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Slovenia

SLOVENIA TRAVEL GUIDE

Tiny Slovenia really does have it all - and we absolutely fell in LOVE with it! From the magnificent peaks of the Julian Alps, cave magic of Postojna and Škocjan, alpine lakes, and emerald-green rivers to its short but deliciously sweet coastline along the Adriatic Sea. Slovenia is one of Europe's most overlooked destinations but it delivers unexpected charm around every corner. We've spent a number of weeks exploring Slovenia in our campervan and found it a real gem - without a doubt one of our favourite destinations during our 4-month road-trip.

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  • Currency: Slovenia has the Euro (€) as its sole currency along with 24 other countries. One Euro is divided into 100 cents. While each official Euro member issues its own coins with a unique obverse, the reverse, as well as all bank notes, look the same throughout the eurozone. 

  • Electricity: 230V AC electricity. Power outlets are round two-prong sockets (type F which also accepts type C and type E). Be sure to carry a universal travel adaptor so you can still use all your electronic devices. If you are from a country with 110V as a standard be aware that you will need a voltage converter.

  • Safety: Slovenia is deservedly regarded as one of the safest countries in the world. Violent crimes are rare and should definitely not concern the average tourist. Small towns and uninhabited areas such as forests are very safe at any time of the day. We found the rural area of Slovenia an absolute joy!

  • Whatever you do, don’t travel without travel insurance! We would suggest checking out World Nomads or SafetyWing, for travel insurance as they have the best coverage for active travellers. 

  • Language: English is widely spoken, and the only area most tourists have linguistic problems with is in translating menus. Even around rural areas, we found no issues with the language as a barrier. Some useful phrases which might come in handy include:

Good day - Dober dan

Goodbye - Nasvidenje

Please - Prosim

Thank you - Hvala

Yes - Da

No - Ne

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BEST TIME TO VISIT SLOVENIA

For such a small country, Slovenia has a surprisingly varied climate across three distinct areas. Slovenia can be visited throughout the year, but choosing the best time might entirely depend on your reasons for visiting and what you plan on doing during your stay.

 

  • April to June - Spring is a great time to be in the lowlands and the flower-carpeted valleys of the Julian Alps.
  • September - This is the month for everything – still warm enough to swim and tailor-made for hiking.
  • December to March - Everyone (and their grandma) dons their skis in this winter-sport-mad country.

 

Although the alpine northwest has a very cold, long winter the area attracts a range of adventure and winter sports enthusiasts throughout the year. Skiing and snowboarding from December to March with climbing and hiking from April to September during its moderate summer temperatures. Just remember that some of the popular attractions and even mountain passes will be closed for winter.

 

In the Primorska region (from the Soča and Vipava river valleys down to the coast) you will enjoy a more typical Mediterranean climate with very warm summers and mild, comfortable winters. This part of the country can get very crowded during summer, particularly in August with an influx of Italian holidaymakers.

 

The interior lowlands (including Ljubljana) have a more conventional continental climate, with hot, dry summers and some bitterly cold winters - particularly the southern and eastern parts.

 

Generally speaking, summer is the best time to visit most of Slovenia when you will find the weather at it's most reliable, plenty of activities and sights and numerous festivals. The lake areas (Bled and Bohinj) can get mighty crowded during this time but outside of August, you should never really have a problem finding accommodation. We spent 2 weeks in Slovenia during the beginning of September as part of our 2018 Europe Campervan Trip and found this a great time weather-wise and had no problem finding camping and parking spots around the country.

 

That said, many of Slovenia’s popular attractions, including visiting Ljubljana, can be just as enjoyable outside the peak summer months, with spring and autumn a great alternative as the countryside lights up in seasonal colour.

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SLOVENIA WEATHER SYNOPSIS

Mediterranean Climate On The Coast, Continental Climate With Mild To Hot Summers And Cold Winters In The Plateaus And Valleys To The East

Slovenia

SEASONS AT A GLANCE

Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists. 

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BEST TIME FOR

SNOW SPORT IN SLOVENIA

Slovenia offers a plethora of snow sport opportunities, ranging from skiing and snowboarding to snowshoeing and ice climbing. 


The best time to visit for snow sports is typically between December and March, when the country's alpine regions are blanketed in snow. Slovenia's ski resorts boast new lifts and modernizations, ensuring a great experience for all levels of enthusiasts. 


For a truly magical experience, the longest night trail in Slovenia at Mariborsko Pohorje is a must-try. Whether you're seeking adrenaline-fueled activities or family-friendly fun, Slovenia's winter landscape provides an enchanting backdrop for a variety of snow sports.

