Slovenia is one of the most diverse and beautiful countries you can visit in Europe. It literally has everything: mountains, seaside, caves, charming towns, and cities. Everyone will find something interesting there and each and every Slovenia trip is a treat.
I was lucky to visit Slovenia so many times I’ve lost count by now. I fell head over heels with this country since the first time I was there, back in 2002, and I’ve frequently been returning. So far I’ve been to the majority of the best places to visit in Slovenia and each and every one of them did not disappoint. I can definitely recommend visiting Slovenia to everyone!
If you plan a trip to Slovenia I put together this Slovenia travel guide, based on my experience in this country, that will hopefully make everything easier and smoother for you. There are numerous Slovenia travel tips below as I’ve tried to cover every topic but if there is still something you need to know feel free to ask in the comments or in my Facebook group about traveling in the Balkans.
Besides travel tips, you can also see below a collection of my favorite Slovenia pictures that I took during my numerous trips there. They might seem a bit random but I always forget to take photos of things like food or accommodation. But maybe those pictures will encourage you even more to visit Slovenia.
Basic information on Slovenia
Where is Slovenia
Slovenia is a small country that until 1991 was part of the former Yugoslavia (it was the first one to declare independence). It is located in the southern part of Europe and borders Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia.
Why visit Slovenia
Slovenia is one of those countries that offer literally everything. You will find there cities and towns with charming old towns, magnificent mountains, impressive castles, stunning caves or the seaside perfect for relaxation. It is also a perfect destination for adrenaline junkies since you can enjoy numerous activities there that will make your blood run faster: rafting, canyoning, caving, and more. Fans of wine will appreciate Slovenia too since this is one of the most underrated wine regions in Europe, with numerous family-owned vineyards located all over the country.
Planning a trip to Slovenia
Best time to visit Slovenia
Slovenia has something to offer all year long but the best time to visit Slovenia is between May and September when the weather is already nice, warm, and sunny and the days are longer. The busiest months are June, July, and August but it is still not as crowded as in other popular European destinations. If you are into winter activities you can as well visit Slovenia in the wintertime since there are plenty of skiing opportunities there.
Insurance for Slovenia
I believe you should be insured every time you travel abroad (that’s what I always do too!) as you never know what might happen during your trip, I learned my lesson the hard way.
For insurance in Slovenia, I recommend SafetyWing which offers insurance for trips from 5 days up, with prices starting at just $7,50. For the price of two cups of coffee, you will get medical and travel coverage that includes hospital stays, urgent care, lost luggage, evacuation, and more.
You can find all the details and purchase your travel insurance for Slovenia here.
Visa for Slovenia
Slovenia is part of the European Union and Schengen Zone. If you are a traveler from the EU country as well as numerous other countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, or United Kingdom you don’t need a visa for visiting Slovenia. For citizens of other countries, a Schengen visa applies.
How to get to Slovenia
Getting to Slovenia is actually rather easy.
The main international airport in the country is Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport located around 25 km northeast of the capital. It has direct flights to numerous European destinations, including Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt, Warsaw, Istanbul, and London. When planning a trip to Slovenia you can also check other nearby airports in Zagreb, Vienna, or Venice that serve even more destinations.
Traveling overland, you can get directly to Slovenia by train or bus from all neighboring countries: Italy (Trieste, Venice), Austria (Vienna, Salzburg, Graz), Croatia (Zagreb) or Hungary (Budapest) as well as destinations a bit further away, such as Germany, Serbia or Bosnia and Herzegovina. For international bus travel check Flixbus or Nomago.
How many days for visiting Slovenia
Since Slovenia is a small country you can see most of the highlights in a few days only. The bare minimum to get a feel of Slovenia and its attractions is 3 days but of course, the more the merrier. I think the optimal duration for sightseeing in Slovenia is 7 days – this way you can visit all the best places in Slovenia as well as some less known attractions and enjoy the country to the fullest.
You can find my suggested Slovenia itinerary here.
