Slovenia may very well be the most under-rated country in Europe. While it doesn’t have the reputation of Italy or France, or the pizazz of the fjords of Norway, the small country has enough natural wonders to rival a country many times its size.
Bursting at the seams with ‘snow-capped peaks, turquoise-green rivers and a Venetian-style coastline’, Slovenia combines an awe inspiring natural scene with old world architecture, an exciting mix of Slavic, German, and Italian culture, and sophisticated cuisine.
Slovenia’s modern iteration dates to 1991 when the local people, in a plebiscite, voted by an 88% majority to secede from Yugoslavia which was in the first stages of its collapse into seven independent countries.
So instead of wasting your money on the new iPhone, or “donations” to your local casino, put the money aside for a trip to Slovenia. You can play casino games at online casinos; you can’t visit Slovenia virtually!
Reasons to Visit Slovenia
Proximity to Venice
Slovenia’s capitol, Ljubljana, is only about two hours by car from Venice. It’s a very quick trip from tourist hubs like Croatia, Venice, Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna, and is a great way to easily get off the beaten track.
You can stop on the way at the cavern in Postojna where there is a cavern and a castle and at the mercury mine in Idrija. Since everyone at some time seems to visit Venice, we suggest using the same trip to travel to Slovenia.
You may find that this quiet, peaceful country is the perfect escape after having dealt with the maddening crowds along the Venetian canals!
An Easy Country to Explore Yourself
You’ll never need a long guided walking tour anywhere in Slovenia; the country overall is a very easy destination to navigate and explore by yourself.
The old city in Ljubljana is very compact and you can easily walk through it with a guide book rather than an expensive guide. Renting an apartment close to the old city means that you won’t even need public transport to visit the main sites.
That said, one guided tour worth taking (in Ljubljana) is the tour of City Hall. Friendly locals will share their knowledge and first hand accounts from living in Ljubljana, and about Slovenia in general.
Alternatives to Bled
Lake Bled is one of the biggest reasons Slovenia has name recognition on the European tourist circuit, though having a well established reputation as a tourist draw means you may find the town somewhat over-rated.
By all means visit, and snap the postcard worthy shot of Bled Castle rising out from the lake. But walking around the lake is a far better way to spend time in Bled. In the vicinity of Bled are many picturesque towns; you don’t even have to stay in Bled at all.
Outside of Bled is the famous Triglav National Park. Technically, it’s part of the Alps. It takes quite a while to drive through the park, though is worthwhile for its many excellent hiking trails and lookout points.
Velika planina is a scenic mountain plateau that is home to one of Europe’s last surviving high mountain herdsmen’s villages. It’s one of the must see places if you’re after an authentic experience (as opposed to Bled Island which can feel quite touristy for an off the beaten path country).
Traditional Alpine herdsmen’s culture is still alive here, though the plateau is also famous for it’s stunning natural beauty. You’ll be wowed by jaw dropping landscapes that include ‘vast pastures and numerous karst phenomena such as dolines and hollows; and there are an extensive network of hiking routes’.
Access to Velika Planina is by cable car so if you’re really afraid of heights either pass it by or close your eyes! The trip up to the plateau is a fairly difficult climb but the long walk down is great. You feel alone in a vast countryside.
Most People Speak English
Unless you know the Slovenian language, you won’t understand a word people say in their language nor will any signs or labels make any sense to you.
Fortunately, the most people speak English quite satisfactorily so you’ll never have any problem figuring things out.
OUR FAVORITE EUROPE TRAVEL GUIDES: CLICK TO LOOK INSIDE↓