HIKING & CYCLING IN SLOVENIA

Slovenia offers a rich tapestry of hiking opportunities, with more than 10,000 kilometers of marked trails. The Julian Alps, Kamnik-Savinja Alps, and the Karavanke Alps are particularly noteworthy, each offering unique landscapes and challenges for hikers. 


The best time for high-alpine hiking is from late June to mid-September, while lower elevations can be enjoyed earlier in the season. For those seeking the vibrant colors of fall, October is a splendid time, with cooler temperatures and fewer crowds. 


If you're lookin For detailed information on hiking routes in Slovenia, AllTrails offers a comprehensive guide with trail maps, reviews, and photos from fellow hikers. It features a wide range of trails suitable for various activities and skill levels. Another excellent resource is the official Slovenian tourism website, which provides suggestions for beautiful hiking trails and safety tips for an enjoyable experience.

BEACH OPTIONS IN SLOVENIA

Slovenia offers a variety of beautiful beaches, from the secluded Moon Bay in Strunjan Peninsula to the family-friendly Lighthouse Beach in Izola. 


For those seeking a unique experience, the Soča River provides stunning wild swimming spots amidst the mountains. The best time to visit these beaches is from May to September, with the warm and sunny weather providing ideal conditions for swimming and sunbathing. 


However, if you prefer a quieter atmosphere, the months of May, June, or September are recommended as they are less crowded than the peak months of July and August.

SURFING IN SLOVENIA

Slovenia, with its picturesque Adriatic coastline, offers unique surfing opportunities, particularly driven by the strong local winds that create waves. 


While the country may not be known for consistent surf spots, there is a passionate community of surfers who make the most of the conditions. The best time for surfing in Slovenia is during the autumn, winter, and spring seasons when the south winds are strong, creating the most favorable conditions for surfing. 


Additionally, surf clubs and camps like Ujusansa provide support and organize events for the surfing community throughout the year.

KITESURF IN SLOVENIA

Slovenia offers several spots for kitesurfing enthusiasts, with the most popular being Seča, Piran, and Izola. 


The best time for kitesurfing in Slovenia is typically from April to October, when the wind conditions are most favorable. During this period, the thermal winds provide consistent conditions suitable for both beginners and experienced kitesurfers.


For those looking to plan a trip, it's advisable to check local wind forecasts and consider visiting during the shoulder months of April and May or September and October, when the spots are less crowded, and the conditions remain ideal for kitesurfing.

BEST TIME FOR

Slovenia offers a plethora of snow sport opportunities, ranging from skiing and snowboarding to snowshoeing and ice climbing. 


The best time to visit for snow sports is typically between December and March, when the country's alpine regions are blanketed in snow. Slovenia's ski resorts boast new lifts and modernizations, ensuring a great experience for all levels of enthusiasts. 


For a truly magical experience, the longest night trail in Slovenia at Mariborsko Pohorje is a must-try. Whether you're seeking adrenaline-fueled activities or family-friendly fun, Slovenia's winter landscape provides an enchanting backdrop for a variety of snow sports.

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TRAVEL SAFETY IN SLOVENIA

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HEALTH RISKS IN SLOVENIA

Be aware of possible health risks in 

Slovenia

Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.

Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.

Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.

SLOVENIA TRAVEL COSTS

While Slovenia might not be as affordable as other countries in what was the former Yugoslavia, it’s pretty easy to stick to a modest budget if you backpack your way across the country, but even if you’re a mid-range traveller, you’ll still receive great value for your money.

 

Accommodation around Slovenia is universally clean and of a high standard. Hostels are becoming more prevalent and you will also find budget accommodation over holidays in student dorms (dijaški dom). If you are travelling with a tent you will find numerous campsites with good facilities, restaurants, and shops. Camping wild is not allowed in Slovenia!

 

Slovenia's quiet roads and incredible scenery make the country a dream for self-driving holidays. If you can fit it into your budget, you should seriously consider at least a few days of car rental, as it will afford unlimited access to remote rural and mountainous regions such as the Soča Valley, which can prove somewhat challenging to reach using public transport. Take note that when travelling on the Slovenian motorways and expressways you are liable to pay tolls and you might need to buy a Vignette toll pass in advance.

Cost & Spending

SLOVENIA TRAVEL TIPS

Slovenia’s quiet roads and incredible scenery make the country a dream for self-driving holidays. If you can fit it into your budget, you should seriously consider at least a few days of car rental, as it will afford unlimited access to remote rural and mountainous regions such as the Soča Valley, which can prove somewhat challenging to reach using public transport. Travelling on the Slovenian motorways and expressways means you are liable to pay tolls and you might need to buy a Vignette toll pass in advance.