What to see in Slovenia
The absolute basics you need to see in Slovenia are:
- Ljubljana – the charming capital with beautiful Old Town, vibrant atmosphere, and the castle dominating the area
- Lake Bled and surroundings – some of the most beautiful places to visit in Slovenia, with the spectacular Alps around
- Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle – the impressive cave, one of the largest in the world, and the fairy-tale alike castle built into the cave
But if you have more time there are even more amazing places to visit in Slovenia that you can’t miss:
- Kranjska Gora – the idyllic village, less crowded than Bled or Bohinj but offering equally spectacular views of the Alps
- Bovec – the adrenaline capital of Slovenia
- Skofja Loka and Kranj – charming historical towns, located just outside Ljubljana which are often overlooked by tourists
- Skocjan Caves – a mind-blowing caves system with an underground river canyon
- Seaside – the Slovenian coast offers nice relaxation options, beautiful views, and interesting, historical towns
- Velika Planina – a picturesque plateau settlement in Kamnik Alps
- Maribor – the second-largest city in Slovenia, with beautiful architecture, long history, and the oldest grapevine in the world
- Ptuj – another picturesque, charming town, not far from Maribor
- Celje – one of the oldest towns in Slovenia, with the impressive castle towering above the area
- wine regions – Vipava Valley, Brda, Karst, and more
How to get from Ljubljana airport to Ljubljana
Ljubljana airport is located only 25 km away from the capital and is served by Arriva buses that go to Ljubljana, Lake Bled, and Kranj. You can check the schedule at the Arriva website.
In Ljubljana, buses arrive at the main bus station in the center. A ticket from the airport to the Ljubljana bus cost 4,10€ (you purchase it from the driver), and the journey time is around 50 minutes. The bus stop at the airport is located in front of the arrivals, in Ljubljana, buses arrive and depart from stand 28).
You can also take the shuttle service to Ljubljana, a taxi, or a private transfer.
How to get around Slovenia
Driving in Slovenia
The best way to travel around Slovenia is, of course, by car. The roads are in a good condition (although many of them are narrow) and the highways are the fastest way to get around. The vignette for using the highways is currently 15€/7 days, 30€/month or 110€/year. You can purchase the vignette online here to make your traveling around smoother. The highways cover a big part of Slovenia and reach all the neighboring countries so you can easily get to most of the attractions in Slovenia.
If you plan to rent a car in Slovenia click here for the best deals.
Public transport in Slovenia
Slovenia is one of the easiest countries to travel around by public transport. The vast network of trains and buses will take you to most of the best places to visit in Slovenia. It’s also rather affordable, especially if you travel over weekends and public holidays – these days tickets are 75% cheaper, for everyone.
The national railway company in Slovenia is Slovenske železnice with its main hub in Ljubljana. From here you can get to numerous destinations all over the country as well as directly to neighboring countries.
I especially recommend taking the train from Most na Soci to Bohinjska Bistrica – not only this route is very scenic, through the Alps, but it is served by the so-called motor train, where the cars are put on the train platforms (and you can spend the whole train journey in your car, admiring the views around).
Here you will find the map of the Slovenian railway’s network.
You can purchase the tickets online, at the train station, or from the ticket inspector on the train (if the ticket office at the station is closed). If you travel from Ljubljana be sure to arrive at the train station in advance since it’s a few minutes walk from the station building to the platforms.
Two main bus companies that serve national routes in Slovenia are Arriva (most likely you will use that one) and Nomago. You can get the tickets for your bus journey online, at the bus station (often with the extra station fee), or from the driver.
Language in Slovenia
The official language in Slovenia is Slovenian which is part of the Slavic languages (however isn’t very similar to other languages from that group). In touristic destinations you can easily use English everywhere, due to the proximity of Austria and Italy, German and Italian are also spoken here.
Money in Slovenia
The currency of Slovenia is Euro which makes traveling around really easy as you don’t need to worry about exchanging money. There are numerous ATMs around if you need to withdraw money (however, try to avoid Euronet ATMs as they always have poor exchange rates and charge extra fees). You can also pay by card in most places (but it’s good to always have some extra cash with you).
I use the Revolut card when I travel (including my past numerous trips to Slovenia) and never had any issues when using it. I found Revolut to have the best exchange rates and it’s always easy to use and control your spending. You can order your free Revolut card here.
Prices in Slovenia
Slovenia is cheaper than Western Europe and neighboring countries like Italy and Austria but slightly more expensive than Central Europe.
To give you some of the example prices: the accommodation varies between €30-60 for low-price (yet decent) hotels to up to €200 for a luxury one. You can get a meal for around €10 (and more, of course, depending on the place), coffee is around €3, a 1,5-liter bottle in the shop is around €0,60 and the regular price for the Ljubljana-Bled bus ticket is €6,30.
Giving tips in Slovenia
Like in many countries around, you are expected to tip for the service in sit-down restaurants or cafes. Usually, you should tip around 10%.
Slovenia is a really safe country, one of the safest in the world really (according to the Global Peace Index, it is in fact the 5th safest country in the world). However, like everywhere else, you shouldn’t be reckless. Follow your intuition and don’t do things you wouldn’t do at home.
Solo female travel in Slovenia
Most of my trips to Slovenia were solo and not once I felt in danger. This really is one of the safest countries in the world. Just behave like everywhere else, don’t do stupid things and you will be fine. That said, bad things still happen but they happen everywhere and if you follow the basic safety rules you will be fine.
