For those planning a trip to Slovenia, this ultimate Slovenia travel guide will give you an overview of the country, travel guides for each of Slovenia’s regions and geography, adventure travel and outdoor activities, a guide on Slovenian food and wine, places to stay, a list of activities and must-see destinations in Slovenia, and photos and videos to inspire you to visit Slovenia.
Slovenia. The fairy-tale alpine lake and castle in Lake Bled. The charming, historic, and modern capital of Slovenia – Ljubljana. Triglav National Park. Maribor – the 2012 European Capital of Culture.
The Julian Alps of Slovenia, Slovenia’s coastline and beaches, Karst caves, glacial valleys, alpine towns and villages, and pristine rivers and waterfalls. The charming countryside, the natural beauty of the outdoors, an interesting history, fascinating culture, the warmth of the Slovenian people, and one of the top green tourist destinations in Europe.
Slovenia isn’t a large country but it has something to offer everyone. From the beaches to the mountains, caves and valleys to the peaks, the country of Slovenia may be one of the most beautiful and underrated destinations in Europe.
If you are thinking about visiting this beautiful country, consider this your comprehensive Slovenia travel guide. If you want photos, destination information, travel tips, places to stay, what to eat, or a local’s point of view on Slovenia, you can find it all here.
If you want a brief introduction to Slovenia for tourists, check out this essential Slovenia travel guide.
A brief overview and history of Slovenia
Slovenia is a country with a total population around 2 million people which covers 20,000 square kilometers or 7800 square miles. The primary population is primarily Slovenian with a mix of Italian, Hungarian, and other nationalities as well.
The country borders Italy to the West, Croatia to the East, and Austria and Hungary to the North. It is located in the south-central part of Europe where its southern-most border is the Adriatic Sea while its northern border is the part of the Alps mountain region known as the Julian and Kamnik-Savinja Alps.
The geography in Slovenia is very diverse with mountains, sea, valleys, and forests throughout the country. Forests cover a majority of the country while the area is rich in water with a number of rivers running above and below ground. Due to the diverse landscape, Slovenia also has a number of climates which vary by region. Temperatures in the country are moderate but climates range from sub- Mediterranean to continental to Alpine.
Slovenia declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1989 and is officially known as the Republic of Slovenia. The capital of Slovenia is also its largest city, Ljubljana.
The best source of information on Slovenia is the Slovenia Tourist Board site – I Feel Slovenia. You will find destination guides, hotel information, the regions of Slovenia, activities in Slovenia, popular tourist destinations, towns and cities, a planning guide, travel information, tours, videos, and much more.
Feel free to email or call with any questions you may have on Slovenia. I Feel Slovenia is the best source of travel information on Slovenia anywhere on the internet!
The geography and regions of Slovenia
Slovenia’s landscape may be small but it is very diverse. Here’s a brief overview of the most popular regions in Slovenia to give you an idea of what types of places you might like to visit. For more information on the other regions, follow the links provided to get a Slovenia travel guide introduction to the different parts of the country.
Gorenjska – This is probably the most famous and most beautiful region of Slovenia for those who love the outdoors. You can enjoy the pristine lakes and alpine views in Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj. If you enjoy hiking or winter sports like skiing, head to Mount Triglav (the symbol of Slovenia) and Triglav National Park in the Julian and Kamnik-Savinja Alps. If you love the outdoors, enjoy biking, hiking, fishing, or horse-back riding in Kranjska Gora. Castles, mountains, adventure travel activities, towns and cities are all a part of this area.
See a photo tour of Lake Bled to check out views of the lake, the castle, and the views from this resort town. See a video of Lake Bled to understand what it’s like to experience this place for yourself.
For more information, accommodations, activities, attractions, food, and more, check out I Feel Slovenia’s travel guide to the Gorenjska region.
Goriška – This is the main area of Triglav National Park. However, the region of Goriška is much more than mountains. This area also includes the upper part of the Soča valleyand is home to the biggest wine region in Slovenia. This area is also home to a number of outdoor activities which include canyoning, kayaking, hang gliding, biking, canoeing, rafting, and more. For those that enjoy history, check out the World War I battlefields near the Posočje region or enjoy some wine in the Goriška Brda region.
