Travel to Slovenia

Slovenia, not to be confused with Slovakia, is situated in South Central Europe in the Julian Alps at the northern end of the Adriatic Sea. Slovenia’s neighbours include Austria to the north, Italy to the west, Hungary to the northeast and Croatia to the southeast. Slovenia is a fairly small country compared to its neighbours.

Despite its small size, Slovenia packs a punch with amazing scenery and landscapes, with loads of opportunities to explore the great outdoors. There’s the snow-capped peaks of the Julian Alps, the Postojna and Škocjan caves, emerald-green lakes and rivers and a short stretch of coastline along the Adriatic Sea. The country claims to be one of the greenest in the world, with more than half of its total surface still covered in forest.

Slovenia holidays are most likely active holidays. The list of activities in Slovenia include skiing, walking, hiking and cycling. The caves in Slovenia are also fun to explore. There are some amazing castles in Slovenia, along with gothic churches and art nouveau splendours.

While traveling through Slovenia, make time to tour its wineries and sample some delicious foods. Ljubljana is the largest of the cities in Slovenia, packed with things to do and see – a definite must for your Slovenia itinerary.

Travel tips for Slovenia

Visa Requirements for Slovenia

Slovenia is part of the Schengen agreement, which allows most of the EU citizens to enter the country with only their ID. When entering by air from a non-Schengen country, you will be expected to fill out a brief form which includes an address in Slovenia. You can just use the address of your hotel. It’s very unlikely that this will be checked, but you will have to enter an address if you want to enter the country.

Visitors from certain countries like the USA, Canada and New Zealand can visit visa-free for up to 90 days in Slovenia. A stay of longer than 90 days for non-EEA or non-Swiss citizens usually requires a visa, which you need to get before your trip.

Other nationals, like those from Russia, Asian countries and South Africa, will need to apply for a Schengen Visa before arriving in Slovenia. For more information on the Slovenia visa requirements from your nearest Slovenia Embassy, visit this website.

Important Cultural Information

Slovenia has a surprisingly diverse cultural scene. The official language of Slovenia, Slovene, is a Slavic language. Slovenians are proud of their culture and language, which they regard as a great asset and part of their national identity. Slovenia hosts several cultural events, that are well attended by the locals.

In terms of social conventions, the usual European social norms apply. Shaking hands is the usual form of greeting, and informal dress is widely acceptable.

Slovenia has some of the strictest smoking regulations in the EU, falling in line with the country’s ‘green’ initiative. Smoking is not allowed on public transport along with many other public spaces.

Banking & Money in Slovenia

As of February 2007, Slovenia has now adopted the Euro as its national currency, retiring the Tolar once and for all. 100 cents makes up 1 Euro. Each country can produce their own Euro coins, where one side of the coins has their own unique designs, while the other side has a European standard design. You can use the Euro in any of the eurozone countries, without needing to exchange money when crossing the borders.

The largests banks in Slovenia include Nova Ljubljana Banka (NLB), SKB Banka, Abanka and Nova KBM. NLB is the largest bank in Slovenia so can be a convenient option for expats.

To exchange money, there are plenty of ATMs, where you can withdraw up to €500 (some may only allow up to €200), usually for a fee, depending on your own bank conditions. The sign for an ATM in Slovenia will read Bankomat. Credit cards are well accepted all over. But it’s always useful to have a few Euro notes, especially in the countryside or for tipping at restaurants.

Medical Emergency Information

If there is an emergency, you can call 112 from any phone at no cost. This will get you in touch with the police, firefighters and ambulances. You can also call 113 for emergency assistance from the police.

Make sure to get good travel insurance for Slovenia beforehand. Compare options with both WorldNomads and SafetyWing.

Wi-Fi and Internet in Slovenia

There are four main network operators in Slovenia: Telekom Slovenije, Si.mobil, Telemach and T-2. The Telekom Slovenije network has the best coverage – 100% coverage across the country. Izimobil is a reseller making use of the Telekom Slovenije network, with cheaper rates.

