Slovenia may not be top of mind when it comes to a European vacation, but it has all the romantic charm, history, and stunning beauty of top European destinations — and its under-the-radar status is a big selling point right now! As travel opens back up, and the usual European “hot spots” see surging crowds, Slovenia will be an even more attractive option. You can expect colorful cobblestone streets, stunning lakes, impressive mountains, castles, and vineyards. The Alps meet the Adriatic in this small country, so you can climb mountains in the morning and swim in the sea in the afternoon. Whether you’re looking for a city break, an outdoor escape, or a culinary adventure – Slovenia offers the best of it all.
Old world meets new in Slovenia’s cities. Modern contemporary architecture is only a stone’s throw from castles, winding cobbled streets, and delightful historical centers. Start in the big cities and work your way outwards to the tiny villages and fairy-tale towns.
Ljubljana is the capital and largest city in Slovenia, a great home base, and a perfect blend of modern and historic. Check out the famous Dragon Bridge and wander along the pedestrian shopping streets by the river. Take in stunning views from the 15th-century castle or from the Nebotičnik skyscraper terrace with a cocktail in hand. From the city, you can explore the many smaller historic mountain towns throughout the rest of the country. Or head to the coast to stay in Piran, Portorož, or Izola. Here you can enjoy the classic red roofs, Venetian influence, and a relaxed beachy atmosphere.
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* The Piran Salt Flats – a 700-year-old tradition that still uses classical methods and tools which help retain the special taste of Piran salt. Walk or bike along the pools, or enjoy a mineral treatment at the spas.
*Ptuj: Considered the oldest city in Slovenia this charming town is the definition of tradition and is famous for its architecture.
*Kranjska Gora – your gateway to the stunning Julian Alps, this small mountain city boasts a breathtaking combination of nature and tradition.
*Predjama Castle- The largest cave castle in the world!
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Slovenia is a green paradise for hikers, cyclists, walkers, and adrenaline buffs. You can enjoy water sports like kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, explore deep caves, go paragliding, horseback riding, or try the longest zip-line in Europe. There are hiking trails throughout the country as well as an abundance of lakes and rivers. In Slovenia, you simply must enjoy the great outdoors!
Mountains & Gorges
Slovenia has three different Alpine ranges, each with its own unique character. They vary from rock-climbing on snow-capped peaks to gentle walking paths for the whole family. The biggest National Park is Triglav. Here you can head up into the Julian Alps or enjoy a section of the 167-mile walking trail designed with food and culture lovers in mind.
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Slovenia boasts a number of impressive, idyllic alpine lakes. The most famous, Lake Bled, has been named one of the top destinations in the world. You can take traditional boats across to the island, head up to Bled Castle for beautiful views or stay in the Bled Hotel. To avoid crowds, head a bit further south to Lake Bohinj which boasts incredible beauty, hiking, and water sports. If you’re stopping in Kranjska Gora on your way to Vršič Pass, be sure to jump into the blue-green waters of Lake Jasna – a popular summer swimming spot.
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*For the best views of Triglav head to the top of Vršič Pass – hike from there or continue the breathtaking drive down the peaks.
*Vintgar Gorge– 1.6km of boardwalks that criss-cross the Radovna River are fun to explore, easy to walk, and have a sense of magic.
*Velika Planina– the most beautiful mountain plateau is perfect for day trips or tours. You can even experience a day in the life of a traditional herdsman at one of the rare herdsman settlements still in the pastures.
*Lipica Stud Farm- This farm has been breeding the famous white Lipizzan horses since 1580 and offers you the opportunity to interact, ride and learn about this beautiful breed.
*Rafting and canyoning along the Soča River – take 2-3 hours to enjoy this exciting but not-too-challenging adventure.
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With 24 distinct regions of diverse culinary styles. Slovenia was named the European Region of Gastronomy 2021 and is a foodies’ paradise. Influences from surrounding Italy, Austria, Croatia, Turkey, and Russia blend together for an original and unique food experience. Slovenia focuses on simple, local, whole ingredients transformed by creativity and experimentation. From Michelin star restaurants in the cities to farm-to-table restaurants in the countryside, Slovenia’s chefs love to experiment and create an experience with their food. Look for the “Gostilna Slovenija” designation for the restaurants which focus on sustainability and seasonal cuisine.
With local cheeses and meats, hearty stews and soups, and a rich beekeeping tradition you’ll find a variety of culinary delights to try on your adventure. Slovenia also has an amazing wine region, with crisp, savory whites being their specialty. You can visit the vineyards and enjoy tastings throughout the country.
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*Potica– a holiday dessert bread filled with walnuts, hazelnuts, tarragon, and poppy.
*Idrijski žlikrofi- traditional dough dumplings stuffed with potatoes, herbs, or meat.
*The Tourist Farm Stoglej– traditional mountain farm where you can stay the night or just visit for a bite.
*Velenje Underground– connected to the Coal Mining Museum, this dining room is 160 meters below the surface making it a truly unique dining experience.
*Oldest Vine– Taste a wine made from the world’s oldest vine that is still producing grapes in the second largest city, Moribor.
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Slovenia is full of surprises and wonders, so it won’t stay a hidden gem for long! If this post has inspired you to explore this amazing place and you’d like to find out more details- let us know! We’re always here to help you plan the best of the best for your European Adventures!