Intercity trains are punctual and comprehensive, covering most parts of Slovenia. Comfortable and moderately priced, these trains connect major cities and many towns. Buses serve smaller towns and lake areas. These two forms of transport are fully integrated and designed to complement each other. Towns such as Ljubljana, Maribor, and Koper have big bus stations, where you can buy your tickets in advance. Elsewhere, simply pay the driver or conductor as you board.

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SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF SLOVENIA

One of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia retains a decidedly eastern European feel and still clearly shows the influence of its neighbouring countries. Oddly lacking the pulling power of nearby major tourist heavyweights like Italy, Austria (and lately Croatia), if you're willing to give Slovenia a chance this country will reward you with its charming blend of incredible mountains and lakes, ancient castles, baroque architecture, a surprisingly sophisticated, yet distinct, cuisine - and to top it all - great value for money!

 

  • Lake Bled - Gaze on this perfection of nature.
  • Škocjan Cave - Gawk in awe at the 100m-high walls of an incredible cave system.
  • Mt Triglav - Climb to the top of the country’s tallest mountain.
  • Piran - Get lost wandering the narrow Venetian-style alleyways.

 

SUGGESTED ITINERARIES

THREE DAYS

Spend a couple of days in Ljubljana, then head north to unwind in romantic Bled or Bohinj beside idyllic mountain lakes. Alternatively, head south to visit the caves at Škocjan or Postojna.

 

ONE WEEK

A full week will allow you to see all the country's top highlights. After two days in the capital head for Bled and Bohinj. Depending on the season, take a bus or drive over the hair-raising Vršič Pass into the valley of the vivid blue Soča River and take part in some adventure sports in Bovec. Continue south to the caves at Škocjan and Postojna and then to the sparkling Venetian port of Piran on the Adriatic.

 

LJUBLJANA

Ljubljana is undoubtedly one of our favorite cities in the world and quite possibly our favorite city in Europe. With its old school charm and modern vibe, it's no surprise that Ljubljana is often referred to as a ‘hidden gem’ when talking about the capital of Slovenia. Ljubljana has a relaxed, welcoming vibe and is far from overrun by tourists. The old part of the city is pedestrianized which adds a lot to the relaxed atmosphere and charm we experienced as the leafy banks of the emerald-green Ljubljanica River, which flows through the city's heart, is left free for pedestrians and cyclists. During the summer months, you can enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of outside seating at most riverside restaurants and cafes.

 

The easiest way to see Ljubljana is on foot. The oldest part of town, with the most important historical buildings and sights (including Ljubljana Castle), lies on the right (east) bank of the Ljubljanica River. Center, which has the lion’s share of the city’s museums and galleries, is on the left (west) side of the river.

 

  • Ljubljana Castle - It’s free to ramble around the castle precincts, but you’ll have to pay to enter the Watchtower, the Chapel of St George, to see the Slovenian history exhibition and join the costumed Time Machine tour. The fastest way to reach the castle is via the funicular from Krekov trg, which keeps the same hours as the castle.
  • Tivoli Park was first laid out way back in the 19th century and today it is proud to be labeled both the most beautiful and biggest park in Ljubljana. Tivoli Park stretches over a vast area, with wide tree-lined promenades, neatly landscaped colourful.
  • The National & University Library is Plečnik’s masterpiece, completed in 1941. To appreciate this great man’s philosophy, enter through the main door (note the horse-head doorknobs) on Turjaška ulica – you’ll find yourself in near darkness, entombed in black marble.
  • Metelkova originally served as a barracks for over one hundred years until December 1990, when artists expressed their desire to convert this derelict former military zone into a revised cultural hub.
  • Nebotičnik may just appear to be another ordinary multi-storey building, but when it was constructed back in 1933, it held the title as the tallest residential building in Europe for quite some time.
  • The Triple Bridge links the popular Prešeren Square on the western bank of the Ljubljanica River with the Central Market Area on the eastern bank.

 

Related Posts

What To See And Do In Ljubljana

Where to Park Your Campervan in Ljubljana

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JULIAN ALPS

The Julian Alps – named in honor of Caesar himself – form Slovenia's dramatic northwest frontier with Italy. Triglav National Park, established in 1924, includes almost all of the Alps lying within Slovenia, including triple-peaked Mt Triglav, at 2864m Slovenia's highest mountain. Along with an abundance of fauna and flora, the area offers a wide range of adventure sports.