For more information, accommodations, activities, attractions, and more, check out the travel guide to the Goriška region.
Central Slovenia – This area is home to Slovenia’s capital city – Ljubljana. Stroll the streets of town, hike (or get a ride) to Ljubljana Castle, admire the works of Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik, enjoy the various styles of Baroque, Romanesque, and Art Nouveau buildings, take to the water with a boat ride on the Ljubljanica River, or stroll through Tivoli Park or the Botanical Gardens.
Ljubljana is home to many music and art festivals as well so there is never a shortage of sights or events in this city. Outside of the city, enjoy one of the many gorges in the area or any number of geographical or cultural highlights.
For more information about the city, check out one traveler’s experience as he falls in love with Ljubljana.
The Coast and Karst – For those that love the beach, Slovenia’s small coastline (about 29 miles) offers a beach experience that is unique and different from most places on the Adriatic.
While sun worshippers will enjoy places like Portorož and Piran, this area is also home to some of the most unique caves in the world – the Karst region. One of the most famous caves in Slovenia is the Skocjan caves. And for animal lovers, this area is also home to Lipica – birthplace and home of the Lipizzaner stallions.
Find out more about this area and what there is to do with this travel guide to Karst and the coast.
Podravska – Home to Slovenia’s second largest city and the 2012 European Capital of Culture, Maribor is the main attraction in this area.
Located in the northwest part of Slovenia, Maribor is home to a university and plenty of cultural events and sights. This area isn’t just about this cultural capital as this region boasts of another Slovenia wine region (one of three), more ski areas, rolling hills, gastronomic delights, and outdoor adventures.
Check out Slovenia’s oldest town Ptuj as well as Ptuj castle along with other castles Štatenberg, Vurberg and Borl. For more about this area, attractions, events, and accommodations, check out the travel guide to Podravska and Maribor
Notranjska-Karst – Go underground to discover the heart of this southern region as it is home to thousands of Karst caves. The most famous of the caves in this area is Postojna.
Known for its rugged and majestic rock formations, Postojna attracts a number of visitors each year. Another nearby cave is Križna Jama as well as an unusual lake which is Slovenia’s largest (when it actually has water) – Lake Cerknica.
For those interested in Slovenia’s war history, the Military History Park in Pivka offers a look at the turbulent history of Slovenia during the 20th century as it focuses on the two world wars and the war in Yugoslavia. Since this region is covered in trees, it is also an important area for timber and water.
For information, attractions, sights, and more, this travel guide to Notranjska-Karst is an excellent resource for all things trees and caves in Slovenia.
While these are the most popular regions in the country for its attractions, caves, mountains, and cities, other regions offer a greater in-depth look at life in Slovenia.
Koroška was once a part of Austria but now this region is close to the heart of Slovenians. Three valleys (Meža, Drava and Mislinja) and three mountain ranges (Pohorje, Karavanke and the Savinja Alps) are a part of this area.
Southeast Slovenia is the perfect Slovenian picture of “charm” and “quaint”. Monasteries, forests, small towns, caves, and water paint the idyllic countryside portrait of Slovenia while castles abound in places like Žužemberk. The region is also home to Slovenia’s only island castle, Otočec castle.
Savinjska, just east of Ljubljana and the Central region, offers the most beautiful Alpine views of any in Slovenia as well as health resorts, farms, and more places for outdoor fun. If you want mountain views in the valley, waterfalls, and beauty, look no further than places like Logarska dolina, Robanov kot, and Matkov kot.
In the northwest most region of Pomurska, think agriculture, rolling hills, and wine with a splash of spas and thermal resorts in places like Lendava Thermal Spa and Gornja Radgona (known for wines and fairs).
The Spodnjeposavska region, known as Lower Sava, is located near the Southeast Slovenia region and is famous for its namesake – the Sava River. This is home to Slovenia’s longest river as this region is characterized by fertile land, vineyards on hills, and a number of small towns.
