Slovenia is a nation state in southern Central Europe (not to be confused with Slovakia), located at the crossroads of main European cultural and trade routes. It is bordered by Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the northeast, Croatia to the south and southeast, and the Adriatic Sea to the southwest. It covers 20,273 square kilometers (7,827 sq mi) and has a population of 2.06 million. The capital and largest city is Ljubljana.
The territory is mostly mountainous with a mainly continental climate, with the exception of the Slovene Littoral that has a sub-Mediterranean climate and the north-western area that has an Alpine climate. Additionally, the Dinaric Alps and the Pannonian Plain meet on the territory of Slovenia. The country, marked by a significant biological diversity, is one of the most water-rich in Europe, with a dense river network, a rich aquifer system, and significant karst underground watercourses. Over half of the territory is covered by forest. The human settlement of Slovenia is dispersed and uneven.
Slovenes settled the region in the 6th century, when they were incorporated together with Bavarians and Franks. At that time, Christianisation took place. Afterwards, the Slovene lands were part of the Holy Roman Empire, and later they were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the dissolution at the end of World War I in 1918 – when the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was formed, and turned into a multinational state named Yugoslavia in 1929. After Slovenia was occupied by the Axis powers and later liberated by the Partisans with the help of Western Allies in World War II, Slovenia became a republic in the renewed Yugoslavia, which although communist, distanced itself from Moscow’s rule. Dissatisfied with the exercise of power by the majority Serbs, Slovenes succeeded in establishing their independence in 1991 after a short 10-day war. Slovenia acceded to both NATO and the EU in 2004, and joined the eurozone and the Schengen Area in 2007, completing the final steps of accession to the European Union.
Ljubljana is the political and cultural heart of the Slovene nation. Its geographical position in the centre of Europe has determined Ljubljana as a natural meeting place for merchants and soldiers as well as – and more than once – peacemakers. It has been inhabited for some 5,000 years: first by Illyrians and Celts; then by Romans; and since the 7th century, by the Slavs. As its inhabitants and numerous visitors will tell you, Ljubljana is, indeed, a people-friendly city. Categorized as a medium-sized European city, it offers everything a metropolis does yet preserves its small-town friendliness.
Bled The image of Bled with the castle, the lake and the island in the middle of the lake, are sights by which Bled is known to nearly the entire world. Lake Bled is renowned for its exceptional beauty. In the middle of the lake lies the island with the Church of the Assumption. Inside the church there is the wishing bell from 1534. In addition to all these features, Bled and its surroundings provide a number of other interesting sights that are worth a visit.
The 1.6 km long Vintgar gorge carves its way through the vertical rocks of the Hom and Bort hills and is graced by the Radovna with its waterfalls, pools and rapids. The path leads you over bridges and Šumer’s galleries, and ends with a bridge overlooking the mighty 16 m high Šum waterfall. Due to its natural beauty, Vintgar was classified among the more important tourist sights in Slovenia and the number of visitors increases every year. From the Šum waterfall you can take the opportunity of walking up a picturesque footpath through Hom to St. Catherine-a historical church with a beautiful view. At the entrance, and at the Šum waterfall there are cafes serving refreshments.
Maribor – Stara trta, the oldest vine in the world
Oldest vine in the world in the old city centre, on the banks of the river Drava, the visitor to Maribor can see an amazing sight – the extraordinary ancient vine, called by the Mariborcani simply “stara trta”, 400 years old!!!- the Old Vine. Along the frontage of the long solid two-storey town house, facing the majestically flowing, serene Drava River. Planted in the center of the building, near the main entrance is the grapevine – the visitor will learn that the stalk is 81 cm in circumference in its widest part.
Maribor is the second largest city in Slovenia. Additionally, it is also the economic, university, cultural and sports centre of the north-eastern part of the country. The city offers for its visitors good wine and cuisine and has a well-preserved city core which reflects the images of centuries. The pulse of the city is reflected in the streets and squares.
