Events & activities
Slovenian Culture Day (8th of February)
Slovenia is the only country in the world that has dedicated a national holiday to art and culture. In honour of the greatest Slovenian poet, France Prešeren, the Slovenian day of culture is also known as Prešeren Day. On the eve of the cultural holiday, 7th February, we traditionally organize a delightful concert performed by the Novo mesto Symphony Orchestra, which is attended by more than a thousand visitors. On the public holiday itself, 8th February, all culturally significant institutions open their doors to visitors and offer free entry to museums and cultural events. In Novo mesto, we also organize a free guided tour of the historically important places of the town.
Mach's Heritage Tutorial Trail (Easter and Christmas Hikes)
Mach's heritage tutorial trail runs through the picturesque forests of the Gorjanci Hills and along the streams, enjoying the beauty of nature while surrounded by forest animals. It is suitable for all ages, and is especially entertaining for families, enabling children to discover hidden treasures and learn about the fairytales related to the legends and myths of the Gorjanci Hills. Hikers are invited to set out on the walk alone, or as part of organized walks on Easter Monday and 26th December, the day after Christmas. Mach's trail is 9069 metres long and runs from the village of Mali Slatnik to the neighbouring village of Veliki Slatnik. Hikers can also opt for a shorter version of the nature trail. You can read more about Mach's heritage tutorial tail here.
Mach's trail is named after the family of Ernst Mach, an acclaimed mathematician, physicist and philosopher who studied the motion of bodies in the air, defining Mach's number − an important quantity in aerodynamics and hydrodynamics. Ernst Mach used to come to Veliki Slatnik during his study holidays and helped his parents on their farm. He appreciated the beauty of nature. His father had established a good relationship with the local farmers. The father brought to our country a lot of new knowledge about fruit growing, agriculture, horticulture, and beekeeping. He also began to breed an Asian silkworm – the yamamai or the Japanese silk moth. Due to poor transport connections and poor harvests, silkworm rearing did not prove effective, nor did the management of the manor; unfortunately, the estate management only brought a loss. Mach's parents died young, his mother in 1869 and father in 1879. They are buried in the village cemetery of Veliki Slatnik.
Along the Lojze Slak Trail (Frist or Second Saturday in May)
This hike wanders through vineyards and along the vine-growing hills of Trška gora, and is named after a legendary musician, one of the pioneers of Slovenian popular folk music, Lojze Slak. Hikers can relish the beautiful views from the Trška gora hill, in the delightful environment of ‘zidanice’ vineyard cottages in Dolenjska, and experience and learn about the ethnological, natural and cultural sights of Trška gora. The hike along the Lojze Slak Trail is intended for all ages, including vulnerable groups, and is an excellent opportunity for recreation, thus promoting a healthy lifestyle in the company of pleasant people.
Music Festival "Sem glasba, sem mesto" ("I am the music, I am the town - Last week of May)
The festival of classical and contemporary music (“I am the music, I am the town”) comprises at least four concert evenings, which take place at the end of May at various venues in Novo mesto. The highlight of the festival is an International Singing Competition for young talent aged up to 32 years. Their performances are appraised by an international jury of six members which presents up to 5 prizes. The festival also offers a rich accompanying programme (lectures, museum exhibitions, art exhibitions, percussion workshop for children, raft ride on the Krka River, etc.).
Pop up Wine Festival (Last Friday of May)
The wine festival takes place in the special ambience of the courtyard of Grm Castle in Novo mesto, which is surrounded by a beautiful park in the immediate vicinity of the town centre. The Pop Up Wine Festival presents the best Slovenian winemakers, as well as excellent winemakers from Croatia, Spain, Portugal, Hungary and Austria. The festival is primarily intended for wine lovers, where they can relax in nature, enjoying a rich range of local snacks and the pleasant sounds of music.
Petkanje in Novo mesto (May, July, August, September)
Petkanje is a series of culinary events where top-quality cuisine joins with entertainment for all ages in the renovated Glavni trg (Main Square) in Novo mesto’s old town. The organizers take special care of the youngest visitors, as a transportable playground and inflatable castles are set up. Approximately four Friday events are planned in the afternoon from late spring up to early autumn.
Urban Events Festival (First Saturday in June)
An all-day event with young DJs takes place in Novo mesto's Main Square (Glavni trg). The upper part of the square hosts competitions in hip hop and break dancing, and creative workshops for young artists and graffiti artists to the rhythms of electronic music by young DJs. The lower part of the market is where young chefs present local specialties and there are providers of spirits, wine, craft beer and juices. In the evening, the largest disco ball in Slovenia lights up in the Main Square and one of the most beautiful Slovenian squares comes to life as a large open-air disco.
