Winter sports adventures and events in Slovenia trips travel

BEST ADVENTURES AND UNIQUE THINGS TO DO IN SLOVENIA IN THE WINTER | sports, recreation, events, relaxation and fun in the snow

Katja SLOVENIA, WINTER SPORTS 20 Comments

December is almost here! Anyone else excited about the upcoming winter? Even though I am a huge summer lover and can stay under the sun for hours and hours I can openly admit that every Autumn I just can´t wait for snow and temperatures below zero. I´ve learned how to ski at a very early age, as many other Slovenian kids do as well and the cold weather was never an excuse for staying at home over the free weekends in our family. So, because this 2020 / 2021 season will be slightly different than the ones before and we´re probably going to spend it in Europe, due to we all know what, I´ve put together a long post about winter activities, events and adventures in Slovenia, my home country. Maybe some of you get new ideas and decide to visit our tiny little country in the winter time for a change. Read more about what all you can see and do there in snowy conditions below.

ALPINE SKIING | the best ski resorts and trails in Slovenia

Starting with alpine skiing, which is by far the most popular winter sport in Slovenia and we even joke about the fact that if you can´t ski you are not Slovene. Despite being a small country, we do have quite a lot of mountains, therefore also many ski slopes and resorts to chose from as well. They might be smaller than the ones in the neighbouring Austria or Italy, but they are perfect for families, beginners as well as experienced skiers. Most of the times I ski in Kranjska Gora and Krvavec, but there are many more. Let´s see which ones.

smučanje Kranjska Gora Slovenija zimski šoporti aktivne počitnice winter sports Slovneia

smučanje Slovenija zimske športne aktivnosti winter time Slovenia skiing winmter sports

Besides KRANJSKA GORA, not too far from Bled and close to Austrian and Italian border, the most famous ski resort is POHORJE with ROGLA, in the east of the country, close to Maribor. Skiing is really great also on KANIN – SELLA NEVEA (a ski area connected to Italy), VOGEL (above Bohinj lake) and KRVAVEC (very close to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia). Other slightly smaller ski centres are CERKNO, GOLTE, STARI VRH, SORIŠKA PLANINA, VELIKA PLANINA and KOPE. Of course there are a bunch of other more local and even smaller ski places like Vidrga, Marela, Javornik, Straža and Črna na Koroškem for example. If you would like to explore more ski areas, you can also purchase a combined ticket which can be used on various ski lifts and places all over Slovenia, it is called SKI PASS SLOVENIA.

NIGHT SKIING | skiing in the late evenings

For a different skiing experience you can try the NIGHT SKIING, which is possible on almost all of the major ski resorts, but maybe only over the weekends so make sure to check this information before. Usually the ski slopes close late in the afternoon and are being prepared again, then the night skiing opens at around 7pm and lasts a couple of hours. So it´s more of an evening thing, it can be fun but make sure to dress up extra warm as it is much colder than in the day. Also maybe bring some hot tea with you.

ALPINE SKI TOURING | hiking and skiing on untouched slopes

Let´s face it, the last seasons have not been so generous with fresh snow and when there is finally enough of it and the weather is nice and it´s the weekend – the crowds fill the ski places and it can definitely be too much in term of crowdedness. If you´re one of those people who prefer piece and science and are physically fit at the same time you might want to try a different way of skiing, SKI TOURING. Here, you first walk up the mountains and then descend down the fresh powder on unmarked slopes.

turno smučanje Slovneija zimski gorski športi Slovenia ski touring winter adventures

turno smučanje Slovneija zimski gorski športi Ski touring Slovenia

Surely, you need to know what you are doing and yes, you will also need more equipment (for example crampons, ice axe, avalanche beacon, shovel..) and yes you will need more strength and power compared to alpine skiing. Don´t forget to check the weather, tell someone where you are going, bring enough food and water and possibly don´t go alone. The most known longer 3-day ski touring route in Slovenia is called TRIGLAVSKA MAGISTRALA (it takes you from Vogel to Komna, pass Triglav lakes and Kredarica to Krma valley), the best day tours are at Komen, Kotlovo sedlo pod Jalovcem, Debela peč, Viševnik, Veliki Draški vrh, Mala and Velika Mojstrovka, Raduha, Begoš and Ratitovec.