 

Lake Bled

Without perhaps even knowing where it is in the world you've probably already seen many pictures of the oh-so Instagrammable fairy-tale beauty of Lake Bled with its island church, a medieval castle hanging onto a rocky cliff and some of the highest peaks of the Julian Alps and the Karavanke as backdrops. Located only 35 km from Ljubljana International Airport and 55 km from Ljubljana City, almost every tourist to Slovenia makes Lake Bled a stop on their itinerary. Less than 5km from Lake Bled is Vintgar Gorge which, although having attracted tourists since it was discovered in 1891, today seems to hide in the shadow of the popularity of Lake Bled. Vintgar Gorge is a natural work of art and is well worth including in your visit to Bled.

 

Bohinj

A larger and much less developed glacial lake 26km to the southwest of Bled, is a world apart. Triglav itself is visible from Bohinj and there are activities abound – from kayaking and mountain biking to trekking up Triglav via one of the southern approaches. Ribčev Laz is the main tourist hub at the lake; Bohinjska Bistrica (pop 1890), the area's largest center, is 6km east of the lake and useful for its train station.

 

Related Posts

Guide To Lake Bled and Vintgar Gorge

 

SOČA VALLEY

The Soča Valley region (Posočje) is defined by the 96km-long Soča River, colored a deep, almost artificial cobalt blue. The valley has more than its share of historical sights, most of them related to WWI, but most visitors are here for rafting, hiking, skiing, and other active sports.

 

Bovec

Soča Valley's de facto capital offers plenty to adventure-sports enthusiasts. With the Julian Alps – including Mt Kanin (2587m) – above, the Soča River below, and Triglav National Park all around, you could spend a week here hiking, kayaking, canyoning, and mountain biking without ever doing the same thing twice.

 

Rafting, kayaking, and canoeing on the beautiful Soča River are major draws. The season lasts from April to October. Rafting trips of two to eight people over a distance of 8km to 10km (1½ hours).

 

KARST & COAST

Slovenia's short coast (47km) is an area for both recreation and history; the town of Piran, famed for its Venetian Gothic architecture and picturesque narrow streets, is among the main drawcards here. En route from Ljubljana or the Soča Valley, you'll cross the Karst, a huge limestone plateau and a land of olives, ruby-red Teran wine, pršut (air-dried ham), old stone churches, and deep subterranean caves, including those at Postojna and Škocjan.

 

Piran & Izola

"LASA PUR DIR" Let Them Talk! This Venetian phrase captures the romance, elegance, and shrug-of-the-shoulders nonchalance of the town of Piran which has some of the charms of original Venice (without the crowds!) along with some great beaches! Just a little further east of Piran, along a short coastline of craggy beaches, you will find another old Venetian Town, Izola, with its own charm, albeit with a slightly 'scruffier' feel.

 

Skocjan & Postojna Caves

Just under 2km northwest of the town of Postojna, Postojna Cave is one of the largest caverns in the world, and its stalagmite and stalactite formations are unequaled anywhere. It's a busy destination – visited by as many as a third of all tourists coming to Slovenia – but it's still remarkable how easily the large crowds at the entrance seem to get swallowed whole by the size of the cave.

 

The quieter and more remote Škocjan Caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are representative of the most significant underground phenomena not only in the Karst region but in the whole of Slovenia. As well as getting to explore the underground cave system, there is also an incredible panoramic view of the dramatic cliffs of the region from the lookout viewpoint.

 

 

TOURS

If you prefer travelling with a group tour, we highly recommend G Adventures. They are a super reputable company and have been running tours around the world offering loads of different tour types that cater to all travellers such as well as wellness tours, tours for 18-30-year-olds. If you like the idea of travelling in a group and make new friends, check out the variety of tours that G Adventures has and the details and dates of each trip. We suggest using the filters in the sidebar to help you find a tour that fits your travel dates and travel style.

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What To Eat

WHAT TO EAT IN SLOVENIA

WHAT TO EAT IN SLOVENIA

Slovenian cuisine is diversely influenced by its many neighbouring countries of Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. You can easily join a food tour when visiting Ljubljana to learn about the history of Slovenian Cuisine as well as taste some of the most traditional dishes with a local.

 

  • Bled Cream Cake (Kremna Rezina) - Bled cream cake is decadent: a thick layer of vanilla custard cream and an ever so slightly thinner layer of whipped cream sandwiched between two layers of crispy and flakey butter dough crust and topped with icing sugar. If you can, taste this when visiting Lake Bled!

