Velenje does not make it into the guidebooks, which is a shame, as this is a really interesting city with plenty of cultural and sporting activities. Velenje is the model Yugoslavian new town, developed in the late 1950s around the existing mine. Modern apartment blocks were built to house the workers and their families, who came from all over Yugoslavia. Today, the town hosts a number of events year-round that are designed to foster a feeling of civic community in this engineered town. The best-known of these is the Pika Festival -- named after Pippi Longstocking, this is the national childrens' festival in Slovenia and one of the most popular events nationwide.
Velenje is well known for its giant statue of Tito, which stands in the modern main square; in the 1980s, the town was known unofficially as Tito Velenje in honour of the president whose idea it was to create this proletarian city.
Chief among Velenje’s attractions is the castle and its wide-ranging museum. Visitors can see the remains of a giant mammoth or walk through a macabre collection of African tribal masks; there’s a recreated early-twentieth-century village store and bar, and several galleries containing fine art and exhibitions on local history.
Elsewhere, visitors get to dress up as miners to go below the surface and eat a miner’s lunch at the National Museum of Mining. A manmade lake on the edge of the town provides plenty of leisure opportunities and town boasts an artificial ski jump beside the castle.
Getting around town is simple and doesn’t cost a cent, thanks to the free, local bus service that connects the main attractions with the shopping areas, schools, and train station.
Your options for Velenje hostels are limited, but numerous family homes offer private rooms. Alternatively, you could base yourself at Celje, where there is a greater selection of budget accommodation. Velenje is well located for the Pohorje skiing grounds, where other hostel accommodation can be found, though Celje is a better prospect for those without their own transport.
Hi, I'm Fiona Thompson,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Velenje hostels. Welcome.