ICE SKATING | artificial and natural ice skating places in Slovenia

Another great activity in the winter. You can go ice skating in many places around the country as there are a bunch of ARTIFICIAL ICE SKATING RINGS set up in the bigger towns – here you can also rent the gear and it´s really a fun thing to do, but you can of course also do it on NATURAL FROZEN LAKES, if you follow the guidelines and have your own skating shoes. Please make sure you check the thickness of the ice and note that this may vary in different areas of the same lake. Most known lakes on which you can skate if they are frozen enough are the following: BLED, BOHINJ, JASNA, PLANŠARSKO, RAKITNA, CERKNIŠKO, KOSEŠKI BAJER, PODPEČ, BLOŠKO, ŠOBEC BAJER, BRASLOVČE and some other smaller ones.

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING | the best tracks and places for this form of skiing

Besides alpine skiing, the second most popular winter sport around here is cross-country skiing. We have many tracks in different parts of the country, also closer to the cities, and you can also rent gear in some of the places. Below, I mentioned some of the most beautiful and known locations for this winter recreation.

Tek na smučeh cross country skiing tracks Slovenia winter sports zimski športi Slovenija

Cross country skiing Slovenia winter Slovenija tek na smučeh zimske aktivnosti

Again, I know the area around KRANJSKA GORA the best (in the town you can also do it in the night), close by there are tracks in MOJSTRANA, ZGORNJA RADOVNA and GOZD MARTULJEK, RATEČE, TAMAR VALLEY and in newly made NORDIC CENTRE PLANICA, where you can train also inside on artificial snow. The most famous location has to be POKLJUKA though, it´s a beautiful nature area close to Bled where every year the BIATHLON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS takes place. Also BOHINJ and around (VOGEL and SORIŠKA PLANINA) are great locations. Towards the east we have ROGLA, MARIBOR POHORJE, KOPE, CERKNO and LOGAR VALLEY, also JEZERSKO and BLOŠKA PLANOTA. Some of them are more advanced and some are also suitable for beginners, so there is something for everyone.

SLEDDING | fun for the whole family

Hiking up valleys and mountains and sledding back down is a fun thing to do for kids and grown ups as well. We love to do this in Slovenia, in fact I still have my old wooden sled from the time I was a child – they are the best. You can either do it on any snowy slope, in special parts of the skiing places or in an organized group down closed mountain roads (also possible as a night sledding adventure). I´ve mentioned some of THE BEST SLEDDING LOCATIONS IN SLOVENIA below.

Sledding Slovenia winter fun Slovenija sankanje Tamar

KRANJSKA GORA & AROUND (4km long forest road at Tromeja, sledding in Tamar valley, 2,5km long trail in Gozd Martuljek, sledding down Vršič road), BOHINJ (wonderful 6km long night sledding trail at Vogar), VOGEL (sledding piste in children´s park), MANGART (amazing sledding on Slovenia´s highest alpine mountain road), POKLJUKA (easy sledding possibilities), VELIKA PLANINA (2,4km long night sledding along Šimnovec ski lift), JEZERSKO (easy sledding from Mali vrh), KRVAVEC (night sledding along Tiha dolina ski lift), STARI VRH (2,3km long night sledding trail on the ski piste), LJUBELJ PASS (2,5km long day and night trail), POHORJE & ROGLA (night sledding along a special rainbow track, sledding track Bellevue and tracks on Areh), OTHER SKI PLACES (sledding is also possible next to the ski splopes of Golte, Kanin, Celjska koča, Cerkno and others). Before you go make sure to check the weather conditions and remember you have to book most of the sledding adventures, especially the night ones, via an agency and do it in the group with a guide for your own safety.

OTHER ADRENALINE DESCENTS | airbording, snow bike, snow rafting and more

Those who seek an even bigger adrenaline rush when it comes rushing down the snowy slopes can try a few other options besides alpine skiing and snow boarding. These are not possible to do on all of the Slovenian ski slopes, so do check in advance for your destination. You can try AIRBOARDING (sliding down the slope on an inflatable rubber slide where you lay on your belly, head in the front), SNOW BIKE (riding down on special bikes for the snow), SNOW RAFTING (ruching down he hills in a larger rubber raft for more persons – possible to do during the day and also in the night) and other adventures in ADRENALINE TOBOGGAN RUN ZLODEJEVO at Rogla.

THE BEST EASY WINTER HIKES | easy (family) walks and hikes

For those who love walking and hiking in the nature and catching some fresh air winter temperatures are no obstacle. Quite on the contrary, the landscape can be even more magical under the snow. I admit though, in the winter I prefer easier and intermediate hikes over the longer ones to the higher peaks, simply for the safety reasons. My favourite ones are hikes to TAMAR, KRNICA, TROMEJA, CIPRNIK, VITRANC, VRATA VALLEY, SLEMENOVA ŠPICA, VRŠIČ, VELIKA PLANINA, PLANINA ZAJAMNIKI and POKLJUKA, ROGLA with POHORJE, GOLTE, KRIŠKA GORA, ROBANOV KOT and LOGAR VALLEY, SLAVNIK, NANOS, BLEGOŠ, RATITOVEC, BOČ, MRZLICA, KUM, and some other.

Najlepši lahki zimski pohodi v Sloveniji Tamar Kranjska Gora easy hikes in Slovenia winter time

Lažji zimski pohodi Slovenija easy winter hikes in Slovenia

THE BEST MORE DIFFICULT WINTER HIKES | mountain peaks for experienced hikers

Of course you can also do more difficult winter hikes, but I only suggest you do that if you have the right equipment and are fit enough to do it. If you are not often in the mountains, I suggest you start with some of the easier hikes and see how it goes. Make sure you tell someone where you are going and possibly do not hike alone, take walking sticks, food and water, crampons, warm layered clothes and always carry a map, compass and know where you are going. In winter, there is often fog and trail marks are sometimes hidden under the snow. So what are some of the best winter hikes of such sort? Take a look at VIŠEVNIK, VELIKI DRAŠKI VRH, STENAR, TOŠČ, MALA MOJSTROVKA, STORŽIČ and other.

SNOWSHOEING | peaceful walks on fresh deep snow

A couple of years ago I finally got to try snowshoeing, which is basically hiking on fresh deep snow with special snow shoes which have a very flat and wide surface. They are fixed over your usual (waterproof) hiking shoes with straps and enable you to cross snowy landscapes without your legs sinking deep in the snow. Using hiking sticks will help as well, other than this you don´t need special equipment. It used to be how people in the northern countries would travel between the villages in the winter and this old tradition is in full swing and getting more and more popular nowadays, also in Slovenia.

winter snow shoe walking Slovenia

Snow shoe Slovenia winter adventures hiking Slovenija krpljanje pohodi

You can join a guided tour and learn more about the techniques of walking, possibly also discover routes you would not have find on your own, but you can of course just do it on your own, anywhere where there is enough fresh snow and you don´t get lost. I like the area around KRANJSKA GORA (towards Jasna lake from Log, around Srednji vrh, Tromeja), but it is also beautiful on POKLJUKA, ROGLA, POHORJE, VELIKA PLANINA, LOGAR VALLEY or on the edge of many ski slopes actually.

ORGANIZED SPORTS EVENTS | international winter sports competitions in Slovenia

If you are lucky and are visiting at the right moment, you can also participate as a spectator in one of the major INTERNATIONAL SPORTS EVENTS held in Slovenia every winter. The most known event has to be the FIS SKI FLYING WORLD CUP in PLANICA, there are FIS ALPINE WORLD CUP ZLATA LISICA for women, for men there is FIS WORLD CUP VITRANC close to Kranjska Gora, on POKLJUKA you can see BIATHLON WORLD CUP COMPETITIONS and on ROGLA there is a SNOWBOARDING WORLD CUP event. Dates and sometimes even locations vary due to weather conditions so make sure to follow up online.

