Located in central Europe, Slovenia is bursting at the seams with natural treasures, culture-rich cities, impressive architecture and a strong national identity. It is a prosperous nation – largely thanks to avoiding the difficulties that its neighbouring countries suffered during the disintegration of Yugoslavia, seeing it quickly integrate with Western Europe. This makes it a friendly, easy and comfortable place to travel with plenty to offer to any visitor.
It is one of the most water-rich countries in the continent and half of the country is covered in forest. Elsewhere, you will find rugged mountain ranges; this makes it incredibly picturesque and a popular destination with nature lovers and outdoor activity enthusiasts.
It is also home to many charming cities, which feature impressive and varied architecture. Rustic farmhouses are found in rural areas, whilst there are Venetian-style harbour towns and Gothic architecture in other areas. Most notably, however, there is the sophisticated capital city – Ljubljana. Here you will find Baroque architecture, busy cobbled streets, the Old Town straddling the river and many great cultural activities. There is also a lively, welcoming and fun nightlife found in the capital.
What to Do
With such spectacular natural surroundings, Slovenia is best suited to outdoor adventure seekers. The world famous Lake Bled is a must visit and provides the best views of the Julian Alps, whilst there are wonderful caves found further south at Postojna and Škocjan. The coastal and Venice-esque coastal town of Piran has striking Venetian Gothic architecture, winding alleyways and picturesque views of the Adriatic.
As with any European city, to fully understand the heart of the country you need to visit the capital. In Ljubljana there are dozens of highlights, with the Old Town and the nineteenth-century quarter being home to many excellent museums, galleries and other areas of interest. As one of Europe’s greenest capital cities with restricted car traffic, simply walking the streets, sitting outside a café along the river and taking in the views can be fantastic, particularly during the warmer months of the year. Although it can be busy in the summer, the hustle and bustle creates a vibrant and welcoming feel throughout Ljubljana.
The Slovenian dining scene combines Alpine, Pannonian and Mediterranean cooking styles for an intriguing, varied and tasty cuisine.
The most famous dishes include prekmurska gibanica (Prekmurje layered pastry), kranjska klobasa (Carniolan sausage) and kranjska medica (Carniolan honey liquor). You will also find that each region has their own unique specialities and approaches to their food; this makes travelling the country both rewarding and fascinating. For dessert, strudel filled with apple, fruit-filled dumplings or prekmurska gibanica (a local cheesecake) are all popular and commonplace.
The terrain and grapes of Slovenia create highly regarded local vintages that ensure that wine features heavily on menus here. Slovenian beer is also popular, with Laško Zlatorog often said to be the best brew.
Slovenia features a varied climate which can be split into three sections.
In the north-west, you will find an alpine climate with very cold winters and moderate summers. This is the area for skiing and adventure sports, so there are always activities throughout the year. The Primorska region has a Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and cool winters. This area can be very busy in the summer months and therefore you may want to book accommodation in advance. The rest of the country features a continental climate, which sees hot and dry summers and very cold winters.
The majority of tourists visit in the summer months when the weather is at its warmest and most reliable, but the spring and autumn can be just as enjoyable and much quieter. In these seasons, you also benefit from the changing colours of the countryside – a sight to behold in itself.
How to Get There
Slovenia’s main international airport is Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport (LJU), which is located just 9.5km (5.9 miles) outside the capital. This makes it the quickest, easiest and most efficient way to reach the country and Ljubljana is a great starting spot.
There are also direct express trains from various European countries to Ljubljana, including overnight sleeper trains. This is ideal for those backpacking through Europe.
Whether arriving by plane or by train, your onwards journey can be made simple and stress-free with a Shuttle Direct transfer. Regardless of group size, they can pick you up from the airport or train station and drop you right at the door of your accommodation.
Travelling to Slovenia? Don’t Miss…
- Lake Bled – Located in the Julian Alps in the north-west, Lake Bled is a magnificent postcard-esque lake which is one of the world’s finest. It features emerald-green waters, a church sat on an islet, a medieval castle atop a rugged cliff and the breathtaking Julian Alps in the background. It is incredibly serene and peaceful, making it a popular destination with honeymooners and nature lovers.
- Škocjan Caves – A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Škocjan Caves are an awe-inspiring sight and an experience that you will never forget. The cave system contains some of the most important and intricate caves ever discovered, as well as the world’s largest subterranean canyon. Here you will also find an extraordinary ecosystem with rare cave fauna and endangered species of birds and bats.
- Old Town, Ljubljana – One of the most pleasant Old Towns in all of Europe, Ljubljana’s features cobbled streets, beautiful architecture, a lake, bridges and a castle. There are many great cafes, bars and restaurants lining the lake, helping to create a lively yet pleasant atmosphere. This is also furthered through the capital being green and practically car-free. Sightseeing and tours followed by a relaxing drink is the ideal way to enjoy and appreciate the Old Town.
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