Culture and history in the glow of festive lights

The gradually diminishing daylight is replaced in December by thousands of holiday lights. The magic appeal of fairy-tale lights inspires us to walk streets filled with stories to festive celebration venues and small boutique shops. The stories can also be found in museums that excite with adventures set throughout the different historical periods of Slovenian towns that are justifiably proud of their heritage. 

The situation in 2021 will change the usual holiday atmosphere and may reduce the number of events and December gatherings, but it will not affect the beauty of town architecture. In the embrace of winter and festive lights, many urban features are accentuated even more. Responsible social distancing has not changed the desire to purchase original gifts that are easier to find in small boutique shops than in large shopping centres. This is also one of the reason for visiting the historic and cultural towns in Slovenia in December.

Let the festive December be responsible and healthy

While December is a time of joy and relaxation, you need to take care of your safety and the safety of others when visiting December events and fairs due to the epidemiological situation related to Covid-19. Therefore, respect the recommendations and follow the updated information regarding Covid-19.

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Ljubljana: Omnipotence – Power of All

This time, the Slovenian capital will shine in the spirit of the Slovenian saying V slogi je moč (United we stand, divided we fall). Each element, each detail is special in its own right and, together with the others, forms a magnificent whole that will brighten up the long December nights. The designer of the festive decorations, Urban Modic, has supplemented the basic building elements of the decorations, which were designed by his father Zmago Modic, and rearranged them around the city in a different way than in previous years, thus creating a new illuminated fairy tale with a powerful message. The new elements also include a visual spectacle on the facade of the Town Hall, where various festive motifs will be brought together.

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advent v mestih_maribor

Magical Maribor

In the magical month of December, the streets and squares of Maribor are aglow with countless fairy lights and Lumino light sculptures, with festively decorated photo opportunity spots at the Magic Gallery only adding to the charm. The decoration of the main streets with magic threads symbolises the connection between people. In the company of the city's inhabitants, you can decorate the urban greenery, visit the gift and art market full of local produce and products, and let your imagination run wild in Fairy Town.

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Fairy-tale Celje

In December, the town of the Counts of Celje, situated next to the Savinja River, is usually transformed into a fairy-tale land with characters from children’s books, fairies, horses and the good men of December (St Nicholas, Father Christmas and Grandfather Frost). Fairy-tale characters light up right before the eyes of delighted children. While strolling the streets of the old town centre, you’ll find countless ideas for original gifts when you see what the local providers and small boutique shops have to offer. Or you may even end up in a museum.

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Merry Kranj

The town considered the cultural capital of the Slovenian Alps is particularly proud of the poet France Prešeren (whose surname means merry in Slovenian). Verses from his poems are projected onto buildings in the old town centre during the holiday season. While admiring the festive lights, you can stop by the wooden stands of the festive market or pop into one of the shops selling original souvenirs and gifts – from creations by renowned Slovenian designers inspired by ethnological motifs to handicrafts from social enterprises. You can even find replicas of jewellery from the first millennium, the golden era of Carnia.

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Photo: Jaka Ivančič

Fantazima in Koper

You may not experience winter in the true meaning of the word in Koper, but you can experience Fantazima (fantasy winter). Holiday lights and illuminated elements enrich the main town venues and attractions. Children will be excited to see light images of animals in Hlavaty Park between Koper Marketplace and Semedela Promenade, while adults can admire the tallest environmentally friendly Christmas tree at Kardeljeva ploščad.

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Sweet Radovljica

The venue is surrounded by picturesque houses dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, which look especially stunning when illuminated. They house the Museum of Apiculture, pottery arts, products and activities showcasing the over 250-year-old honeybread tradition, and the Pharmacy and Alchemy Museum. The town centre is embellished with original hand-made decorations crafted from natural materials.

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Kamnik with architect Jože Plečnik and artisans

In early December, the town that lies in the embrace of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps under the renowned plateau of Velika planina is usually visited by St Nicholas, who looks down upon the illuminated town from Mali grad hill. The magic of the town is brought to life by festive decorations, an outdoor skating rink and the prettily decorated wooden stalls of the Christmas market. On Kamnik's picturesque Šutna Street, you can find original gifts, such as the Kamnik "majolka" pitcher, and also learn about traditional crafts. In the town where the famous Jože Plečnik left his mark, you can find products that pay homage to the great architect.

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Advent in cities of culture – supplement

In December, the streets and squares of Ptuj create a fairy-tale backdrop where strings of lights and decorations illuminate the historical buildings and the charming old city centre is adorned with Christmas trees and figures. In such a setting, the Ptuj fairy tale comes to life, offering everything you need for a magical December.

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Illuminated Novo mesto

In the festive season, Novo mesto comes alive amidst the glow of thousands of twinkling lights. The festively decorated town centre will delight you with attractive light installations. The light-animated ice ring with an evening disco on the ice has its own charm. The fairy-tale land and the Christmas train light a sparkle of excitement in children's eyes. In the town, there are special spots for taking unforgettable Christmas photos. Of course, there is also an Advent market with its rich offer of products from local artisans and producers.  

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What is festive Slovenia like?

In a word: wonderful! Festively decorated towns chase away the bleakness of the long winter nights by being clad in bright and cheerful colours reminiscent of a fairy tale. Holiday shopping and enticing aromas wafting from kitchens also add to the holiday spirit.

Made and bought in Slovenia

Buy something to remind you of Slovenia.

Made and bought in Slovenia

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Holiday decorations and Slovenian customs during Advent

Learn about the tradition of Christmas decorations and creating a holiday spirit in Slovenia.

Holiday decorations and Slovenian customs during Advent

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Potica, the delicious queen of festive dishes

Prepare a walnut Potica using the traditional recipe!

Potica, the delicious queen of festive dishes

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Typical Slovenian Dishes Found on Holiday Tables

Enjoy the Slovenian holiday culinary delights!

Typical Slovenian Dishes Found on Holiday Tables

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