January is indeed the coldest time of the year, with average daily temperatures across the country ranging between 18°F to 43°F (-8°C–6°C). Though the country is small, Slovenia sees three distinct kinds of weather from the milder western plains, the moderate continental interior, and the colder mountains. In the west, in cities like Portorož, Piran, and Izola, you can expect temperatures to hover around 42°F (6°C), 27°F to 37°F (-3°C–3°C) in Ljubljana, and a very nippy 18°F to 34°F (-8°C–1°C) up in the mountains. When the Bora (a northeasterly wind) makes an appearance along the coast and in the western plains, temperatures drop dramatically.
Slovenia sees a fair amount of precipitation throughout the month, with heavy snow in the mountains of western Slovenia (the ski resort Kranjska Gora sees an average of 68 in/173 cm of snow or rain each year). Inland you can expect snowfall nine days of the month, the snow turning to rain the further west you go.
Crowds & Costs
Now that the holiday season is over, historic town centers will be less crowded, and locals returning to their day-to-day routines. Prices for hotels and flights return to their discounted rates after the New Year week (typically after January 3). Though Ljubljana is the least crowded in January, expect popular ski resorts across the country to book early.
Where to Go
If you don't mind bundling up, there’s no place in the country that should be off your agenda. A good place to start is in the country’s capital, Ljubljana, for a taste of culture: art galleries and museums, striking architecture, and great restaurants. Here are some ideas for the perfect 24 Hours in Ljubljana. From there, visit the ever-popular Lake Bled. Now covered in a blanket of snow, the iconic Bled Island and frozen lake add another dimension of otherworldly beauty. If you're considering venturing into the mountains, keep in mind that due to Slovenia’s winter conditions the Vršič Pass in the Julian Alps could be closed.
Meanwhile, to get away from the sub-zero weather, a drive along the short northern Adriatic Coast is an idea. Head along the quiet shoreline, stopping to visit the resort town of Portorož or the Venetian-influenced Piran a little further up. Turn inland to discover the caves of the Karst region, which are less frequented this time of year and offer a little respite from the nipping winds.
For more inspiration, read this interview with a kimkim traveler who took a winter trip to Slovenia.
What to Do
Skiing is the name of the game in January, with many athletes heading to the slopes in Kranjska Gora. Though if you don’t ski, there are plenty of other great winter sports to take advantage of while there’s snow on the ground, like sledding, snowshoeing, and ice skating. There’s also the option to Nordic ski in Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj, and the Soča Valley. If you prefer to stay indoors, cozy up by a crackling fire with a warming cocktail in one of Slovenia’s many ski resorts and enjoy the views over the Julian Alps.
In need of relaxation? Experience one of Slovenia’s many spas, like the country’s famous 15th-century Terme Dobrna, just north of Celje, and recharge in its therapeutic thermal waters. Here's more on the Best Winter Experiences in Slovenia.
Events in January
Zlata Lisica, Maribor Pohorje. The Women’s World Cup Slalom & Giant Slalom Competition is a major international skiing event that sees competitors competing for the Zlata Lisica (Golden Fox) trophy on the Maribor Pohorje ski grounds from late January to early February.