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.
COVID-19 TRAVEL STATUS
Slovenia has reopened its borders to EU and Schengen nationals and those traveling within the Schengen zone; however special quarantine restrictions apply to travelers arriving from countries with high rates of COVID-19. Travelers who are not EU/Schengen nationals or traveling within the Schengen zone may only enter the country for an "essential" reason.For travelers who may enter the country, Slovenia continues to make adjustments to its lists.Travelers arriving from a country on the green list can enter Slovenia without restrictions and quarantine.Travelers arriving from a country on the yellow list (countries that have not been included either on the green or red list) who are Slovenian citizens, and foreigners with permanent or temporary residence in Slovenia who are traveling from the EU member states or the Schengen Area, can enter Slovenia without going through quarantine, provided that they present evidence that they are not arriving from the countries on the red list. Other travelers arriving from a country on the yellow list will be subject to a mandatory 10-day quarantine.Travelers arriving from a country on the red list will be subject to a mandatory 10-day quarantine, regardless of their citizenship or country of residence. Travelers arriving from a country on the yellow and red list may be allowed to enter the country without going through a 10-day quarantine if they meet any one of the exemptions listed below. Some of the exemptions requires the traveler to present a negative coronavirus test results taken within 3 days prior to arrival.Exemptions from quarantine include: travelers in transit, diplomatic passport holders, persons engaged in major social and economic activities, and workers in international transport. A full list of the exemptions can be found on the Slovenian Government website.
Do You Need a VISA to Visit
Advanced real-time filter by visa, region, value, weather & activity
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.
Visa: Traveling to Slovenia is easy if you are from the European Union (EU). All other nationals are required to obtain an Austrian Schengen Visa in order to visit Austria. To stay longer than 90 days, a non-EU foreigner will need either a long-stay visa. Be sure to check online for the latest visa requirements. Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your entry and that you have an available completely blank page in your passport.
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, 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
Search for flights to
- 1-2 January, New Year’s Day Holiday
- 8 February, Culture Day
- 27 April, National Resistance Day
- 1-2 May, International Labour Day
- 25 June, National Day
- 15 August, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- 31 October, Reformation Day
- 1 November, Remembrance Day
- 26 December, Independence Day
Business openings and work schedules may be significantly affected
by Christian holidays especially Easter, Easter Monday, and Pentecost.
Slovenia may be small as a country but it’s extremely rich in its cultural traditions. Each year cities and towns all over Slovenia host exciting, unique, local as well as international festivals. Whether you like theatre, cinema, folklore, contemporary art, or an eclectic mix of it all, you will find something to suit your taste. You can even quite easily attend a host of smaller, local festivals which are equally worth attending without much advance planning.
International Carnival: Kurentovanje, a festival of spring and fertility, filled with symbols and colours is one of the oldest nowadays most famous Slovenian festivals. Kurentovanje or Carnival takes place in the town of Ptuj during February and lasts for 10 days. This popular festival is the focus of the important Slovenian folklore character Kurent. With the noise of cowbells hanging off his belt, wooden clubs and colourful ribbons, Kurent chased away the last of winter and attracted spring and a good harvest.
Lent Festival: Every year Festival of Lent changes the city of Maribor into a large outdoor venue. It has evolved into one fo the largest open-air festivals in Europe and now attracts over half a million visitors every year. Visitors can enjoy theatre performances, ballet, concerts, opera, and many other such recreational performances in over 23 venues sprawled across the city.
Advent: Although December weather can be dreary and bitterly cold, the capital of Ljubljana does wonders to conquer the winter darkness with a whole month of festive activities. The city is transformed into a magical fairyland with twinkling lights glowing on every streetcorner with no shortage of open-air concerts, a vibrant Christmas Art Market and festive outdoor New Year celebration. Have a cup of hot glühwein and stroll the cobbled streets for insight into the rich Slovenian culture.
Goriška Brda Cherry Festival: During June every year the Goriška Brda region hosts the popular (and very tasty!) cherry festival in what is known as the Tuscany of Slovenia. Apart from taking part in the many guided hikes on offer, see traditional wine-making techniques (as well as getting to taste the local wine!) visitors can try a number of local culinary specialities - all made with cherries.
Chocolate Festival: During three days in April chocolate lovers descend on the town of Radovljica to partake in the largest chocolate festival in Slovenia! With its stunning views of the Slovenian Alps, Radovljica has retained the essence of a medieval town and can easily be visited as a day-trip from Ljubljana. During the festival, you can not only taste different chocolates and chocolate-based products, but you can also observe cooking shows, workshops and street performances.
Ljubljana Summer Festival: The main summer festival of the Slovenian capital takes place between June and September and includes over eighty separate events. During this time quality productions of music, theatre and dance can be found in prominent Ljubljana venues such as the unique outdoor Križanke courtyard.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
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.
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 beginning September as part of our 2018 Europe Campervan Trip and found this a great time weatherwise 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.
Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists.
Off Peak Season
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
The snow sports season in Slovenia can start as early as late November and lasts until end of March. The best month for snow sports is January with the coldest temperatures, good snow fall and sunny skies.
HIKE & CYCLE:
The best time for outdoor activities in Slovenia is from May to September when the weather is mild and sunny.
There are only a few small coastal beaches along Slovenia's short coastline, but there are also a few lake "beaches" to enjoy. The weather is good enough for swimming from June to September, with July being the hottest month.
Izola, Koper and Piran, along Slovenia's short coastline are some great spots for windsurfing, although the conditions can be a little challenging. You can also windsurf on the mountain lakes of Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj.
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.
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.
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.
Budget: $18 (dorm) $27 (low cost guesthouse)
Mid-range hotel: $45-$65
Street food: $10.00 -$12.00 per day
Dinner in a good restaurant: $35
Upmarket Dinner: $45
Buses / Trains: To and from major cities, tickets range from $10
Bicycle Rental: $15
WHERE TO GO
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!
Ljubljana is undoubtedly one of our favourite cities in the world and quite possibly our favourite 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.
Tivoli Park was first laid out way back in the 19th century and today it is proud to be labelled both the most beautiful and biggest park in Ljubljana. Tivoli Park stretches over a vast area, with wide tree-lined promenades, neatly landscaped colourful.
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 multistorey 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.
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.
"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 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
The 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.
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.
WHAT TO EAT
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.