Slovenia is truly a “Millennial” nation, having only achieved independence in 1991. However, the culture of Slovenia goes back millennia—even to the discovery of the world’s oldest flute!—and the nation’s history is Europe’s history, but in miniature. Many different empires have ruled the Slovenes, and as such, the Slovenes value their young nation even more. Slovenes are young, energetic, and deeply connected to the land. Perhaps this is why Slovenia has set aside over a third of its nation for protected spaces, or why the tiny nation produces an exorbitant number of extreme athletes. While most Slovenes speak English, it is a pleasure to hear lyrical, almost Italian-accented Slovene conversation over roasted piglet overlooking a glacier-carved green valley. Our private and small-group escapes are custom crafted to immerse you in these experiences, to set the stage for you to discover Slovenia’s magic for yourself. Our local guides are experts at knowing just where on the river to cast, which wine goes with homegrown pumpkinseed oil, and which mountain path delivers the biggest wow factor, but it’s up to you to savor all these delights yourself!
The first thing you notice about Slovenia is the landscape. In Slovenia, the Alps rush down to the Mediterranean, and the Carpathian Basin climbs to the Karst limestone country. All this interplay has created a land of massive diversity—mountains and highlands, valleys and caves, rolling hills and farmland, and coastland – all packed into a very small country. The Julian and Kamnik-Savinja Alps form the northern crown of Slovenia, and encompass Triglav National Park. Deep valleys cut through this alpine landscape, created by ancient glaciers. The Soča and Solcavsko Valleys are not-to-be-missed hubs of adventure travel with opportunities for skiing, canyoneering, climbing, rafting, cycling, and simple rambling. Lake Bled is world-renowned for its island church, and nearby Lake Bohinj is a magnificent base to search for the Zlatorog, the mythical golden-horned chamois who still haunts the snowy lakes and ridges.
While Slovenes harvest grapes across the nation, the oldest vine in the world is still growing in Maribor, Slovenia’s second city and the heart of wine country. Natural springs dot the landscape, nestled amongst vineyards and organic farms. But the lowlands don’t hold a monopoly on cultivation—the Karst region keeps alive the tradition of “Osmice,” eight days where local farmers sell surplus wine, homemade cured meats, and sweets in a sociable, festival atmosphere. Spend the morning exploring the cave systems and underground rivers of the Karst country, and emerge to follow ivy-entwined signs leading to a local “Osmice.”
But no discussion of Slovenia would be complete without mention of Ljubljana, a capital whose very name means “beloved.” Spend the day wandering not-yet-crowded cobblestone streets from the central castle to the open-air market, or maybe take a river cruise on a handmade wooden boat on the Ljubljanica River. While it may be the capital, Ljubljana retains a small town feel that keeps visitors coming back time and time again.
Slovenia’s varied geographic regions create microclimates for each season. A Mediterranean climate prevails along the coast nearly year-round, with a mostly rainy winter and hot, dry summer. The mountains are truly alpine, with snowy winters and cool summers. For the traveler, it simply depends on interests—do you want to ski and sip schnapps at a cozy lodge? Take a cooling dip in the clear Adriatic in summer? Or visit the wine country for autumn crush season? Many travellers prefer the shoulder seasons—wildflowers and changing leaves—as the mountain paths open up, farmers plant and harvest, and nary a tour bus is to be found.
How to get there?
International flights into Ljubljana touch down at Ljubljana Joze Pucnik Airport (LJU) around 15 miles outside the city. Flights to Ljubljana from the United States typically route through Frankfurt, Vienna, or Paris. The flight from New York to Ljubljana with a connection takes under 10 hours. From London, Ljubljana non-stop is only 2 hours.
How much time?
While a hurried visitor could rush between all of Slovenia’s environments in one day, the savvy traveller should aim for at least a week to fully immerse oneself. One day in Ljubljana, a day relaxing in wine country, a few days exploring the mountains—perhaps hiking hut-to-hut—and a relaxing weekend along the coast. Intrepid travellers can combine their time in Slovenia with adventures to Croatia, or spend longer in the mountains, perhaps completing a multi-day climb up Mt. Triglav.
Who is it for?
If you are looking for undiscovered Europe, replete with castles seemingly grown out of cliffs, vibrant farmers’ markets, fairy tale woodlands, high mountain meadows, and centuries-old culture, Slovenia is for you. If you find yourself enjoying a fine brew and perfectly roasted fresh trout after a day spent cycling the Trenta Valley, climbing the Vrsic Pass, or jumping down waterfalls in Soca, then you’ll know Slovenia is where you belong.
Slovenia is a member of the EU and within the Schengen Zone. Thus, visitors from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand require only a valid passport to enter Slovenia visa-free for 90 days.
How to get around?
Many Slovenian destinations are reached by car on well-established roads, though some require drivers familiar with mountain roads, steep inclines, and narrow passes. Slovenian has a well-established domestic train system that reaches most major cities and towns, and is quite a romantic method of travel. Slovenia has a domestic flight operator, but most destinations are reached just as quickly by car, and allow for rest and activity stops.