09 Sep 2020, 14:43 PM

Although sunny weather and a swim in the sea are good enough reasons to travel to the coast this weekend, a stroll down the beach to the Homemade from Istria festival this Friday afternoon will make the trip even more worthwhile.

The event will take place in the long building of the former salt warehouse Monfort situated right at the beginning of Portorož/Portorose beach. From 3pm to 8pm this Friday visitors will be offered best of the Istrian cuisine, which includes the country’s best olive oils and wines.

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After the Istrian delicacy warm up, the visitors will also be invited to explore some of the local traditional crafts and traditions, as in addition to various local producers the event is also held by several local museums and performance groups including the Association for cultural and natural heritage Anbot Piran, Folk dance group Šaltin Sv. Peter, Men choir Pergula Sv. Peter, Maritime museum Piran, Institute Mediteranum with the Piran Shells Museum and Soline d.o.o..

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08 Sep 2020, 13:00 PM

STA, 7 September 2020 - The Kobilarna Lipica stud farm expects this year to see only a third of last year's number of visitors due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a business report which also shows that in the first half of the year, its operator recorded only 34% of the revenue from the same period in 2019.

The pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of a large number of planned events, a decline in visits by foreign guests and large organised groups from Slovenia and abroad, and the renovation of Hotel Maestoso, Holding Kobilarna Lipica told the STA on Monday.

However, the drop in revenue does not stand out when compared to the results of other comparable tourist destinations, the company's supervisory board has assessed, while adding that additional measures to cut costs and maximise the income needed to be nevertheless introduced.

Lay-offs are not envisaged for the time being and, considering the tourism trends and the situation related to Covid-19, the current number of employees is appropriate, the management has assessed.

The management has been tasked with coming up with a new marketing campaign, which will include the promotion of Hotel Maestoso, which is expected to reopen at the beginning of 2021 with a doubled number of rooms.

Holding Kobilarna Lipica also said that the medium-term goals also included taking a EUR 5 million bank loan to renovate the swimming pool and wellness complex of the hotel.

03 Sep 2020, 11:43 AM

STA, 3 September 2020 - Lot Polish Airlines will temporarily suspend its Ljubljana-Warsaw flights this month, with the last flight scheduled for 16 September. Further flights will be suspended until the start of the winter season. Meanwhile, low-cost carrier Wizz Air has cancelled its plans to fly between Ljubljana and Belgium's Charleroi over the coming winter.

According to the Ex-Yu Aviation portal, Lot could still make changes to its plans for the winter season, which have not been confirmed yet.

The winter season starts at the end of October.

Dutch low-cost carrier Transavia will suspend its connection to Ljubljana as of 13 September as Slovenia has put the Netherlands on its red list of Covid-19 risky countries, but is to return to Brnik airport at the end of October.

While Brussels Airlines is expected to restore its flights to Brussels in the winter season after several delays, Wizz Air is not expected to fly to Belgium from Ljubljana this winter.

The final service this year between Charleroi and Ljubljana is scheduled for 24 October, with two weekly flights to be reinstated on 30 March next year.

Apart from Lot and Transavia, who will temporarily suspend flights, Air Serbia is currently flying from Ljubljana to Belgrade, Montenegro Airlines to Podgorica, Lufthansa to Frankfurt, Wizzair to Charleroi, Air France to Paris, Turkish Airlines to Istanbul and Easyjet to Berlin and London.

Aeroflot, which was to connect Ljubljana to Moscow, has not made its plans public yet. Finnair is expected to return in the 2021 summer season.

Current forecasts suggest Easyjet will not be flying to London's Luton and Stansted this summer season.

Lufthansa is expected to start flying to Munich and Swiss to Zurich in the 2021 summer season.

This year's cancellations also include Iberia's flights to Madrid, British Airways's to Heathrow, Windrose's flights to Kiev and Israir's to Tel Aviv.

