Slovenia in Winter

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It’s been said that exploring the storybook landscapes of timeless Slovenia is like discovering “Europe in miniature.”  Surrounded by Austria, Hungary, Italy and Croatia, plus a short stretch of Adriatic coastline, Slovenia is the place in Central Europe where the snowy Alps meet the Mediterranean. 
In a breathtaking setting of grand lakes and forested serrate mountains, Slovenia’s picturesque landscapes provide an idyllic backdrop for its picture-postcard towns and villages at any time of year.  But when winter's snow reclaims the mountains, the spectacular alpine scenery—now with a crystalline frosting over forested slope and valley meadow—becomes even more appealing.  Winter's ice crowns tranquil lakes, while snow-laden trees fringe the shoreline.  Sensual waterfalls are frozen in mid-plunge while gentle snowflakes drift in the crisp air. 
Our exciting winter photo tour is staged in the northwest corner of this tiny New Jersey-size country near the borders of Italy and Austria.  In this region, "no place is far away."  We have two overnight hubs from which we will commute to the best wintry shooting areas—Ljubljana, the nation's charming capital, and the Lake Bled/Triglav National Park region.  These two locations allow easy commutes to snowy valleys and glorious alpine landscapes.  From here we can drive to higher elevations to capture winter scenes if snow is not fresh or unavailable in lower areas.
Lake Bled is one of the most popular places to visit in Slovenia—and arguably the most beautiful spot in the entire country.  We photograph Lake Bled and its iconic church on Bled Island, which can be locked in ice in the winter.  Towering above the lake is Bled Castle, a medieval citadel perched on a striking precipice.  While Lake Bled is, perhaps, Slovenia’s most scenic natural area, Lake Bohinj—encompassed within Triglav National Park in the Julian Alps—is the country’s largest lake, and it certainly rivals the winter beauty of Bled. 
January and February are the coldest months in Slovenia's Julian Alps and we’ve timed our tour for the best chance of capturing Slovenia's alpine region as a "winter wonderland."  Expect snow on the mountains and in the valleys.  Lakes will be frozen if temperatures have been low enough—or will feature mysterious misty morning imagery if they are not.  It is a time of quiet in the mountains.  While wildlife hibernates under a white blanket covering much of the countryside, most of Slovenia's tourist areas also seem suspended in hibernation as vacation crowds have long dissipated.  Now sunrises come later and sunsets earlier—with colorful alpenglow lighting distant peaks.
Join us on this compelling 11-day Slovenia in Winter photo tour to capture an impressive overview of the very best of this small country’s snowy alpine landscapes.  Topping it all off, there seems to be a photogenic frosted fairy tale castle or wonderfully isolated church perched on every available promontory.  But the number one reason for you to have a winter landscape photography adventure in tiny Slovenia is that, at every turn, it is ridiculously pretty!

NOTE: Your small folding drone is welcome on this trip.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Depart from home.
Day 2 (January 25)
Arrive in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and transfer from the airport to our hotel at Lake Bled.  Our trip begins with an evening photo shoot to capture "blue hour" at the iconic lake, followed by dinner at one of the nearby fine restaurants. (D)
Days 3–6
We have four days to photograph in the picturesque Julian Alps featuring extensive landscape photography of beautiful Lake Bled and environs.  At what is, perhaps, the most beautiful scenic location in Slovenia, our attention turns to Bled Island with its surrounding waters usually frozen at this time of year.  The 17th-century baroque Church of the Assumption crowns the little island, its bell tower and red shingled roof juxtaposed against the snowy Julian Alps.  The impressive and highly photogenic 11th-century Bled Castle is perched on a sheer 430-foot-high cliff that soars up from the lake.   Bled Castle was obviously built when defense, aesthetics and opulence trumped modern architectural priorities like easy accessibility.  Photographically, the castle can be isolated in an image where it is completely surrounded by beautiful frozen forest.
Our second spectacular glacial lake is Bohinj—the largest lake in Slovenia—set amidst the snowy Julian Alps.  This is another image-inspiring Slovenian picture-postcard location.  Our photography agenda also includes frozen Pericnik waterfall in Triglav National Park, mountain views from Vogel ski resort, and landscapes that might be exceptionally noteworthy based on weather conditions at the time of our trip.  To capture winter’s perfect conditions, a drive across the border into Italy or Austria is within our reach.  In the evenings there will be plenty of time to work on our images and share Photoshop techniques.  We are based in a small family run pension that is open exclusively for us. (BLD)
Days 7–10
Our next base is Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.  Ljubljana is a small and charming city with wonderfully photogenic architecture and a pedestrian-only Old Town.  Although we can easily spend all our days photographing Ljubljana, the city is also an ideal hub for exploring the surrounding countryside.  We commute to nearby rural areas to capture winter sunrise at one of Slovenia’s picturesque hilltop churches.  The coast of Slovenia is not far—near enough that we could drive to Piran and capture a sunset over the Adriatic coast.  With clear winter skies we may see Italy's Dolomites and Venice across the sea!  (BLD)
Day 11 (February 3)
Depending on flight schedules we can sneak in a short morning shoot at Ljubljana before we head to the airport.  (B)
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Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris Enrollment Information

