HINA, July 11, 2020 – The Croatian Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli said on Friday evening that Slovenian tourists did not need to worry about their arrivals in Croatia, particularly in the coastal Adriatic area where the epidemiological situation was good.
Cappelli, who was in Croatia's delegation led by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic for the talks with their Slovenian hosts in Otocec ob Krki on Friday, said that the meeting had also revolved around tourism-related issues against a backdrop of the epidemiological situation.
"During the meeting in Slovenia we emphasised the importance of Slovenian visitors for the Croatian tourism industry. Currently, there are 92,000 Slovenians vacationing here, and 70% of them are in three Adriatic counties: Istria, Promorje-Gorski Kotar and Zadar, which are labelled as green areas that is epidemiologically safe and favourable just as the remaining four coastal counties," the minister told Hina.
The minister said that most Slovenian guests were staying in camp-site facilities and reassured them that that they did not have to worry about self-isolation.
In the coming days, Croatian and Slovenian epidemiologists will give additional recommendations for monitoring trends in the tourist trade and other events between the two countries on a daily basis, he said.
Special attention will be paid to efforts to prevent the emerging of any new hotspots of the virus in connection with public and private gatherings.
"I urge all tourists to abide by the current and new measures from the Croatian COVID-19 crisis management team. This is the only way to ensure the tourist trade and other economic activities can go on this year," Cappelli concluded.
Updated at 17:25, 8 July
RTV Slovenia reports that the government is now limiting most gatherings to no more than 50 people, and that all meeings and parties for between 10 and 50 people will only be allowed in the organiser has everyone’s details - names, addresses and phone numbers - and keeps them for at least a month. The restriction will apply to private events, including weddings.
Changes to the ban on gatherings do not apply however to the number of people in restaurants and pubs or on buses. Church masses are allowed.
Sports and cultural events with up to 500 people are still possible if there is a police presence and the seating order is known.
Meanwhile, STA reports that the government has amended the border regime in force for passengers arriving in Slovenia from Covid-19 red-coded countries. As a result, only the Obrežje border crossing with Croatia is open around the clock for arrivals who are required to quarantine since last midnight.
Under amendments to its decree adopted by the government late last night, quarantine orders will be handed daily only between 6am and 10pm at the Gruškovje, Obrežje, Metlika and Jelšane crossings on the border with Croatia, Pince on the border with Hungary and Ljubljana airport.
Meanwhile, quarantine orders for arrivals who come from the Covid-19 high-risk countries coded red will continue to be handed around the clock at the Obrežje crossing.
At checkpoints on the border with Austria and Italy and at airports in Maribor and Portorož police will collect data on passengers, referring them to the Health Ministry, which will hand quarantine orders at the address of residence or where the person will be quarantined in Slovenia.
Quarantine orders are being handed at the border since Saturday. More than 1,000 such orders were issued at the weekend at the six designated border crossings.
Under the new system, health inspectors will be able to perform up to 500 inspections of adherence to quarantine rules a day.
The Health Inspectorate will also step up oversight of how eating and drinking establishments abide by the rules and measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus, including whether the distance between the tables is sufficient and whether antiseptics are available.
The Deputy Director General of the Police Tomaž Pečjak is quoted by RT Slovenia as stressing that it's very important for everyone entering Slovenia from Croatia to have evidence that they had not been travelling elsewhere. For Slovenians this would be a hotel receipt or proof of owning a property in Croatia. For Croatians the evidence is less clear, but Pečjak said that the Slovenian Police may contact their neighbours to find out if the travellers had recently been outside Croatia. All such evidence will be accepted at the discretion of the police officer, with Pečjak adding: "If they suspect that this person is not coming from only Croatia or any other EU country on the yellow list, they can issue a quarantine decision."
More on these lists here
He went on to say that a bill for coffee or lunch would not be sufficient for Slovenians, "as this only proves that this person was in Croatia", but not prove that they had not been in another country. The evidence “must be personalized and must prove that this person was present in the Republic of Croatia at all times and did not go to any of the areas on the red list.”
RTV Slovenia also reports that Austria is tightening controls on it's Slovenian and Hungarian borders. Crossings will still be allowed, but there will be more inspections.
This is a developing story, and there will probably be updates later today, so please check the main page, if needed,
STA, 6 July 2020 - The government has re-instated France and the Czech Republic, with the exception of the Moravian-Silesian Region, to the green list of the epidemiologically safe countries, with the decision effective as of Tuesday.
