Looking for a winter escape this year? Whether you want to get away from the cold or you’re looking to dive right into it, Slovenia has a great combination of mountain and coastal fun waiting for you! From dreamy Lake Bled to charming Ljubljana all the way out to Piran on the Adriatic sea, here are our picks for the best things to do in Slovenia in winter and best Slovenia winter activities!
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The Best Things to Do in Slovenia in Winter
In no particular order…
Visit Slovenia’s Christmas Markets for Some Holiday Cheer
While Germany and Austria might be more famous Christmas Market destinations, Slovenia has its share of magical Christmas markets, pageants, and events to attend!
Start with the Ljubljana Christmas Market, which turns the beautiful capital into a magical fairytale. You’ll also love the Lake Bled Christmas Market, which sits beside the lake and has a special light show on December 25th called the Legend of the Sunken Bell. Make sure to see this even if you plan to spend Christmas in Bled!
Other great Slovenian Christmas markets include those put on by the towns of Celje, Maribor, and Radovljica.
Tour One of Slovenia’s Epic Castles – in the Snow!
The country of Slovenia is practically synonymous with beautiful castles, and they’re even better in the snow! You can attend special seasonal events at some (like Bled Castle’s Dance), or simply enjoy the beauty of these architectural wonders in the fog.
Get Cozy in Ljubljana
Ljubljana is a cupcake-frosted dreamscape at any time of year, but it is especially darling in winter! Between the joyful Christmas lights in December and the romantic air of Valentine’s day. One of my absolute favorite cities in Europe, come in winter to avoid the crowds and enjoy the extra winter festivities.
Go Chase (or Climb!) Some Slovenian Waterfalls
We adore Slovenia’s fabulous waterfalls, but they aren’t just for appreciating in summer! In winter you can still visit many of them – like the magnificent Kozjak Waterfall in Triglav National Park. Though if you want to be more adventurous, many of Slovenia’s waterfall can be climbed once they freeze over for the year.
Enjoy a Serene Trip to Lake Bled
Spending a few days in winter in Lake Bled means you can appreciate some of the best lake activities with a gorgeous backdrop of snow and with far fewer crowds than in summer. Plus there are special activities you can only do here in winter, like skiing at Bled, ice skating, and seeing the Bled Christmas Market.
Get an Adrenaline Rush and Ski, Snowboard, or Climb Slovenia’s Peaks
Winter in Slovenia is full of opportunities to try your hand at winter sports. You can climb Mount Triglav, Slovenia’s highest peak, go skiing in Triglav National Park, or try out snowboarding, cross-country skiing, or even snowshoeing! Slovenes have been at the forefront of winter sports for centuries, so there’s no shortage of things to try here!
If you’d rather watch than do it yourself, you can attend the Biathalon World Cup and World Championships, which will be held in Pokljuka in February of 2020 and 2021.
Wander Through a Quiet Piran on the Adriatic Sea
If you prefer your winter travel to the sea instead of in the snow, head to Piran. Slovenia’s Adriatic gem, Piran is a bit foggy and gets light snow, but is a fabulous place to unwind with a glass of wine overlooking the water. Plus, the town has special winter and seasonal events planned (many of them quite delicious) for an extra bit of wintery flare!
Relax at One of Slovenia’s Spas or Hot Springs
Since moving to the Balkans, I’ve developed a new relationship with spas and hot springs. Basically, hot springs are life.
In most cities in Slovenia, you can enjoy the local spas, but if you want to take it up a notch, check out the natural hot springs in Dolenjska at the Toplice Spa.
Eat Your Way Across Slovenia
Slovenian food might not be famous outside of Slovenia, but it certainly is delicious! A mix of traditional Balkan, Italian, and Austrian cuisine, it’s a reflection of the cultures that make up Slovenia.
The best part? It’s hearty and tastes great in winter! Make sure to sample Potica, Carniolan sausage, and Štruklji.
Tibble on Slovenia’s Delicious Local Wines and Liquors
If you love wine, you’ll love Slovenia. And if you need to escape the cold for a few hours, a wine tasting is the perfect way to enjoy some time indoors.
Slovenia has three main wine regions, the Drava Wine-Growing Region, the Lower Sava Wine-Growing Region, and the Littoral Wine-Growing Region. Between these three regions and their different varieties, you won’t run out of delicious local wines to try!