No trip to this region would be complete without a visit to its two most important towns – Krško and Sevnica. With their locations along the Sava river, Krško served as an industrial town while Sevnica is home to the Sevnica castle. For those that love the outdoors, cycling and hiking are popular in this area as well.
Located in the center of the country, hills and mountains define the Zasavska region as the towns of Litija, Zagorje, Trbovlje, and Hrastnik provide getaways for hiking, biking, climbing, and hunting.
Insider travel tips and a local perspective on Slovenia
While travel tips, destination information, and things to do are great resources for planning a trip to Slovenia, there is much more about the history, culture, people, and country that people outside of Slovenia may never understand.
My interview with friend and Slovenia tour guide Marijan Kriskovic explores Slovenia and the war in Yugoslavia from an up close and personal perspective as sirens blasted, air raids commenced overhead, and people sought shelter during the war. Marijan also shares what the people of Slovenia are like, how they live, and what they want out of life.
We also explore the food and culture of Slovenia, the best places to visit in Slovenia, and the unique geography and landscape of this country as Marijan shares his favorite places.
Finally, we look at Slovenia as a tourist destination and discuss whether Slovenia is the next top destination in Europe.
For an insider’s perspective on Slovenia that goes beyond the destinations and attractions, find out what it means to live and experience life in Slovenia from someone who was born in Ljubljana and calls this place home.
This isn’t information you will find in another Slovenia travel guide so learn more about this country from a local.
Activities, attractions, and things to do in Slovenia
May people come to Slovenia looking for an adventure while others come to get pampered and relax. Whether you love the outdoors or want to enjoy the many spas and resorts Slovenia has to offer, there are a wide list of activities for people to choose.
Among the must see destinations in Slovenia are Ljubljana, Lake Bled, either the Skocjan or Postojna caves (or any of the thousands of Karst caves), Triglav National Park, the 2012 European Capital of Culture Maribor, and a visit to a coastal town like Piran.
However, only seeing these places would mean you are missing out on the Logarska valley, the many wine regions in Slovenia, and the numerous adventure travel and outdoor opportunities like hiking, biking, rafting, and more.
Food, cultural events, music, and the people are also things you shouldn’t miss in Slovenia. However, the amount of time you have in Slovenia and each person’s interests will dictate where you go and how you spend your time.
Research activities and things to do in Slovenia and plan your best itinerary for a fun, exciting vacation.
Cultural and international events in Slovenia
While Slovenia may be small, this country still has its share of events that feature its unique culture drawing international tourists and attention from all over the world.
This highlight of Slovenia’s cultural events in 2012 is Maribor, European Capital of Culture 2012. Throughout the year, there will be a number of events in Maribor highlighting culture, the arts, music, and more.
For years, Ljubljana has been home to a number of festivals and events. Since 1955, the city has been home to the Ljubljana International Biennial of Graphic Art which takes place every two years. The event celebrates contemporary graphic arts as it reviews developments and techniques in the world of contemporary graphic arts as it celebrates the work of artists from countries all over the world. The next event will take place in September and October 2013.
Every June, the city also hosts the Ljubljana Jazz Festival as open air concerts, street performances, and other events celebrate the jazz music with artists from Europe, Africa, and America. This year will celebrate the 53rd year of the jazz festival. Ljubljana is also host to the Ljubljana International Film Festival (LIFFe) every November which features a unique collection of international films.
In July and August, the people hit the streets and part as part of the Ljubljana Summer Festival as music, dance, theater, sports, and cultural events take place. Many of the events are held in the Plečnik’s open-air complex at Križanke while others are spread throughout the city. Concerts, operas, and ballets are a big part of this celebration.
As the capital city, Ljubljana also hosts a number of other events including a number of contemporary arts festivals, the Break Festival for young international artists, and a Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.
Jazz festivals are also popular in other cities like Maribor (Izzven Jazz Festival, Maribor) and Cerkno (Jazz Cerkno Festival) also hosts Jazz Festivals as well. With Maribor’s focus as the European Capital of Culture as well as its position as the second largest city in Slovenia, it hosts modern and contemporary events like the DokMa International Film Festival and the International Festival of Computer Arts (IFCA).