Slovenia in Winter

Jan 24, 2020 - Feb 03, 2020

A deposit and completed and signed Registration Form are required to reserve a place for you on a Joseph Van Os Photo Safari.


All prices are quoted in US dollars and all payments must be paid in US dollars. For deposit only, we accept Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Final payment of the trip fee is due 120 days priors to departure and must be paid by check or bank transfer. Trip deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.

We must receive written notice of your cancellation, at which time cancellation fees in the following amounts apply:

If Written Cancellation is Received:
90 days or prior:
89 to 61 days prior:
60 or fewer days:
Cancellation Fee:
100% of deposit
50% of trip fee
100% of trip fee

No partial refunds are made for unused portions or services of a trip for any reason whatsoever. Trips are sold as a package only. This policy also applies to tour extensions and independent travel arrangements. Cancellation fees are not transferable.

Protect your travel investment and purchase a trip insurance policy that includes emergency evacuation coverage. A trip insurance brochure will be sent with your enrollment confirmation.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris are within the capabilities of average people in good health. Some of these trips require the capability of walking for several miles over uneven trails, stepping from a small boat to a wave-washed rocky beach, flying in small planes and helicopters, and occasionally hiking at high elevations—all while carrying an assortment of camera equipment. If you have concerns about your own capabilities and/or fitness as it relates to a trip, please inquire with our office before reserving a space. By forwarding a signed Registration Form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants and you agree to inform our office in writing if changes in your health occur any time prior to the tour. We reserve the right to request a doctor's statement of good health. The company's or trip leader's judgment shall provide the ultimate determination of an individual's ability to embark upon or to continue a trip. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements. “Meatless” meals are normally available at most locations. Due to the remote nature of many photo locations, and the growing diversity of today’s dietary trends, participants requiring special food items are encouraged to bring their own.

Tour members are asked to refrain from smoking with or near the group.

Participants will receive three emails before the trip departs: 1. Initial Tour Information sheet confirms the deposit and provides pre-departure information. 2. Invoice/Practical Information provides clothing and photo gear recommendations, climate data, applicable health advisories and reading list. Visa information will also be included (if applicable). 3. Final Tour Information includes arrival instructions, itinerary revisions (if any), hotel addresses, trip telephone contact information and participant list. We provide the trip leader's telephone number(s) and/or e-mail address with final documents so you can inquire about special photographic questions you may have regarding your trip. We welcome your calls or e-mail messages to

Information supplied upon enrollment describes the specific costs that are included in your trip fee. Generally these costs include lodging in double room occupancy, all meals (specified in the itinerary as BLD denoting breakfast, lunch or dinner), ground transportation during the trip in vans or small busses, air transportation as specified, meal and baggage tipping, and guide services provided by the trip leaders. Not included are airfare or other transportation from your home to the trip staging location, airport departure taxes, insurance, alcoholic beverages and bar expenses (plus bottled water and soft drink expenses on international tours outside of North America), tips and gratuities to local guides abroad, phone calls, passport or visa expenses, laundry or items of a personal nature. Gratuities to Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris trip leaders are optional and always appreciated. Rates are based on group tariffs; if the trip does not have sufficient registration, a small party supplement may be charged.

Single accommodations are available for a supplemental cost in many locations; see the pre-departure trip information or call our office for details. You will be charged the single supplement fee if you desire single accommodations or if you wish to have a roommate, but one is not available. In some remote locations, clients with single rooms are infrequently compelled to share a room due to circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, appropriate per diem refunds will be made reflecting the direct cost of the single room at the facility where clients are required to share. There is no additional single supplement fee on ship-based cruises, if you request a roommate and one is not available.