  • Prekmurska Gibanica - This Slovenian Layered Pastry is an absolute must-have! This multilayered cake is a juicy and delicious combination of flaky layers of pastry with cottage cheese, walnuts, apples and poppy seeds. It is the ultimate Slovenian dessert and we recommend you try it at the Nebotičnik Skyscraper building in Ljubljana.

  • Štruklji - You can find a wide variety of Štruklji, varying from savoury to sweet. They are prepared from different types of dough, rolled up and filled with various fillings. They can be either steamed or baked. Savoury ones may contain a creamy cheese filling with tarragon and the most traditional sweet version contains apple, walnuts and poppy seeds.

  • Pražen Krompir - Although the name translates to roast potatoes, the potatoes are actually boiled and peeled before being sautéed with onions and often adding some chopped up sausage (klobasa) to form a semi-smashed potato dish that is simply delicious.

  • Pogača - Vaguely similar to Italian focaccia, this yeasted flatbread is very specific when it comes to its size, thickness and the size of the small squares this circular bread is divided into. The flatbread is seasoned with olive oil and herbs, coated with an egg wash and topped with coarse salt and cumin seeds.

LGBTQ IN SLOVENIA

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Slovenia face challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents, though the laws concerning LGBT citizens have evolved over time. Slovenia has recognised partnerships since 24 February 2017, providing same-sex partners with most of the legal rights of marriages. Previously, between 2006 and 2017, Slovenia had recognised more limited rights for same-sex couples. A bill to legalise same-sex marriage was approved by the country's Parliament on 3 March 2015, however, it was rejected in a referendum on 20 December 2015.

 

Although still not legalised, the (narrow) majority of Slovenians are accepting of same-sex marriage. That being said, there have been numerous instances of violent gay-bashing all over Slovenia and as recently as 2019, so take this risk into consideration. In Ljubljana, there are many gay-friendly clubs and bars, such as Klub K4, Factory, Bolivar, Lan, Tiffany and Galerija. They are however still sometimes the victims of targeted vandalism.

Slovenia

WHERE TO STAY IN SLOVENIA

For your first visit to Slovenia, choosing the right base is crucial to experiencing the country's stunning landscapes, charming towns, and cultural heritage. Here's a breakdown of top areas and accommodations:


Where To Stay In Ljubljana:

Ljubljana, the capital city, boasts a picturesque old town, riverside cafes, and cultural attractions like Ljubljana Castle and Preseren Square.

  • Budget Accommodation: Consider staying at Hostel Celica for affordable dorm beds in a converted prison with a central location near Ljubljana's sights.

  • Mid-range Accommodation: The City Hotel Ljubljana provides comfortable accommodations with modern amenities and easy access to the city center.

  • Luxury Accommodation: Opt for the luxurious ambiance of InterContinental Ljubljana, featuring upscale rooms, panoramic views, and fine dining options.

Best Value Tip: Visit during the shoulder seasons (spring and fall) for milder weather and better accommodation rates.


Where To Stay In Lake Bled:

Lake Bled is famous for its stunning alpine scenery, Bled Island with its church, and Bled Castle perched atop a cliff overlooking the lake.

  • Budget Accommodation: Consider staying at Ace of Spades Hostel for affordable rooms and a central location near Lake Bled's attractions.

  • Mid-range Accommodation: The Hotel Triglav Bled offers comfortable accommodations with lake views and easy access to Bled's sights.

  • Luxury Accommodation: Opt for the luxurious ambiance of Grand Hotel Toplice, featuring upscale rooms, a spa, and lakefront dining.

Best Value Tip: Book accommodation with lake views in advance, especially during the summer months when Bled is most crowded.


Where To Stay In Piran:

Piran is a picturesque coastal town with Venetian-style architecture, narrow streets, and stunning views of the Adriatic Sea, making it a perfect seaside getaway.

  • Budget Accommodation: Consider staying at Hostel Pirano for affordable dorm beds and a central location near Piran's main attractions.

  • Mid-range Accommodation: The Hotel Piran provides comfortable accommodations with sea views and easy access to Piran's historic center.

  • Luxury Accommodation: Opt for the luxurious ambiance of Hotel Kempinski Palace Portoroz, featuring upscale rooms, a spa, and gourmet dining options.

Best Value Tip: Visit during the offseason (spring or fall) for quieter streets and better accommodation deals.


For hassle-free bookings, use platforms like Booking.com for competitive rates or Holiday Swap for unique homes worldwide. Ensure to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, and align your preferences with nearby activities such as surfing, snorkeling, or cultural exploration.

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