Shop til You Drop for Slovenian Souvenirs and Gifts
I absolutely adore shopping in Slovenia! From cuddly stuffed Ljubljana dragons to Idrija lace, each region has its own perfect souvenirs for you to peruse!
Escape the Cold in One of Slovenia’s Famous Caves
Southern Slovenia’s Karst region is a land of amazing caves. If you’re an avid (or amateur) spelunker, you’ll treasure your time in Slovenia.
There are actually over thirteen thousand caves in Slovenia, but the two most famous can’t-miss caves are Škocjan Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Postojna Cave near Predjama Castle.
Skip Venice & Celebrate Carnival the Slovenian Way – at Kurentovanje!
A visit to the festival of Kurentovanje has been on my Balkan bucket list for years. Related to Bulgaria’s Surva Festival, Kurentovanje is a way that Slovenians transformed their ancient pagan rituals into ones that conformed with the prevailing Catholic traditions after the introduction of Christianity, thus creating a Balkan Carnival!
For more information on how to attend Kurentovanje, check out their website.
Where to stay in Slovenia in Winter
When traveling to Slovenia, we recommend checking out Booking.com as early as possible. The country is gaining in popularity as a tourist destination, so some of the best spots do sell-out early!
What to Pack for Slovenia in Winter
We have a full Slovenia packing list, but in case you just want the quick version, here are a few essentials you shouldn’t forget to pack!
A good guidebook: While travel blogs are great, we still think a good guidebook is always handy. We suggest Lonely Planet Slovenia if you’ll be traveling quite a bit around the country, or if you are planning a multi-country Balkan trip, Lonely Planet Western Balkans includes Slovenia and many of its neighbors.
One or two swimsuits: While swimsuits may not come to mind for ski season, if you’re staying in a ski resort with a sauna, indoor pool, or steam room, you’ll likely want one! We suggest bringing two so you never have to put a cold wet one back on. We love this one.
Plenty of winter clothing: You can check our packing list above for our full winter packing suggestions for men and women. At a minimum, you’ll want to bring a warm winter jacket (I love this North Face parka), cozy snow boots, warm wool socks, touch-screen friendly gloves, a scarf, and a winter hat.
Any ski equipment and clothing: We’re not skiers ourselves, so we don’t have specific ski gear equipment, but special ski clothes — waterproof pants and jackets, goggles, etc. — and ski gear obviously should be on your packing list, unless you have decided to rent it all when you arrive at your Slovenia ski resort.
Moisturizer: Travel will beat your skin up in the best of times — and winter travel in addition to skiing will really do a number on it! If you use a moisturizer at home, bring it. If you’ve never used a moisturizer before, you really should start. You’ll be happy to give your face a boost before heading outside in the cold all day.
Sunscreen: We strongly suggest wearing sunscreen when you spend time outdoors, no matter the weather outside. The higher altitudes combined with the reflection of the sun off the snow can lead to unexpected sunburns. I love this solid Neutrogena sunscreen – it’s mess-free, works well in carry-ons, is ultra-protective, and blends in well.
More Slovenia Travel Resources
If you’re just starting to prepare for your trip to Slovenia, read our guide to planning a trip to Slovenia which features an 11-step checklist!
You’ll also definitely want to read our all-season, all-gender Slovenia packing list, which includes a huge winter section! We also have a guide to visiting the Lake Bled Christmas Market and the best Lake Bled winter activities if you’ll be here in from the end of November through the beginning of January!
If you’re an avid photographer, you’ll find our Instagram guide to Bled helpful (Ljubljana on the way!).
If you need more Slovenia travel inspiration, check out the best places to visit in Slovenia, the best Slovenian castles, the most breath-taking Slovenian waterfalls, and what Slovenian souvenirs you should bring home.
Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!
I’m sure you’re aware that travel insurance is a good idea for traveling in Slovenia (or really, any part of the world)! Allison and I have both been paying customers of World Nomads for the last three years. We love the peace of mind it gives us in case of emergencies, accidents, illnesses, theft, or trip cancellation or disruption.
While the Balkans are perfectly safe to travel around, there’s always a risk inherent in everyday travel, especially during the winter! – so it’s better to play it safe.
Pin this Guide to the Best Things to Do in Slovenia in Winter for Your Trip!
Stephanie has been living in and traveling around the Balkans for the past three years. She’s written for National Geographic Online, appeared on CNN Arabic and in the New York Times, and ridden more Balkan buses than is good for a person.