When to Go
Slovenia is wonderful all year round, enjoying a mix of Alpine, continental, and Mediterranean climates. In winter, the Julian Alps are just one of many mountain ranges that are ideal for skiing and snowboarding. Be wary midsummer, however; in July, Slovenes take a break from everyday life and head for the coast (of Croatia, mostly). So while it's a great time to see the old towns in the east, the capital is rather quiet, and the coast crowded.
Holidays -- Slovenian public holidays are New Year's Day (Jan 1), Preseren Day (Feb 8); Day of Uprising Against Occupation (Apr 27), Easter Day and Easter Monday, Labor Day (May 1, 2), Statehood Day (June 25), Assumption (Aug 15), Reformation Day (Oct 31), Remembrance Day (Nov 1), Christmas Day (Dec 25), and Independence Day (Dec 26).
Major Festivals in Slovenia -- The eastern town of Ptuj erupts with life on Shrove Sunday (mid-Feb), when 50,000 people assemble for the country's anticipated Kurentovanje. This winter carnival has revelers taking to the streets in spectacular Kurent masks and costumes -- an outrageous pagan spring celebration that's become an awesome excuse for a raucous party. For 2 weeks in late June, Maribor hosts the Lent Festival, one of the most exciting cultural events in Slovenia, attracting great musical acts and supporters from all over Europe. In mid-July, Lasko holds a weeklong beer festival, probably the best place to experience Slovenia's affection for drinking, polka bands, and live music. Ljubljana Summer Festival runs from July through to the middle of September and features performances of all kinds -- film, theater, jazz, chamber music, opera, ballet, symphony concerts, theater, and puppetry. Ljubljana also hosts the Druga Godba (The Other Music), an alternative music festival scheduled around late May; while in late June, you can catch the Ljubljana Jazz Festival, the oldest jazz festival in Europe. In mid-July, the popular summer resort of Bled hosts Blejski Dnevi (Bled Days), a festival of music, craft markets, fireworks, and a candlelit lake.
On the last Sunday in August, Predjama Castle hosts Erazem's Medieval Tournament, complete with jousting knights on horseback and costumes from the Middle Ages. The Cow's Ball (Kravji Bal) happens at Lake Bohinj over the second or third weekend in September; the cows literally come home from the mountains and villagers set about their drink-fueled merrymaking. On November 11 (St. Martin's Day), look out for winemaking celebrations in the country's wine regions.