Slovenia (Slovenian: Slovenija) is a country in central Europe, located at the crossroads of main European trade an cultural routes. It has four neighbour countries: Austria to the north, Hungary to the east, Croatia to the south and Italy to the west. It also has access to the Adriatic sea and open sea.
Slovenia covers around 21.200 square kilometers and has a population just over 2 million, most of whom are Slovenes (83%), with the most common religious denomination being Roman Catholicism. With a population of 278.789, Ljubljana is the capital and the largest city of Slovenia. The highest mountain with 2864 meters is Triglav which is also the most recognizable symbol of Slovenia. Slovenia is a member of the United nations, European Union (since 2004) and NATO (since 2004).
Throughout history, Slovenia has always been an occupied area. In the Roman times Slovenia was occupied by the Romans. They build some important cities like Emona (Ljubljana). Until the 19 th century, authorities were constantly exchanged. In 1918 Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes becomes independent from Austria-Hungary. In 1945 Yugoslavia becomes a republic. And in 1991 Slovenia declares independence from Yugoslavia, following a Ten-Day War between Yugoslav People’s Army and Slovenian Territorial Defence.
Slovenian flag and Coat of arms
How to get to Slovenia
By car – By car, you may enter Slovenia from all four neighbour countries at border crossing. Slovenia has an motorway cross that connects Italy in southwest, Austria in north, Hungary in northeast and Croatia in the east. Motorway is most often used for entering Slovenia, but beware that Slovenia uses vignettes. You can choose between 1 week, 1 month and 1 year vignette. Of Course you can enter Slovenia and use local roads.
Speed limits: Motorways 130 km/h, dual carriageway 110 km/h, outside a built up areas 90 km/h and in built up areas 50 km/h. More traffic regulations.
By bus or train – As with a car, you can enter Slovenia by bus or train from all four the neighboring countries. Buses and trains drive daily to Slovenia from many European destinations, so you can check timetables to find your train or bus. By train, it is also possible to get a sleeping wagon. For timetables, routes and other information, you should visit Ljubljana bus station and Slovenian railways (Slovenske železnice).
By plane – Slovenia has 3 international airports: Aerodrom Portorož, Edvard Rusjan airport Maribor and Jože Pučnik airport Ljubljana. The main and the biggest airport is airport Ljubljana where you can find cheap flights from London, Paris and Brussels with EasyJet or Wizz Air. You can use also other airlines like the Slovenian Adria Airways and fly to many other destinations in Europe.
By ship or boat – Over the sea you can use some fast boats from Venice, Trieste and Rovinj, but only from May to October. If you travel with large cruise ships in Adriatic sea, then there is a huge possibility, you will anchor in port of Koper (biggest coastal city in Slovenia). And if you sail into Slovenia you should know that only international border crossings are in Koper, Piran and from May to October in Izola. In Izola, Koper and Portorož you have also available a modern marina.
Top 10 things to see in Slovenia
1. Lake Bled
This beautiful emerald green lake is located in the heart of the Julian Alps in the north west of Slovenia. Many times, the lake was declared as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. The uniqueness of the lake is its island on which stands a beautiful baroque church. It is the only island in Slovenia. Bled is also famous for its castle, which lies next to the lake on a 139 meters high cliff.
2. Predjama Castle
This castle is unique because it is built in the mountain high above the ground. It is located in the west of Slovenia near Postojna. It was built in the 13th century and named after the cave in which it was built. The castle is something unique and, therefore, can be found on several lists of the most beautiful castles in the world.
Ljubljana is the largest and the capital city of Slovenia with a population of 280.000 inhabitants. During antiquity it was called Emona and was an important trade and military settlement. Today it is one of the most greenest capitals in the world. Ljubljana offers a plethora of theaters, museums, and a fairytale-like castle. It’s an unspoiled, charming city where old meets new. And if you translate Ljubljana you get the word “beloved”.
4. Skocjan caves
Skocjan Caves is a cave system in Slovenia and due to its exceptional significance, Skocjan Caves were entered on UNESCO’s list of natural and cultural world heritage sites in 1986. Skocjan Caves are one of the largest underground systems in the world. It is made up of a network of 11 caves with gorgeous underground lakes, bridges, gorges and waterfalls.
Piran is a town in southwestern Slovenia on the Gulf of Piran on the Adriatic Sea. It is one of the three major cities of Slovenian Istria. Piran has much medieval architecture, with narrow streets and compact houses. Piran is the administrative centre of the local area and one of Slovenia’s major tourist attractions.
6. Triglav National Park
Triglav National Park is located in the northwestern part of Slovenia and is the only national park in the country. Mount Triglav, the highest peak of Julian Alps and Slovenia, stands in the middle of the national park. On a sunny day, you can see the Adriatic sea from Triglav. Triglav National Park is home to numerous plant or animal species and with its beauty inspires many visitors from the wider world.
7. Postojna Caves
Postojna caves are with a length of 24,120 meters the second largest underground cave system in Slovenia. The caves were created by the Pivka River. Per year Postojna Cave attracts over 500,000 people and therefore is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Europe and in the world.
8. The Vintgar Gorge
The Vintgar Gorge is a 1.6-kilometer gorge in northwestern Slovenia four kilometers northwest of Bled. Carved by the Radovna River, it is the continuation of the Radovna Valley. The sheer canyon walls are 50 to 100 meters high, with a total slope measuring about 250 meters.
Maribor is with around 100.000 inhabitants, the second largest city in Slovenia. Maribor most famous attraction is the world’s oldest grapevine with 440 years.
10. Lake Bohinj
Lake Bohinj covering 318 hectares, is the largest permanent lake in Slovenia. It is located within the Bohinj Valley of the Julian Alps, in the northwestern of Slovenia and part of Triglav National Park. Lake Bohinj is known for its clear blue-green water with a mountain-side backdrop is truly a stunning sight to behold.