While Italy (and increasingly Croatia) might steal the headlines, Slovenia has quietly become one of the most fulfilling destinations in this part of Europe.
When should I visit Slovenia?
Generally you’ll want to visit Slovenia during the summer, late spring, or early fall – however the winter months are a great time for skiers. Midsummer brings crowds, especially along the Adriatic Coast and Ljubljana. Hiking is arguably at its best in May or October, however you’ll likely enjoy the mountains and lakes through the warm part of the year no matter what.
How do I get around Slovenia?
Getting around by car is the easiest and best way to see Slovenia’s wild side (which is, generally speaking, the main reason to visit the country). Slovenia’s roads are in good condition, though some rural ones are somewhat narrow. If driving isn’t an option for you, buses and the country’s comfortable and efficient trains are great ways to get between cities, towns, and other major population centres.
While it might fly under the radar when it comes to European capitals, Ljubljana delivers exactly what’d you’d hope. Like most cities on the continent, you’ll find a picturesque old town, where you can wander the cobbled streets and even pay a visit to a castle.
While small by city standards, Ljubljana does still offer much to see and do within its gorgeous cityscape. Whether it’s relaxing at one of the many riverside cafés or mingling with the students in the bars and clubs, Slovenia’s capital proves that size isn’t everything when it comes to making a trip worthwhile!
If you’re shown a picture from Slovenia, there’s a good chance it’ll be of Lake Bled. Specifically an old church sitting on a solitary island, with mountains stretching up to the heavens in the background.
Beyond the church, you’ll find a lakeside castle that provides a great view of the entire area. While Bled Island and the castle are the most famous attractions, the town itself (also named Bled) is a great resort and an excellent home base for those who want to set off into the mountains.
Welcome to the imposing Julian Alps. As a part of Europe’s most famous range, they start in Italy but the majority of the range lies in Slovenia. It includes a plethora of amazing natural vistas, including Triglav – Slovenia’s highest mountain and eponymous national park.
Explore history in a stunning setting at Vršič Pass or one-up Lake Bled with a trip to the arguably more impressive Lake Bohinj. During the warmer months, the Julian Alps offers the country’s best hiking and biking while with snow comes some of the most rewarding ski hills in this part of the world.
Located in the same area as the Julian Alps, Soča Valley is yet another part of Slovenia that is a dream come true for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking, fishing, rafting, skiing, even horse riding are all popular activities in the Soča Valley. The Soča river cuts through the beautiful landscape, and makes for a relaxing, peaceful escape from some of the more strenuous hiking trails of the mountains and other regions.
While the mountains, lakes, and forests might grab most of the headlines, the Karst Region deserves a trip of its own. It consists mostly of a large limestone plateau, and helps to create a distinct look and feel for both the environment and the villages that dot the landscape. This also affords you a chance to explore sprawling cave systems such as Škocjan and Postojna.
While the landscape holds its own with the best in Slovenia, the culture and people of the area really knock this one out of the park. You’ll find an amazing wine region, where you can pair the famous full-bodied reds with the local Karst prosciutto and other Mediterranean inspired delicacies.
Slovenia may not have an incredibly long coastline, but the 47 kilometres of land along the Adriatic Sea is right up there with Croatia’s famous Dalmatian Coast. The crown jewel is the town of Piran, a municipality of Venetian style buildings that juts out into the inviting blue waters.
Much of the culture and lifestyle in this part of Slovenia is similar to Italy (you’ll even find many Italian speakers along the Adriatic), but rest assured that it also remains Slovenian through and through. While the coast is beautiful, the summer months bring in many tourists – so solitude might be hard to find.
How much does travelling to Slovenia cost?
Flights between Pearson and Ljubljana often start at about $1200 Canadian. This isn’t one of the cheapest round trip flights between Toronto and Europe, so you’ll likely be better off flying into another country and making your way to Slovenia by budget airline, train, or car. Due to Slovenia’s proximity to Italy, it might be a good idea to visit by way of the latter – plus there’s nothing wrong with touring multiple countries on one trip!
Slovenia uses the euro and prices are about on par with other eurozone countries, though it can be moderately cheaper. An average day’s expense runs about $109 with a budget of $60 for accommodation and $27 for food. Thriftier travellers could expect to spend about $46 a day while gravitating towards the luxurious will cost you about $233 a day. As many of the country’s best sights are outside of cities and towns (mountains, lakes, etc.), you’ll have to factor in a fair bit of travel and transportation costs.
Is Slovenia safe?
Slovenia is a relatively safe country with no nationwide advisory and normal security precautions recommended throughout by the Canadian government. While violent crime is rare, petty crime and car thefts have been known to take place. One of the main things to keep in mind is taking all the necessary precautions when venturing up into the mountains. Don’t go alone, be sure you have all the required supplies, make sure someone knows where you are going, and don’t overestimate your skill level.
For more on travel safety in Slovenia, check out the Canadian Travel Advisory website.
These are just a few examples of where to go in Slovenia, there’s tons more to see and do. If you think somewhere else should be on the list – or want to share you own experiences, tips, or advice – let us know in the comments.
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