With beautiful scenery, delicious locally sourced cuisine and a wealth of arts and cultural pursuits; Slovenia is a country that has it all. As the days get longer and the mountains come alive with springtime colours, Slovenia welcomes all travellers hungry for authentic culture and traditional adventure this spring.
Slovenian Spring Traditions
On Easter Sunday, Slovenians celebrate with numerous traditions such as creating Easter baskets filled with eggs, ham, horseradish and potica (nut roll) which is eaten with the whole family. Children often like to participate in a fun game which includes smashing into each other’s Easter eggs until they break before searching for hidden eggs and gifts outside.
In many different towns and villages, bellringers compete by climbing bell towers and calling out unique noises for everyone to hear, each with their own distinct style. A week before the Easter celebrations begin, locals plant greenery in their gardens and decorate fruits with colourful creations. For families wanting to be enriched in cultural traditions, Slovenia is the best place to celebrate a time of change and new opportunities.
Where to Explore
The Volčji Potok Arboretum
The most visited botanical park in Slovenia, The Volčji Potok Arboretum extends 85 hectares and features 3,500 plants from around the world. Mother Nature at its best, streams and lakes offer habitats to water plants and animals. Specially marked paths lead visitors through beneficial energy points. From 10 April until 2 May, the most notable tulip exhibition takes place and transforms the gardens into a colourful romantic landscape.
Odprta Kuhna (Open Kitchen)
Every Friday from March until October, the Pogacar Square at Ljubljana’s central market is transformed into Odprta Kuhna, an open kitchen that is filled with food stalls from Slovenia and surrounding countries. Bringing together the best eateries from across the country, it offers a colourful culinary experience for travellers wanting to taste the authentic flavours of Slovenia.
The Works of Jože Plečnik in Ljubljana – Human Centred Urban Design
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Jože Plečnik, one of Slovenia’s most important architects who was responsible for transforming Ljubljana. Families visiting over Easter can see his notable designs in the capital, which include Triple Bridge and Central Market, or head to the The Works of Jože Plečnik in Ljubljana – Human Centred Design at the Museum of Architecture and Design. Taking place until 8 May, the exhibition delves into his designs, from initial concept to UNESCO World Heritage-listed buildings.
Famous for its sparkling clear waters surrounded by towering green trees, spring is a great time to visit Lake Bled. Just an hour’s train journey from Ljubljana, travellers can expect fewer crowds in spring along with pleasant temperatures, making April and May some of the best months to jump into the water. Earlier this year, Booking.com recognised Bled as one of its top 10 most welcoming cities on earth.
Radovljica Chocolate Festival (23-24 April)
Located in the old town centre in Radovljica, northern Slovenia, the Radovljica Chocolate Festival is the first and only festival of its kind in the country. Taking place 23-34 April, visitors can indulge in all things chocolate and will be enticed by the vast choice of pralines, desserts and other delights. The perfect way to spend the Easter holidays, from tastings and hands-on workshops to live cooking demonstrations, there’s something for each member of the family.
Where to Hike
After months of cold air and avoiding the outdoors, spring is a time for stretching the legs and Slovenia boasts a number of long-distance hiking trails that invite intrepid explorers to discover once-in-a-lifetime locations.
The Slovenian Mountain Trail
The Slovenian Mountain Trail is one of the most popular long-distance trails in the country. Spanning 617 kilometres and taking around 28 days to complete in total, the hike begins in Maribor and takes walkers across the plateaus of the Pohorje Hills, the Kamnik and Savinja Alps. Travellers can see the incredible Karavanke Alps and Julian Alps before feeling the fresh sea breeze of the Adriatic coast.
Alpe Adria Trail
There is no better way to experience the great outdoors than hiking the Alpe Adria Trail, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Linking Slovenia to Austria and Italy, the trail is approximately 750 kilometres long, has 43 stages and is suitable for hikers of all abilities. Stages one to 21 run through Austria before getting to the 22nd stage which takes trekkers across Slovenia, where the Italian and Slovenian borders intertwine.
Destined to win every traveller’s heart, paths guide tourists through Triglav National Park in the Julian Alps, Lake Jasna, Trenta Valley and the emerald green Soča River. The Slovenian part of the trail offers many opportunities for authentic restaurant stops and stays at mountain huts and traditional inns.
British Airways flies direct from London Heathrow to Ljubljana from £86 return and EasyJet flies direct from London Gatwick from £53.98 return.
For more information about Slovenia, visit www.slovenia.info