Towns and cities throughout Slovenia host a number of cultural events and festival which highlight the food, culture, arts, music, entertainment, and people of Slovenia. To complete this Slovenia travel guide on happenings in Slovenia, check out I Feel Slovenia’s events and festivals.
Slovenian food, wine, and gastronomy
Slovenian food is a mix of cultures and includes German, Mediterranean, and a dash of Hungarian. While you can find some typical meat and potatoes dishes in Slovenia, there are also a number of desserts as well. For those near the coast, seafood is also very popular. To wash it all down, enjoy one of the three wine regions in Slovenia.
When you are in Slovenia, satisfying your sweet tooth is a must with potica or prekmurska gibanica cake. Potica is a cake with a mix of dough fillings including the popular tarragon, honey, walnut, poppy seed, and more. Premurska gibanica is made with cottage cheese, walnuts, and apples in the shape of a pie.
Adventure travel and the outdoors in Slovenia
No Slovenia travel guide would be complete with mentioning all the outdoor activities the country has to offer. Hiking, biking, canyoning, rafting, skiing, kayaking, hunting, paragliding, hang gliding, and horse backing riding are a few of the many outdoor activities available to locals and tourists alike.
Located at the foot of the Alps, the Alpine climate makes Slovenia a premier destination for winter sports without some of the crowds you will find in Italy, Austria, France, and Switzerland. Snowboarding, skiing, cross country skiing, sledding, skating, and ice hockey are a few of the popular options here in winter.
While the tourist board offers travelers a variety of options for outdoor activities and provides information for planning your own trips, there are two sites that offer deals and packages for both summer and winter outdoor activities.
Where to stay in Slovenia – hotels and accommodations
Hotels, private rooms, resorts, spas, tourist farms (WWOOFing), camping, lodges, cottages, or eco-friendly accommodations – Slovenia has it all. You can rent apartments in the city or camp in the Slovenian countryside. The choice is yours. There is no shortage of accommodation options in Slovenia no matter how you like to travel.
Most people would search online internet sites like Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, or do their research to find recommendations from blogs, travel review sites, or independent research. Normally, I would recommend doing all of those and then find a place that suits your style of travel in Slovenia and book it.
However, I Feel Slovenia (the Slovenia Tourist Board website) offers the best overview of accommodations anywhere in Slovenia. Everything from cottages to hotels, the site provides photos, basic information about each place, telephone numbers, email, and websites for all accommodations, and even an option to search and book your stay at your favorite place.
You don’t have to trust what you see or read for each site as each place listed has a link to its website where you can work directly with your choice of accommodation.
After spending some time reviewing cottages, hotels, apartments, and hostels on the website, I can honestly say there isn’t a more comprehensive guide to Slovenia hotels and accommodations than the one provided by I Feel Slovenia.
If you don’t believe me, check out where to stay in Slovenia on I Feel Slovenia’s website for the most detailed information, photos, and listings of accommodations in Slovenia.
Here’s a slideshow which shows you the accommodation options and information available on I FEEL SLOVENIA’s website.
Green Tourism in Slovenia
Slovenia’s efforts to be eco-friendly and a green tourist destination have been rewarded as they have received numerous honors and awards for their efforts. Here’s what Slovenia is doing to promote a “Green Slovenia.”
Slovenia also makes an effort to be a Green Model as numerous destinations have received the European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) for their social, cultural, and environmental stability.
Here’s the latest video from I Feel Slovenia which promotes their efforts for a green, healthy, active Slovenia.
Slovenia travel guide – photos and videos
There’s no better way to convince people to visit Slovenia than allowing them to see and experience with their own eyes. Here are two videos which share the natural beauty, elegance, and people of Slovenia.
A special “thank you” goes out to Ana Vugrin and the staff at I FEEL SLOVENIA for their efforts to promote this wonderful country and make it one of the gems of Europe! Use this Slovenia travel guide and get all your travel destination information for Slovenia at I FEEL SLOVENIA and follow them on Facebook and Twitter at @SloveniaInfo.
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