Brusniška hurstavka Cherry Festival (A Saturday in June)
The festival of the indigenous cherry variety Brusniška Hrustavka takes place in the picturesque village of Brusnice under the Gorjanci Hills on a Saturday in June (depending when the cherries ripen). The festival is always joyful, and there are cherries and other delicacies for sale, including the famous cherry strudel. People can have fun late into the night, dancing and enjoying the sounds of various music groups.
The indigenous cherry Brusniška Hrustavka is more than 200 years old, and since 2015 it has been officially recognized as an indigenous variety.
Culture Week Festival (Second week in June)
Culture Week is a week-long festival that offers cultural, social, entertainment, culinary and educational events at various venues in Novo mesto town centre. The events support the idea of mutual respect between different cultures and their coexistence. The festival presents various dance, music, folklore, puppet and theatre groups from different countries and continents and different cuisines from around the world. Culture Week is for all ages, different tastes and all those who are interested in culture.
Rudolf's Beer Festival (Last Friday in June)
A unique event in Novo mesto's Glavni trg (Main Square), where more than 20 craft beer brewers from Slovenia and abroad present their work. The festival promotes the culture of drinking beer in the relaxed, fun and musical atmosphere of the old town.
Situlae Festival (June)
The Situlae Festival celebrates the life of the Iron Age. It is dedicated to these extraordinary bronze monuments – situlas, which clearly testify to the life of Iron Age inhabitants of Novo mesto, who were equal to the extraordinary civilizations of Continental and Mediterranean Europe.
Tour of Slovenia (June)
In Novo mesto we love cycling. Bicycle racing too. This is evident in the annual event at the conclusion of Tour of Slovenia which has its finish line in Novo mesto. It is difficult to imagine any major cycling event in Slovenia without Adria Mobil as they contribute to the events both on the organizational and the competitive level.
Grem domov v Novo mesto ("I'm going home to Novo mesto" - Second Saturday in July)
An event that is primarily organized for students, but also for all young people and for those young at heart. The students wrap up the academic year with a hike to Novo mesto from other Slovenian towns: Koper, Ljubljana and Maribor. A reception takes place in the late afternoon in the Main Square, where the Novo mesto brass band and majorettes welcome them. Later, the evening turns into fun and socializing with the best Slovenian musicians.
Night of Butterflies at the Confluence of three Springs (July)
At the confluence of three springs in the vicinity of the village of Veliki Slatnik an observation of butterflies is held every year at the end of July, in the evening after 9pm. The observation is guided by a biology expert who presents the butterflies and moths, with an emphasis on the yamamai, the Japanese silk moth. The Society of Mach’s Heritage under Gorjanci organizes the night observation event, and the members also prepare an accompanying programme with snacks. Johann Mach first received 85 eggs from Vienna in 1866 and he reared the first cocoons. He was the first and most successful yamamai silkworm breeder in Slovenia. He also tried rearing caterpillars outside, in an oak forest on Mach Hill. However, the moths escaped and gradually spread throughout Central and Southern Europe. The yamamai (Antheraea yamamai) is our largest moth, with a wingspan of up to 15 cm. It lives in deciduous forests (oak, beech, hornbeam). The wings are covered with chitinous scales in different colour variations from yellow to brown. There are no scales in the middle of the wings, where there are eye-like spots. They begin to hatch from the silk cocoons at the end of July, and are ready to fly on their second night. The males fly first. With their scenting organ on feathery tentacles, they find a female that emits a special smell. The adults only feed on the fat supply gathered in the caterpillar phase for up to 7 days. They die off in early autumn. The cultivation of the silkworm (Bombyx mori) for silk production began 5,000 years ago in China. It spread to Europe in the 6th century AD, and in the 16th century it also came to the Slovenian region of Goriška. The activity reached its peak at the end of the 18th century, and began to decline at the beginning of the 19th century, due to a disease of the common silkworm; the breeders preferred the resistant oak processionaries from Asia. The first yamamais were sent from Japan in 1860, and thanks to Johann Mach, the yamamai moths have also been living in Veliki Slatnik since 1866.
The Night of Butterflies is a particularly exciting and pleasant event for children or for the whole family, as they observe the fragile and colourful yamamai moths in the evening, when the moths emerge from their silken cocoons and fly off into the night.
