STA, 1 December 2021 - Electronic vignettes will soon fully replace toll stickers, as annual e-vignettes for cars and semi-annual e-vignettes for motorbikes are available as of today, with weekly and monthly e-vignettes to follow in February 2022. Prices remain unchanged, while the annual vignette is no longer be linked to the calendar year.
The existing annual sticker vignettes remain valid up to 31 January 2022, and weekly and monthly vignettes in sticker form will also continue to be used until that date.
As of 1 February, the sticker vignettes will be discontinued in full, as the use of all toll roads in Slovenia will be possible only with an electronic vignette.
During the validity period of their electronic vignette, drivers will be able to use motorways and expressways without any restrictions, the state-run motorway company DARS has said.
A new feature is also being introduced - the validity of the annual e-vignette will no longer be limited to the calendar year. Instead, it will be valid for exactly one year, starting with the date that drivers choose themselves by buying the e-vignette.
All types of e-vignettes will be available for purchase up to 30 days before the selected validity date, and will be linked to the vehicle registration number.
DARS announced that it will be the drivers' responsibility to correctly upload their registration number to the e-tolling system when purchasing an e-vignette, be it online or during a purchase at an actual point of sale.
They recommend that vignette buyers write down their registration number or take their registration certificates with them. If the number in the system does not match the vehicle registration number, the toll will not be paid, which is an offence punishable by a fine, DARS warned.
Vehicle registration numbers will be monitored by cameras installed all along the Slovenian motorway network, at checkpoints and in toll enforcement vehicles.
Once the system will have verified the vehicle for which the e-vignette has been purchased, this information will be immediately deleted and no data will remain in the system, DARS said.
Use motorways and expressways in Slovenia without a valid (electronic) vignette is a violation punishable by a fine of EUR 300.
STA, 27 November 2021 - The government has made a few changes to Covid restrictions, including detailing rules for open-air Christmas fairs, which will have to be fenced off with separate entrances and exits.
The changed regulation, adopted by the government late on Friday, also provides that food and drinks at open-air stalls can be served provided that the largest number of customers allowed on the premises on the same time is clearly marked at the entrance.
Other provisions in that section of the regulation remain unchanged, which means that existing restrictions on the number of customers as well as on their being required to meet the reconvalescent-vaccinated-tested (PCT) rule still apply.
The changes come after Christmas fairs in some cities, including Ljubljana and Maribor, have already opened. While the area around the fair in Maribor is already fenced, Ljubljana will need to follow suit as well as the new measure applies from today.
Meanwhile, the PCT rule will no longer be required for customers accepting mail and package deliveries, except at post offices. The couriers and postal carriers will still need to meet the PCT requirement.
Other changes pertain to self-testing of school children and students, including one saying that the test counts as meeting the PCT rule in collective exercise of religious freedom.
Music school has been added to extra-curricular activities.
Self-testing at home has also been imposed for children who are placed in educational institutions because on the unsuitable conditions in their home environment.
The right to free screening with rapid-antigen tests is being limited to persons with temporary or permanent residence in Slovenia, those employed with employers based in Slovenia and diplomatic representatives to the country.
STA, 27 November 2021 - Travellers arriving in Slovenia from areas with the new coronavirus variant that the WHO has declared to be of concern face mandatory quarantine on arriving in Slovenia starting from Saturday under a decision taken by the government last night. Entry is banned to foreigners without a residence permit in Slovenia arriving from those areas.
The list of areas and countries with the new variant B.1.1.529, named Omicron by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is being published by the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ). Those are currently South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
Under the new government regulation, a 10-day quarantine will be imposed on arrivals residing in those countries or areas or visiting those countries or areas in the past 14 days before entering Slovenia.
The quarantine cannot be ended early and on the 11th day the quarantined persons need to take a PCR test. If the test is positive the same protocol applies as to all other persons who have tested positive.
Those who had been to the areas identified with high risk for the new variant in the 14 days before the new regulation came into force need to report by dialling the number 113. They will then be ordered to quarantine at home for 10 days.
According to the NIJZ, the new variant, first detected in South Africa and thought to be more infectious than those so far known, has not yet been detected in Slovenia.
STA, 26 November 2021- Due to a new Covid-19 variant detected in South Africa, the Slovenian Foreign Ministry advises Slovenians who are currently in South Africa to return home as soon as possible and monitor the situation, as increasingly many countries are introducing restrictions for passengers arriving from the area.
Passengers planning a trip to countries where the new B.1.1.529 variant of the virus has been detected are advised to postpone or cancel non-essential trips.
The Slovenian presidency of the Council of the EU called a meeting of the EU crisis response mechanism for this afternoon to agree on a joint response of members states to the new virus strain, the ministry said.
The situation with the new variant is being monitored, it added.
Some EU countries have already cancelled flights from the south of Africa because of the new strain and introduced additional measures for passengers entering the EU. Some have already banned entry to their country from the area for non-EU citizens and introduced an obligatory PCR test and a quarantine for their citizens.
