Slovenia may be a pocket size European country, but it is also one of the best kept secrets of Europe. Don’t let its size fool you. It is blessed with a wealth 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 snow-capped mountains, rolling hills, lush forests where wild wolves and brown bears still roam, to charming little towns and villages, historic castles and the Adriatic coast, Slovenia offers more diversity than most of the countries many times its size. It is known as one of the greenest countries in the world and it has become one Europe’s top outdoor playgrounds.
Then there is us, Slovenians. We are often described as a shy nation that is hard to get close to, but when you get to know us a bit better, you will see that we are welcoming and we know how to have fun.
Squeezed between Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, Slovenia has a unique geographical position. Ljubljana, the capital, rests in the middle of the country. Ljubljana is a pretty old city with a youthful vibe and plenty of well preserved historic buildings. In only three hours’ drive from Ljubljana, you can find yourself in Venice. In two more hours, you can admire the sights of Vienna.
How to get here
By car: we have a modern motorway network, but the local roads are also interesting and scenic. 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 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: the Euro since 2007
Climate and best time to visit
We have four true seasons in Slovenia; each time of the year offers a unique experience. Additionally, the topography creates three different climates.
Winters are cold and snowy, especially in the mountains. Snow rarely falls at the coast where we have a warmer Mediterranean climate. This is the time for skiing and other winter sports or to warm up and have some fun at thermalspring spas scattered all over the country.
Summers can be very hot and dry with afternoon storms. The northwestern Alpine region has moderate temperatures in this time of the year, so this is the ideal season for hiking and camping. Summers are peak season for visitors so hotels can be full and the prices are higher.
Slovenia gets most of its rain in spring and autumn, but still both seasons can be magical and a good time to visit. Nature then basks in almost unbelievable colors. You can still swim in the sea in September or admire snow capped mountains 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 Slovenian 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 diversity of dialects of the Slovenian language, different lifestyles, gastronomic traditions, popular entertainment and other aspects of the everyday life of the local people.
Slovenian Julian Alps with their white limestone walls are 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 in summer months a good choice to escape the heat. 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 Adriatic coastline, but offers a bunch of hotels, activities and attractions. Explore the ancient and picturesque towns of Piran or Izola or have fun in vibrant Portorož. The coast gets crowded during summer, but you can visit any time of the year.
The term Karst originates in Slovenia’s southwestern Karst Plateau.This is where the wonders of this specific limestone landscape were first explored. Karst offers a myriad of wonders – underground rivers, caves, gorges. Enjoy its world renowned wines as well as its cuisine. Visit the UNESCO sites of Postojna and Škocjan Caves or Lipica, where the famous white Lipizzaner horses come from.