SLOVENIA´S BEST LAKES IN THE WINTER | walking and relaxing next to the most beautiful lakes

For all lake lovers and those who love easy hikes and long walks along water, surrounded by great views, but don’t need to be especially fit, I suggest a day trip or a stop over at one of our beautiful lakes. Some of them are even more charming in the winter and at most you will find nice WALKING PATHS.

Jasna lake Slovenia jezero Slovenija

jezera zima Slovenija izlet Slovenia frozen lakes winter time

BLED LAKE is especially magical in the winter and you get to enjoy it with less people around you as summer is peak season here. For the best views on the whole lake head either to the castle or hike up Mala Osojnica. Or both, as they give you totally different angles. Also don´t miss BOHINJ LAKE which is just a short drive from Bled and you can also combine it with skiing on Vogel for example. JASNA LAKE close to Kranjska Gora is a very popular spot and we Slovenians always do an obligatory picture with the capricorn statue in case you want to blend it and do the same. Also around here, check out ZELENCI NATURE RESERVE – this is actually a spring and the water never freezes in the winter, it´s emerald green pond is just magical when surrounded by snow. Also, closer to Maribor, check out LOVRENŠKA LAKES, you can visit PLANŠARSKO and CERKNIŠKO LAKE as well.

ICE CLIMBING | climbing frozen waterfalls and man-made ice walls

ICE CLIMBING surely is a very exhilarating experience. I´v enever done it and to be honest I´m (still) too scared to do it. We definitely need quite some equipment for this sport – ropes, climbing harness, carabiners, straps, guards, helmets, crampons, ice axes, special wedges and more. There are also several difficulty levels, depending on the characteristics of the waterfalls and the current weather conditions. In addition to NATURAL ICE WATERFALLS (for example, Sinji waterfall in Jezersko, many waterfalls in the Tamar Valley, Palenk waterfall in Logar Valley, waterfalls in Krnica, Pekel near Borovnica and elsewhere), in the winter season there are also many ARTIFICIAL ICE WATERFALLS (for example in Mojstrana, Solčava and elsewhere). Ice climbing definitely requires good preparation and is one of the more dangerous forms of mountaineering, so don’t be too brave – you may first choose a course or take part in guided climbing.

THE BEST FROZEN WATERFALLS | fairytale-like winter scenes

If you prefer to only watch frozen waterfalls from afar like me, there are quite some locations to do just so as well. My all time favourite frozen waterfall is PERIČNIK in Vrata Valley (on the picture below), other wise check out RINKA in Logar valley, ORGLICE waterfall, waterfall in PEKEL GORGE and some of the easier accessible waterfalls I´ve mentioned above. Note that there are many waterfalls, gorges and springs in Slovenia but not all of these are accessible in the winter. Always check weather conditions and wear proper shoes as the path might be frozen as well.

zaledeneli slap Peričnik zima Slovenija wintert ime in Slovenia waterfalls

Zamrznjeni zaledeneli slapovi Slovenija zima winter Slovenia frozen waterfalls

WINTER BALOON RIDE | snowy Alps and other landscapes from above

I´ve flown with a balloon years ago in August and it was over Ljubljana area – it was a great experience and the views are so awesome from above, I can only imagine how wonderful it must be to do it in the winter and fly over the JULIAN ALPS. This is very much possible at the right conditions, but you have to be lucky with the weather though. Sometimes it is also possible to fly over Slovenia´s highest peak, TRIGLAV, other locations include BLED, LJUBLJANA, PREKMURJE, PRLEKIJA and many other.

PLANICA SKI JUMPS | Nordic center Planica

Our most iconic place and one of the rare places in the world where you can see such ski jumps, built on natural hills. Every March there is the famous FIS SKI FLYING WORLD CUP held here and this is really a national event where most of us have been at one point of our life. A few years ago there have been major renovations to the place which is now really nicely organised, with a new VISITORS CENTRE and many other attractions. If you are lucky to be there at the right time you can catch a ski jumping training and see them jump – it is quite impressive.

Planica ski jumps Slovenia skakalnice v Planici Slovenija zimske aktivnosti in dogodivščine

Planica ski jumps Slovenia Skakalnice zima počitnice

There is also a large parking lot close to the ski jumps and Planica is actually the starting point for many hikes in this area. You can hike up TAMAR VALLEY, CIPRNIK and VITRANC peaks or arrive on foot or by bicycle form Kranjska Gora, There´s lots of cross-country possibilities around here and you can skate on a frozen natural LAKE LEDINE close to Rateče where you take the road turn to Planica.