01 Sep 2020, 17:21 PM

The COVID crisis has changed much about daily life, often for the worse and less colourful, as events are cancelled and replacements often found wanting in terms of contact, excitement and human warmth. It’s thus reassuring to see familiar marks in the calendar come around without a cancellation or postponement, as is the case with the famed Red Bull Goni Pony (“peddle your Pony”), taking place this year on 5th September.

On this day, a Saturday, one the strangest races in Slovenia is open to all those who register, have access to an appropriate bicycle – the small, foldable “Pony” that gives the race its name – and are ready for a retro festival of old bikes, old clothes, and an old-fashioned ride to the top of Vršič Pass, an journey most recommend making by car.

The race is open to the first 500 people who register and pay the €25 fee within 72 hours, but sadly for all interested readers without tickets these sold out weeks ago. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the day, though, with a trip to the mountains and a chance to see other people huff, puff and sweat their way to the top.

The race will see the daring competitors cycle a 13.5 km course with an elevation of 801 metres. Not an easy task, even on a full-sized bike with gears, never mind a pocket model like the Pony, with 20” wheels. What’s more, many entrants will be dressed in vintage clothing from the 60s to 80s – the heyday of this beloved but often impractical bike– and there’s a competition for the best costume that takes place at 14:00 in Kranjska gora, where the race itself starts at 15:00.

Since this is a road race that means there will be road closures, and the Vršič Pass will be closed from 14:.30 to 18:00 on Saturday 5 September. More details at the official Red Bull Goni Pony site

29 Aug 2020, 14:37 PM

STA, 21 August 2020 - A wine fountain spurting the Dolenjska-grown wine Cviček was opened in Šmarjeta on Friday, a move designed to promote wine making and further boost tourism in the thermal retreat town. The ribbon was cut by President Borut Pahor, who said he was "in awe of the moment we're witnessing".

Pahor's office said the president was truly happy to be able to meet people after a long time. He expressed gratitude to mayors across the country who forged innovative plans for the future while facing the coronavirus pandemic in their communities.

Slovenia is a perfect fit for sustainable development, the president said, this is noticed by all visitors and makes the country better known abroad.

The fountain, modelled after a very popular beer fountain in Žalec, cost EUR 140,000, with about 80% of the funds coming from the EU regional development fund.

The fountain has four automated taps featuring Cviček and three other locally produced wines.

27 Aug 2020, 16:02 PM

According to the latest report on tourist voucher consumption by the Financial Administration (FURS), 25% of all beneficiaries had used their voucher or part of it by August 23, which amounts to 69,797,643 EUR spent, or 19,6% of the entire 356,858,450 EUR sum value. On average people spent 136.43 EUR of the voucher and were on average 38.4 years old.

Furthermore, FURS reports that 55,754  beneficiaries transferred their vouchers to someone else and that the average age of those passing on the money was  64.3 years.

In terms of geography, leading the list of top ten municipalities where most vouchers have been spent is Piran, followed by Kranjska gora and Bohinj.


Distribution of cashed vouchers by region:

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Municipalities according to vouchers spent:

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Where did people from Ljubljana spend their vouchers?

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Where did people from Maribor spend their vouchers?

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Where did people from Kranj spend their vouchers?

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Where did people from Koper spend their vouchers?:

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Where did people from Novo Mesto spend their vouchers?:

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Where did visitors to Piran mostly come from?:

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Where did visitors to Ljubljana come from?:

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People using their vouchers mostly decided to stay in hotels, with the following places most popular in each of the categories:

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27 Aug 2020, 11:58 AM

STA, 27 August 2020 - Slovenia-based artists will be in the focus of the 32nd Nights in Old Ljubljana Town. The international music festival will bring traditional sounds of modernity to the Ljubljana old town Thursday through Saturday.

"Culture is one of the sectors that have been hit particularly hard by the current crisis," Janoš Kern of organiser Imago Sloveniae has said in a press release. "Therefore we decided to support domestic artists this year."

