For those of us that love heading off to hit the slopes of Europe, there is a constant battle between the cost of skiing holidays and our desire to carve up the snow. Fortunately, over recent years, a plethora of budget-friendly countries have upped their winter holiday game in a big way, meaning that skiing has never been less painful, both on the slopes and on the bank account!
Slovenia is one of those countries, and, as travellers become more acquainted with the countries of central and eastern Europe, we’re seeing that the number of visitors to this destination is doing nothing but rising. That is to say that popularity is nowhere near that of France or Switzerland, but the quality of resort is equally outstanding. If you’re looking to get some snow time in this (or next) winter, then Slovenia should be at the top of your list! If you’re not convinced, then read on to find out a little more about this central European gem!
Slovenia is a mostly landlocked country, with just 20KM of coast in the south-west corner. Its neighbours are Italy to the west, Austria to the north, a sliver of Hungary on the east and Croatia to the south. All of the countries are suitably popular with tourists, yet Slovenia’s tourism figures remain lower than many other countries in Europe. Part of this is due to its size, being nearly one-third of the land area of neighbouring Croatia. That being said, in 2018, the country saw a record 5.9 million visitors throughout the year, equating to roughly 290 yearly visitors per kilometre squared – the same as neighbouring Austria. However, this does not mean Slovenia is overrun with tourism, far from it, in fact!
Slovenia is very straight forward to access from the UK, being just over a two-hour flight from London. The main airport is Ljubljana which can be reached with flights on EasyJet from both London Stansted and Gatwick. From Ljubljana, it is possible to catch a coach or ride a train from the capital to one of the two main skiing locations – Maribor or Kranjska Gora. Driving is likely the easiest option, although as you venture further north into the country, you’ll be met with colder conditions which can be dangerous. If it’s your first trip to the country during winter, we’d suggest taking a public transport option.
The main ski season in Slovenia runs from very late November into the middle of April, with December, January and February offering the most reliable snowfalls. During these months, rain is not uncommon, falling between five and eight days per month. During the months of January and February, 40cm of snow can fall, meaning that there will be plenty on the ground when it comes to strapping on your skis.
Onto one of the most important topics, money! Perhaps one of the main barriers for people looking to head off on a snow holiday is the price, not just of flights and accommodation, but equipment, lift passes and everything else that comes with the trip! Fortunately, Slovenia’s prices a still very reasonable, especially compared to the more popular destinations. In Maribor Pohorje, a 6-day ski lift pass is €156 for an adult and €72 for a child, much more reasonable than many French, Swiss or Austrian resorts.
For accommodation, there are two main options: either staying in accommodation close by to the slopes and waking up to a gorgeous snowy vista each day or staying in the beautiful city and taking the short bus trip to the slopes each day. If you’re planning on staying in the city, there are plenty of apartments and guest houses available for reasonable prices, typically ranging between £40 and £80 per night. Similarly, there are plenty of apartments and other accommodations available much closer to the slopes for a similar price; it really just depends what you’re looking for!
For ski equipment hire, this can range between €12 and €20 a day depending on which resort you visit and your choice of equipment (budget or performance). For beginners looking to test their skills for the first time, hiring equipment is definitely the best option.
So far, we have mentioned the two main resorts in Slovenia, Kranjska Gora and Maribor Pohorje, however; there are a number of other worthy mentions in the country. Bled is another fine option and with a slightly lower altitude, can offer a more conducive environment for families and beginners. Accommodation can be found either in the town or close to the slopes, with plenty of restaurants and bars for some apres ski enjoyment! Located more conveniently to those travelling from the capital is Krvavec, found due north of Ljubljana. Accommodation is mostly slope-side as the resort is pretty self-contained, rather than being connected to a close-by town or city (such as Maribor). Finally, there is Golte, a modest size resort located north-west of the capital. Due to the size of the resort, prices are a little bit cheaper than those of Maribor or Krvavec, ideal for those really looking to make the most of their budget!
Are you looking to head to the slopes of Slovenia? Maybe you want to try something different? Why not check out the husky experience? You can ride with huskies during the morning and hit the slopes in the afternoon for a fun-filled day!