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Randomly discovering a Ljubljana wine festival brought a day of dancing and laughter

Ljubljana, Slovenia

I visited Slovenia last year, a country that wasn’t initially on my bucket list, and I got to visit the capital city, Ljubljana, which I won’t soon forget. With colourful old buildings, cobblestone streets, and arched bridges decorated with ivory lamplights, Ljubljana is an enchanting city.

After a morning hike to the Castle with my Contiki group, and the sun beating down on our backs, we all felt a little tired. But as luck would have it we came across a small local wine festival called Po Primorsko, and it was just the energy boost we needed!

I’m sharing what my experience was like so that you can seek out Po Primorsko, and other wine festivals, on your next visit to this fairytale European town!

Slovenia and wine

Something that I didn’t know, and that you may not know either, is that Slovenia has a HUGE wine culture – in fact Ljubljana is renowned for its natural orange wines (which our Trip Manager urged us to taste) and you can find this kind of wine, and many others, at wine bars all over the city.

Obviously there are lots of other things to do in the city, but punctuating each activity with a cool glass of wine is utter bliss, so I’d definitely recommend indulging… And Ljubljana is home to many festivals that celebrate the drink, so you’re never too far from a good time no matter what time of year you travel.

Po Primorsko wine festival Ljubljana

Image source:Po Primorsko

A few deets about Po Primorsko

Held since 2015,  Po Primorsko is one the many yearly wine festivals held in Ljubljana. The festival is named after one of the country’s three wine regions, Primorska (also known as the Slovenian Littoral), which produces 25M litres per year. The region is full of beautiful vineyards, and has a distinct Italian feel to it because of the proximity to the border, and this can be seen through the architecture, cuisine, and local culture.

Po Primorsko is as much about wine as it is about local food and products. When you visit this festival, you’ll be treated to many drinks, but also locally made foods and products such as cheeses and pasta. The best part? It’s free! Or, nearly, but even the stalls requiring payment only charge 1€! And if you like what you taste, you can buy the real deal and bring it home.

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The setup

Like I said, my friends and I happened upon this totally out of pure luck. We had no idea the festival was taking place, and it was while we were walking back down from the city’s castle, in search of some food, that we found it.

Not far from the pink Franciscan Church of the Annunciation and right at the foot of Saint Nicholas’ Cathedral is a long street with a square, with restaurants and small businesses along the sides, and the festival’s stalls in the middle. They had a band set up around some trees and they played live music: a mix of staples like Cotton Eyed Joe and Slovenian tunes (they’ve got great taste).

You could go up to a stall which ‘rented’ a wine glass to you for 5€ (which you’d get back at the end of the day), and you could drift around, filling your glass and enjoying the sunshine. Tables were set up around the area so you could pick up your wine and food and relax, and everyone was in high spirits, chatting to the people they were with and strangers alike.

Po Primorsko, Ljubljana

Image source:Charlie Fabre

Our Experience

We didn’t really know what to expect, but when we heard the sound of music, we were all excited. Enticed by the prospect of free goodies (as all Gen-Z travellers are), we eagerly joined in. I sampled a red and a white wine, as well as a rosé, and one stall was giving away cups of homemade pesto pasta, served with a sort of whipped cream which was just divine!

Then, drawn in by the music, we all huddled together at the front by the foot of the band and we sang along to the songs we knew, raised our glasses to the songs we didn’t (namely the Slovenian titles), and we danced all together. At one point, a local man joined our group and got in the middle of the circle to show off his Just Dance: Rasputin-like moves and we were all impressed and cheered him on like he was one of our own!

Tired, and in need of more than just a few snacks, we got a table at a restaurant nearby and enjoyed pizzas while watching the rest of the fun. At one point when we had settled down there was even a marching band and a small parade procession which made us all laugh. Honestly it feels kind of surreal that that’s how our day turned out – we had a free day in Ljubljana to do what we wanted, and I think it ended up being one of the best days ever! 

I suppose this is all to say that, you never know where your travels will take you or what you’ll see, and even though Slovenia wasn’t at the top of my travel bucket list, I’m so incredibly glad I went, and I will 100% be returning one day. Travel is as much about getting to see all the famous sights for yourself, as it is discovering something new – so get out there and explore!

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