STA, 26 November 2021 - Holiday season is starting in Slovenian towns as hundreds of thousands of lights will be lit and Christmas fairs launched in major towns on Friday and Saturday. However, due to the epidemiological situation no mass events will be held on the occasion.
Christmas lights will be switched on in Ljubljana and Maribor today, and just like last year the exact time has not be announced to avoid crowd.
In the capital, as many as 50 kilometres of lights will be switched on as part of a holiday decoration designed by Urban Modic, this year celebrating the importance of community and harmony.
The Christmas market is also opening tonight, and will this year expand to the Stritarjeva Street, leading up to the Town Hall.
As customary, a straw nativity scene will be on display on the Ljubljanica riverbank, the Zvezda Park will be adorned with lanterns made by primary school pupils, and citizens and visitors will decorate 79 green trees on four streets in the city centre.
Five concerts are planned in December but it is not clear yet how they will be carried out. Mayor Zoran Janković proposes visitors to be either reconvalescent or vaccinated, but he still needs a green light from the National Institute of Public Health for the move.
In Slovenia's second largest city, Maribor, the holiday magic will culminate in the Main Square and the Leon Štukelj Square. The Main Square will this year feature a festive merry-go-round, just like the one that was featured in a holiday commercial recently shot in the city centre.
Light sculptures called Lumina will greet visitors in city streets and squares, and urban forest photo points will be set up around the city.
Elf City will open on Friday as well, offering events and workshops throughout December. Father Frost will ride around the city in his carriage between 14 and 21 December.
The festive season in the coastal town of Izola will also start on Friday, while in Koper Christmas lights will be switched on on Saturday. In both towns open-air ice skating rinks will open and a number of events are planned for December.
Other towns around Slovenia will slip into the holiday mood this weekend or the next, with the Mozirski Gaj park in Mozirje featuring a record 1,7 million Christmas lights this year.
In Nova Gorica, the lights will be turned on next Friday. The town will organise a book fair, while visitors will be able to produce electricity for lighting up Christmas trees by riding a bike.
Murska Sobota in the north-east has cancelled all festive events because of the epidemic but it will still turn on almost 60,000 lights on the eve of St Nicolas Day.
STA, 11 November 2021 - All passengers over the age of 12 will have to produce proof of vaccination, reconvalescence or testing on entry to Slovenia as of 15 November, the government decided on Thursday. The age limit has been 15 so far and the change brings it in line with the overall Covid pass mandate requirements in the country.
The government decree also specifies that self-testing is not sufficient proof to enter Slovenia. Passengers will need an official rapid test done no more than 48 hours before entry, or a PCR test done within 72 hours before entry.
STA, 3 November 2021 - The upgrade of a 26-kilometre railway section between Zidani Most and Celje in eastern Slovenia was declared completed at a ceremony on Wednesday which heard the project cost EUR 230 million, which is about EUR 50 million less that the initial cost estimate.
Addressing the ceremony in Celje, Aleš Mihelič, a state secretary at the Infrastructure Ministry, said the investment tackled one of the weak points on the national rail network that had not been able to support heavy and long train compositions.
"The upgrade has increased the throughput, shortened travel times and made railway transport more comfortable and, above all, safer," the official said.
As a result, the capacity of what this section of the main railway between the Zidani Most junction and the Šentilj crossing with Austria has increased from 328 to 354 trains per day.
The project, for which Slovenia obtained EUR 90 million in EU funds, also involved modernisation of related infrastructure, including bridges, grade-separated crossings, and renovation of railway stations in Celje, Laško and Rimske Toplice.
Mihelič also noted the EUR 90 million EU-subsidised project underway to upgrade the Pragersko rail junction, one of the main rail hubs in the country.
He said the government was intent on investing a great deal of attention and money to make the railways more competitive with the motorway and road network.
As soon as the core rail network is modernised up to the standard seen in advanced countries, the government is also planning to focus on regional railways and new competitive rail links.
The Infrastructure Ministry has been working on a "visionary and ambitious" plan of investment into rail infrastructure for the next 30 years, which Mihelič indicated would cost about EUR 12 billion. Half a million euro has been ringfenced for the purpose in each of the budgets for the next two years.
STA, 3 November 2021 - The increasing demand for flights between Ljubljana and Belgrade has prompted Air Serbia to expand the number of flights by two to nine a week as of 14 November, the Ex-Yu Aviation portal has announced.
Fraport Slovenija, the operator of the Ljubljana airport, said that 13 airlines offered 14 direct air links to 12 countries around the world in the winter season, which started last weekend and which will last until 26 March 2022.
As of 14 November, Air Serbia, the flag carrier of Serbia, will add additional flights on Fridays and Sundays to the existing schedule of one flight from Ljubljana to Belgrade a day.
Brussels Airlines, which operates four flights a week from the Ljubljana airport, will switch to six flights a week in December, in addition to two flights a week to the Charleroi airport operated by the budget carrier Wizz Air.
Flydubai flies three times a week to Dubai, Turkish Airlines five times a week to Istanbul, and EasyJet four times a week to London Gatwick. As of mid-December, Wizz Air will operate flights from Ljubljana to London Luton three times a week.
