Official language: Slovenian with German, Hungarian and Italian being spoken. English is taught as a second language, so most locals speak it well
Welcome to the land of Baroque Architecture, Cobblestone Streets and Activities that scream Adrenalin!
Slovenia…a charming and ever so magical destination that always promises dramatic architecture on display and an abundance of thrilling adventures that are bound to captivate travelers from all walks of life. From the architecturally grand cultured cities to the lush pine-forested countryside, Slovenia is a country that entertains and accommodates equally well during the winter as it does during the pleasant summer months.
Sandwiched between Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, this country might be diminutive in size, but it’s got natural beauty by the bucket loads. Verdant valleys, glacial lakes and snow-capped mountains are the typical Slovenian postcard picture, and you can bet your stars you’ll see it all…and so much more! While the capital city, Ljubljana, is one of your best starting points for exploring Slovenia, getting out of the big city is the ideal, because its only then that you’ll see the real Slovak charm in full swing.
Just imagine: dreamy Adriatic coastal towns, Jeruzalem-Ormož with its rolling vineyards, Lake Bled in all its glory, the Postojna and Škocjan caves and off course the black ski runs of Kraniska Gora. Whether you plan on undertaking adventurous outdoor activities like white-water rafting and paragliding, or you’re a little less of an adrenaline junkie and prefer lounging around the beaches and enjoying the café atmosphere, Slovenia has it all.
Must see places in Slovenia
Located in the heart of Slovenia, Ljubljana is the capital city and the perfect starting point for your exploration of the magnificent surrounds. Before you depart though, there are a few unmissable sights in the capital city well worth seeing like the Old Town Center, the Ljubljana Castle, Tivoli Park and River Ljubljana. Other than that you can spend a few days enjoying the great museums, bars, shops and restaurants located throughout the city.
Arguably Slovenia’s hottest tourist attraction, Lake Bled offers plenty amazing reasons why you should get around and see it. With an island on the lake, Bled Castle just above the lake and the picturesque mountains that surround the lake, its petty obvious to understand why the masses flock here annually. From hiking to rowing, swimming to sun bathing and obviously castle exploring, Lake Bled is a full blown attraction and a destination worth spending a little more time at.
This is Slovenia’s most visited attraction and the Postojna Cave is world-famous for a good reason. A visit to the cave starts off with a thrilling train ride before you head inside to the most beautiful parts of the cave. Note that the temperature inside is always around 10°C in summer, so tacking a light jacket along is never a bad idea.
If you’re near Lake Bled, make sure you stop by the particularly interesting Vintgar Gorge. Take the walking trail and explore the area by foot and tread over the galleries above the emerald River Radvona. Once you’ve made your way through the gorge you’ll arrive at Sum Waterfall that boasts a great little bar for picking up some refreshments.
Arguably one of Slovenia’s most interesting castles, Predjama is definitely an unmissable castle you have to see in this country. The Postojna Cave is just about 10 minutes away, so consider combining the two for a day-trip out. The castle itself is simply amazing with the many different floors that visitors can explore. The small passages are as intriguing as they are mystical. The top floor boasts a small little passage that leads to the cave behind the castle.
Slovenia’s second largest city is Maribor, and it’s located on the eastern side of the country. The fascinating Old Town Center with its peculiar squares makes for a great day-trip destination while Lent (near River Drava) is a must see spot you have to get around to. You can also explore Maribor Park, Pyramid Hill and Pohorje Calvary to name but a few interesting sights in and around Maribor.
Located inside Slovenia’s Triglav National Park you’ll find Lake Bohinj that offers visitors an array of interesting opportunities. From hiking to rowing, adrenalin sports in the summer and skiing in the winter, the area is a nature lover’s delight. The Water Park Bohinjska Bistrica and Bohinj Lake make for great summertime watersport opportunities or you might want to catch a gondola ride to Vogel to get the best views of the lake and the Julian Alps. Don’t miss out on seeing the Savica Waterfall, Mostnica Gorge and the Voje Waterfall.
The high mountain plateau of Velika Planina can be found near the Kamnik-Savinja Alps in Slovenia. The area is famed for its shepherd’s village with the unique cottages and their country feel. If you want you could always hop onboard a gondola to get here from Kamnik, but the many hiking trails that track around the area will provide you with the best views of the area.
The 4th biggest Slovak city is Kranj, and the real reason why you’d want to get here would be to see the beautiful Old Town Centra standing on the small hill above Kokra & Sava Rivers. Some of the old city walls are still intact among the other old and intriguing buildings like the towers, churches and old squares. Closer to the town center you’ll have the opportunity to descend into the Kokra Canyon that boasts an amazing circular trail to explore.
The oldest mining town in Slovenia, Idria can be found on the river Idrijca, and it’s also home to the world’s second largest mercury mine. The Technical and Cultural Monuments of the town have been declared as some of the best in Europe in 1997, with Castle Gewerkenegg being the main attraction. You might also want to visit Tunnel Antoni, the mercury mine’s oldest part that dates back to the 1500’s.
Located on the northern part of Istria on the Adriatic coast, the city of Koper is an important port of the Adriatic coast and to the country as a whole. Summertime sees the city crammed full with tourists, and they go there with good reason. The Old Town of Koper has a breathtaking Gothic-Renaissance Square called Titov trg with its colorful and vibrantly decorated houses. The other two main attractions of Koper is Praetorian Palace and Belgramoni – Tacco Palace.