WINTER PARAGLIDING | winter parachute jumps

Paragliding is not only possible in the summer but in the winter as well and I´m sure it can be a great adrenaline experience. I also find this a great gift, also for couples, and there are quite some awesome locations in Slovenia where you can jump with a parachute. Maybe the most famous jump id from Vogel over LAKE BOHINJ, you can also do it from KRVAVEC near Ljubljana, MANGARTSKO SEDLO or KANIN near Bovec and some other spots.

VELIKA PLANINA | weekend break or a day trip to Slovenia´s highest alpine mountain pasture

When some of my international friends ask me which place to visit in Slovenia if you want peace and quiet, beautiful landscape, something a bit different and less touristy, possibly also romantic enough to surprise your better half with this trip, my answer is always the same – VELIKA PLANINA! I love coming up here in the summer as it is close to Ljubljana which makes it a great afternoon trip as well. But it is even nicer if you have the chance of staying a night or two up there, especially in the winter. This is our HIGHEST ALPINE MOUNTAIN PASTURE and therefore very special, you can stay in one of the traditional wooden huts with a fire place, sauna and a hot tub, surrounded by magnificent mountain views and piles of snow. Sounds good? Let´s see what more you cna do there.

velika planina Slovneija vikend izlet zimske dogodivščine winter Slovenia

Velika planina Slovenijar omantični vikend izlet Slovenia skiing winter romantic destination

You can access Velika planina with your own vehicle but you will have to leave it at one of the official parking lots and walk the last bit on foot (around 30min from the last car park). Otherwise you can also SKI here, the highest lift takes you to GRADIŠČE peak, in ZELENI ROB guest house you can have something delicious to eat – the TRADITIONAL MOUNTAIN food we usual eat in this place would be ribs, sausages, Slovenian thick soups like “jota” or “ričet“, sauerkraut cabbage, žganci, štruklji and other. In the summer there are lots of SHEPHERDS in their huts and you can visit their homes and buy / taste products like cheese and sour milk. All in all this is an awesome destination, so if you are looking for a special place to stay in the winter, this might be it.

OTHER WINTER EVENTS | sports and other events and festivals

Besides the international sports events and competitions there is so much more going on in Slovenia in the winter and everybody can join, either actively or passively as a spectator. There is the FIS SNOW WORLD DAY which is celebrated in January and there are lots of activities for the kids especially. On ROGLA there is a FESTIVAL OF CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING, we have big celebrations in February for the CARNIVAL when everybody dresses up (try and visit “KURENTOVANJE”, it is a very special carnival with traditional masks and outfits). In PODKOREN there is a special, a rather scary event where scary dark men called “PARKELJNI” come and scare the kids. This tradition is also known in Austria and parts of Italy as far as I know. In BLEJSKA DOBRAVA you can see a very traditional event every 26th of December, the BLESSING OF HORSES, on the 8th of March which is international women´s day all of us ladies can indulge in recreational and spa activities on Rogla, where they named this even the SELFNESS DAY. Also, in many larger cities there are ice sculptures on display and in December you can also see LIVE CRIB – the most interesting one are set in an ice landscape in Mojstrana. On top of all this there are a whole bunch of other music and cultural festivals.

“JOLLY DECEMBER” | Christmas markets in Slovenia

Ending this post with a winter activity suitable for everyone, also the ones who don´t like winter sports – visiting the CHRISTMAS MARKETS of course! There are usually set up at the end of November and opened until the first week in January. I´m always happy to visit them, even though I have to say they really can´t compare to the ones in Germany or Austria to be honest. Still, I like the atmosphere and here is always lots of food and mulled wine and they are opened late into the evening which I love. It´s the perfect opportunity to catch up with friends and it´s just something we locals do, not only the tourists.