Cost increases may occur unexpectedly due to rising costs of airfares, ground transport, fuel surcharges, accommodations and currency fluctuations, among others. Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. may be compelled to amend prices, and we reserve the right to do so without prior notice. An increase in trip prices shall not be sufficient grounds for any refund of funds paid for the trip other than as determined by the terms of our cancellation policy.

Whenever possible, our trip participants are lodged in comfortable, modern hotels. We select among the best available accommodations, but refrain from extravagance. Some interesting photographic destinations are far removed from modern amenities, however, and where necessary we will be accommodated in rustic country inns, cabins or tented camps.

Meals are always a special part of our trips for the camaraderie they engender and the opportunity they provide to try new foods from different areas. Depending on the trip and specific locale, participants order restaurant meals from the full menu or, less frequently, table d'hôte. Some trips include picnic lunches in the field. Fruit juice for breakfast and coffee or tea are included with the meals. Soft drinks are included with meals on tours within North America. Participants are responsible for their own bar tab (including bottled water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages on tours outside of North America) at restaurant lunches and dinners.

Our itineraries are intended as examples only. Participants should allow for flexibility due to changes in weather, natural history or cultural events, or other logistical arrangements deemed necessary by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. or our leaders.

The second tour leader (and any subsequent additional leaders) listed for each trip on the website will be added as the group size warrants. If only one space remains on a trip, and logistics permit, we accept two persons traveling together, even if it exceeds the trip maximum.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. and/or their Agents act only as agents for the passenger in regard to travel including, but not limited to, sightseeing, meals, lodging, transportation, and all other services whether by railroad, motorcar, motor coach, boat, ship or aircraft and they assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason of defect in any vehicle or for any reason whatsoever, or through the acts or default of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the trip.

They can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in air or other services, sickness, weather, strike, war, volcanic eruption, terrorist acts, political unrest, quarantine or other causes. All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger, as trip fees provide for arrangements only for the times and locations stated. Baggage is at the owner's risk entirely.

The right is reserved to 1) substitute hotels of similar category for those indicated and to make any changes in the itinerary or transport where deemed necessary, or caused by changes in air schedules or equipment substitution; 2) cancel any trip prior to departure, in which case full refund of the paid trip funds will be given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 3) substitute trip leader(s) for the leader(s) originally specified, in which case the substitution is not a basis for participant cancellation or refund other than provided by our normal cancellation policy; or 4) accept or retain any person as a member of any trip.

Trip prices are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect at the time of publication and are subject to adjustment in the event of any change therein.

A Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section must be signed by each participant prior to the commencement of the trip. Participation by any trip member will be declined in the absence of the signed Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section, with no trip fee refund. No modification to the Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section will be accepted.

Should Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., or anyone acting on their behalf be required to incur attorney's fees and costs to enforce this agreement, the enrolling trip participant(s) agree(s) to indemnify and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs. In the event a lawsuit is filed, the enrolling participant(s) agree(s) to do so solely in the County of Lewis in the State of Washington. Certain ship owners require the use of pre-printed ticket forms that limit the ship owner's and operator's liability. When such tickets are used, the passenger is bound by the terms of these tickets with respect to the passenger's legal relationship to the owners and operators of the ship, their agents (Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc.), and the ship's crew.

Slovenia in Winter: Moderate Activity Level

Van Travel.  Shooting is often close to the vehicles with moderate walking and hiking on snow and ice for up to two miles (total per day) on some days.  Microspikes recommended.  Expect cold temperatures throughout the trip.  Commute daily from lodging with midday breaks for lunch at restaurants.
Trip Details
Jan 24 - Feb 03, 2020
Fee: $5,995 from Ljubljana, Slovenia
Deposit: $800
Limit: 12 participants
Activity Level: ModerateModerate
  • 9 photo days exploring the wintery landscape, architecture and culture of captivating Slovenia, from its pristine snowcapped mountains to the stunning Adriatic coast
  • Shoot the iconic Bled Castle with the snow-capped Julian Alps in the background
  • Film frosted fairy tale settings, snow-laden alpine majesty and stunning frozen water features
  • Capture scenes from the charming pedestrian-only Old Town of Ljubljana and explore the nearby Adriatic coast
Tour Leaders
Joe Van Os

Joe Van Os

And local leader