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Slovenia

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor Profile
The gateway to Eastern Europe, don't be fooled by Slovenia's small size; after all, who hasn't heard of "good things come in small packages." With a variety of stunning landscapes; from soaring mountains and alpine forests, to pristine lakes and Adriatic coastline, Slovenia is ideal for a variety of holidays whether you're after adrenaline thrills or gourmet discoveries. Not (yet) overrun by tourists, you're guaranteed a tranquil getaway. Start your journey in the picturesque capital city Ljubljana to get your bearings - from here it's not far to the glamorous seaside resorts of Piran and Portoroz, or the protected Triglav National Park in the Julian Alps. You'll feel a world away from home but at only a two hour flight.

Travel guide

Hidden European Gem

Ranked as one of the richest European countries in terms of its water resources, Slovenia is home to some of the most picturesque lakes and waterfalls in the world. Lake Bled in particular provides the perfect backdrop for either the frosty winter months whilst enjoying a glass of hot wine or for those summer evenings spent watching the sun glisten on the emerald water.

Mountain Mania

If you're an avid fan of the outdoors and find yourself often getting restless on holiday, Slovenia provides the perfect solution. There's an abundance of hiking and mountain walks and cycling is becoming increasingly popular in the summer; an ideal way to fully appreciate the breath taking surroundings. The fun doesn't stop there, for the true thrill seekers amongst you Slovenia also offers white water rafting on the Soca and Sava rivers.

Exploring the history

Not only is Slovenia dominated by beautiful natural scenery but it also has many historical sites ready to be explored at every turn. Most of the museums can be found in the countries capital but if Ljubljana is out of your reach the museum of the First World War in Kobarid or the technical museum in Bistra pri Vrhniki are both well worth a visit.

Bustling capital

Although quite possibly one of the hardest capitals's to pronounce, Ljubljana (lyoob-lya-nah), is recognized as one of Europe's greenest and most habitable cities. Conveniently, in order to soak up all that the capital has to offer, most attractions are placed in close proximity in the pedestrianised city centre. Ljubljana has enough museums, cafes, restaurants and clubs to cater to any age group. The culture scene here is booming with over 10,000 cultural events every year; the Overjam reggae festival in August and the Slovenian wine festival just to name a few.

Journey to the Unknown

Be prepared for a whole new realm to be unveiled as you are taken by train on an hour and a half journey through underground arches and into the Postojna cave, located in the South West of Slovenia. Having opened in 1819 Postojna cave has been a tourist attraction for more than 200 years and it's possible to visit any day of the year.

Our Editorial team's advice

The beauty of Slovenia is that so many of its wonders are yet to be discovered by tourists; the impressive scenery and attractions feel special and untouched, simply waiting to be appreciated.

You'd be a fool not to see the oldest vine in the world in Maribor and if there's one sight you shouldn't miss, it's that of Lake Bohinj under the early morning mist...Be sure to travel around the different cities in order to make the most of your trip as the majority can be sufficiently explored in a short amount of time. Lake Bled also must not go unnoticed; indulging in a Bled cake flavored ice cream at the manmade island after a refreshing dip is highly encouraged.

Although there are some great festivals on in the summer, it is recommended to travel out of season in either spring or autumn.

Finally, a quick tip if you happen to be camping in Slovenia or want to have an evening in, be warned that it is illegal to buy alcohol from a convenience store between 9pm and 7am.

pros

  • +A variety of beautiful landscapes including mountains, lakes and alpine forests
  • +Beautiful architecture from the capital Ljubljana, to the villages
  • +Small country and easy to get around (roads are in good condition)
  • +Excellent wine
  • +Great for enthusiasts of the great outdoors

cons

  • -Slovenia's corner of the Adriatic Coast is quite limited
  • -Not a whole lot of possibilities when it comes to accommodation

Traditions

Beekeeping is hugely important in Slovenia; it is the only EU member state to have protected the Carniolan bee. Every year almost 2,000 tons of honey is produced and sometimes they even have surplus which they then export to other countries.

Easter is always an exciting time in Slovenia, after fasting for several days most locals will have a celebratory feast. A plethora of Slovenian delicacies decorate the table; smoked ham, sausages, beef, potica and other local treats. Eggs are also decorated with varies dyes and patterns. Classic designs require using teran wine, dog-rose syrup, red onion skins, spinach leaves and dandelion.

Food

It is unsurprising with the Slovenian proverb ?love comes through the stomach' that they pride themselves on their food and diverse cuisine. The food shows signs of Italian, Croatian, Austrian and Hungarian influences and each region also has its own delicacies.

Slovenia has over 1,200 national dishes including many varieties of soups, pork-based dishes and cheese dumplings ('struklji'). Dandelion is also a popular ingredient in the kitchen in the spring time and is often put in salads with potato.

Those with a sweet tooth will appreciate the coconut-filled cake, with sultanas and spices ('potica'), a national favourite especially around Christmas time.

Towards the border with Italy, dishes take on the influences of their Italian neighbours, while in the coastal areas fish and seafood are fresh and abundant.

Slovenia produces several varieties of wines; in fact the oldest vine in the world is found in the town of Maribor. One of our favourite producers is Movia and we recommend you try Bjana's sparkling wine varieties too!

Souvenirs

Slovenia specialises in lace, baskets and wooden handicrafts. Also, black pottery from Prekmurje is a local specialty as are copies of beehive panels with folkloric motifs. Zlatarna and Celje are known for their gold jewellery. Meanwhile, you've probably heard of Czech crystal but what about Slovenian crystal?