Internet is widely available in Slovenia and most of hotels, restaurants or cafes have free wifi. Some of the popular destinations also offer a free public network you can connect to. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t have any issues with the internet when traveling in Slovenia.
There are four mobile phone operators in Slovenia: Telekom Slovenia, Telemach Slovenia, A1 Slovenia, and T2 (but this one doesn’t offer prepaid SIM cards). Unfortunately, you won’t find their stands at Ljubljana airport so if you want to get a local SIM card for your trip to Slovenia, you need to do that in the city or town you are visiting. The shops of mobile phone operators are usually located in the centers or in any shopping mall, you can usually get SIM cards also in convenience stores or at gas stations.
The prepaid SIM card offers between the mobile phone operators are usually similar so you don’t need to chase the best one around. Just keep in mind that the prepaid cards are most likely working only in Slovenia and will be of no use for your onward travel.
If you combine Slovenia with a trip to another country it’s worth considering the SIM card covering more destinations. And if you have a local SIM card from any other EU country, most likely it will work in Slovenia too and will offer you some complimentary internet data.
You can also purchase a SIM card online, before your trip – click here for details.
What to eat in Slovenia
For such a small country, Slovenian cuisine is pretty diverse and you can try different dishes, depending on the region. Usually, the best place to sample the local cuisine is in the family-owned farms and inns but even in the popular destinations, you can try some delicious regional dishes.
Some of the things you can’t miss eating when visiting Slovenia include štruklji (the rolled dumplings), žganci (corn mush), sausage from Kranj, gibanica (the layer cake), jota (the local stew), and, in Lake Bled, the local cream cake.
Vegetarians in Slovenia
Fortunately for vegetarians (me included), Slovenia is a very easy country to travel around. The local ingredients are fresh and delicious and every meal made from them is a real treat. Many regional dishes have vegetarian versions (like štruklji or žganci) and in the majority of restaurants, you will find at least one meat-free dish to get.
There are also plenty of bakeries around, everywhere, and that’s where you can buy the best Balkan fast-food – burek, the filo pastry usually with cheese or spinach filling.
What to drink in Slovenia
Even if Slovenia is getting more and more popular on the wine scene, the national drink is actually schnapps. The best ones are of course homemade but you can usually find them also in the local bars or restaurants. There is a variety of flavors that local schnapps is made of, the most popular ones are pear, peach, lemon, and blueberry.
Slovenian wines still aren’t very popular all over the world but the country is actually really good at producing this drink, with different wine regions strewn around the country. Be sure to try some local wines when visiting Slovenia, you might be surprised by their high quality and rich taste.
As for beer, while the two most popular (and traditional) brands are Lasko and Union, there are more and more small breweries producing craft beers that you might like.
Drinking water in Slovenia
The tap water in Slovenia is clean and good to drink. In the summer season in popular destinations, you will also find numerous drinking fountains that you can use to fill your bottle before continuing your sightseeing.
Where to stay in Slovenia
Since Slovenia is a popular tourist destination, you will find a variety of accommodation options all over the country, suitable for each taste and budget. There are plenty of choices around, from luxury hotels to hostels, as well as glamping sites, family-owned inns or vineyard cottages. You can find the best accommodation options in Slovenia here.
When paying for your accommodation in Slovenia you might see a small amount added to your bill. That’s the tourist tax and it’s required by law. The amount depends on the place (since it’s set by the local government) and the money goes to the local budget.
Currently, the tourist tax in Ljubljana is 3,13€, in Lake Bled and Bohinj 3,12€, and in Maribor 2€ (prices are per person and per night).
Slovenia power plugs
The power plug and socket in Slovenia is of the F type and it’s the same one as in the rest of Europe.
Some of the apps you might want to have on your phone for traveling in Slovenia include offline maps (I use maps.me), Booking, Google Translate, and a money converter app. There are also local tourist apps for Visit Slovenia and Visit Ljubljana that you can check.
Final thoughts on visiting Slovenia
As you can see, it’s really easy to organize your own trip to Slovenia. The country is very easy to get around and the number of attractions and things to do in Slovenia can be a bit overwhelming for such a small place. No matter how much time you decide to spend in Slovenia and which places you will visit, I bet you will have a wonderful time and some unforgettable memories from this small yet amazing country. Happy travels!
For the end I left a few announcements that might interest you:
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- I’ve included a few handy links of services and products I personally like and use so you can plan your own trip to Slovenia too. They are often affiliate links. This means I will get a small commission if you book/purchase anything through my links, at no extra costs for you. Thank you!
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