Autumn is the perfect time for long walks along a river, strolls through historic centers, and drives on winding roads in the hills above charming towns and villages. Soaking in the thermal waters of one of the many thermal spas or visiting outdoor markets are a joy all over Slovenia in Autumn. One of my favorite towns in Slovenia during the fall season is Novo Mesto, an enchanting town in one of Slovenia’s most incredible wine regions. Friendly people, beautiful landscapes, and a tidy city center make Novo Mesto a must-visit for an autumnal trip. Here are ten reasons to visit Novo Mesto in autumn and a travel guide for a stay and road trip in the area.
Autumn in Slovenia is beautiful; the leaves are changing, and cozy, cooler weather has encouraged us to warm up in sweaters and seasonal attire. Novo Mesto is a small city about forty-five minutes south of Ljubljana and an hour north of Zagreb. Resting on the lazy Krka River with rolling hills and some of the most picturesque views makes Novo Mesto a must-visit. Just to the northeast, there are fabulous roads for exploring, but first, let’s discuss ten reasons to visit Novo Mesto in Autumn.
Top 10 Reasons to Visit Novo Mesto in Autumn
- The Stunning Fall Foliage Novo Mesto’s natural surroundings come alive with vibrant autumn colors! Around mid-October, their lush green landscapes transform into a picturesque tapestry of red, orange, and yellow leaves, making Novo Mesto a paradise for nature enthusiasts and photographers.
- Fantastic Mild Weather Autumn in Novo Mesto brings pleasant, cozy, cool days in the sun and cuddly chilly weather at night. The temperature is usually comfortable for outdoor activities, whether exploring the city on foot, hiking in nearby forests, or sipping coffee in comfy cafes.
- The Wine Tasting Novo Mesto is part of the Dolenjska wine region, known for its exceptional red wines. Autumn is the grape harvest season, making it an ideal time for wine enthusiasts to visit vineyards, enjoy wine tastings, and learn about Dolenjska’s winemaking process. November 11th is the celebration of St Martin’s Day, when the must, once grape juice pressed in September, becomes wine. The roots of St. Martin’s Day are Celtic based on when the fruitful harvest was celebrated. St Martin was a bishop in Tours, France, with Hungarian roots who became known as the successor of the autumnal tradition, learn more about St Martin’s Day in Slovenia Jeruzalem, Slovenia, and the Celebration of St Martins Day.
- All the Cultural Events Many cultural events and festivals occur in Novo Mesto during autumn. You can immerse yourself in local traditions, music, and dance while enjoying the festive atmosphere. Check out Slovenia’s event calendars to plan your trip. One of the many extraordinary Slovenian autumnal events is Restaurant Week. The annual Autumn Restaurant Week usually falls around the second week of October and is a must for visitors to check out! The October 2023 lineup can be reserved on the Vivi site.
- Many Historic Sites Explore Novo Mesto’s rich history by visiting the local historical sites, including the Novo Mesto Old Town, the Town Hall, and Franciskanska Cerkev, the Franciscan Monastery. The mild autumn weather makes it comfortable for sightseeing.
- Great Food and Restaurant Week in October Autumn is the season for hearty and delicious Slovenian dishes. Try local specialties like mushroom soups, creamy mushroom štrukli, roasted chestnuts, and traditional stews in Novo Mesto’s restaurants and taverns. November brings St Martins celebrations, which include roast duck with braised red cabbage and mlinci which is kind of like a sauteed dumpling, but it’s a hard cracker that’s been boiled and then sauteed in the duck gravy before being plated. It’s perfect!
- The Hiking Novo Mesto is surrounded by lush forests and natural parks. Autumn is an excellent time for hiking and exploring the scenic nature trails. The cool weather and colorful landscapes make the experience even more enjoyable. The outside hot spring Klevevž has a fantastic light walking area and amazing relaxing in the spring. Nearby is the Adrijaničeva trail in Šmarješke Toplice’s heart- about five kilometers. Kette Avenue is the picturesque town promenade, which will take you along the tree-lined street to Marof Hill for the views. Check out Outdooractive for more hiking trails- called puts in Slovenian.
- The beautiful Krka River Take a relaxing walk along the river Krka, which flows through Novo Mesto. In autumn, the riverbanks are adorned with autumn foliage, creating a picturesque setting for the Novo Mesto castle Otočec. Play 18 holes of golf at Otočec Golf Course on the river.
- Fewer Crowds Autumn is an easy-going season in Novo Mesto, with fewer tourists. You can enjoy the city’s attractions and natural beauty without the crowds, allowing for a more peaceful and authentic experience.
- Local Markets Visit the local markets in Novo Mesto to sample fresh, seasonal produce and handcrafted goods. You’ll have the opportunity to interact with locals, learn about their traditions, and savor the flavors of autumn. Enjoy the Open Kitchen in the main square, a market of local restaurants sharing their specialties and bites to try.
Planning Your Trip
If you make Novo Mesto a stop between Ljubljana and Zagreb, you will have a great time enjoying the time and trying some wines. But if you can take two or more days for Novo Mesto and the surrounding area, you can have a short road trip through the hills and mountains, which are so beautiful.
Drive from Novo Mesto to Rogaška Slatina. Stop at the beautiful castle Sevnica, then drive on toward Kozje along Vetrnik road and stop for a hike up to Županov breg, a fairly steep mountain; it’s a pretty easy hike with several trails available based on skill level. At the top of the mountain, there is a harp with calming music played by the wind; it’s beautiful. The views are amazing. After your hike, head toward Restavracija Amon for an amazing meal. Then check out the deer farm, café, and shop at Panorama in Podčetrtek. Enjoy a drink beside the outside fire and relax in this beautiful valley. Once fully relaxed, head over to Čokoladnica Olimje, a chocolate factory in a historic house that makes for a sight to see and taste. It’s really cool. They also have a nice area outside for sitting and having drinks and chocolates on their serene terrace. You can stay the night here in this town or continue to Rogaška Slatina for the night. You could also head across the bridge south into Croatia and drive over toward Krapina and stay the night in Vuglec Breg, one of my top favorite places to stay in Northern Croatia.
There are several options for exploring Novo Mesto and the surrounding area. It’s a beautiful area in southern Slovenia with so much to offer one could spend a whole week exploring. These ten reasons highlight the beauty and cultural richness of Novo Mesto in autumn, making it an ideal time for travelers to explore this charming Slovenian destination. Novo Mesto is also fantastic in Spring; the historic town center is lovely when all the flowers are popping up. Take the road trip to Rogaška Slatina to enjoy historic thermal spas. Subscribe for more travel plans and guides, I hope you found this helpful. Have a lovely day.