Festive winter days are simply perfect for relaxing experiences – and a train trip can be especially magical during this season. Not only because of the beautiful landscape that slides past the train windows, but also because we can avoid rushing and dealing with traffic jams. Instead, we can use the time on the way to socialize, play, chat with friends, read a book, etc. Here are some tips for winter train trips:
The capital of Slovenia, adorned with one of the most original Christmas decorations, has a lot going on during Advent. Festive fairs in the historic city centre are accompanied by a vast programme of free open-air events. During this time, a tourist boat ride on the Ljubljanica River is truly special. A visit to the Railway Museum of the Slovenian Railways, which is located just over a kilometre from the railway station, will also be an unforgettable experience.
Fairy-tale Celje brings lights, fairy-tale fairies and dwarves who wake up from a half-yearly dream, and light photo corners, where children’s eyes light up. When you step through the station building of the Celje railway station, you will find yourself in the real Fairy-tale Land. The magically decorated city with many events will take both older and younger visitors into the fairy-tale world.
Festive Maribor begins with the long-awaited lighting of Christmas lights. The traditional December atmosphere is conjured up by fair stands, a popular ice rink and numerous concerts, performances and creative workshops. Locals and visitors are invited to pleasant and safe experiences of festive Maribor, adapted to the recommended measures against the Covid-19 pandemic. A gift market with local products, themed photo points and decorations of urban parks and squares will definitely be interesting to visit. A place of joy, socializing, creativity and imagination is also a Fairy City, one of Maribor’s enchanting December festivities, set within Maribor’s streets, courtyards and squares. The Festive Maribor programme invites you to the hospitable Styrian capital!
From 27 November 2021 to 2 January 2022, you can feel the magical Christmas/New Year atmosphere in Koper. The festive decoration of the city will be a several kilometres long flashing light chain, luminous elements with animal motifs and fairy-tale figures of various shapes. In Hlavaty Park near the market, Zoo lights will come to life again, Carpaccio Square will stand out with a golden olive tree, and the Bastion Fort will be decorated in the form of a large gift with a bright red ribbon. A light deer will adorn Kardelj Square, where you will also be enchanted by a 15-meter-tall New Year tree with almost 30,000 lights and a light chain. On November 27, the Fantazima programme will begin with the lighting of the holiday lights, and will last until the New Year. Come to Koper and feel the magic of the holidays!
On the first weekend of December and between 22nd and 29th December, the old town centre of Radovljica takes on a fairy-tale look. The festively-decorated square gives a magical atmosphere to workshops, performances and activities for children and all the family. The town offers sweet experiences and a varied programme of events.
Traveling by train throughout Slovenia is very affordable, especially if you travel during weekends or holidays. During the festive season, many Slovenian places invite you with festive decorations and various events.
In recent years, Zagreb received the flattering title of the best Advent capital in Europe. During the holiday season, the city centre is transformed into a fairy-tale decorated city. It is interesting to ascend to the Upper Town and visit the most important city sights (the mighty Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, Ban Jelačić Square), and taste the delicacies of the Christmas Market. A train ticket from Ljubljana to Zagreb is available from €9. For group or family travel, tickets are even more affordable.
From the end of November to the end of December, the Austrian capital turns into a fairy-tale land. Warm up with the famous Weihnachtspunsch and take a walk along Kärntner Straße from the Opera House to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and along Graben Street to the Hofburg Palace. A train ticket from Ljubljana to Vienna is available from €29.
In the pre-Christmas time, Mozart’s town enchants its visitors with a traditional Christmas tree, a beautiful fountain and a castle that rises above the Salzburger Dom. At the foot of the Hohensalzburg Fortress, which stands next to the Salzburg Cathedral, the world-famous and oldest Austrian Christmas market takes place. A train ticket from Ljubljana to Salzburg is available from €26.90.
During the weeks before Christmas, Graz turns into a romantic winter fairy-tale. Already in November, several Christmas markets open. The churches of Graz offer many opportunities to catch the Christmas spirit. A train ticket from Ljubljana to Graz is available from €19.
In the town along the Drava River, you will find everything that creates a Christmas atmosphere – from a romantic Advent market to Villach Art Advent. Villach traditional Advent spreads around the town’s parish church, while the Villach Culinary Advent takes place in the main square (Hauptplatz). A train ticket from Ljubljana to Villach is available from €11.
Take the train past the beautiful Lake Balaton and Veszprem and visit the Hungarian capital Budapest. The beauty along the Danube River enchants visitors in all seasons, but the beautiful palaces, churches, squares and dream bridges are even more beautiful in a festive atmosphere. In December, many squares and streets of the Hungarian capital are adorned with magical lights and festive stalls. Visit the Citadel, which rises above this magnificent city, admire the city centre and the Elizabeth Bridge, cross the Chain Bridge and stroll over to Freedom Square and St. Stephen Basilica. A train ticket from Ljubljana to Budapest is available from €15.
Traveling by train is sustainable. According to the European Commission, rail transport accounts for 0.5% of greenhouse gas emissions from transport, while road transport accounts for as much as 72%. Therefore, train travel is becoming increasingly popular. Even during Covid times, Slovenian Railways provide safe passenger transport by following all measures and recommendations of the government and the National Institute of Public Health, which include the recovered-vaccinated-tested requirement (PCT), mandatory use of a protective mask, and hand disinfection before boarding the train. Hand sanitizer dispensers are placed near each train entrance.