Ljubljana Slovenia Christmas market decorations winter bozicne trznice

Ljubljana Slovenija bozicne trznice advent december winetr christmas markets Slovneia

I know the ones in LJUBLJANA the most, our capital city has a very vibrant December scene with lots of festivals and concerts on top of the markets so it´s really awesome to visit in this time of the year. I also like the smaller ones in the ski centres, for example in KRANJSKA GORA – true there is not all that much offer but there is an open fire place, surrounded by cute wooden cottages and also live concerts on some days. Also an interesting one is in front of the beautiful Kempinski Palace hotel in PORTOROŽ. Although it is a seaside town and I´d normally think such markets don´t fit good with the sea I kind of like it at the coast as well. There must be a bunch of other special ones in all the other towns and cities as well.


I hope this post convinced some of you to visit my beautiful home country also in the winter time, as you can see there are quite some option to keep you busy and entertained. I always like to say, Slovenia might be tiny but it just has so much to offer, also in the colder months. Let´s hope for a wonderful winter season this year, we´ve all deserved it after this weird 2020, don´t you think?

PIN FOR LATER

Winter adventures and unique things to do in Slovenia in the winter

Unique things to do, events, sports and winter adventures in Slovenia in the winter

Comments 20

    1. Post
      Author
      Katja

      Hi Maria, yeah the waterfalls are amazing when frozen. The skiing is also good, but compared to Austria, the ski resorts are smaller – therefore kind of cute and personal 🙂

    1. Post
      Author
  1. Elina

    I love Slovenia! I have visited the country for a winter road trip last January and I have been to Ljubljana, Bled and Kranjska Gora. Unfortunately, it hadn’t snowed enough and many of the slopes were closed. 🙁 I would love to return though and do some of the winter activities you recommend.

    1. Post
      Author
      Katja

      hi Elina, yeah unfortunately the winters lately have not been what they once were! I learned to ski in Kranjska Gora and consider it sort of of my 2nd home in Slovenia and when we were kids there was lots of snow every season. Hope you get the chance to visit again one day 🙂

  2. Nilima

    This is so lovely ❤️ Didn’t know there are so many variations to skiing!
    Slovenia is on my list,but I intend to visit during autumn😊

    1. Post
      Author
      Katja

      Thank you Nilima, I hope you get the chance to visit soon! This year there was snow at the end of Sept up on mountain roads 🙂

    1. Post
      Author
  3. Anita

    Your post is awesome. I have been in Slovenia quite a long time ago and only in summer. As we have had no snow last winter I am longing to see white snow badly. Do you have snow every winter?

    1. Post
      Author
      Katja

      Hi Anita, we have snow every winter yes but it is true that the last decade or so it comes later, usualy Jan/Feb is the safest. When I was a child there was loooots of it throughout the season, from Nov to March, but I guess that´s global warming now.

  4. Ophelie

    Slovenia seems full of surprises and fun activities to do in winter! I didn’t know it was possible to do so many things at this time of the year! Definitely a great place to visit!

    1. Post
      Author
  5. Kelli

    What is a SNOW BIKE?!? I have never heard of such! And the frozen waterfalls sound super interesting to see. We don’t have snow where I am from and nothing ever freezes!

    1. Post
      Author
      Katja

      Hehe yeah they are doing their best to offer different things 😀 I actually never tried the now bike myself, but should be fun! Oh yeah the waterfalls are a piece of art in the winter 🙂

  6. Ummi

    Omg. Reading this post makes me want to visit Slovenia in winter very badly. I’ve only experienced snow once in my life, and even then it wasn’t a lot, and only for a few hours. This is my first time hearing about snow bike and snow shoes. I don’t do well on anything with wheels so I think I’ll skip the bike, but the shoes sound cool. Definitely putting that on my bucket list!

  7. Bea Adventurous

    Slovenias is such a fantastic location for nature and outdoors lovers!
    It looks absolutely stunning in winter, catering to lots of activities also!
    What a brilliant article, making me want to try out some new activities!

    1. Post
      Author
      Katja

      Hi Bea, thank you so much! Happy to see you found some new ideas 🙂 And yes, Slovenia is really an awesome place for different adventures, on top of this everything is so close and quickly accessible from all sides of the country. Have fun!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.