You will find several shops selling SIM cards around Slovenia, including in the smaller towns. You can either search for shops for the different networks, or for convenience stores that sell SIM cards. The process is relatively quick and easy in Slovenia, you don’t have to show identification (though, take with just in case).

Another option is to rent a mobile MiFi device, your own hotspot. Those costs from around €5 per day. There are services, which you can pick up at the airport or which gets delivered to the hotel you are staying at.

Wi-fi is reasonably prevalent in restaurants, hotels, bars and cafes in Ljubljana – the smaller cities/towns may be less easy. Look out for ‘Wi-Fi’ or ‘@’ signs on the doors. Make sure to set-up a VPN (like ExpressVPN) before using public Wi-Fi spots.

You will also find a few coworking spots in Slovenia, with most based in Ljubljana with a few in other cities like Kranj, Murska Sobota and Sostanj.

Arrival in Slovenia

You will most likely arrive via the Ljubljana Airport if you are arriving in Slovenia by plane, this is the country’s primary international airport. It is also the hub of the national carrier, Adria Airways. The national airline flies to numerous cities across Europe, including connections to Southeast Europe.

You can also fly into airports within the neighboring countries, convenient gateways include Pula in Croatia, Trieste in Italy, Klagenfurt in Austria and the Italian Treviso Airport.

Other international airports in Slovenia include Maribor Airport and Portoroz Airport, however both are mostly used for smaller charter, business and cargo flights.

Check Expedia for available flights to Slovenia.

You can also arrive via train, Slovene railways are well connected to all neighboring countries – though, less so in Italy. Popular train routes include the Zagreb to Ljubljana train, as well as trains from Vienna and Budapest to Ljubljana. EuroCity are fast, modern trains connecting major cities in Slovenia with other European countries. There are other intercity and regional trains. Consider getting an Interrail pass (for European residents) or Eurail pass (for non-European residents) for your train travel in Slovenia.

It is also possible to arrive by bus in Slovenia. Most international coaches make a stop in Ljubljana. The Slovene highway network is well connected to all neighbouring countries, with a few poorer connections to Croatia on the Slovenian side. If traveling by car, consider hiring a car through Europcar.

Areas in Slovenia

You can experience four different worlds in one day in Slovenia. Even the most remote corners of the country are only about two hours from the capital city, Ljubljana.

The main areas of Slovenia to travel to include:

 

Mediterranean and Karst Slovenia

Mediterranean towns of Slovenia include Piran, Izola and Koper – each with charming medieval town centres. Other highlights in this region includes the Sečovlje Salt Pans, and the Karst with Postojna Cave, Škocjan Caves and Vilenica cave. This region is also home to Goriška Brda – where you can taste the aromatic local wines within the Vipava Valley.

Julian Alps

The northwestern corner of Slovenia is home to the Julian Alps. This includes the mountainous northwest lakes and Mount Triglav. The mountains are laced with hiking paths, deep forests, ski resorts and vacation chalets. This area is ideal to visit for hiking, white water rafting, fishing and cycling opportunities. It’s also great for skiing in the winter months.

Lake Bled

With sweeping alpine panoramas, a fairy-tale island, medieval castle and lakeside promenade – it’s no wonder that Lake Bled is the country’s leading mountain resort. Highlights including hiking up to the Bled Castle, riding a traditional boat to the island, and climbing up the church to ring the bell.

Ljubljana and Central Slovenia

Central Slovenia includes its capital city, Ljubljana. This is where a lot of Slovenia holidays happen – with plenty to see and explore. For a break from the city, there are many day trips to nearby attractions. These include to the kingdom of the brown bear in the forests of the Kočevsko region or charming historical towns with UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

Travel tips for Ljubljana

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Transportation in Slovenia

Both bus and train connections in Slovenia are good. You can take public transport to most of Slovenia’s towns and cities and to its countryside. Bus tickets can be purchased at major bus stations or from the driver.