Announcing the news, the Government Communication Office said that the decision had been made following a briefing on the Covid-19 situation in the two countries by the National Public Health Institute.
France and the Czech Republic were put on the so-called yellow list along with Croatia on Saturday. The Moravian-Silesian Region in the east of the Czech Republic remains on the list.
Slovenian citizens and foreigners with permanent or temporary residence in Slovenia arriving from yellow-listed EU or Schengen zone members are not quarantined under certain conditions.
These include proving they own a piece of property or a vessel there or producing an original bill for accommodation etc.
If they are not able to prove this, they are considered as arriving in Slovenia from a high-risk country and subjected to two-week quarantine.
Slovenian citizens and foreigners with permanent or temporary residence in Slovenia arriving from green-listed EU or Schengen zone members are not quarantined.
Persons who have temporary or permanent residence in these countries are free to enter Slovenia without any restrictions or quarantine either.
More details on the green, yellow and red lists here - but be sure to click the links for updates
The first thing to note is that this is a dynamic situation, with countries adopting different policies with regard to easing the lockdown and thus different outcomes in terms of surges and second spikes expected. This article thus sets out the facts as they are (or were) on Sunday 5 July. For the very latest news, here’s all our stories on the coronavirus in Slovenia
Slovenia has a traffic light system of green, yellow and red countries, meaning free to enter, enter with some restrictions, and enter only under special circumstances.
The Green List
The green list (zeleni seznam) includes safe countries (or administrative units of countries) from which people can enter without quarantine. It’s produced based on the epidemiological status for individual countries, any bilateral technical agreements with neighbouring states, other EU Member States or members of the Schengen area.
As of 5 July there are just 21 countries on the green list: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. A regularly updated list can be found, in English, on the Ministry of Health website.
The red list (rdeči seznam) contains those countries where the covid-19 situation is getting worse or already bad. Anyone entering Slovenia from one of these nations – regardless of citizenship or residency status – has to undergo a 14-day mandatory self-quarantine period, with some exceptions (see here). The red list currently includes the following 36 countries (and the related police site, in English, is here, if reading this later in the summer):
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Republic of South Africa
Saint Thomas and Prince
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The yellow list (rumeni seznam) includes all those countries not on the green or red lists, with recent additions being Croatia, France, and Czechia (aka the Czech Republic). In principle, yellow countries are those with between ten and 40 active infections per hundred thousand inhabitants. For Slovenian citizens or foreign residents, nothing changes when a country moves from the green to yellow list, and no quarantine is required on returning to Slovenia.
Non-resident citizens of countries on the yellow list will need to undergo mandatory two-week self-quarantine on entry unless they’re just transiting the country or booked accommodation here while their country was still green, and also have a valid certificate proving they have tested negative for covid-19. There are some exceptions for work, medical treatment, family matters and so on (more details here, and the official border police site is here).
Croatia is a favourite holiday destination among Slovenes and others who live in the country, due to its vastly greater coastline. It’s currently on the yellow list, which means – as noted about – that no real restrictions apply when re-entering Slovenia if you’re Slovenian, a foreign resident, or citizen of an EU or Schengen state. However, because of the surge in cases in the Western Balkans you’ll need to show some evidence that you spent your time in Croatia, and not further south, such as a hotel bill or property ownership papers. Border police officers will have a discretion to decide whether your proof is valid, or else they’ll assume you’ve come from a red-listed Balkan country, and thus order you to undergo a two-week quarantine period.
You can find all our stories on coronavirus and Slovenia here.
Remember that Slovenian citizens and residents don’t need to worry about the yellow list, but others will need to self-quarantine for 14-days unless they can prove that they’re travelling for work, a medical examination, education, to attend a funeral, see a close family member, or have booked accommodation in Slovenia , persons crossing the border due to involvement in education, persons crossing the border due to funeral, persons maintaining contact with close family members, persons with urgent personal affairs, land tenants, persons booking accommodation in Slovenia, also need a negative a covid-19 test result not older than 36 hours and performed in a Member State of the European Union or the Schengen area or in an organization or individual authorized by the National Institute of Public Health.
A 14-day quarantine is ordered for all persons entering Slovenia who have permanent or temporary residence in countries with a worsened epidemiological situation (the so-called red list) and for all persons regardless of citizenship or country of residence coming to Slovenia from these countries.