In 23 admission-free events, spectators will be able to listen to music to "some of the best Slovenian performers and selected foreign musicians living in Slovenia. The programme will also be sprinkled with a few top ensembles from abroad".


In total, more than 100 musicians from 12 countries will perform in six venues in the .Ljubljana old town. The festival will feature folk, jazz and classical music, using traditional influence in modern sound forms.

A large share of artists performing are members of ethnic minorities, as the festival will be accompanied by an international conference dedicated to music and minorities.

Organised by the Musicology Department of the Ljubljana Faculty of Arts, the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU) and KED Folk Slovenija, the conference will mark 20 years since the establishment of a minority music study group within the NGO International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM).

The festival will kick off tonight with Mi Linda Dama, an Italian-Serbian ensemble, narrating Sephardic stories to the sound of Andalusian melodies and Arab rhythms.

Moreover, spectators will be able to enjoy a modern take on tango as part of Tori Tango, a project by accordion player Jure Tori, and a performance by Zvezdana Novaković, an interpreter of folk songs, as well as a concert by Kapobando, an ensemble of accordion player Marko Hatlak.

The festival will also feature Flamenko dancer Ana Pandur, accompanied by Vito Mareence Flamenco Duo, Mascara Quartet performing fado, while the ensemble Lasanthi will perform Indian classical music.

The renowned British folk musician Hanna James and her The JigDoll Ensemble will also perform, as well as composers Aldo Kumar and Matija Krečič, with the latter presenting his most recent album Cut/Rez.

The open-air events will take place even if it rains, the organisers have said.

The full programme can be found here

26 Aug 2020, 13:29 PM

STA, 26 August 2020 - The 24th Days of Poetry and Wine (Dnevi poezije in vina ) festival will kick off in Ptuj on Wednesday featuring more than 30 poets, including this year's guests of honour Scottish poet and novelist John Burnside and Italian poet Patrizia Cavalli. The festival's Open Letter to Europe will be penned by Hungarian author Krisztina Tóth.

Apart from the main venue, the oldest Slovenian town, events will take place in various other towns and cities across Slovenia.

The international festival, hosting poets who have gained international acclaim as well as up-and-coming authors, has had to adjust to the coronavirus and all of its ramifications.

Running until Saturday, Days of Poetry and Wine will unfold in both the physical and virtual worlds since in-person events have even greater value in the current circumstances, said Aleš Šteger, the festival's director and a poet himself.

"We need the other, their words, a sense that someone else is there," he said, adding that culture had been one of the areas taking the brunt of the corona crisis.

Due to health reasons, Cavalli and Burnside will not be able to attend the festival in person, the Scottish poet will however address the visitors via videoconference.

Burnside is one of only three poets to have won both the T. S. Eliot Prize and Forward Poetry Prize for the same collection of poems.

Cavalli, another prolific author, is one of the most renowned poets of contemporary Italian poetry.

Tóth, acclaimed Hungarian author and literary translator, will deliver a public reading of the 2020 Letter to Europe at the opening ceremony on Thursday.

The author warns in the letter that there is something wrong with Europe, urging deep reflection on the current state of affairs, including by reading poems, and heeding wake-up calls, such as the corona, climate and migrant crises.

The Open Letter to Europe project was launched in 2017 in cooperation with the Berlin-based foundation Allianz Kulturstiftung and aims to address burning issues by invoking the language of art.

All the letters so far have been well-received and translated and published in numerous languages. They have also been sent to decision makers, including MEPs and members of the EU Council and EU Commission.

Apart from discussions with guest poets and wine-tastings, there will also be poetry readings, including one in the dark tunnels deep under the Ptuj Castle.

Moreover, acclaimed Slovenian poet Dane Zajc will be honoured in an exhibition about his life and work at a library in Ptuj.

Saturday, the final day of Days of Poetry and Wine, will bring another highlight of the festival - the first Ptuj wine promenade will be held in cooperation with the Salon Sauvignon arts and wine festival.

