Christmas 2016 in Slovenia – Christmas Markets, Food and Traditions

In February next year I will have been living in Slovenia for 10 years – gosh how time flies! My first Christmas here in 2007 was a bit of a culture shock as, at that time, Christmas wasn’t, or at least to me didn’t seem to be, such a big deal – no roast turkey and all the trimmings, no crackers and wearing of silly paper hats (though some might say that’s a bonus!), no shops crammed with Christmas merchandise in September and blaring Christmas jingles for months on end, and just a few low-, or at least lower-key Christmas markets.

Well, things have definitely changed and Christmas is most definitely here in a big(ger) way! With an increasing number of people choosing Slovenia as a destination for a short-break over Christmas/New Year, this blog has a run down of just some of things you can see and do.

Christmas in Ljubljana, Photo: http://www.slovenia.info

As in many other countries in Europe, the evening of the 24th is when most families celebrate and get together for a special meal, to exchange gifts and/or attend midnight mass. It’s worth noting that many restaurants are closed on Christmas Eve, or close earlier than usual. Shops are usually open on the 24th but close a little earlier than usual. All shops are closed on the 25th and again this is a family day, often for some recreational activities perhaps skiing, hiking or visiting relatives. The 26th is also a public holiday, Independence and Unity Day, and therefore again many shops and business will be closed although these days most of the larger ones are open, at least for a few hours in the morning. No Boxing Day Sales – hooray!

Christmas markets take place in all the major cities – the largest being in Ljubljana, where there are numerous markets throughout the city, the main one being alongside the banks of the Ljubljanica river. The festivities kick-off on 25th November with the official switching on of the lights at 5.15pm. There are also numerous concerts and other events taking place throughout the festive period. More here – http://bit.ly/2eBfQhk

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Christmas in Ljubljana, Photo: http://www.slovenia.info

My home town of Radovljica, one of the three best-preserved historic towns in Slovenia, has a small Advent Market and also looks magical! More information here – http://tinyurl.com/zxczvsg

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The cute little Alpine Village in the ski resort of Kranjska Gora is a winter wonderland. More information here – http://tinyurl.com/jbntrpl

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Slovenia’s 2nd biggest city, Maribor, switches on its Christmas lights on Friday 25th November. The Christmas programme includes a Christmas market, St. Nicholas fair, Artmar fair, city ice-rink, concerts and parties. More information here – http://bit.ly/1I8qXL0

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Festivities in Bled begin on 2nd December. A Christmas market takes place on the promenade at the south end of Lake Bled. If there’s snow, the island looks even more fairy tale-like! More information here – http://bit.ly/2eDpZZj

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Bled Island, Photo: http://www.slovenia.info

There are also Christmas markets in Celje and Portorož, as well as smaller local ones in many other towns throughout the country, though these tend to only be open for a few days rather than for the entire advent period.

Throughout Slovenia you will find a host of other festive events and activities, where you can be a spectator or join in, including live nativities, outdoor ice-rinks, parades and concerts.

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Outdoor ice-rink in Maribor – Photo: Produkcija80

The last two years, Christmas has not been ‘white’. However, if it is a white Christmas, then there are a whole host of other possibilities, such as sledging, skiing, snow-shoeing, hiking etc. My parents often spend Christmas here and we have had some memorable Christmas Days, including this one below, spent hiking on the Pokljuka Plateau.

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And Christmas isn’t Christmas (and Easter not Easter!) without home-baked potica! You can read plenty more about my potica journey here – https://adeleinslovenia.com/2016/03/03/easter-in-slovenia-my-potica-journey/

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So, if you are considering Slovenia’s for a Christmas break, then rest assured, you will find plenty to see and do. You can also be safe in the knowledge that you won’t have to pull a cracker and wear a silly hat!

© Adele in Slovenia

New Culinary Experiences & Cycling Tours in Radol’ca

There’s lots happening in the Radol’ca area right now so here’s a round up of the latest news.

NEW: ALL DAY BREAKFAST- Gostilna Kunstelj in Radovljica is now serving an all-day breakfast!

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The breakfast is not your usual fry-up, but instead the focus is on homemade and/or locally produced food and drink, typical of the area, and includes; cold meats and cheeses, homemade bread with butter and honey from a local beekeeper, apple juice and honey liqueur, eggs baked with home-grown herbs and more.

Weather permitting, breakfast may be taken outside on the terrace with wonderful views of the Julian Alps, the Jelovica plateau, and in the cool beneath the small Wine Square area which is home to a descendant of Slovenia’s oldest vine – located in Maribor – which is over 400 years old and is listed in the Guinness Book of Records – http://maribor-pohorje.si/the-old-vine–the-oldest-vine-in-the-world.aspx

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In addition to the new all-day breakfast, Gostilna Kunstelj have now prepared a special area for private picnic dining for up to 8 people in a shaded area, again with the wonderful views mentioned above. By prior arrangement, buffets, finger food, or traditional Slovene menus can be served. See here for more information – http://www.kunstelj.si/

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NEW: FREE BIKE TOURS – If you are visiting the Radol’ca area this summer, are staying in accommodation within the Municipality of Radovljica, and would like to see more of the area at a leisurely pace by bike, you can avail of new FREE guided bike tours. The guided trips begin from the Šobec Camp, or can also be joined at Lesce Railway Station, and en-route visit Radovljica, Mosnje, Brezje and Begunje. More information is available here – http://www.radolca.si/en/free-guided-cycling-tour/

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NEW: FRESH THURSDAYS IN THE SQUARE – Every Thursday in July there is live entertainment in Linhart Square, the heart of Radovljica’s old town, in the form of street theatre and live music. Last week we were entertained by the Šugla Street Theatre and later the Krško Big Band. This week there’s more from the Šugla Street Theatre to be followed by music from Marko Hatlak & Funtago. Everyone welcome!

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© AdeleinSlovenia 2015