Exceptions (i.e., access without restrictions and quarantine) apply only to:
STA, 4 July 2020 - Croatia, France and the Czech Republic are no longer deemed green Covid-19 safe countries by Slovenia from today, which entails some restrictions for nationals of these countries when entering Slovenia.
Citizens of the countries demoted to the so-called yellow list will be submitted to a mandatory two-week quarantine on entry unless they are just transiting the country or have booked accommodation here while their country was still green and also have a valid certificate proving they have tested negative for Sars-CoV-2.
The list of countries on the green list is here
Slovenians and EU and Schengen country citizens that are residents of Slovenia who are returning from Croatia can re-enter without restrictions if they can produce some proof at the border that they in fact have been staying there such as hotel bill or a property ownership document.
Border police officers will have a discretion to decide whether the proofs are valid, or else they will assume the arrivals have come from a red-listed Balkan country, which would entail a mandatory two-week quarantine.
The authorities say this was after it turned out some of those entering Slovenia from Croatia had failed to report that they had in fact been visiting one of the countries further to the south.
Slovenia has seen an increase in new coronavirus cases over the past couple of weeks as a result of cases imported from the countries of the former Yugoslavia.
Those who expect to be handed quarantine orders can enter Slovenia by four border crossings from Croatia (Gruškovje, Obrežje, Metlika and Jelšane) and one from Hungary (Pince). Others can use other crossings as well.
Also from today, Belgium and the Netherlands have been promoted to the green list of what are now 21 countries for which no restrictions apply [ed. the official list - now in English - is here, but check when last updated].
All our stories on coronavirus and Slovenia
STA, 2 July 2020 - Croatia, France and Czechia will be removed on Saturday from the green list of countries considered epidemiologically safe by Slovenia, government coronavirus spokesperson Jelko Kacin said on Thursday. Belgium and the Netherlands will on the other hand be green-listed. Kacin also announced efforts to serve quarantine orders already on the border.
Being put on the yellow list means that most foreign citizens arriving in Slovenia from these countries need to subject themselves to a two-week quarantine, while this does not apply to Slovenians [ed. or those with a residence card] returning from yellow-listed countries.
Kacin said that the SarS-CoV-2 situation was improving in some countries, in particular in western Europe, with the the number of infected persons falling below 10 per 100,000 inhabitants. This is why Belgium and the Netherlands will be put on the green list.
However, there are also countries where things are deteriorating, which is why the government is to decide at today's correspondence session that Croatia, Czechia and France be put on the yellow list, effective Saturday.
Kacin said that Slovenians returning from Croatia will not have to go into isolation, but he stressed they would be asked at the border if they are really returning from Croatia and not from other Western Balkan countries that are on the red list and entail quarantine in Slovenia also for Slovenian citizens.
"There has been too much misleading. Police will get instructions and our travellers should get ready to reveal a little more about where they have been," Kacin said, explaining it will also be necessary to provide evidence.
He again urged against travel to Serbia, North Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina or Kosovo, where the virus is spreading fast. "Everywhere where they had elections and election rallies, the number of infected persons is rising," he added.
As for Croatian citizens planning a holiday in Slovenia, Kacin said that bookings made before Saturday will allow a holiday without quarantine.
Kacin moreover announced the government would examine today the border regime with a focus on putting in place conditions for the effective serving of quarantine orders and strict controls at entry points into Slovenia.
"The government will do all it can so that these quarantine orders are served already on the border to prevent delays and have everybody informed - the National Institute of Public Health, the Health Ministry, the health inspection and, if needed, the police as well," Kacin said, explaining those affected will have to drive directly to their quarantine location.
Referring to administrative rules that have been preventing an effective serving of quarantine orders and thereby enforcement, he said "it will no longer be the case that the quarantine passes before people even receive the order". He added the relevant ministries and other institutions have until Saturday to organise and adapt.
Kacin said more oversight will also be necessary at health institutions and nursing homes and that instructions will be sent out on Friday on how to avoid infections there.
He did not directly comment on Moravče Mayor Milan Balažic issuing today a decree that prohibits any public gatherings as well as private parties or Church mass in this municipality north-east of Ljubljana.
He said the government is trying to prevent the entering of the virus from abroad, expecting the measures to be effective and thus eliminate any need for individual mayors to take action. "But if such gatherings are really happening in their territory, we understand people's concern," Kacin added.