Visitors will be able to indulge in quality poetry and wine in various venues, including cafes, courtyards, pubs, libraries, museums and gardens.

There are capacity restrictions due to Covid-19 precautions and advance bookings are required. Evening events are an exception since they can accommodate more people, said the organisers.

More details on Ptuj's Days of Poetry & Wine

25 Aug 2020, 14:27 PM

STA, 25 August 2020 - The Slovenian tourism industry, which has been severely affected by the Covid-19 epidemic, saw an upbeat trend in Slovenian tourist arrivals and nights in July, partly offsetting the low numbers from the first half of the year, show the latest figures released by the Statistics Office on Tuesday.

Over 653,000 arrivals were recorded at accommodation facilities in July, down 27.5% compared to July 2019, with the number of nights down by 18.5% to 2.07 million.

However, the number of Slovenian tourists in the overall number increased by 176% to almost 404,000, and the number of nights they spent there by 155% to nearly 1.4 million.

The number of foreign arrivals meanwhile dropped by 67% to slightly over 249,300, and the number of nights they spent in Slovenia by 66% to over 670,300.

Germans spent the most nights in Slovenia in July, or 33%, followed by the Dutch and Austrians (9% each), Czechs (8%) and Hungarians (7%).

The most popular areas for tourists, domestic and foreign, were mountainous areas, which accounted for 35% of all tourist nights, followed by the coast (29%).

Thirty percent of all nights were made at hotels, 27% at private rooms, self-catering units and houses, and 22% at camping sites.

Although several areas in Slovenia have had a good summer season, Slovenian tourism has been considerably affected by the epidemic, with facilities in full lockdown for several weeks.

The January-to-July period saw almost 1.6 million tourist arrivals, a 54% drop compared to the same seven-month period in 2019. Tourist nights meanwhile dropped by 48% to around 4.6 million.

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In the first half of the year, arrivals by Slovenian tourists dropped by 5% but a 2% rise was recorded in nights generated by domestic guests compared to January-July last year. The number of foreign tourists arriving in Slovenia plummeted by 71% and the nights they generated by 68%.

The figures are in line with the Slovenian Tourist Board's projections of a 70% drop in foreign arrivals for the year and of a 50% overall drop because of a rise in domestic tourists.

To help the industry survive, the government introduced a special voucher scheme, giving every permanent resident EUR 200 to spend in Slovenia until the end of the year on bed and breakfast, with minors receiving EUR 50.

Presenting the latest figures about the vouchers, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said Sunday was a new milestone as over 500,000 vouchers had been redeemed.

"In a good two months since this measure was introduced, a quarter of all vouchers have already been spent, while bookings for another 30,000 have already been made."

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Figures from the Financial Administration show that 511,554 vouchers, worth EUR 69.8 million, were redeemed between 19 June and 23 August, whereas the total value of vouchers available is around EUR 357 million.

Počivalšek believes the tourist vouchers have saved the summer season for many tourism companies or helped some survive the epidemic, at the same time enabling many to be able to afford to go on a holiday.

He is also confident that thanks to the vouchers, Slovenians have discovered many corners that have so far been less known and less visited. He hopes the thrill at discovering Slovenia turns into a trend of Slovenians spending at least part of their holidays at home.

Although it is too early to take stock of the summer season, Počivalšek said "we are better off than some comparable countries".

In July and August, tourist numbers at some locations were already on a par with or even better than last year, the only difference being that domestic tourists outnumbered foreign ones, he explained.

He believes these figures could hardly be reached if the epidemiological situation had not been kept under control. He thus urged tourism companies to be innovative in providing for coronavirus safety, so that foreign tourists could soon return in bigger numbers.

As for extending the use of vouchers into the spring of 2021, the minister said efforts were now focussed on encouraging people to use them by the end of the year.

"Should any other measures be needed, I believe we'll take them in time," Počivalšek said at a news conference in Ljubljana.