The major cities, including Ljubljana and Maribor, have good internal bus systems. These networks also go to the outskirts of the city, including popular tourist destinations. For bus travel in Ljubljana, the Urbana city card allows for non-cash payments on the city and suburban buses.

Bicycles are also popular for getting around the cities, along with taxis for longer distances. If in the city centre of Ljubljana, you might come across Kavalirs. These are the city’s electric-powered vehicles, and offer free transport mainly intended for the elderly, mobility-impaired people, and visitors. They operate around the pedestrian-only historical city centre.

Tip: The Ljubljana City Card includes all public transport, access to city attractions and free Wi-Fi – available for either either 24, 48, or 72 hours.

Accommodations in Slovenia

Camping in Slovenia is a popular accommodation choice, with campgrounds being cheap and widespread. You will find a mix of camping accommodation options, including several glamping options. Many sites have bungalows as well, if you don’t have your own tent.

Farmstays are also a fun and immersive option, with a range of different guesthouses, B&B’s and apartments in the more rural areas of Slovenia.

Apart them that, you will find your usual mix of accommodation options, including high-end hotels, boutique guesthouses, apartments and hostels, along with natural health resorts and thermal spas. Cyclists and hikers will find specialised accommodation, both in the valleys and mountains.

The capital city, Ljubljana has the most variety in terms of accommodation options. Though, remember to book ahead especially during the summer months.

Food & Dining Guide for Slovenia

Slovenian cuisine incorporates elements from each of its neighboring countries. You’ll find influences from Italy, Austria, Hungary and the Balkans. The locals love to use fresh and locally sourced ingredients, making this an amazing foodie destination. Some unusual combinations include pasta dumplings of potato, chives and bacon, salads with nutty pumpkin seed oil and wildly decadent desserts.

Although every region in Slovenia has its own specialties, most of Slovenia’s oldest traditional dishes are made using flour, buckwheat, or barley, as well as potatoes and cabbage. Meals are also often meat-based, with pork, veal and beef being the most common.

Vegetarians might struggle in Slovenia. Salads and cheesy dumplings are the best non-meat options available.

Slovenia produces lots of wine – try the reds from the Primorska region and the Zlata Radgonska Penina sparkling white. You will also find some good beers, with the main brands being Union and Zlatorog. Turkish coffee and espresso are also popular throughout Slovenia.

Check out our guide on food in Ljubljana.

Slovenia’s Attractions

Slovenia is the perfect destination for an active and adventurous holiday, with lots of outdoor activities all over this green country.

Check out our guide on the best of Ljubljana.

The various Slovenia hiking opportunities is what brings many travelers to the country. There are over 7,000km of walking trails across the country, marked by a red circle with a white middle. The Alpine Association of Slovenia, based in Ljubljana produces maps and other info. There are several hiking trails in the Triglav National Park in the Julian Alps, including Trenta Valley. Also in the Julian Alps, hikers can hike up to the Three Borders, Mt. Mojstrovka, Mt. Špik, and Mt. Prisojnik. Lake Bled is renowned for a picturesque lake with an island, but it is also a great starting point for hiking trips.

Other outdoor activities in Slovenia include kayaking the gentle rapids below Lake Bohinj, white water rafting at Lake Bled, sailing out to the fairytale castle floating on Lake Bled or cycle around the Ljubljana Marshes Nature Park.

Caves in Slovenia to visit include Postojna Caves, Škocjan Caves, Križna (Cross) Cave, Vilenica Cave and Kostanjevica Cave. Castles in Slovenia to visit include Predjama Castle, Ljubljana Castle, Loka Castle and Bled Castle.