STA, 1 July - The Ljubljana Festival will start this evening to the joy of both the audience and performers, who will be able to take the stage despite the many restrictions due to the coronavirus situation. The festival will open with the sounds of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 and Piano Concerto No. 3.
Conducted by Charles Dutoit, the opening concert will feature the first lady of the Slovenian pianist Dubravka Tomšič Srebotnjak, the orchestra and choir of the Slovenian Philharmonics, and the Megaron choir and soloists Sabina Cvilak, Monika Bohinec, Egils Silins and Rodrigo Porras Garulo.
The award-winning Swiss conductor told the press on Tuesday he was happy that the Ljubljana Festival did not share the fate of most other festivals around the world that had been cancelled because of coronavirus.
This year marks the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven's birth but most events have been cancelled, except those in Ljubljana, "so I'm extremely happy to be here", he said.
Darko Brlek, the festival's director and artistic director, has recently told the STA that the coronavirus situation has affected mainly large multinational ensembles because of "mobility and such". Thus, the Bolshoi Theatre will not be able to play its Fidelio in Ljubljana.
But the festival has instead managed to attract artists that have been on its wish-list for years, including Austrian-Russian soprano Netrebko and German tenor Jonas Kaufman, he said.
According to him, the highlights of the festival will be a concert marking the 90th birthday of the great Slovenian pop music composer Mojmir Sepe, operettas Gräfin Mariza and Die Fledermaus, ballet performances Falling Angels and the Corsair, opera Nabucco, a concert by I Solisti Veneti, the musical Lolita from St Petersburg and Beethoven's violin sonatas performed by Slovenian violinist Lana Trotovšek and Spanish pianist Maria Canyigueral.
The closing event will be a concert by the La Scala orchestra from Milan.
The festival's main venue will be Congress Square, where preventive measures can be implemented more easily, while some events will be held at the Križanke open-air venue, and some in Cankarjev Dom.
The 68th summer festival will be filling the evenings in the centre of Ljubljana with classical music until 30 August.
You can see the full the progamme, and book tickets here. Some shows are already sold out
Thanks to its enviable geographical diversity with a vast network of pristine rivers and lakes, Slovenia is awash with fun water-related activities. From a relaxing swim or paddle-boarding trip, to adrenaline-pumping white-water adventures, the country is dotted with numerous water sports locations which become especially inviting during hotter summer months.
The region that stands out in terms of outdoor recreation is undoubtedly the mountainous area of the northwest, and Slovenia’s Julian Alps have become a mecca for rafting enthusiasts. Each year, the Soča River, appropriately labelled the Emerald Queen, attracts thousands of locals and tourists who come to tackle its amazing rapids. The Soča offers all levels of difficulty as it carves its way through the mesmerizingly gorgeous valley of the same name. Other rivers, including the Sava, Upper Savinja, Krka and Kolpa, are superb rafting destinations where you can enjoy a fantastic selection of rapids and pools, accompanied by spectacular countryside.
Besides rafting, many regions of Slovenia pride themselves with excellent kayaking conditions. The wild Soča, the slightly calmer Sava Dolinka and the easy flowing Kolpa are unquestionably the main kayaking rivers, but for those who are looking for some slow-paced paddling, the Ljubljanica is the river to venture down. Flowing through one of Europe’s greenest capitals, the Ljubljanica takes you from the protected marshlands straight into the Ljubljana’s vibrant centre, combining sightseeing with physical recreation. And for the more advanced kayakers, a slalom course on the Sava River on the outskirts of Ljubljana ensures superbly versatile practice runs.
Another increasingly popular water activity in Slovenia is the peculiar yet exhilarating sport of canyoning. It involves a unique way of exploring nature’s wonderful architecture by jumping, abseiling and sliding down hidden gorges with narrow passages, stunning waterfalls and crystal-clear pools in a surreally beautiful environment. Slovenia is home to numerous canyoning locations of varying difficulty. From the relatively demanding variations found at Fratarica and Grmečica, to more family-friendly descents at Jereka and Sušec – canyoning presents an exciting combination of adventure and sport where you can discover nature’s mysteries up-close and personal.
Whichever water activity you decide to engage in, remember that safety is paramount. Joining an organised group led by a professional guide who supplies you with all the necessary equipment and knowhow is the recommended way of traversing down Slovenia’s rivers and gorges.
