Slovenia Christmas Top 5 Things to Do
20.12.2017 | Fiona Thompson
In Slovenia, December is “Čarobni december” – magical December. Across the country, town and city squares are decorated with twinkling lights, a Christmas tree and there are often Christmas markets and always stalls selling mulled wine and other festive treats. The first big event of the month takes place on 6 December – St Nicholas Day. The night before, children put their shoes outside when they go to bed, and when they wake, they find their shoes filled with candy. Many towns hold a special St Nicholas Fair for a few days around this time.
As well as “Čarobni december”, a variety of events take place which always draw plenty of visitors and which are very much looked forward to with fondness and excitement.
1. Nativity at Postojna Cave
Tourists have been visiting the spectacular karst caves at Postojna for more than a century but it’s special “living nativity” is a little younger – 2018 is its 28th year. 16 scenes from the Christmas story are reenacted at 5 locations along the five kilometres of the cave, while there are also musical performances and a Christmas market to make sure everyone gets properly into a Christmassy mood.
2. Drink a toast with bubbles by the sea
A fairly new event that is quickly becoming a tradition is the annual sparkling wine festival which takes place at the prestigious Kempinski Hotel in Portorož on 26 December. Producer of champagne, prosecco, and other sparkling wines from across Europe take part in the event in the Kempinski’s exquisite Kristal Hall.This year the popular Slovenian singer Alenka Godec will perform at the festival.
3. Bled Festive Promenade
With a frosty winter cloak, Bled always looks Christmassy in December but with the lights and other decorations, it’s even more special. The special promenade with stalls and entertainment is open every evening from Monday to Thursday and from 11.00 to 21.00 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 1 December until 7 January. As well as the usual Christmas cribs, craft stalls and mulled wine, this year there will be concerts and ice sculptures.
The highlight of Christmas at Bled comes on 25th December with the Legend of the Sunken Bell, a story which dates back to the 16th century which is revived every year.
4. The Land of Ice, Vodno mesto Atlantis, Ljubljana
Strictly speaking, The Land of Ice isn’t a Christmas event but this magical ice kingdom is with its amazing ice sculptures is a great place to visit at Christmas time. These carefully chiselled figures are characters from fairy tales and myths or ice houses and grottos that you can walk inside. There’s even a thrilling ice slide!
To warm up there’s hot chocolate or mulled wine and if mum and choose something a little stronger to warm up, spirits are served in ice glasses too!
5. Grandfather Frost comes to town
Slovenians talk about the “three good men” who visit in December: the first is St Nicholas, the second is Father Christmas and the third is Dedek Mraz – Grandfather Frost. Dedek Mraz is actually a fairly recent tradition dating from the socialist era when Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia, but kids still look forward to his arrival in towns across the country, as special events are held with parades and concerts.
The biggest takes place in Ljubljana on 26 December an sees Dedek Mraz arrive in a carriage drawn by beautiful white Lipizzaner horses. He is accompanied by a procession of snowmen, bears, rabbits and other creatures, as well as characters from beloved fairytales. As with all of the outdoor December events taking place around Slovenia in Magical December, there are plenty of places to warm up with a hot chocolate or mulled wine.