The capital city, Ljubljana also features some amazing things to do, including visiting the castle, visiting the old town centre, Preseren Square, Triple Bridge Ljubljana, the Ljubljana Cathedral, and Ljubljana Market. Ljubljana also has many museums, including the National Museum of Slovenia and the Museum of Modern Art. Join a walking tour when your first arrive to help acquaint yourself with the city.

Check out our guide for spending a weekend in Ljubljana.

Tip: The Ljubljana City Card includes all public transport, access to city attractions and free Wi-Fi – available for either either 24, 48, or 72 hours.

The coastal town of Piran is also worth visiting, also known as Little Venice. The Cathedral of St. George is a highlight here, along with other churches, mighty palaces, and squares. Join a walking tour when your first arrive to help acquaint yourself with the coastal town.

Things to do & see in Slovenia

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Shopping in Slovenia

Shopping in Slovenia is done the old-fashioned way – strolling the city centre’s streets, popping into the high street shops and boutiques. You will find a mix of both international and local shopping brands.

The main shopping streets in Ljubljana are Mestni and Stari Trg, located at the base of Castle Hill, Trubarjeva, Wolfova Ulica and Miklošičeva on the opposite bank. For a mall experience, you will need to head out to the gargantuan BTC City.

Typical souvenirs to get in Slovenia include bobbin lace, crystal glass and wine. You should also look out for ‘beehive art’, which comes from the traditional technique of using panels from beehives as canvases.

Nightlife

While most larger towns will have their fair share of nightlife spots, you will find the most night-time activities in Ljubljana. This is also the cultural capital of Slovenia, with an opera house – the symphony orchestra plays regularly in the Big Hall of the Cultural and Congress Centre.

The capital city also has a large student population, with loads of bars and clubs. You will find parties carrying on until early in the morning! Some of the popular nightlife spots include Metelkova Mesto, the former military barracks which has some interesting clubs.

Maribor, the country’s second university city, also has a buzzing nightlife with most action happening along Portoroz.

Safety Tips for Slovenia

Slovenia, as with most of Europe, is an extremely safe country to visit.

Ljubljana is one of the safest capitals in the world. The city is safe to wander around at any hour. The only precaution is to avoid parts of Tivoli Park at night if you are by yourself.

As you should anywhere that you go, keep alert and keep your valuables safe. Be aware of the possibility of pickpockets in crowded areas.

When hiking, make sure that you have good maps and all necessary equipment with you. Save the emergency help number (112) on your phone should you get into any trouble on the pathways.

Conclusion

Ready to explore the beautiful, green landscapes of Slovenia? From hiking through the Julian Alps to being mesmerized by the beauty of Lake Bled, wandering through the caves and exploring the great castles. There are many ways to fill up your days while taking Slovenia holidays.

Ljubljana is the biggest of the cities in Slovenia, known for its university population and green spaces, including the large Tivoli Park. The city also has several museums to explore and is home to the Ljubljana Castle. The capital city is a great base for your stay in Slovenia – due to the small size of the country, you can get to most places in the country within two hours from Ljubljana.

Slovenia is great to visit all year round, with each season bringing a different experience. The alpine northwest sees snow from December to March. The warm and dry conditions from May to September are great for climbing, hiking, cycling and outdoor activities. By late May, the melted snow offers great white water rafting opportunities. The Adriatic coast has warm summers and pleasantly cool winters, while the rest of the country has hot and dry summers and bitterly cold winters.

Travel tips for Slovenia

View over Ljubjana from the Sky Scraper building

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Visit Ljubljana – A Look at the City, Food and Region

A complete guide for when you visit Ljubljana. Including places to see, where to stay, restaurants to eat at and day trips from Ljubljana.
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Top activities in Ljubljana. Ljubljana is a green gem of Europe offering active and unique opportunities to embark on hiking trips inside the city area.

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Ready for a long weekend in Ljubljana? We've got the perfect four day Ljubljana itinerary for you - perfect to explore the best parts of the city.
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