If you’re interested in exploring the great outdoors in Slovenia, then check out the tours on offers at Slovenia Activities
STA, 28 June 2020 - Slovenian seaside resorts, popular tourist destinations in the country, are seeing a considerably bigger share of domestic guests in the wake of coronavirus restrictions as well as concerns and introduction of government holiday vouchers. Accommodation providers are optimistic, recording growing demand.
Since Thursday, all seaside hotels belonging to the Sava Turizem company are open and have been almost fully booked this weekend. Eurotas hotels on the coast are also seeing increased demand.
Next weekend, the situation will be similar, said Sava Turizem; its hotels in Izola and Strunjan are to be mostly fully booked, whereas the rest will record 65%-70% occupancy rate.
Domestic guests are the majority, followed by tourists from Austria and Germany.
The share of Slovenian guests in Sava Turizem hotels has spiked. Previously, domestic guests accounted for some 30% of all the demand, whereas this year almost 80% come from Slovenia.
Meanwhile, Eurotas hotels at the seaside have also reopened, seeing buoyant demand. Foreign guests are still more common, however the share of Slovenians has increased as well compared to previous tourist seasons.
Moreover, government holiday vouchers have been in the spotlight, with many Slovenians opting to use them or asking about relevant instructions, the company said.
STA, 27 June 2020 - Open-air cinema events are in the works this summer by the Slovenian Art Cinema Network (Art kino mreža Slovenije), which is to hold outdoor film screenings in 18 Slovenian cities and towns. The Ljubljana Kinodvor cinema has already opened its outdoor venue and plans to hold a number of events in July and August.
The 2020 Film Under the Stars, a series of open-air screenings in the courtyard of Ljubljana Castle, will be held as well as a three-day free-of-charge event in Congress Square.
The former saw a record number of visitors in 2019 with 16,700 film buffs climbing the Castle Hill or riding the funicular railway up to the castle to enjoy a cinema experience.
This year's event will take place between 16 July and 8 August, showing recent hits and some avant-premieres as well as special screenings. The programme will be released on 1 July when tickets pre-sale starts too.
Meanwhile, the Congress Square event will be held between 11 and 13 August.
The open-air screenings are now even more fitting in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, reads the network's press release.
Apart from the capital, film buffs could enjoy open-air screenings this summer in a number of towns across the country, including Idrija, Izola, Krško, Ptuj, Radovljica, Celje and Slovenj Gradec.
The Summer Cinema locations will include castles, parks, abandoned swimming pool complexes and other intriguing venues.
Moreover, a drive-in cinema will be held in Ptuj with a two-day event.
The summer has begun, and while travel restrictions and fear of quarantine will mean fewer foreign tourists this year, there’s still plenty for locals and visitors to enjoy in the days and weeks ahead. Two events of note are the Ljubljana Festival and Ana Desetnica.
The 68th Ljubljana Festival starts Monday 29 June and runs until 3 September, with the usual outstanding programme of classical music, opera, ballet, musicals, pop, theatrical performances, art events and more going on in the capital. While the home of the Festival is Plečnik’s wonderful Križanke open-air theatre, you’ll also find shows in Congress Square, Cankarjev dom and SNG Opera & Ballet, with the packed schedule and details on tickets to found here.
Some of the evenings on offer at the Ljubljana Festival
Ana Desetnica, the international festival of street theatre, has an even fuller (albeit shorter) schedule of theatre, music, comedy, circus-style acts and so on – all free to view – and takes place in various towns and cities across the country, with the programme split into two halves.
Part one sees the fun come to Kamnik (27 & 28 June), Ljubljana (1-4 July), Nova Gorica (30 June - 4 July), Sežana (3 July), Ilirska Bistrica (4 July), Gornja Radgona (3 & 4 July), Celje (4 July), and Krško (4 July). Part two comes in September, and we’ll remind you then.
In Ljubljana, much of the action takes place on Slovenska cesta. Photo: Fickr - Luka Dakskobler
The festival was split in two because of the uncertainty raised by Covid-19. As such the first section will feature Slovenian artists and artists living in Slovenia, while those from abroad are expected to appear in the second half, planned between 17 and 20 September with performances in Ljubljana, Novo Mesto, Šoštanj and Nova Gorica. Moreover, artists associated with Ana Desetnica will also be bringing joy to the streets and squares of Maribor, Ankaran and Vrhnika, with all performances will be free of charge. You can see the full schedule – divided by town or city – here.