Martinovo Holiday in Slovenia
Depending on where you are from, you may have heard of the incredible St. Martin’s Day (Martinovo) celebrations that take place every year in Slovenia. St. Martin’s Day is one of the most popular celebrations, and it takes place on November 11th every year. This amazing autumn celebration is truly unlike anything else in Europe and is one of the best times to experience Slovenia. It’s known as the greatest feast of generous autumn, and for good reason!
What is Martinovo?
“Martinovo” is a holiday dedicated to new wine. In other words, it marks the end of the wine harvest, when grapes have turned into wine. Talk about a great reason to celebrate! Historically, St. Martin’s Day was based on the belief that St. Martin was able to turn water into wine. So, on this special day, it is believed that must turns into wine, and the winemakers celebrate! Must is freshly crushed fruit juice which includes the skins, seeds and stems of the fruit. Making must is step #1 in winemaking. According to Slovenian traditions, the must is often blessed by a bishop, and only then does it officially become wine.
The St. Martin’s Day celebrations begin on November 11th, but they don’t end there! In fact, the celebrations continue for two weeks in November. During this time, winemakers, families, and friends come together to celebrate the new wine harvest. If you are in Slovenia during St. Martin’s Day, you will experience lively celebrations lasting several days, that are full of cultural traditions and history. This is the best time of year to experience Slovenia and its winemaking regions, there is nothing quite like it in Europe!
How St. Martin’s Day is Celebrated in Slovenia
St. Martin’s Day, like most holidays, is celebrated with friends and families, with one common theme – delicious food and wine! What is a celebration without some amazing food, right? Usually, a typical St. Martin’s Day meal is centered around a main poultry dish. One of the most common meals served at a St. Martin’s Day feast is roasted goose or duck stuffed with chestnuts or apples, served with mlinci (a thin crispy flatbread) …it’s so good! Typically, red cabbage cooked in red wine or vinegar is also served on the side, and of course, lots of wine!
During this time, the streets of Slovenia are often bustling with people singing folk songs and wearing traditional folk costumes. When you walk down the streets, you can literally smell the aromas of the delicious food being cooked and can hear music from all over!
Where to visit for St. Martin’s Day
If you’re looking to experience a true Slovenian celebration for the first time, we suggest you head straight to the source. Visiting the wine regions in Slovenia will provide the most authentic and exciting experience; you will not be disappointed! Visiting winemakers and vineyards in Slovenia is a great experience any time of year, but you are bound to have an amazing time when you add these St. Martin’s Day celebrations into the mix!
However, if you can’t make it to the wine regions specifically, not to worry…the entire country celebrates St. Martin’s Day. From the Pannonia plain, Slovenian mountain slopes, all the way to the coast, St. Martin’s Day celebrations are happening for weeks all over the country.
If you want to visit the wine regions, we’ve compiled some of our favorite places to celebrate St. Martin’s Day in Slovenia.
Obsotelje & Kozjansko Region
Obsotelje & Kozjansko is a great place to visit, and even better place to celebrate St. Martin’s Day. This remote region is located along the eastern side of the Posavje Hills and runs along the Sotla River. The Sotla River boarders Croatia, and the views are absolutely breath taking! The Obsotelje & Kozjansko region is great for nature-lovers, as the rolling hills, vineyards, and farms will give you plenty to do while enjoying the outdoors. St. Martin’s Day in the Kozjansko region is unforgettable – enjoy some delicious wine, beautiful views, and possibly the best roasted goose you have ever tried. If you’re looking to explore, you can check out the large Kozjansko regional park, take some photos in a historic castle, and enjoy a luxury spa experience with great views. If you’re a hiker, bring your hiking shoes as there are tons of trails you can hike while you’re here!
After a St. Martin’s Day feast, you can also head out to enjoy some of the fantastic bike trails – the Obsotelje and Kozjansko region has over 39 kilometres of trails!
Virštanj is in one of the top wine-producing areas of Slovenia. This region during St. Martin’s Day is full of life and there are many celebratory events happening throughout November. Virštanj is located in the municipality of Podčetrtek, on the east side of Slovenia. An off-the-beaten-path destination, this is a must-see if you want an authentic experience in eastern Slovenia. If you are a wine-lover, you will taste some of the best European wines made from local winemakers.
Sladka Gora is also on the east side of Slovenia and is part of the Šmarje pri Jelšah municipality. Expect rolling hills, beautiful historic churches, and great wine when you visit!
Spodnje Tinsko is a tiny village in the same municipality as Sladka Gora. With a population of only 77 people, it’s quiet and quaint and you won’t be overwhelmed with crowds. With vineyards, farms, and two churches built directly next to each other, this village is so charming, especially if you’re looking for a peaceful getaway.
House of wines Emino (“Hiša Vin Emino”)
This is the place to go for amazing Slovenian wine and is a popular spot for anyone looking to celebrate St. Martin’s Day in Slovenia. Enjoy some great food and wine and immerse in the local culture, as this is a common spot for locals and tourists alike. They offer many great wine options, that you can spend hours tasting the creations from local winemakers.
This year St. Martin’s day looks different, and it’s not at all what we are used to. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many winemakers are not holding the typical celebratory events, and most people are staying home with close family and friends. For the health and safety of everyone, many of the celebrations have been put on hold until next year. But, while we all do our part to stay healthy, we can still celebrate in our own way at home while enjoying local drops.
See the list below of the best winemakers in the region (most deliver wines to your home!):
Check out the full list of winemakers and the Obsotelje & Kozjansko region’s heritage here.
Disclaimer: The activity is part of the In Cultura Veritas project, co-financed in the Interreg V-A Slovenia-Croatia program. As always, we’ll never recommend a destination/service that we don’t love ourselves.
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If you have any questions about visiting the wineries above or planning your trip to Obsotelje & Kozjansko region, please feel free to reach out.