Slovenia holidays

Experience Slovenia

Best Places to Visit

Slovenia's Alpine location makes the mountains a dramatic backdrop for activities in the surrounding area, as well as for sightseeing. Head towards the Julian Alps to get up close to the mountains and foothills, and to get involved with one of the many activities in the area. Skiing and mountain biking are two such examples, although there is also hiking if you prefer to head out on foot. Look out for the Alpine lakes in this part of the country too, as there may be the opportunity for some al fresco swimming - no doubt a "refreshing" dip at certain times of the year.

The National Museum of Slovenia is in Ljubljana and can be accessed from Muzejska Street. Although Slovenia is a relatively new country, having gained independence in 1991, the museum dates back to 1821, making it the largest and oldest museum in Slovenia. The current building it occupies, on a road which translates into English as "Museum Street", was constructed in 1888 and houses a diverse range of items, from Stone Age artefacts right through to more recent exhibits that date from within living memory.

From the oldest to the biggest, the Cathedral of St Mohor and Fortunat in Gornji Grad is the largest cathedral in the country. It is just one of the sights in the Savinja and Salek Valley, along with several lakes and waterfalls, and this makes the valley another picturesque and scenic location for a visit. Take the Solcava Panoramic Road for the most spectacular views across to the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, but remember to keep your eyes on the road during the drive, however distracting the landscape might be!

Rather than finding yourself in the mountains, you could instead opt to go inside them, by visiting one of Slovenia's systems of caves. In general, these are located in the south of the country, so make the journey to whichever network of caverns catches your eye. Many are open to the public, with guided tours available, so you don't face the risk of heading inside on your own. If you do happen to find an entrance without a guide, do not go too far in, as it can quickly become very dark inside and this can lead to you losing your bearings. Always carry a torch and a spare light source if you feel like you need to do some exploring on your own.

Top Landmarks

Natural formations are among Slovenia's most recognisable landmarks, beginning with its highest mountain, Triglav. Not only does this have the distinction of being the tallest mountain in the country, but it is also instantly recognisable due to its triple peaks, from which it takes its name. If you see Triglav and think it looks somehow familiar, it could be because it is pictured on Slovenia's flag. Meanwhile at Postojna, a system of caves and caverns is the most popular tourist attraction. Inside these can be seen naturally occurring stalactites and stalagmites, creating an ornate ceiling canopy and floor covering through the build-up of sediment over many thousands of years.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site at Skocjan Caves is part of the Regional Park of the same name. It is 4 km south of Divaca, and there are several naturally occurring landmarks here too. They include Europe's highest cave hall, many waterfalls tumbling into a steep gorge, and a high bridge to cross the gorge, if you have a head for heights. If you choose to visit any cave system, it is a good idea to dress a little warmer than you usually might, as well as to put on a light waterproof layer in case of drips falling from stalactites above you. Guided tours, lasting around 60-90 minutes, can help you to explore safely the parts of the caves you are allowed into, as well as being a good way to learn more about how they were formed.

Entertainment

If you are interested in horses, head to Lipica and take a look at the local Lipizzaner breed of pure white steeds. You can tour Lipica Stud Farm, which traces its long history back to 1580 and supplied the Lipizzaner breed to the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. From April to October, tours are scheduled at a rate of almost one per hour. It's worth making sure you are at the Farm around 3 pm on a Tuesday, Friday or Sunday; this is the time at which you can enjoy a show by the Classical Riding School for a small additional cost on your tour ticket.

Holidays in Slovenia can also be a great opportunity to enjoy winter sports, as it has an eastern Alps location. For example, the resort of Bled, located in picturesque surroundings on the shore of Lake Bled, is the gateway to Triglav National Park. Here there are plenty of outdoor activities available including swim in Lake Bled itself, or indoor ice skating - although in winter months you might expect the swimming to be indoors and the skating to be outside instead! Bled also has its own golf course, ranked among the top 100 in continental Europe. There's also an equally impressive mini golf course which has played host to national championships, proving that even a fun pastime can be competitive if players are pitted head to head in competition.

Dining Out

If you are keen to enjoy some authentic Slovenian cuisine, you might be in for a disappointment. There are a few reasons why you are unlikely to get a taste of traditional Slovenian food, and the first is that menus are dominated by influences from the neighbouring countries. Schnitzel belongs more properly on an Austrian menu; pasta and risotto are borrowed from their Italian neighbours; and Hungarian goulash is also widely served. Even the true Slovenian recipes are based on borrowed ideas, such as dried ham similar to prosciutto, and potato dumplings that are similar to gnocchi.

That is not to say that the food is not delicious, but a further complication is that eating out in a restaurant can be quite expensive in Slovenia. There are alternatives though. They the usual big-name fast-food chains, as well as independent burger bars and other fast-food joints. If your accommodation has cooking facilities, you might also want to prepare a meal of your own - visit a local store to stock up on Slovenian ingredients, and you will get a true taste of the local produce this way.