Jeruzalem – the viniferous hill has been famous for its high- quality wines since the middle Ages. The legend of the vine-covered Jeruzalem originates from the times of the crusades when the beauty of the hilly landscape and its wines enthralled the crusaders, sojourning on their way to the Holy Land by the castle near Velika Nedelja. They felt as though they had reached the Biblical Jerusalem and went no further. For that reason the highest hill, renowned for its distinguished wine, was named Jeruzalem. On the top of Jeruzalem stands a marvelous baroque church from the 16th century.
The mysterious Postojna Cave world is the part of Slovenia which has been carved, shaped and created by water; deep within these world-famous caves hide the most precious beauty created through millions of years, drop after drop, year after year… The cave is accessible without special equipment, and has a constant temperature of 10 degrees Celsius. Visitors are taken for a tour by a special cave train.
The town of Piran developed at the tip of the peninsula that is the westernmost part of Slovenia. In past centuries, its serried buildings, typically stone and Mediterranean, were encircled by city walls several times. It is believed that the first walls were built in the 7th century, extended in the 12th century, and achieved their present appearance in the 16th century as protection against Turkish raiders. It is understandable that the town and its surroundings therefore boast many historical monuments and a rich tradition.
Skocjan caves, this system of underground caves is a UNESCO world heritage site and has the highest cave hall in Europe. This huge, underground canyon can be crossed by a narrow bridge where you truly get a sense of how giant the space is. The caves are filled with impressive stalagmites and stalactites and are home to 15 species of bat.
Predjama castle, this 700 year old castle sits on a 123m cliff and is built into the mouth of a cave. It became famous due to the legend of the Robinhood-esque knight named Erazem Lueger – a robber-baron who stole from the rich and gave to the poor and fought the established order. Go in July and you can watch their annual medieval duelling tournament.
Soča Valley, the turquoise River Soča stretches from Triglav National Park to Nova
Gorica between the Julian Alps. It is a great place to go if you enjoy extreme sports. Paragliding and rafting are extremely popular pursuits here, but if you wish to go at a slower pace there are plenty of hiking routes, horse-riding trails and fly-fishing spots for you to just relax and take in the scenery.
Vogel, reachable by cable car from Ukanc, gives you the posibility to gain height and enjoy the incredible panoramic views of the Julian Alps and Lake Bohinj. The Vogel Ski Centre is one of Slovenian favourite places to hit the slopes mainly because of this views of, but you don’t need to wait for the snow to check out the views. In fact, without needing to worry about snowboarders cutting you off and with the mountainsides a bloom with wild flowers the views are possibly even more spectacular. There are also countless opportunities for hiking and mountain biking including at a newly opened bike park up on Vogel, making it a great year round destination. Triglav National Park (Triglavski Narodni Park; commonly abbreviated as TNP), with an area of 840 sq km (over 4% of Slovenian territory), is one of the largest national reserves in Europe. It is a pristine, visually spectacular world of rocky mountains – the centrepiece of which is Mt Triglav (2864m), the country’s highest peak – as well as river gorges, ravines, lakes, canyons, caves, rivers, waterfalls, forests and Alpine meadows.
The fairytale landscape offering views toward the sea, the Friuli and the Veneto, has a special, magical power. Brda, the land of hills, nested midway between the Alps and the Adriatic, preserves and develops its heritage, safeguards its beauties and generously bestows its delights on anyone who visits the area. Thanks to flysch soils and the climate with plenty of sunshine, sufficient rainfall, hot summers and mild winters, natural conditions in the Brda area are especially favorable for viticulture. Flysch (interchanging layers of marl and sandstone) which is 35 million years old in this area is constantly exposed to weathering and thus producing fertile soil especially suitable for wine-growing.
In Hrastovlje village is a 12th century Trinity church adorned with many frescoes. Besides the dance of death, you can admire there several biblical scenes (the twelve Apostles, the Holy Trinity, the Three Magi, the creation of the world, the Passion etc.). The dance of death, discovered in 1950 and then properly restored, was painted by Jean de Kastav in 1490.