Fotopub (first week of August)
Fotopub, a festival led by young artists and curators, focuses on generating links between the freshest photographic activity and its wider cultural context. Unlike many other cultural institutions working in the field of photography, the foremost intention of Fotopub is to work actively at the site/place where emerging photographic practices meet unconventional curatorial gestures. Fotopub occupies and builds a space for emerging artists in a need of a platform for independent research, experimentation and practice, forming a multigenerational initiative for interdisciplinary cultural integration.
Jazzinty (third week of August)
Music workshop and festival Jazzinty has already been held in Novo mesto from year 2000. It's a week when Novo mesto gathers musicians of different nationalities, but with the same desire - to play jazz and upgrade their skills under the supervision of world-renowned jazz musicians. A week when a little town with evening concerts and jam sessions, that have been taking place throughout the day at various venues, turns into a jazz metropolis
Walnut Festival (The Last Saturday of August)
In the village of Veliki Orehek under the hills of Gorjanci, the traditional Walnut Festival takes place every year, where the locals prepare various dishes and drinks made from walnuts. Enjoy the flavours of different culinary delights, especially the traditional Slovenian dessert potica, a walnut roll pastry which is protected at the European level. The festival is all about listening to music and socializing for all ages.
Photo: Mirjana Martinović, Dolenjski list
Jumping into the River Krka (September)
The already traditional competition in jumping into water from Kandija bridge takes place on the first Saturday in September. The event represents the finals of the Slovenian Cup and the sign of international competition. At the same time, there are a number of other sports, cultural and social activities by many organizations during the whole weekend.
Novo mesto ½ Marathon (First Weekend in October)
Novo mesto ½ Marathon has a beautiful course running through streets of Novo mesto and by the green river Krka. It is accompanied by a great atmosphere with music bands, DJ-s and local accordions. It is officially measured course with AIMS CERTIFICATE that at the same time offers events for all ages and physical fitness. Runners get rich goody bag, with gifts like local wine Cviček and finisher t-shirt and there is a free beer at the finish for half marathoners.
Dolenjska celebration of St. Martin's day (St. Martin's Saturday in November)
The Dolenjska celebration of St. Martin’s Day is a festival that follows Slovenia’s rich ethnological and winemaking tradition, which is associated with the celebration of St. Martin on November 11th. In Slovenia and Croatia, it is celebrated primarily as a wine festival. Up to this day, the must is treated as an impure and “sinful” young wine that turns into real wine after being blessed. According to custom, a humorous blessing can be performed by a man disguised as a bishop.
The Dolenjska celebration of St. Martin’s Day celebrates and promotes the wines of the region, especially cviček, a dry red wine. Besides the Tuscan Chianti, cviček is the only wine in the world made from both red and white grape varieties. Since 2001, cviček has also been legally protected with the label of a recognized traditional name. It is produced in the Dolenjska wine-growing region. Cviček has a low level of alcohol (8.5 to 10%) and a pleasant acidity; it is a very drinkable wine and goes well with all dishes.
The event takes place at Grm Castle in the afternoon, with tasty snacks for all ages, and continues with an entertaining musical programme with ethnological content.
THEMATIC YEAR: 100 YEARS OF THE NOVO MESTO SPRING
Novo mesto Spring - 26th of September 2020
The main events of the Novo mesto Spring will take place on the day of 100th anniversary of the 1st Regional Art Exhibition, 26th September 2020. There will be the opening of an exhibition at the Museum of Dolenjska, presenting the protagonists of the Novo mesto Spring who were key players in this avant-garde movement at the time. In the evening, an event organized by the Anton Podbevšek Theatre, will be held in the Main Square in Novo mesto, reviving and upgrading the events that significantly marked the Slovenian cultural scene of the 20th century in a completely new avant-garde expression of the 21st century, including the groups Laibach and Neue Slowenische Kunst.
Novo mesto Spring was a cultural and artistic manifestation in 1920, the main initiators of which were well-known Slovenian artists, including the poets Anton Podbevšek and Miran Jarc, and the painter Božidar Jakac, who also attracted artists of the younger generation − Ivan Čarg, Zdenko Skalycki and Marjan Mušič. These artists, in cooperation with some others, prepared the 1st Regional Art Exhibition in Novo mesto in the Windischer Salon in Kandija, under the patronage of the then already established painter Rihard Jakopič. The opening of this exhibition was on 26 September 1920, and the event was accompanied by a concert by Marij Kogoj and a recital by Anton Podbevšek and Miran Jarc. This exhibition was later followed by several events and performances, in which artists from other parts of Slovenia also participated. Thus, the Novo mesto Spring assumed the role of national awakener and strongly influenced the work of artists in the 1920s, the most acclaimed being Srečko Kosovel who later contributed to the magazine Trije labodi (Three Swans), which began with a publication in 1921 in Novo mesto as a result of the Novo mesto Spring.
