During the Festive Season Slovenia is even more attractive and lively than usual. During this time the most lovely Christmas fairs come to life and the country is visited by three eagerly awaited men – St. Nicholas, Santa Claus and Grandfather Frost. Ljubljana is by far the most lively location, and in December becomes a popular centre for socialising, with numerous events taking place outdoors. The festive spirit can also be felt in Maribor and Celje in Štajerska region, Bled and Radovljica in Gorenjska region, on the Slovenian coast and in numerous other towns throughout the country.
On December 3rd many festive stalls turn on their lights in Ljubljana. A special event, with which we welcome Ljubljana`s sparkling presence traditionally unwinds in Prešeren Square. Not far away, in the old town centre, at the Festive Fair the air is filled with the wonderful aroma of festive food specialities the whole month through! The fair becomes the centre for social events in the capital, with many outdoor festive events and musical concerts taking place nearby. The locals of Ljubljana also like to make use of the fair as an opportunity to meet up with acquaintances, that they perhaps don`t see every day. In the festively decorated green cottages, which line the banks of the Ljubljanica river that winds its way through the city, there is a diverse range of selected Slovenian products on offer, suitable for gift-giving. On 3 December the Festive Fair is joined by the St. Nicholas Fair. in Prešeren Square. The tradition of St. Nicholas, who on the evening before his name day on 6 December, brings children gifts, is a popular Slovenian folk tradition still alive today. At the many festive stalls you can find lots of gift ideas, suitable for traditional St. Nicholas gift-giving. Grandfather Frost visits the old part of the city between 26 and 30 December. This is a majestic arrival with his carriage pulled by elegant Slovenian Lipizzaner horses.
In Maribor, the second largest city in Slovenia, festive lights are also turned on on 3 December, signalling the opening of Magical December. The city squares and streets are filled with more than thirty festive stalls, every day up until the New Year`s Eve celebrations. There, the St. Nicholas, Christmas and New Year fairs, delight everyone. Numerous Christmas and New Year`s Eve concerts are organised at Leon Štukelj Square, the largest square in Slovenia. The city comes to life with magical New Year`s Eve events on fairy-like squares, streets and courtyards.
In December, a very special fairy-tale land which is a real paradise for the youngest visitors, opens its doors in the old town of Celje (also known as The Prince Town). In that period, children have the opportunity to dance with fairies, dwarfs and snowmen, and are also visited by Santa. You can take a special fairytale train to Celje. On the way, fairies will make your trip shorter by telling stories. You can arrive to Celje from Ljubljana, Maribor, Velenje and other towns as well. In addition to the fairy-tale streets of the old town, there are a number of stalls in the old town that shine under the festive lights and a number of music concerts are organized and reach the grand final on the longest night of the year.
December is also a cheerful time on the Slovenian coast. From 24 December to 6 January the idyllic narrow streets of Piran take on a festive glow. In Tartini Square the popular Christmas and New Year Fair is held. Portorož opens the festive season on 5 December. From then until the New Year the Kempinski Palace Hotel Portorož organises a festive Christmas-New Year marketplace every Friday, Saturday and Sunday as well as the popular Champagne Festival.
At the beginning of December, the genuinely sweet town of Radovljica, takes on festive colours, which entice many visitors to the St. Nicholas fair. In Radovljica`s festively decorated town centre there is an Advent Fair every weekend during December. Visit the stalls offering local handicrafts, await the arrival of Santa Claus and enjoy the outdoor events.
Slovenians love to socialise, therefore in the country stretching from the Alps to the Mediterranean almost every place organises and hosts a festival or a traditional event. We carry celebrations, music and dance in our hearts. Especially during the magical month of December.