Slovenia: what you need to know before the trip
In summer tourists relax on the sea and lakes, in winter they ski in the Alps, and in the fall and spring they walk through the mountains and cities.
Slovenia is small. Only 2 million people live here – one and a half times less than in the Novosibirsk region. It only takes a few days to get to know the country, but getting to know it well is no easy task. I have been living in Slovenia for a year now, I have traveled a lot, but I have seen only a small part of the country.
In this article I will tell you how to organize a trip to Slovenia: where to live, how to move between cities and how much everything costs.
What you will learn.
How long is the flight : from Moscow 3 hours.
Where is it : east of Italy, north of Croatia, south of Austria.
Sea : Adriatic.
Time difference with Moscow : 1 hour in summer, 2 hours in winter.
When the season: all year round.
Language : Slovene, many speak English.
Visa : Schengen.
The coast of Slovenia has a subtropical Mediterranean climate. Summers are sunny and hot: an average of +30 °C. In winter, it’s windy and humid, and temperatures rarely drop below -10 °C.
In the northern and central parts of the country a few degrees cooler than on the coast. The climate is continental: +25 … 28 ° C in summer and about zero in winter.
✈️ How to reach Slovenia
Ferries. You can get to the coastal city of Piran from Trieste or Venice on the ferries Liberty Lines or Venezia Lines. Most of them are seasonal summer routes. The ticket from Trieste to Piran costs 9 € (630 P ) and takes about an hour.
Package tours. There are package tours to Slovenia. The cheapest option for 6 nights costs from 60,000 P for two.
️ Map of Slovenia
What to see in Slovenia
Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia, small and cozy. The city with population of 270 thousand people is a province for Russia, a big city for Europe and a real megalopolis for Slovene people.
Ljubljana is compact and convenient for life, but even in high season there are not many tourists. Most come for one or two nights: it is convenient to drive from the city to the surroundings.
The main attraction of Ljubljana is the historical center, for which it is sometimes called a little Prague. The compact and authentic old town stretches along the banks of the river Ljubljanica, under the hill on which stands the medieval fortress – Ljubljanski Grad.
At every step in the capital there are pictures of dragons: on coats of arms and signs of stores, restaurants, hotels. According to the local legend, the hero of Greek mythology Jason and his Argonauts had once visited these places and killed the dragon living in the surrounding swamps. But even the locals can not explain why the symbol of the city was the defeated monster and not the victor.
In Ljubljana it is worth to go up to Ljubljana Castle, take a photo on the Triple Bridge in front of the Franciscan Church and walk through Tivoli Park. I also recommend a coffee on the terrace of the restaurant in the city’s first skyscraper, which is called Skyscraper in Slovenian. When it was built in the 1930s, it was one of the tallest buildings in Europe. Now it is 70 meters high and has 13 floors, which is a cringe for the inhabitants of Russian high-rises, but it is still one of the tallest buildings in the historic part of Ljubljana.
Ljubljana Castle was built in the 12th century and has survived earthquakes. Incredibly, back in the 20th century it was used as a hostel for the city’s poor.
Dragons even have their own Dragon Bridge. Legend has it that when a virgin walks across the bridge, the dragons move
Maribor is the second largest city in Slovenia. It is located in the north-east of the country. It takes 3 hours to get there from Ljubljana by train.
Maribor is located in the wine-growing region. The main attraction of the city is the oldest vine in the world. It is 450 years old and it still bears fruit. There is an entire museum and wine festival devoted to the vine. Other attractions in the city are the 12th century Gothic cathedral and the 15th century castle.
Ptuj is the oldest city in Slovenia. People lived here back in the Stone Age. People come to the city for the wine, rest in thermal complexes and walks through the medieval streets. Every spring, the town hosts the Ptuj Festival, which is listed by Lonely Planet as one of the ten most interesting carnivals in the world.
Škofja Loka is a small town not far from Ljubljana. It is mentioned in all travel guides as the best-preserved medieval town in Slovenia: in the center there are buildings of the 16th-18th centuries. But I got a little bored there.
️ Seaside towns and resorts in Slovenia
The Slovenian coast has long belonged to the Republic of Venice. Its traces are recognizable at a glance in the architecture of the Slovenian part of the coast of the Istrian peninsula. All coastal towns have two official languages – Slovenian and Italian.
The Venetian heritage is strongest in Izola and Piran, small, compact and well-preserved resorts. Even in high season it is cozy and not as crowded as in Croatia or Italy.
The southernmost town of Portoroz is famous for its spa hotels. The name of the city is translated as “port of roses”, and it is justified: in the summer there are thousands of flowers. It is the most expensive resort on the coast.
You can look at private yachts in Isola. If you want to see a major port, go to the coastal capital of Koper on the Adriatic. A small historic center is preserved there.
️ Attractions and attractions in Slovenia
Postojnska Jama is the largest cave in Europe. It is located near Ljubljana. The cave is home to an amphibian called a “human fish”: its skin and limbs are human-like. It is also called the baby dragon: 350 years ago, the discoverer of the amphibian mistook it for a baby dragon.
The temperature in the cave throughout the year does not rise above +12 ° C, and it is very humid. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and warm clothes.
At 9 km from Yama is Predyamsky Castle with another cave. There lives a colony of bats. The cave is closed from October to May: during this time the animals hibernate, and for Slovenians environmental awareness is more expensive than money.
It is impossible to see and photograph human fish in nature, but in Postojnska Jama you can see them in the aquarium. Source: STA / siol
Slovenian Thermae. Advertisements assure that Slovenian spas with thermal-mineral waters treat almost all diseases. I’m not sure if this is true, but the thermae are a popular place. The resorts have been operating for several centuries, for example Dobrna – since 1403.
Slovenians, Austrians and Germans love the local thermae and come there all year round. Not necessarily for treatment: it is a popular weekend getaway.
The nearest resort to Ljubljana is Krvavec. It can be reached by shuttle bus. Not far from Lake Bohinj, the main lake in Slovenia, there is the resort of Vogel. The town of Kranjska Gora is just a few kilometers from the border – you can go to Austria and Italy and explore their ski slopes.
In summer tourists go for walks in the mountains: trekking and hiking are developed in Slovenia. The infrastructure is excellent: there are trails of varying difficulty level all over the country. They are free of charge.
Bled is one of the most photographed places in Slovenia. The lake is turquoise, transparent, surrounded by the Alps – it looks very picturesque. The Austro-Hungarian aristocracy used to go there for rest.
In Bled Lake you can swim: in summer the water gets up to a pleasant +24 °С. The beach season is short, from July to August, but people come there all year round: in the fall and spring for trekking in the Alps, in winter for skiing.
Not far from Bled is even more picturesque lake Bohinj. It is so cold that even in summer you can’t swim in it.
You can reach the island of Bled only by wooden boats without motors. Motor transport on the lake is prohibited, as Slovenians protect the nature.
Vintgarskoye gorge is picturesque at any time of year. It is one and a half kilometers of suspended paths between rocks and waterfalls, which end in a 13-meter waterfall. The gorge is especially beautiful in the fall, when the foliage is green, yellow and red.
National dishes. Slovene cuisine was formed under the influence of the neighbors: from Austrians the Slovene inherited strudels, cabbage and sausages, from Italians – pasta and ravioli, from Hungarians – goulash, from Turks – cevapcici and kebabs, from Slavs – soups and buckwheat. In general, locals eat a lot of pork, sauerkraut, potatoes, bread and are very fond of anything sour.