Ljubljana, the tiny Slovenia’s capital with a picturesque Old Town along The Ljubljanica River, a castle above it and pure natural surroundings just a swing away, is said to be one of the Europe’s most charming capitals. Believe it or not, the only way to find out is to visit it in person. And the festive season might be a perfect moment to do so. At this time Ljubljana shows off its most romantic character.
Fairy-tale Christmas lights display
In the Advent season, Ljubljana’s unique beauty especially stands out due to an artistically designed Christmas lights display. The streets, squares and bridges of the Old Town light up in an impressive creation of colours, shapes and forms that transform a historical city centre into a magical fairy-tale place.
The streets of Old Town turn into Christmas markets with numerous food and drink stalls, art and gift markets, and the town squares turn into venues for countless free musical and other artistic events.
Despite the cold you will feel the vibrant and warm atmosphere bringing together locals and tourists to enjoy in the festive spirits. But you can still warm yourself up with some roasted almonds, a cup of mulled wine or mead from the nearest bar or a Christmas stall.
The final event of the festive December is the open-air New Year’s Eve celebration taking place at Ljubljana’s numerous public squares, closing with the spectacular fireworks over the Ljubljana castle just above the Old Town.
Night SUP under the lights …
If you feel like adding some paddleboarding excitement to your festive itinerary, the first opportunity for a winter SUP awaits just around the corner from the Ljubljana’s city centre. From there you will be able to descend down The Ljubljanica River right through the Old Town. Paddling under the numerous lit bridges you will be given another magical perspective on the Christmas lights display and the Ljubljana castle above you. To the Dragon bridge and back, this night paddleboarding trip shouldn’t take more than an hour and a half of moderate-pace paddling and might be a great add-on to your festive activities in Christmas Ljubljana.
… Or paddling in white tranquility
As Ljubljana is only an hour drive away from the Alps, there is always a chance of escaping the flashy festive atmosphere of the capital and finding your peace of mind in pure nature and tranquillity. Set your board on a glassy surface of the famous Lake Bled or the more remote and untouched Lake Bohinj. There is a good chance that you will be the only person on the water. Let the fresh, chilly Alpine air fill your lungs and clear your mind while you rest your eyes on the snow-covered mountain peaks. Before you return to the city for the night you will feel reborn.
The next day you can take a trip into another direction, towards the Coast, to discover another two from the top of the list of Slovenia’s SUP locations: The mysterious intermittent Lake Cerknica or the colourful coastal city of Piran. In winter they can be even more magical than in the main paddling season.
Besides standup paddling, staying in a centrally-located Ljubljana for a few days opens up numerous opportunities for trips and outdoor activities all around Slovenia: skiing, snowshoeing, horse-back riding, winter mountain-biking, ice skating, cross-country skiing, sledding, visiting the underground caves – The Cross Cave for underground paddling, The Postojna Cave for a live nativity experience and The Škocjan Caves for magnifiscent views – and many more.