Slovenia might be a pocket-sized European country, but it is also one of its best kept secrets. Don’t let its small size fool you. It is blessed with an abundance of sights and attractions, and it is an ideal destination for couples and families, especially those who enjoy outdoor activities, nature and rich culture.
From its snow-capped mountains, rolling hills, lush forests where wild wolves and brown bears still roam, to its charming little towns and villages, historic castles, caves and the Adriatic coast, Slovenia offers more diversity than most countries many times its size. This earthly paradise is known as one of the greenest countries in the world and has become one of Europe’s top outdoor playgrounds where you can spoil yourself.
Then there is us, Slovenians. We are often described as a friendly but shy nation that is somewhat closed off. However, when you get to know us a bit better, you will see that we are very welcoming, and we know how to have fun.
Squeezed between Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, Slovenia has a unique geographical position, where everything is close by and accessible. Its capital Ljubljana rests right in the middle, and even though it is a pretty old city with plenty of well-preserved historic buildings, it has a youthful vibe. In only three hours’ drive from Ljubljana, you can find yourself in Venice; add two hours more and you can admire the sights of Vienna.
How to get here
By car: we have a modern motorway network, but the scenic local roads are also worth exploring. The roads are well maintained, so driving in Slovenia is easy.
By plane: most flights land in Ljubljana’s Joze Pucnik Airport (LJU). The airport operates daily flights to all major European airports. Maribor is another small international airport in Slovenia, which also serves some low-cost airlines. Another option is to fly to the neighboring airports in Italy, Austria or Croatia (Trieste, Venice, Vienna, Zagreb) and then drive to Slovenia.
Population: 2 million
Surface area: 20,273 km2
Capital: Ljubljana (265,000 inhabitants)
Official language: Slovenian, but English is widely spoken and understood
Currency: Euro since 2007
Climate and best time to visit
We have four true seasons in Slovenia and each time of the year offers a unique experience. Additionally, the topography creates three different climates.
Winters are cold and snowy, especially up in the mountains. Snow, however, rarely falls at the coast, where we have a warmer Mediterranean climate. This is the perfect time for skiing and other winter sports, or to warm up and relax or have some fun at thermal-spring spas scattered all over the country.
Summers can be very hot and dry, with afternoon storms. The northwestern Alpine region has moderate temperatures this time of the year, which makes it ideal for hiking, camping and cycling. If you prefer to cool down in the water, you can take a swim in the Adriatic Sea or numerous lakes and rivers all over Slovenia. Summers are the peak season for visitors, so hotels can be fully booked, and the prices are higher.
Slovenia gets most of its rain in spring and autumn, but nevertheless, both seasons can be magical and a good time to visit; then, nature basks in almost unbelievable colors. You can still swim in the sea in September or admire snow-covered peaks from already green and warm valleys in May.
Because Slovenia lies at the crossroads of the Alps, the Mediterranean, the Pannonian Plain, and the Dinaric Mountains, separate regions have developed various forms of economic activities, ways of life and cultural creativity through the centuries. Among the greatest treasures of these regions are the diverse dialects of the Slovenian language, different lifestyles and cultures, gastronomic traditions, popular entertainment and other aspects of the everyday life of the local people.
Slovenian Julian Alps are with their white limestone walls among the most picturesque parts of the European Alps. Mountain huts are scattered among sharp mountain peaks and the hiking trails are well maintained. But the mountains can be tricky, so we recommend hiring a mountain guide to explore their beauty. Lakes Bohinj and Bled are attractive tourist destinations and a great choice to escape the heat in the summer months. The beautiful Soča Valley and other parts of the Alps have become a true outdoor playground. You can go hiking, climbing, canyoning, white water rafting, canoeing, paragliding, skiing or mountain biking.
Slovenia has only 46 kilometers of the Adriatic coastline, but offers a bunch of hotels, attractions and activities, including diving, cycling, sky diving or walking along The Route of Health and Friendship. Explore the ancient and charming towns of Piran or Izola or have fun in vibrant Portorož. The coast gets crowded during the summer, but you can visit any time of the year.
The term “Karst” originates in Slovenia’s southwestern Kars Plateau. This is where the wonders of this specific limestone landscape were first explored. Karst offers a myriad of marvels – underground rivers, caves and gorges. Enjoy its world-renowned wines as well as its cuisine. Visit the UNESCO heritage sites of Postojna and Škocjan Caves or Lipica where the famous white Lipizzaner horses come from.
If you are still not convinced Slovenia is the perfect destination for your romantic trip or if you just want to find out some more interesting information, check out the following articles and blog posts: