I believe that many people don’t know where Slovenia is. Even more – a lot of them maybe haven’t heard for this country till know. And there is a reasonable explanation for this: the Republic of Slovenia is the westernmost former Yugoslav republic and has reached its independence in 1991. But it is quite impressive what Slovenia has reached since then. It is the parliamentary republic, the member of European Union, OECD, NATO and Schengen area. And, quite important fact if you visit Slovenia and some of the best tourist attractions - the official currency is Euro (€) and almost everyone speaks English...
Best Slovene tourist attractions
Small European country Slovenia has Julian Alps, Adriatic coast and mysterious Karst with fantastic caves and thus has many attractive places and tourist attractions to visit.
Incredible diverse scenery
It is very small country (approximately half the size of Switzerland) and has a population of little more than 2 million people. But never the less, on this small area you can find many tourist attractions like Julian Alps with fantastic (winter) sports resorts, Adriatic coast with warm sea, Karst with famous caves and melancholic Pannonia Plain. More than half of the country is covered by forest and it is one of the water-richest countries in Europe.
Find more information about Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia
If you want to ski or swim - you need less than an hour...
It is situated in the Central Europe, surrounded with Italy, Austria, Hungary, Croatia and the Adriatic Sea. The capital city is Ljubljana and from there it takes you less than an hour to get to the coast or to the Alps. Even more – it is a perfect starting point for other destinations abroad. For example- in approximately 3 hours you can reach Venice or Vienna by car.
Best Slovenian tourist attractions and destinations
It is hard to make a selection as Slovenia has so many different places to see but I will try to do my best.
The selection is done from my perspective and by my personal experience, so don’t have hard feelings if you have your own favorites. Here I will put only short facts and some of my photos (all photos are Copyright (C) by M.Simčič) which I hope will attract your imagination enough to make Slovenia your next travel destination. And - even The Lonely Planet marked Slovenia as one of Top 10 destinations in 2012. I hope that I will manage to add more information in the near future. Till then – please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have more questions.
Maybe just one more important information – you can arrive to Slovenia by plane (there are two international airports, Brnik and Portoroz), by car (vignette is needed on Highways) from Italy, Austria, Hungary or Croatia, by train or by boat (ports of Koper, Piran, Izola).
Adriatic coast resort
Slovenian coastline is only 46.6 km long and is part of the Istrian peninsula. But among this short coastline you can find important Port of Koper, beautiful old Piran with medieval architecture and rich cultural Venetian heritage and of course Portorož, popular tourist destination since 13th century with numerous hotels, restaurants, conference halls, spas and Casinos, which are especially popular among Italians who can arrive there in less than 30 minutes from Trieste.
Famous ski and other sport and tourist destinations
Julian Alps with Triglav national park (Triglav is Slovenian highest mountain, 2864 m) is the area where you can visit so many different places in any time of the year. That is why this area attracts hikers, bicyclists, skiers, alpinists and many other people.
I believe that you have already heard at least for these attractions:
- Kranjska gora (only few kilometers from Austrian and Italian border, with annual World Cup men’s giant slalom and slalom races).
- Planica, close to Kranjska gora, famous by world championship in ski jumping and flying
- Lake Bled, the glacial lake with neo-gothic Parish Church on the island in the middle of the lake and the picturesque scenery. Very popular tourist destination.
- The Soča river with its typical blue-green colour is very popular by waterfalls, fishing very good taste trouts, hiking, rafting, kayaking and so on.
The Sečovlje Salt-pans Park, Seča
It takes you only few minutes by car from previously mentioned Portorož to visit attractive and the largest coastal marsh wetlands, known also as a Sečovlje Salina Nature Park.
They measure around 650 hectares and have exceptional diversity of plants and animals, among them more than 270 species of birds. There you can see how the salt is still produced traditionally as it was produced in the medieval times. Don’t miss the Salt Museum and don’t forget to bring your cameras, even if you are not the ornithologist. I also recommend visiting this area on foot (or by bicycle) from Portorož which will take you no more than an hour (or 15 min by bike). The scenery is exceptional.
Old mysterious villages in Slovene Istria
I personally love the most visiting old Istrian villages where you can find peace and beautiful nature just few minutes away from Adriatic coast.
Old stone architecture is everywhere, being lately reconstructed where needed with original material (stone, wood). My favorite village is Krkavče with exceptional architecture and unique natural stone market place and mysterious 2.5 meters high and over 2000 years old monolith with the image of human body and a crown of a sun rays engraved in it. Numerous archeologists and historians are still attempt to solve its mystery. Definitely worth to see!
Would you like to have your own place in Istria?
Famous architectural styles destinations and cities
Situated in the Central Europe by the Adriatic coast Slovenia has impressive history and heritage from the prehistoric times, Roman times, medieval and Venetian culture, Napoleon time (Ljubljana was the capital of Illyrian Provinces 200 years ago), Austro-Hungarian culture and also more modern times architecture (for example many buildings designed by word famous Slovene architect Jože Plečnik). That is why you definitely should see:
- The Slovene capital city Ljubljana (roman ruins, medieval old town and castle, many buildings designed by Jože Plečnik, Butcher’s bridge with Locks of Love, large ZOO, museums, shops, restaurants,…)
- Predjama Castle (unique 700 years old Castle built in large cave
- Žiče Carthusian Monastery (founded in 12th century)
- Cities by the Adriatic coast like Piran, Koper, Izola with venetian architectural influence
- Ptuj, the oldest city in Slovenia, known also by The Kurent Carnival
Lipica Stud Farm and Lipizzaner horses
World famous Lipizzaner white horses are bred in Slovenia, Lipica, for more than 400 years in traditional tested way. You can see the place and visit the museum, ride a horse, see the professional programs, play golf or even have well organized wedding there.
Goriška brda (Italian: Collio) - Slovenian Tuscany
Located in western Slovenia with a mild Mediterranean climate is one of the most important wine producing regions in Slovenia.
Excellent wines, olive oils and delicious fruits like cherries, apricots and figs are important agricultural products. Beautiful nature and cultivated land with hills, wine yards, olive trees, fruit plantations, family owned restaurants with local food and the architecture make us believe that we are in Tuscany. A must see region!
I must admit – visitors are amazed by Slovene culinary experience.
Diverse food with tradition was influenced by different neighbor countries (like Italy) and today more than 170 typical Slovene dishes are recognized. It is a theme that certainly needs more explanation and I hope to write more about this in the near future.
For now, here are my Shrimps in Tomato Sauce recipe and Goat Ribs With Mediterranean herbs and sweet vegetables recipes. You should try them both - the recipes are simple and delicious!