Currently, the largest number of flights from the Ljubljana airport in a week is operated by Lufthansa, which flies to Frankfurt two times a day.
Aeroflot flies to Moscow three times a week, Air France offers eleven flights a week to Paris, Air Montenegro flies twice a week to Podgorica, LOT Polish Airlines six times a week to Warsaw, and Swiss Air Lines four times a week to Zürich.
For a long time now things have been bad, and strange at best, for travel, tourism and hospitality in Slovenia and beyond. Back before the masks there were big plans for 2021, with the country set to enjoy the spotlight of the title European Region of Gastronomy for the year, along with the wider attention that goes along the 6th month presidency of the EU Council. But we do at least seem closer to the end than the beginning, and fun times without restrictions could be back again, with impromptu trips, visits and activities a natural part of life as the rules fall away or are simply ignored.
Photo: JL Flanner
Which is a roundabout way of saying we don’t want to jinx things by saying Ljubljana’s baaaack or get all overheated, just that the good folk at Ljubljana Tourism are back with another “November Gourmet Ljubljana”, bringing more life to a traditionally quiet time of year and easing the city into the month-long, annual attraction that’s December. The project is a joint campaign of hospitality service providers, hotels, food producers, wine makers, brewers, distillers and public institutions.
So there’s a full month of activities and events, from the simple turn up and enjoy good food and drink to the more hands-on workshops. Together the varied program presents not only Ljubljana as the natural showcase for the best of all the varied regions of Slovenia have to offer, but also the more local delights specific to the city and it’s surroundings, as well as it’s role as a hub, attractor and connector with the broader region, with guests from around Europe.
Some of the speakers - see the details here
There are seminars and workshops, tasting events, themed meals and five-day cooking courses. There’s a series on meat and a class on confectionary, how make mini sweets and sweet snacks. There are also gin, beer and wine events, with the focus of the latter being Martinovanje on 13 November, the national coming out party for new wines and a great way to spend a day buzzed, culturally enriched and fortified by nibbles and sips in the company of others. See it all and make plans at the website..
Martinovanje some years ago
Rounding out the first week is the latest edition of the European Food Symposium. Originally scheduled for March but postponed for obvious reasons, it’s being held from 6-8 November and will bring an international collection of speakers and practitioners to the city. There’s a lot going on, including a Gourmet Ljubljana Crawl and Adventure Dinner. You can learn about the symposium and its exclusive events at the official website.
Luka Košir in the kitchen, making the dish at the top of this story. Photo: Marko Delbello Ocepek
Whether your interest in food and drink is limited to grabbing a sandwich while sipping a beer or talking to a grocer about the terroir of their carrots, you’ll find something to make you happy during the month of delights that starts today. What’s more, your venue for such pleasures will be the always charming, easy to navigate and difficult to spend a fortune in Ljubljana.
STA, 28 October 2021 - Slovenia has placed fifth on Lonely Planet's list of top 10 countries to visit in 2022 as the travel brand highlights the country's diverse gastronomy and numerous possibilities of active experiences.
Apart from Norway, Slovenia is the only European country to have made it to the annual round-up of must-visit countries worldwide, which is topped by the Cook Islands.
The 17th edition of the Best in Travel collection, which recommends top ten countries, cities and regions, has placed a special focus on sustainability. Its cover boasts a photo of the Slovenian coastal town Piran.
Slovenia is described as a green destination as its sustainable policy and natural riches are put front and centre.
"Slovenia is a world leader in being literally and figuratively 'green' with responsible travel being part of the Slovenia way of life for decades," says Lonely Planet, noting the country gives priority to quality before quantity and local communities before consumerism.
Slovenia also remains innovative, having provided a number of new culinary treats and cycling experiences in the past year. Its never-ending efforts to come up with sustainable tourism strategies have placed Slovenia so high on this year's list of hottest destinations and put the country on the cover of the latest Best in Travel, the travel guidebook publisher adds.
STA, 22 October 2021 - The Wine Train, a new tourism project aiming to promote wines and local cuisine in the south-western Vipava Valley, has been launched. After the first test run at the end of August, the train was officially launched on Friday and is expected to take the first groups on wine-themed trips in December.
Aboard the Wine Train, passengers will be able to observe the landscape while tasting local wines and meet winemakers in the vintage passenger carriages, said the project developers.
"The Vipava Valley Wine Train is a follow-up to our Winestronaut project. We have been looking at the Nova Gorica-Ajdovščina railway line for some time, as it has been completely abandoned in terms of passenger transport," said Matjaž Zgonik, one of the project leaders.
Director of the Burjatik tourist agency Jani Peljhan added that the project would revive the abandoned railway line and thus contribute to responsible and sustainable tourism.
"Sustainable mobility is extremely important nowadays, so I am very pleased that the Wine Train will revive a railway line in this part of the valley," said Darja Kocjan, director of passenger transport at the national railway operator Slovenske Železnice.
The wine-themed tourism trips for groups are expected to start in December, with regular trips coming in the following tourist season. The wine train's route will start in Nova Gorica and conclude in Ajdovščina.