written by Rebecca Svetina, February 2019
Get out your planners, set a reminder, and mark your calendars! This is not a sleepy town – Radovljica is buzzing with activity. Don’t miss these 12 family-friendly events this year.
Saturday, 2nd March, starting at 2pm
A great way to come out of “winter hibernation,” the Slovene carnival, “Pust,” is celebrated to scare away winter. Often compared to Halloween, the whole family dresses up in costumes. The parade promenades through the main street of Radovljica, ending in old town – Linhart Square, where there are awards for the best costumes. In honor of Shrovtide (the few days before Lent starts), there’s no shortage of sweets. My family calls this time in Slovenia, “doughnut season.” Be sure to grab your share of apricot-jam-filled, powdered-sugar-covered doughnuts! Many parents actually prefer Radovljica’s carnival parade, because it’s kid-friendly – relatively not too crowded or too chaotic.
Monday, 11th March, at dusk
Kropa and Kamna Gorica
According to folklore the birds get married on St. Gregory’s Day (12th March), which was similar to Valentine’s Day in the past. According to customs, it’s also when St. Gregory “casts light into the water” to welcome the sun, longer days, and the spring. This tradition is particularly rooted in Kropa and Kamna Gorica, when before electricity blacksmiths through various burning objects into the water, since longer days allowed them to work without lamps. This has evolved into an endearing children’s event.
On St. Gregory’s Eve in Slovenia, kids celebrate through crafting homemade boats, placing a lit candle on-board, and launching them down local streams. Vessels are made from anything found around the house – as long as it floats, preferably not synthetic. Rain or shine, kids are eager to send their masterpieces floating away.
Friday, 12th April – Sunday, 14th April
This is the sweetest event in Radovljica, and the biggest chocolate event in Slovenia. It started 7 years ago in 2012, and it gets bigger and better every year! You can find everything from chocolate covered sausages to chocolate fountains and sculptures, and it’s more than just chocolate. There are cooking shows, concerts, sport activities, children’s workshops, a fashion show, and other entertainment. It’s too much to see and way too much to eat in just one day.
Sunday, 23rd June, afternoon and evening
This traditional event is held on the longest day of the year – the day of St. John the Baptist, when, according to an old Slovene tradition, bonfires were lit in many locations. The celebration is at Kamen Castle the ruins of a castle near Begunje. A visit to the castle is always a special experience, but particularly so on this day when you can listen to fairy tales in the afternoon, watch a show, meet archers, and enjoy the bonfire in the evening.
Sunday, 30th June
Begunje na Gorenjskem
If you know anything about Begunje na Gorenjskem, it’s probably the Elan ski factory where carving skis were born and the Avsenik Restaurant where a famous folk band was born, but what else? You can find out at the Begunje Adventure – an educational, recreational event for the whole family held annually the last Sunday of June. After an interactive walking tour, participants are rewarded with prizes and music! You can also find stands with local food and goods. The event is part of the local festival dedicated to the patron saint, Urh, of the Begunje na Gorenjskem church.
Sunday, 28th July
Medieval market v Radovljici, photo: Primož Černe
Who doesn’t like seeing swords on fire? In the charming center of Radovljica with costumes, horses, flag tossing, fire eating, and sword fights, you really feel like you’ve traveled back in time. Kids love the action, and parents are equally impressed, even if you’re not a “Game of Thrones” fan.
Lesce Sports Airfield
These aren’t your kid’s model planes – the model planes are as big as your kid! Hobbyists from around the world gather at this event to show off their projects. From biplanes to jets, you can see an impressive variety of miniature aircrafts. Bring a blanket and sunglasses, and spend the afternoon looking up to the sky.
Saturday, 7th September
Kamna Gorica is a cozy village nestled between Radovljica and Kropa in the Lipnica Valley. Like Kropa, it has a history of iron forging, which your whole family can learn about at Langus Days (Langusovi dnevi), held annually on the 1st Saturday of September to honor the painter, Matevž Langus (1792-1855). The festival includes children’s workshops, free museum entry as well as a 5k run for adults and shorter races for kids.
Saturday in September
at the Beekeeping Education Centre of Gorenjska
Radovljica is the Slovene capital of beekeeping, in fact, the Slovenian beekeeper, Anton Janša’s birthday, 20th May, has just been named “World Bee Day” by the United Nations. For the complete history, you can check out the Museum of Apiculture in the center of Radovljica’s old town. Otherwise, put the Day of Honey Cuisine on your calendar! There are tours, lectures, and tastings. Check out the sweetest market with honey tastings and other honey products. Local restaurants also feature honey dishes. The rest of the year, I enjoy going with my family to the Beekeeping Education Centre of Gorenjska – it’s a unique building with a honey shop and kid-friendly cafe.
Lesce Sports Airfield
I have to admit, my husband had to drag me to the truck show the first year. As an American, I thought pimped out big rigs with country line dancing and a mechanical bull in Slovenia was ridiculous. But, as silly as it sounds, kids love it. Last year we dressed them in denim overalls, took pictures standing inside giant tires, and put the kids behind the wheel! It gets pretty crazy in the evening, so take the kids during the day. You may want earplugs, because there’s a lot of honking!
1st December and 21st-31st December
Praznični dogodki v Radovljici, foto: Boris Pretnar
Slovenes call this time of year, “Veseli December,” which means, “Happy December.” Despite cold temperatures and short days, the city comes to life when the sun sets and the lights turn on – you’ll find everyone outside. Last year my family often went after work to walk the dog, see the lights turn on, check out the local products, and sip a hot drink. From street performers to fairytale horses – you’ll always find something for the whole family. Be sure to check the calendar events to not miss your family’s favorite activities.
Throughout the year
If your kids are curious about the kitchen, we recommend you put that enthusiasm to use and have them cook lunch for you! Vila Podvin organizes a “Children’s Cookery Workshop” (ages 5-12). Additionally, Vila Podvin hosts a Farmer’s Market every 1st Saturday of the month at 10am – 12:00.
Written by Kaja Beton, Febraury 2018
St. Gregory's Eve has long been one of my favourite celebrations. Making little 'boats', which resemble houses, is a pleasant way to keep my children busy in the cold late winter afternoons. Read the blog and find out how to set about making a real little 'boat' all of your own!
written by Rebecca Svetina, January 2019
I quite enjoy the start of the new year in my (now) hometown of Radovljica. The hype of the holidays has faded and we can enjoy the frost-kissed landscape and snow capped mountains, which makes the fairytale town of Radovljica even more idyllic.