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Need to know

Language

Slovenia uses Slovene as its official language, and it is the native tongue of about nine in ten permanent residents of the country, one of the highest figures in Europe. The country also ranks highly for knowledge of a second language though, and more than nine in ten people claim to speak at least one foreign language. More than half can speak English to some extent, so you should never be far from an interpreter if you need one.

Currency

If you’re scrolling through package holidays in Slovenia, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s part of the Eurozone, which not only means that euros are easily obtained during your stay or before travelling, but also that sterling is easy to change, too. You can exchange cash at a bureau de change, or in a bank, and these establishments will also cash travellers' cheques for you. You may find travellers' cheques widely accepted elsewhere, along with major credit cards, although the latter may be more cost-efficient if used to withdraw cash from an ATM.

Visas

You shouldn't need a visa to travel to and from Slovenia, as long as you have a valid British passport. Your passport should be valid for your return journey too, but there's no requirement for it to have any set period beyond this before it expires - it could run out the next day without technically being a problem. In practice it's smart to have at least a few days left, so that if anything unusual delays you, it doesn't risk leaving you in Slovenia with an out-of-date passport.

Climate

In Slovenia, holidays during winter are likely to be fairly cold, especially in the east of the country where the land forms a number of valleys and plateaus. However, in the summertime, temperatures rise substantially to somewhere between mild and hot, and this gives Slovenia's coastline a Mediterranean climate. To put this into context, average temperatures in Slovenia are actually very similar to the UK, at around freezing point in the winter, and 20°C at the height of summer.

Main Airports

The main international airport of Slovenia is found in Ljubljana and was previously known as Brnik. It is also the base of operations for Adria Airways, Slovenia's national airline, and many of the routes into Slovenia from cities throughout Europe use this carrier.

 

Flight Options

Flights from the UK depart daily from London Stansted, although it is always wise to check in advance as the frequency of flights might be lower out of season, or there might be extra, more convenient additions to the schedule in response to peak demand. UK flights may be operated by one of the lower-cost airlines, giving you a potential opportunity to save on your ticket price. At around 750 miles from the UK to Slovenia, you could be looking at a journey time of around two hours for the flight itself, although this, of course, does not include time spent going through passport control, and so on.

Travel Advice

Getting to Slovenia doesn't necessarily mean flying directly there, as many people land at one of the several airports just across the border, before making the transfer by road. For example, Italy's Trieste airport may be better served in terms of the availability of flights, and is about an hour's drive from Ljubljana. Flights departing from Ireland may land in Pula in Croatia, and again this is only just across the border. Finally, because direct flights to Slovenia land in Ljubljana, this bodes well if you need to travel onwards to a different town or city, as the capital also acts as the central hub of the country's rail network.

Other Transport Options

You can travel to Slovenia by bus from a number of European cities, such as Italy, Austria, Germany, Serbia, Poland, Croatia, , Denmark, Sweden, Kosovo and Macedonia. If you are getting an international coach, it will usually stop in Ljubljana. There is also an option to get to your holiday in Slovenia via cruise ship.

Getting Around

The most effective ways to travel around Slovenia is by train, as the rail network is extensive and can be cheaper than the bus system.

Bus

The bus system in Slovenia provides access to almost every city or town in the area, leaving from Ljubljana. Bus connections are particularly good during summer months when you can travel between Ljubljana and the towns along the Adriatic coast.

Train

The rail network is one of the best ways to travel on public transport, and a large number of destinations are served by Slovene Railways, with an impressive 1,200 km of track. To an extent, it is fair to say that "all routes lead to Ljubljana", as the city is a central hub for the network. In many cases to get from a specific departure point to a specific destination, you'll need to switch services at Ljubljana. Unusually, the fare to travel by train is typically less than the equivalent fare by bus, with further discounts at the weekend on return tickets. Just be sure to buy your ticket before boarding the train, as you will be charged extra if you try to pay the ticket collector directly.

MAP

SLOVENIA`S WEATHER TODAY

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AVERAGE RAINFALL (mm)

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FACTS

  1. Slovenia was formerly part of Yugoslavia, but gained its independence in 1991, and quickly progressed to become a fully modernised state thanks to its close links with Western Europe.
  2. Its high-tech exports range from car parts and chemicals to electronics and other appliances, along with furniture and textiles; its resident workforce has a relatively high level of education.
  3. In 2004, Slovenia joined the EU and NATO, and in 2007 it adopted the Euro as its currency, joining the other European countries to use the single currency as part of the 'Eurozone'.

FACTS

  1. Slovenia was formerly part of Yugoslavia, but gained its independence in 1991, and quickly progressed to become a fully modernised state thanks to its close links with Western Europe.
  2. Its high-tech exports range from car parts and chemicals to electronics and other appliances, along with furniture and textiles; its resident workforce has a relatively high level of education.
  3. In 2004, Slovenia joined the EU and NATO, and in 2007 it adopted the Euro as its currency, joining the other European countries to use the single currency as part of the 'Eurozone'.

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