I freakin’ love Slovenia. Slovenia is like Peter Dinklage – small, but pretty damn entertaining. Slovenia is small enough in fact, that you could find a nice place to bunk down in the capital – Ljubljana – and visit most of the various sites as day-trips from there. However this would be a bit of a shame really, as some places in Slovenia are so pleasant they deserve more than part of a day to fully appreciate them.
Slovenia still seems to fly under the radar a bit on the tourist trail, and on the global stage – perhaps unsurprising for a nation of just over 2 million people. Indeed, perhaps the most global attention Slovenia has garnered is when likeable buffoon & scary-when-you-think-about-it-now former-leader-of-the-free-world George W Bush famously mistook a previous meeting with the Prime Minister of Slovenia for a meeting with the Foreign Minister of Slovakia. Still, to be fair, George Dubbya was never particularly strong when it came to geography. Or foreign affairs. Or interpreting intelligence information. Or basic maths (probably). Or correct timing for proclaiming “mission accomplished”.
Anyway, Slovenia, that’s what we’re talking about here isn’t it. Slovenia has something for everyone. If you’re into nature, Slovenia has some of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful natural scenes you will see anywhere, and the hiking is top notch. If you like history, Slovenia has castles, fortresses & little medieval towns. And if you like cosmopolitan European cities then Ljubljana is a great place to hang out for a day or two.
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that travel in Slovenia is an absolute breeze – the food, transport & accommodation options are definitely on par with Western Europe, but at Eastern European prices. At least that’s the situation now – Slovenia’s popularity is growing, and prices will follow. So do yourself a favour, get to Slovenia asap & beat the mad rush which is sure to follow, since a place this goddamn awesome won’t stay low-key for long.
Highlights of Slovenia Travel
Practical Information for Slovenia Travel
Cost – Slovenia is what I’d consider mid-tier in terms of cost. Not rock bottom like some Asian & Latin American countries, but still one hell of a lot cheaper than Western Europe. Plus, while costs are way lower than Western Europe, quality of accommodation, transport etc is pretty much on par (pretty damn high actually), so if you’ve recently headed over from France or Italy or wherever you’ll feel like you’re getting pretty damn good value.
You’re looking at roughly 15-20 Euro for a dorm bed in a hostel, or 25-30 for a private room. If you shopped in supermarkets & cooked at your hostel you could easily get by on 10 Euro a day for food, obviously much less if you stuck to boring shit like rice & noodles. If you want to eat out at least once a day that cost will shoot right up though, and you could easily spend 20 Euro or more on a nice meal in a restaurant.
Safety – Safe as houses. I don’t actually know what that expression means exactly, but I think it’s appropriate here.
English speaking situation – pretty damn good, especially in Ljubljana where just about everyone seems to speak at least passable English, and will make you feel like a right dumbass if you only speak one language yourself.
Best time to visit – depends what you want to do really. If you’re keen to head out hiking in the beautiful alpine north-west, summer (mid-June – September) is your only real option, as outside of those months snow will obstruct lots of the paths. However, if you’re a skier that snow is exactly what you want, so aim for December-March. Goes without saying that elsewhere in Slovenia, where skiing isn’t an option, winter can be about as miserable as the final act of a Shakespearean tragedy though.
The September-October shoulder season is a good all-round option – the weather is still pretty nice, there’s less visitors overall, and off-season rates will start coming into effect.
Money – Slovenia is on the Euro, so you’re sweet if you’re coming across from Italy or Austria. ATMs are everywhere, even in the small towns, so you’ll never have any issues getting your grubby mitts on some.
Food – Pretty damn good & varied. Hearty meat dishes feature heavily, and Slovenians also enjoy consuming horse – which explains that old Slovenia joke: “so a horse walks into a bar, and a Slovenian guy shoots it, butchers it, cooks it and eats it. Hahahahahaha”. You can even get a horse burger at a few places around Ljubljana if you fancy it. Lake Bled is famed for it’s Bled Cream Cake, which is so good you just might cream your pants when you try it.
Water – clean & safe, no need to waste funds on bottled water here.
Getting around – Slovenia is a tiny country in terms of geographical size, and it seems like nearly everywhere is connected through the rather excellent train & bus systems. Seriously, Ljubljana’s main station is a picture of transportation efficiency – you can head down there, check the timetable, and within a couple of hours you can be at pretty much any of the main tourist sites anywhere in Slovenia. Getting around Slovenia is a freakin’ breeze bro.