Western Europe has been done to death by a great many vacationers going by it every year; after a seemingly endless amount of time. It is just recently that the world is opening up to the charms of nations in focal and eastern Europe. Slovenia happens to be one of them.
Want to sip on some aged wine?
Come to Maribor, Slovenia’s second-largest city, home to the oldest grapevine in the world. This 400-year-old vine with its Žametna Črnina grapes produces up to 25 liters of wine every year.
Until recently, the image of central Europe as a tourism hub had taken a certain beating, all thanks to the political instability in the region. It was a pity really, considering how beautiful these nations are, and what they can offer to tourists visiting them.
Slovenia is one such country that possibly has everything a tourist is looking for. Snow-capped mountains, dense forests, azure beaches, breathtaking architecture, wonderful cuisine, and friendly locals―you’ll find it all here in Slovenia. So, without further ado, here are some useful tips to help you plan your trip.
How to Plan a Trip to Slovenia
If you are a citizen of the U.S., Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, you will currently not require visas for stays of up to 90 days in Slovenia. However, it would be prudent to check the Slovenian tourist board’s website for any updates or changes in the visa regulations.
The currency used here is the Euro, so there won’t be too many hassles on this front. You can use your credit and debit cards to withdraw cash from ATMs around the country. Your bank will determine the exchange rate at the time of the transaction.
You can fly into Slovenia from any international hub in Europe. There are a few direct flights from the United States that will bring you to the Slovene capital, Ljubljana. However, these may be expensive.
You may also hop on trains that run daily to Ljubljana from cities like Venice, Vienna, Budapest, or Zagreb.
Like the rest of Europe, Slovenia too offers accommodation to suit every budget. From cozy B&Bs to dormitories, and from boutique hotels to 5-star chains, it is easy to find a room that everyone can afford. The peak season is summer, so expect most of these to be full, unless you’ve booked a room in advance. Similarly, the skiing season from December to February also sees a rise in the number of visitors, so prior booking is advised.
If you have an international driving license, renting a car would be a fabulous option, especially if you’re interested in visiting destinations that veer off-track. Most gas stations across the country’s highways accept credit cards. All you need to do is grab a map, and get on the road.
Slovenia’s towns and villages are well-connected by rail and road, with buses having a more extensive reach than trains. The InterRail One Country Pass for Slovenia lets tourists travel across Slovenia at affordable rates. This pass can be used for the duration of a month. Bus services in Slovenia are efficient and convenient. They are also slightly more expensive than trains. You can travel to most towns and villages via buses, as the road network is spread out throughout the country.
Cycling is an interesting option for traveling within town limits or even outside, if you have the inclination.
Slovenian is the local language here, albeit you’ll be glad to know that a sizable chunk of Slovenia’s population is well-versed in a second or a third language. But it would be advisable to carry a translator app along, or a good old pocketbook to help you translate.
Interesting Places to Visit in Slovenia
For the nature fanatic
Slovenia is a country blessed by Mother Nature, and it will be evident once you set foot on this land. It ranks third among the most forested countries in Europe. Its rivers, streams, and springs are estimated to run a course of around 17,000 miles. Other places of interest include the Ljubljansko Barje Nature Park and the Sečovlje Salina Nature Park.
For the history seeker
Castles, museums, and monuments welcome history seekers to Slovenia. Prešeren Square is the main square in the capital city of Ljubljana, which is named after the famous Slovene poet, France Prešeren. Must-see places include Bled Castle, Ljubljana Castle, Predjama Castle, and Celje Old Castle. Those interested in archaeology can find traces from the early Triassic period, probably around 200 million years old, on Zalarjev Vrh near Idrija.
For the architecture aficionado
When it comes to Slovene architecture, the names that spring to mind are that of Jože Plečnik and Ivan Vurnik. You can see their imprint across Ljubljana in what is termed as the Slovene National Style. Don’t miss the beautiful castles and bridges that are spread throughout the country.
For the religiously inclined
Slovenia has one of the highest number of religious buildings per capita in Europe, which include around 3,000 churches, chapels, and religious monuments. Don’t miss the monastery at Stična which has been functional for almost 900 years, along with the pilgrimage church dedicated to the Assumption of Mary built on Bled Island.
Things you need to know and learn about Slovenia don’t end here, of course. The rest is for when you get there and begin your own exploration and have your own experiences. Have a fabulous trip!