Over EUR 1 million in vouchers was spent a day in the period between 19 June and 23 August, with the average age of tourists using the vouchers at slightly over 38.

The figures also show over 55,700 people aged an average 64 years transferred their vouchers on family members, meaning many elderly did not go on holiday themselves.

You can see more of this data at SURS

25 Aug 2020, 11:28 AM

STA, 25 August 2020 - The 16th Izola international film festival will bring a total of 36 feature films and 67 shorts to the Slovenian coast this summer, with the main part of the festival taking place between 26 and 30 August in the coastal town of Izola.

The number of films remains comparable to previous years, whereas the format of the festival has been somewhat adjusted to the coronavirus.

Besides the main segment in Izola, a number of films have been screened around Slovenia since 16 June, according to the director of the Kino Otok - Isola Cinema festival, Tanja Hladnik.

Tartini Festival Brings Baroque, Classical Music to Piran & Koper, 20 Aug to 11 Sept, 2020

The third segment will take place online in September, when the Slovenian Cinematheque hosts a retrospective of Portuguese director Pedro Costa.

Balloon by Chinese director Pema Tseden and The Orphanage by Iranian director Sadat Shahrbanoo will open and close the main festival segment, respectively.

Both films are from Signals, the section which features established filmmakers, film selector Varja Močnik explained at a recent news conference in Ljubljana.

She also highlighted Corpus Christi by Polish director Jan Komasa, Oliver Laxe's Fire Will Come, Islandic director Runar Runarsson's Echo and Sons of Denmark by Ulaa Salim, which focuses on a terrorist attack in Copenhagen.

The Good Neighbours section will feature two Serbian films, Ivana the Terrible by Ivana Mladenović and My Morning Laughter by Marko Djordjević.

A new section, Chiaroscuro, will bring several films focussing on burning issues which are usually not in the focus of media attention, including Francis Alys's Sandlines, the Story of History, a story about children in Iraq.

The other new section introduced this year, dubbed Extraserial, brings Bruno Dumont's black comedy TV series Coincoin and the Extra-Humans.

A total of 61 short films from 22 countries will be shown as part of the Video on the Beach section brings, while children will also be able to watch a series of films for them.

Hladnik said that some films would be screened twice because of Covid-19 restrictions allowing smaller numbers of visitors at one venue.

Get more details on the Kino Otok website

24 Aug 2020, 20:44 PM

STA, 24 August 2020 - Entry into Slovenia from Croatia has continued to run unexpectedly smoothly despite the approaching Monday midnight deadline for returns without compulsory quarantine due to rising Covid-19 figures in Croatia. Interior Minister Aleš Hojs assessed that the returns got dispersed across the past week and that some also opted for quarantine.

The Slovenian police said that traffic on the border had been comparable to previous end of August or even calmer; there were no delays at border crossings in the afternoon.

"There has probably been no excessive pressure on the border crossings because we already started announcing the possibly of Croatia being red-listed the weekend before the last one," Hojs told the STA today.

The minister also suggested that some, although not those tied to school or work, had decided to continue their holiday and accept quarantine after it ends.

He moreover said it was very possible that the estimate of 150,000 Slovenians holidaying in the neighbouring country had been exaggerated.

The ministry does not have the exact data, but estimates now suggest around 50,000, whereas the Croatian Tourism Board put its estimate at 45,000.

Hojs added that police teams on the border had been reinforced and that the issuing of quarantine orders was running smoothly, with the average time to issue one standing at 12 to 14 minutes.

He said more than 800 quarantine orders had been issued on Sunday to passengers who were returning from red-listed countries such as Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The Croatian Tourist Board has reported that 2.6 million overnight stays by Slovenian tourists were recorded in Croatia from 1 to 23 August, which is 94% of last-year's figure. The Slovenian tourists mostly opted for private accommodation and camping, while 20,000 also stayed in a hotel.

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