The impressive artificial Lake Jasna can be found near Kranjska Gora, near the entrance into Triglay National Park, so if you’re heading towards Vrsic Pass you won’t be able to miss it. The lake with its surrounding mountains makes for one hell of a scenic breakaway opportunity, but do make sure that you check out the Rock-Goat Statue near the lake.
One of Slovenia’s oldest and most beautiful towns comes with a real fairytale look and feel. Škofja Loka is a step away from the regular touristic route, but will prove to be worth it every step of the way. The charming old town offers you a magical atmosphere and an even more magical castle to explore once you’re done reveling in the natural beauty of the surrounding hilly countryside.
This has got to be one of Europe’s most beautiful glacial valleys, and Logarska dolina is a mere 9km long. It’s been protected as a nature reserve since 1987 and can be found in the heart of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. Closeby is the River Savinja that rises to the surface and also the Rinka Waterfall measuring in at 90m high.
If you’re keen on seeing Slovenia’s only water castle, Otočec Island of the River Krka is just the place to get to. The island is connected to the shorelines by wooden bridges, but it’s what lies on the island that will keep you lingering a little longer. Dating back to the 13th century, the castle was restored after 1942 into what today makes up one of Slovenia’s most luxurious hotels.
Located in central Slovakia within the Štiavnické Vrchy area you’ll find Banská Štiavnica, one of Slovakia’s oldest towns. As part of the massive deposits of precious metals found in this area, the town was once one of Slovakia’s wealthiest settlements and today boasts an abundance of beautiful buildings that are noteworthy attractions to see. The town is one of 5 Slovak Cultural Sites that are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The most famous pass in the Julian Alps is Vršič. This pass is the starting point for some of the most amazing hikes and you can choose to head out to Mojstrovka or Prisojnik from here.
Nestled in the foothills of the Kriváň Mountain, lay the town of Pribylina, an area which is arguably one of Slovakia’s most beautiful sights. But it’s not just the beauty people come to see here, hordes of people flock to the nearby Liptov open-air museum for its historical landmarks and a look into Slovak culture on offer.
Triglav Lakes Valley
Known as the Valley of Seven Lakes, the Trigav Lakes Valley is located in the Julian Alps, between the slopes of Tičarica and Zelnarica mountains to the southwest of Triglav. The 10 lakes in the valley are well worth seeing and serves as a perfect spot to recharge and revitalize tired tourists for their journey ahead.
What’s essentially a Slovenian Monaco, Portoroz offers many hotels and also boasts Slovenia’s most popular beach. During the day you should try to get to Secovlje Salt-Pans, the Forma Viva Sculptures and the Cacti Garden on Cape Seca. Don’t miss out on seeing the scenic city of Piran while you’re here. Come night time, Alaya is great for its beach front bars.
Slovakia’s easternmost city is Lendava and lies less than 7km from the Croatian border. This city is best known for its amazing Thermal Spa but that’s not all the area is about. Make sure you check out the watchtower, Dolgovaške Gorice that offers you views into far-off Hungarian terrain, Slovenia itself, Croatia and Austria.
The Pearl of the Slovenian Adriatic Coast is the town of Izola. The port town almost resembles Venice and is as romantic and beautiful as they picture you’ll paint in your head. Originally an island, Izola gradually merged with the mainland and is now best known for its winding narrow streets and the picturesque port that sees a lot of visitors fall in love with the town.
Pick the time right!
Tourists travel to Slovenia in summer
While the masses prefer Slovenia during the summer, many of the country’s attractions are equally as enjoyable outside the peak summer months. Summer months bring the promise of reliable weather and open skies, not to mention the great festivals that are in full swing, but that would mean that you’d bump into crowds just about everywhere you go.
Spring and autumn sees the countryside colors in all its splendor, hotel prices going down and significantly less crowds in the major touristic areas.
December through March sees the full onslaught of winter when skiing is optimal. For hiking and other outdoor adventures, the best time to travel would be between April and September.
There’s an exception to this rule however and it’s called the Soja Valley. The Primorska region in Slovenia has a typical Mediterranean climate with very warm summers and pleasantly cool winters, but then again, the crowds put this part of the country under a lot of stress with regards to availability, particularly during the month of August. Always be prepared to encounter the infamous Burja, the strong wind that whips down through the Karst through to the Bay of Trieste.
Did you know?
- Potica - a round cake usually stuffed with fillings like nuts, honey, cream, raisins and cinnamon
- Gibanica - layer cake made with pastry, cheese and eggs
- Nanos - Slovenian hard cheese
- Bled cream cake - two slices of puff pastry filled with delicious vanilla whipped cream
- If you’re visiting religious sites and churches always dress respectfully, so no sleeveless tops and skirts that rise above the knee.
- Smoking is prohibited on public transport, in cinemas, theatres, public offices and in waiting rooms, so always adhere to the local laws
- Alcohol may not be purchased from a shop, off-licence or bar for consumption off the premises between 9pm and 7am.
- A simple ‘dober dan’ (good day) or 'zdravo’ (hello) goes a long way. ‘Hvala’ is `thank you