Museum of Dolenjska
Museum of Dolenjska (Dolenjski muzej) was established, after many years of efforts, in 1950. The headquarters of the museum are located under Kapitelj. Museum gardens are a famous backdrop of various cultural events. Institution's trademark is a permanent exhibition Archaeological Image of Dolenjska, which is the result of many years of excavations, particularly in Novo Mesto. A section Jakčev Dom deserves a special place. Visitors can see a permanent exhibition of the Novo mesto-based painter Božidar Jakac.
Miran Jarc Library
Novo mesto’s Central Library is named after Miran Jarc - poet, writer, dramatist, publicist and translator, who grew up in Novo Mesto.
Anton Podbevšek Theater
APT, the youngest professional theater in Slovenia is named after the famous Novo mesto poet and essayist Anton Podbevšek, representative of Novo mesto Spring Culture movement and pioneer of Slovenian avant-garde literature.
Besides all the natural features, which are available to athletes in Novo mesto, we should also mention the velodrome in Češča Vas, where world records were set, stadium in Portoval, and the home of basketball champions, the Leon Stukelj hall.
Situated in the fascinating unspoilt landscape along the emerald river Krka, close to the famed Otočec Castle there is the Otočec Golf Course (18 holes). The state-of-the-art golf course was designed to the highest industry standards by the renowned British architect Howard Swan and the Slovene architect Peter Škofic, who exhibited a keen sense of the game and the natural scenery.
Local Sights and Interests
Above the town centre, in a meander of the Krka River, there is the Kapitelj Hill with the church of St. Nicholas and the Main Square beneath. The central part of the town boasts a picturesque street called Breg, which was built on the former defensive walls, there are also the premises of the Museum of Dolenjska with the world-famous collection of archaeological artefacts, the Franciscan monastery with a rich library, and for all the romantic souls there is a fountain with imprinted verses of the serenade titled On the Square (Na trgu) written by our famous poet and fellow resident Dragotin Kette. Therefore, it is not a surprise that the residents of Novo mesto like using the old town’s charms as a backdrop for numerous events.
The central location in the old town is the main square with its distinctive arcaded facades, originating from the 16th century. The tallest building in this part of the city is the Town Hall from 1905, which became, since its renewal, once again the seat of the mayor and a place for meetings of the municipal council. On the square in front of City Hall stand the busts of famous townsmen Janez Trdina and Dragotin Kette. The fountain in the vicinity is dedicated to the latter poet, who gave Novo Mesto some of his most prolific years, and has imprinted verses of his
serenade ‘Na Trgu’.
The Franciscan Monastery
Neo-Gothic façade of the church is from 1866. The rich library of the monastery from the 15th century also keeps certificates of Olympian Leon Štukelj.
The Krka River
When visiting Novo mesto, we cannot avoid the Krka River. And why should we? The Krka River can offer something to everyone. Boating, fishing and the walks along the river banks allow for an escape from the everyday hustle and bustle. Larger parties can choose and experience the navigation and a luncheon on Rudolf's Raft, which spoils the gusts with a unique view of the old town. Adrenaline enthusiasts can opt for stand up paddle boards, rafts, kayaks or can go diving. In the recent years, a new, ever more popular tradition has been established, namely, the attractive jumps in the Krka River from the Kandija bridge.
The Region of Dolenjska is famous for its hills covered with vines, among which Trška Gora holds a special place. The hill of Trška Gora is a popular hiking location, with its recognizable image of vineyard cottages and the church on top. When climbing up, one is guaranteed to experience a typical route among the vineyards of the Dolenjska region, the hospitality of which will certainly not leave you indifferent. From the summit, you can enjoy a remarkable view of the Novo mesto basin which opens all the way up to the Gorjanci Hills.
An outstanding tourist offer is provided also by the only water castle in Slovenia – the castle of Otočec. Historical jewel can meet the needs of the most demanding guests. What is more, in its vicinity there are also an adventure park, a golf course, a tennis centre and the Šport Hotel with a new wellness centre.
The Gorjanci Hills
The Gorjanci Hills are the most popular hiking area near Novo mesto. Hikers usually choose the village of Gabrje as their starting point and, on the way to the top, the obligatory stops are the popular mountain lodges on the hills of Gospodična and on Miklavž. One can recognise the peak of Trdinov vrh from far due to its broadcasting transmitter perched on top.