chill in the beautiful, watery wild.
It runs from Thursday to Saturday, August 15 to 17, as an all-day event and six-day experience, offering live music and DJs, performances, workshops, and, of course, food and drink, with vegans and vegetarians catered for. Families are welcome, and children’s activities and areas are planned, along with supervision provided by professionals working for the festival from 11:00 to 16:00 each day, as part of Overjam4kidz.
Camping is allowed and free of charge if you have a valid ticket – and to discourage people from using cheap tents that they then leave at the site you can buy waterproof cardboard structures here. At the time of writing one-day tickets could be had for 39 euros (plus commission), while the whole thing could be seen for 100 euros (more details on all offers and how to buy now here). Tickets also get you unlimited mobile charging, a festival info book and ear plugs, safe deposit, and unlimited use of hot showers – with details here and the festival’s FAQ here.
STA, 28 July 2019 - The passenger terminal at Koper, Slovenia's sole maritime port, welcomed 55,000 cruise line passengers by Friday this year with more than 109,000 expected to arrive at the port by the end of the season.
Most of the passengers come on high-end cruise liners, most of which sail in from Venice, as well as from Croatian ports such as Rijeka, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik or even Korčula.
The city authorities told the STA that three cruise liners were due to dock at the Koper port this weekend.
The Celebrity Infinity arrived in the port for the first time on Friday carrying 2,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members. The ship was due to return as early as Sunday, following the Celebrity Constellation on Saturday.
By the end of the season 71 cruise liner arrivals are expected with a total of more than 106,000 passengers on board, so the port may even trump the boom year of 2010, when it welcomed more than 109,000 passengers on board of 78 ships.
The biggest this season are the Mein Schiff 6 and the Koningsdam, each carrying 2,500 passengers. The former is scheduled to visit Koper four times and the latter three times.
Most of the cruise liners arrive in June, July, September and October. Some estimates are that Koper could receive between 180,000 and 200,000 passengers a year in the coming years, but these should be distributed evenly throughout the year.
Many of the cruise line passengers stay in the town to explore the historic centre, or take a trip to some other coastal town, or even the rural Istria with a wine fountain in Marezige one popular draw.
There is also high demand for visits to Lipica, the home of the white Lipizzan horse, the Postojna Cave, the alpine lakeside resort of Bled or the capital Ljubljana.
Most visitors to Ljubljana, even those who live in the country, focus on the very centre of town, the picturesque and increasingly pedestrianised area that runs roughly between Žitni most (Grain Bridge) – the next bridge after Zmajski most (Dragon Bridge) – and Šentjakobski most (St James’ Bridge), at the end of the old town in the other direction. So in this series of articles we’ll write a little about places that are just outside this area, within an easy walk, cycle or so on, and which can be used as anchor points to explore further.
Today’s focus is Ljubljana Botanical Garden (Botanični vrt Univerze v Ljubljani), just passed Špica. I visited and took these pictures in late July. The date is important, as what you'll see obviously depends on the time of year, with repeat visits yielding different views. All of it, apart from the tropical greenhouse, is free to enter, and the walk there takes you along the Ljubljanica, via Špica.
Inside the tropical greenhouse
Founded in 1810, when Ljubljana was capital of the short-lived Illyrian Provinces (1809—14), part of the French Empire under Napoleon, when it was built to go along with the Ecole Centrale. Two centuries later, and it's now part of the University of Ljubljana.
Now I'll say right in the open that I have no idea what I'm looking at when I visit, other than the broad categories of grass, flower, and tree, but that doesn't spoil my enjoyment, especially with a camera in hand and a book to relax with in the shade of a tree.
There are paths to follow and many things to enjoy. In addition to the plants, there are all the insects you'll come across, with one focus of the garden being pollinators. The best known of these are of course the bees, and here you'll find a colony of the Carnolian Grey, the native Slovene species. There's an “education bee house”, out by the railtracks, where you can stand behind glass and watch the bees come and go from the hive. Or go out, as I did, and rest on your back looking up between the hive and the nearby grape vine, a superhighway of insects going back and forth above me.
Go slow enough to smell the flowers and take in the great variety packed into a relatively small area. Keep going ang eventually you’ll come across a pond with some turtles, or a cafe among the trees. Just lots of small things to enjoy.
If you like being in nature but find Tivoli Park too big, or just want a greater concentration of varied plants, the Botanical Garden is highly recommended, and visiting will also give you a chance to see more of the city, following the river upstream, to places where not everyone goes.
From June to August it's open every day 07:00 to 20:00. September and October it closes an hour earlier, while from November to March the hours are 07:00 to 17:00. April to June it's then open 07:00 to 19:00. The tropical greenhouse and store are open 10:00 to 19:00, every day of the week, where you can buy seeds and plants (although the latter only Monday to Friday, 08:00 to 18:00). Entrance to the greenhouse is €2.80 for adults and €1.30 for children, and annual tickets are available. The official website is here, and the address is Ižanska cesta 15, 1000 Ljubljana.