Slovenia has pleasantly warm summers and sometimes cold winters with lots of snow. The changing of the seasons can be sudden and in spring, there is an explosion of life. What is the best season to see birds, flowers or amphibians, or to do a hiking tour?
Short-term weather forecasts are usually accurate, but of course, there is variation from year to year. This is especially the case with the onset of spring, which is generally at the end of March, but which can be a week or two earlier or later. There is a large difference between inland areas, where winter lasts longer, and the coastal region, where winter is mild and short, and summer is hotter. Likewise, higher in the mountains the night-time temperature is often low, even in midsummer.
You should see the graphs below as a general indication for the entire country. Whenever you join our tours, you can be sure that we select the best areas in accordance to the season and forecasted weather.
You can do birdwatching throughout the year in Slovenia. There are two peak-seasons: springtime, when birds are singing and nesting, and autumn when many birds migrate through Slovenia. Especially for migratory birds, rainfall influences how easily they are seen. In wet years, the intermittent Lake Cerknica becomes an eldorado for waders and waterbirds, while in dry years they leave the area more quickly. Summertime is a silent season, when birds moult (grow new feathers) and don’t sing much.
In winter, few plants flower in Slovenia, but the first signs of spring can be as early as January. The end of March and beginning of April are good for a sudden flush of early spring flowers. By the middle of April, these early flowers are well past, but every day new species start flowering. Meadows are at their best in the second half of May and beginning of June. Mountain flowers start a bit later and are at their peak in June and July, depending on altitude. The end of September and beginning of October are again spectacular, when the whole forest becomes yellow and orange in the autumn.
It is not unusual to see single butterflies on sunny winter days, especially at the Slovenian coast. However, when you especially come for butterflies, May and June are the best months. Higher in the mountains, the season is later and July is better. However, different species have different flight-seasons and there are many butterflies throughout summer and into autumn. For most butterflies, sunny days with a minimum temperature of 15’C are required.
Many years, we have a bit of fun with the seasons and go to see wall lizards on the first of January. This is often possible on the Slovenian coast, even when inland temperatures are well below zero. However, I wouldn’t recommend winter as the best season for reptiles 🙂 Most amphibians and reptiles become active by the end of March, with several weeks of difference between species. Agile frogs and the endemic Italian agile frogs can start laying eggs already in February. For heat-loving Whipsnakes it is better to wait until May. Summer can be warm; many reptiles are then only visible in the early morning. Late autumn can be again very good for reptiles, but this depends on the temperature and this period may last as little as a week.
In principle, it is possible to see the Olm, the cave-salamander, throughout the year, because the underground temperature is constant. However, accessibility of caves and water clarity depend on rainfall. Especially when the snow melts in spring and after heavy autumn rain, you may have to postpone a cave-visit if you plan to see this species.
Hiking can be fantastic in mid-winter when it is possible to follow the tracks of mammals in the thick snow. However, for general hiking holidays, the season lasts from April to October. Regardless of the season, it is wise to check the weather forecast when you plan longer hikes.
The best season for hiking in Slovenia