The heritage of past centuries will enchant even the most demanding visitor to Ptuj, the oldest city in Slovenia. Because of their historical significance, many buildings in Ptuj are protected as monuments. It is never boring in Ptuj, but it is particularly lively on festival days. The most characteristic costume of our region is the Kurent, a mythical creature who drives away the winter and cast spells for abundant crops in the fields of the surrounding villages.
one of the most beautiful glacial valleys in Europe, surprises its visitors with the peaks of the Kamniske-Savinjske Alps, the Rinka and other waterfalls, and many natural and cultural features that also enrich the neighbouring valleys of Robanov kot and Matkov kot. The valley is a starting point for mountaineering and alpine climbing routes and the valley itself offers bicycling, archery, riding, ski touring, cross-country skiing, sledding, and ice climbing on frozen waterfalls.
Idrija mercury mine
ore deposit is unique. Quoting Russian scientist Vladimir Ivanovich Smirnov: I have seen many ore deposits in different parts of the world and some of them quite complex. But I openly admit that such a complex geological structure as in Idrija, I haven’t yet seen. Without any doubt this is structurally one of the most complex endogenous ore deposits in the world. Mine Museum has rich geological collection with more than 800 different samples of ore and mineral from Idrija mercury ore deposit on display in Idrija Municipal Museum. While mine is now closed there are still some shafts which are maintained and turned into tourist museum shafts. Highlight is Anthony’s Main Road, the oldest part of the mine, today one of the oldest preserved mine entrances in Europe.
Mountain bikes were made for exploring the mountains, but here you can ride your bike through the mountain. We discovered a path through the abandoned and mysterious mining tunnels under Mount Peca. Led by a guide and equipped with helmets and flashlights you can safely ride from one valley to another on a more than 5 kilometers long underground path. Prepare to experience an unforgettable adventure. The trail runs through secure tunnels and only rises for about 15 m, even though the holes and bumps left by the former railway sleepers do not allow a comfortable ride.
The Triglav Lakes Valley
is a rocky hanging valley in the Julian Alps in Slovenia, below the sheer sides of Mount Tičarica and Mount Zelnarica southwest of Triglav. The valley is also called the Seven Lakes Valley, although there are ten and not seven lakes in the valley. It is above the tree line and is geologically alpine karst; therefore it has also been termed the Sea of Stone Valley.
Velika planina – experience the life of herdsmens
Nearby Ljubljana and only few kilometres from the town Kamnik is located the bottom station of the cable car to Velika planina, which takes you amongst the green pastures of the mountain plateau in the heart of the Kamnik Alps. We recommend that you walk to the herdsmen’s settlement and feel the simple way of the herdsmen’s life.
To feel Slovenia means to feel good. Slovenia’s 14 certified natural health resorts offer a comprehensive view of health. As well as excellent medical services, they are also developing innovative forms of preventive and alternative programmes for health and beauty, self-confidence, relaxation and experiences that recharge the soul. Programmes include natural factors of proven effectiveness and activities adapted to the individual.
Babic’s Mill on the Mura River,
is only the Pannonian floating mill in Prlekija today. The local, ethnographic, historical and tourist sight of Prlekija and also Pomurje. It is therefore a unique monument of Slovenian cultural heritage of inestimable value.
Camping and glamping sites
Travelling with a tent in Slovenia is particularly popular among the young, but is also favoured by nature lovers of more mature years who value comfort, cleanliness and peace. These can be enjoyed at numerous campsites around the country, some with five-star ratings and facilities that could never be equalled by indoor accommodation at the same price. Camper vans and caravans are welcome at campsites, while some sites in Slovenia are designed specifically for them.
The Vršič Pass
with an elevation of 1,611 metres, is a high mountain pass across the Julian Alps in northwestern Slovenia. It is the highest pass in Slovenia, as well as the highest in the Eastern Julian Alps. It connects Upper Carniola with the Trenta Valley in the Slovene Littoral. The road across the pass, known as the Russian Road, was built for military purposes, to supply the Isonzo front of World War I. The Vršič Pass is considered an excellent starting point for excursions to surrounding peaks.