Nestled above Croatia and surrounded by Italy, Austria and Hungary, Slovenia is a country often overlooked. But with many of us itching to pack a bag and go anywhere, Slovenia might just have the perfect mix, creating the ideal after-lockdown destination. So whether you’re looking for a romantic city break, an outdoor adventure, a relaxing spa holiday or a combination of it all you’ll find it in abundance in one of Europe’s greenest countries. Here are our 10 things not to miss in Slovenia.
Ljubljanica River flows through Ljubjana’s colourful Old Town.
Slovenia’s vibrant capital is one of Europe’s greenest and most liveable capitals. It was voted the European Commission’s Green Capital of Europe in 2016. Car traffic is restricted in the center, leaving the leafy banks of the emerald-green Ljubljanica River, which flows through the city’s heart, free for pedestrians and cyclists. In summer, cafes set up terrace seating along the river; it almost feels like a daily street party. The city’s friendly, hospitable people perfectly complement the quaint, colourful buildings scattered across the old town. It’s a city you’ll definitely want to visit, again and again!
2. Food & Wine
One of Slovenia’s many vineyards.
With influences drawn from its neighbours such as Italy, Austria and Hungary, Slovenia has a very tasty and unique gastronomic scene. Locally produced ingredients combined with three distinctive wine-growing areas arguably offer the best cuisine in the Balkan region. Discover the fullness of flavours, learn about the close connection between people and nature in food production and about their dedication to tradition, then indulge in the boldness and innovation of top Slovenian chefs.
3. Triglav National Park
The mountains and crystal clear lake of Triglav National Park.
Magnificent views from the tall peaks, green Alpine valleys, babbling brooks, lakes that reflect the blue sky, huge diversity of flora and an array of outdoor activities. You can experience all of this in Triglav national park, Slovenia’s largest protected area and only national park. The park encompasses the majority of the eastern part of the Julian Alps and you can even stand on a border point shared with Italy and Austria!
4. Summer Activities
White Water Rafting near Bovec.
Slovenia is an unspoiled, unpolluted country where the great outdoors abound, ideal for escaping the stress of modern life with a loved one, or blasting the cobwebs away with friends. You don’t have to choose between swimming in the balmy Mediterranean or a cool Alpine lake – you can do both on the same day. Take to the pristine waters of Lake Bled by boat, mountain trek in the Julian Alps or speed down gorges on a raft. Slovenia is Europe’s hidden gem of beautiful landscapes and off-beat adventure.
5. Lake Bled
The picture-perfect lake Bled.
Yes, it’s every bit as lovely in real life. With its bluish-green lake, picture-postcard church on an islet, a medieval castle clinging to a rocky cliff and some of the highest peaks of the Julian Alps and the Karavanke as backdrops, Bled is Slovenia’s most popular resort, drawing everyone from honeymooners lured by the over-the-top romantic setting to backpackers, who come for the hiking, biking, water-sports and canyoning possibilities.
6. Wellness Retreats
One of the many world class wellness retreats in Slovenia
On a trip to Slovenia, make sure to reserve some time for pampering at one of the country’s spas and wellness centres. For centuries, Slovenians have been using the benefits of healing thermal water, clear air, and other natural components for relaxation. It’s the perfect end to an adventure holiday in Slovenia’s great outdoors allowing you to return home completely refreshed.
7. Winter Sports
Snowy mountain landscape with the Julian Alps
The majestic mountain peaks of the Julian Alps surround several small, picturesque ski resorts, representing fabulous value, with pistes generally uncrowded and ski-in, ski-out access. Plenty of artificial-snow cannons make up for the relatively low altitude, and night skiing until 10pm makes it easy to pack plenty of slope time into even a short visit. For those looking for alternatives to skiing, there is husky sledding, ice climbing, ice skating and even World Championship Ski jumping.
Panorama of beautiful Piran over Adriatic Sea.
One of the loveliest towns anywhere along the Adriatic coast, picturesque Piran sits prettily at the tip of a narrow peninsula. The Old Town is one of the best-preserved historical towns anywhere in the Mediterranean and a gem of Venetian Gothic architecture. It can be busy at the height of summer but in quieter times, it’s hard not to fall instantly in love with the atmospheric winding alleyways, the sunsets and the seafood restaurants.
Postojna Cave system is one of Slovenia’s most popular attractions.
The jaw-dropping Postojna Cave system, a series of caverns, halls and passages some 24km long and two million years old, was hollowed out by the Pivka River, which enters a subterranean tunnel near the cave’s entrance. Visitors get to see 5km of the cave on 1½ hour tours; 3.2km of this is covered by a cool electric train. Postojna Cave has a constant temperature of 8°C to 10°C, with 95% humidity, so a warm jacket and decent shoes are advised.
10. Eco Accommodation
The cows and herdsmen’s huts on the Big Pasture Plateau in Slovenia in the Kamnik–Savinja Alps.
Blessed with natural splendour in abundance, Slovenia has been crafting itself a well-deserved reputation for clean, green travel. To supplement its outdoorsy appeal, quirky accommodation is springing up in the scenic countryside, and clever locals are embracing and redefining one of the travel world’s hottest crushes – glamping (“glamorous camping”) and other unusual lodgings such as bedding down in giant wine barrels, futuristic cabins or even former prison cells!
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