The Slovenia Times

Slovenia: Vibrant Winter Destination


For years, the hidden gem that is Slovenia is being discovered by more and more people and so each year the description becomes a little less true. The winter season is considerably quieter than summer, but it certainly is not the "off-season" and statistics indicate tourist numbers are increasing. When the days are short and cold, Slovenia is visited by business people for conferences, skiers to the mountain resorts, guests to the spas and backpackers on adventure.

Business people can take a break from work to enjoy a ski. The popular MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) locations in Slovenia have ski resorts nearby. The ski resort, Krvavec, is only 15 minutes away from Ljubljana while another popular MICE destination, Bled, lies near the ski resorts of Vogel, Pokljuka and Kranjska Gora. Skiers can, during poor weather, enjoy trips to the festive city centres or relax their tired muscles at a spa. Spa guests can get active on the ski slopes when they've had enough of resting or maybe hike through Slovenia's winter wonderland. 

In winter, spa resorts are popular places to stay. For example, in December 2012 around 40% of all overnight stays were recorded in health resorts, while only 23% of all stays were at mountain resorts. Slovenian spas are popular at all times of the year. There are 15 natural health resorts in the country and 17 thermal spas. 

Spa resorts are not only popular with tourists looking for wellness, many attract their fair share of business tourists. With its resorts, hotels, congress and exhibition centres, nature and central position, Slovenia is an up and coming MICE destination. On 22 and 23 January Ljubljana will host the South East European exhibition for meetings and incentives, Conventa, the main business tourism event in the region.

Around a third of the tourists in winter stay at the ski resorts where January and February are the busiest months. Slovenia's major ski centres are all easy to reach from the capital, Ljubljana. The six biggest ski centres are Krvavec which lies next to Ljubljana Airport; Kranjska Gora, near the border with Austria; Vogel, high above Lake Bohinj; Pohorje in Maribor; Rogla in Zreče; and Cerkno close to Idrija in the west of Slovenia. Last season the ski resorts saw the number of visitors in the winter season rise 11% to 1.3 million. This winter season the first ski resorts opened on the last weekend in November. 

Ljubljana is a destination for all seasons. 20% of visitors in the country stay in the capital which bursts with energy in December when the Ljubljana Festive Fair draws thousands of visitors in the evenings. In December 2012, Ljubljana recorded a 7% rise in tourist arrivals and overnight stays. 

In December 2012 even the seaside resorts saw the number of tourists rise. The Adriatic Sea provides the coast with a mild winter, when sun seekers make way for business tourists and those looking for relaxation. 

The winter season in Slovenia is packed with events and festivities. It starts with the wine and food festivals around Saint Martin's Day on 11 November then continues with the December festivities in the run up to Christmas and ends with Carnival at the beginning of March. During this period a wide variety of events are organised, ranging from the erotic fair Erotica 69 on 14 - 16 December in Celje to the Snow Castle Building Championships from 24 - 26 January in Črna na Koroškem. 


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