Winter vacation with the neighbor, part 3: Slovenia

The smell of gingerbread, fairy lights, baked apples and hot punch? Heard right! The most reflective time of the year is approaching in leaps and bounds to captivate all the romantics and dreamers among us. But how about experiencing the Christmas season through the eyes of a different culture for a change?

This fascinating country is just a three-hour drive from Vienna and yet has so many unknown traditions to offer. Especially at Christmas time it offers a living nativity scene in a million year old cave, numerous Christmas markets and delicious cookies. Here are five good reasons why you should travel to Slovenia during the Christmas season.

1. The 3 most beautiful Christmas markets in Slovenia

Colorfully decorated old towns, hot drinks and handmade Christmas gifts can be found in Bled, Ljubljana and Maribor:

  • Bled: The winter fairy tale in Bled welcomes visitors directly on the lake promenade with festively decorated stalls and typical local food and drinks from the Upper Carniola region (Gorenjska). 29. November 2019 to 5. January 2020
  • Ljubljana: This year, Christmas markets will be held in Slovenia's capital at four locations: on the riverside streets of Breg and Petkovškovo nabrezje, at the central market on PogaCarjev trg square and at Ljubljana Castle. 29. November 2019 to 5. January 2020
  • Maribor: The Advent season in Maribor is ushered in with the switching on of the festive lights and ended in style with the traditional New Year's Eve celebration in the country's largest square, Trg Leona Štuklja. 29. November to 31. December 2019

2. The Living Nativity in the Postojna Cave

The underground world of the Postojna Cave, formed over the course of several million years, is transformed into a scene of Christmas tradition in December. In a 90-minute performance, guests will be taken by train through the underground labyrinth, among other things, while experiencing the story of the birth of Christ live at 16 stations according to. In addition to local actors, top musicians will also make guest appearances, including Helena Blagne, Alex Volasko and Irena Yebuah Tiran. The Living Nativity is open from 25. to 30. Open December 2019.

3. Fairyland Celje

Following in the footsteps of elves and dwarves, the princely city of Celje is transformed into a magical sea of lights in December, attracting not only visitors but also numerous fairy-tale characters and Santa Claus. The fairytale spectacle is completed by a Christmas market, open-air concerts, carriage rides, hot punch and delicious specialties.

4. Recipe for Slovenian spice cookies with honey

If you want to bring Slovenian Christmas treats home without any detours, try this recipe for spice cookies. Simple, delicious and typically Slovenian!

  • 500 g flour
  • 150 g soft butter
  • 120 g powdered sugar
  • 180 g honey
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 4 teaspoons of spice mixture of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and anise (grind and sieve)

Mix all ingredients into a smooth dough, shape cookies with cookie cutters, place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 150 °C. Ready!

5. "Ledena dezela" – the ice country Ljubljana

This year marks the seventh season of Ice Land Ljubljana, which attracts visitors young and old to Kongresni trg in the city center. There are impressive ice sculptures to marvel at, created with great attention to detail and with a different theme each year. While the kids have fun on the ice slide, parents can enjoy a drink at the ice bar next door. The ice country of Ljubljana is from 29. November 2019 to 6. January 2020 open.