Tucked between the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea, Slovenia is teeming with natural attractions, from 11,000 karst caves (including Škocjan Caves, the largest underground canyon in Europe) to one of its more internationally known tourist destinations—Lake Bled, whose small island is crowned by Bled Castle, the oldest castle in Slovenia. The Central European country—the first in the world declared a green destination—measures roughly the size of the Netherlands and is compact enough that you can go from swimming in the sea in the morning to cycling or hiking the alps in the afternoon. In Ptuj, the country’s oldest town (and home to the oldest wine cellar), you’ll find another side of Slovenia’s culture: the winter festival of Kurentovanje, one of the most famous in the region that plays on a tradition of chasing away winter darkness. In the capital of Ljubljana, meanwhile, the centuries-old castle nods to the city’s medieval past, with buildings and bridges that have stood along these paved streets since the Middle Ages.

How to get there?

While it only takes two hours to fly from London to Ljubljana, Slovenia (which is part of the Eurail Global Pass System) is easy to reach via train from the surrounding countries of Croatia, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Switzerland. Slovenian Railways operates trains throughout the country, as well as from capital city Ljubljana to the Italian border town of Trieste. Pass through the country’s longest tunnel on a Motorail train (you can even bring your car for the ride), which runs through Mt Črna Prst leading into Bača Valley, from the Gorenjska region to the Primorska region. In Ljubljana, you can rent a bike practically for free through the BicikeLJ bicycle-sharing system. Ljubljana Tourism also offers bike rentals in summer and early autumn (1 April – 31 October) for as little as 8€ per day (or free for the first four hours with the Ljubljana Card).

  • Time Zone
    GMT +2
  • Population
    2.066 million
  • Capital
  • Official language
  • Currency
    € or EUR

EU citizens (and members of the Schengen Area) do not need a visa to visit Slovenia.

Cultural Route in Slovenia

Falling under three EU macro-regional strategies—Adriatic-Ionian, Alpine, and the Danube Region—seven Cultural Routes cross through Slovenia.

Réseau Art Nouveau Network

Ljubljana’s landmarks serve as museum-worthy displays of Vienna Secession and Art Nouveau. Dragon Bridge, one of the largest of its kind built in Europe, is a main example of the type of heritage highlighted in the Réseau Art Nouveau Network, established in 2014. The movement—which took inspiration from natural forms like flowers and curved lines—quickly died out during the First World War, but a renewed appreciation for Art Nouveau took place in the second half of the 20th century, leading to its preservation.

European Route of Jewish Heritage

The role of Jewish people in European history is celebrated in this route with spotlights on museums, monuments and memorials that are important in Jewish culture.

The Saint Martin of Tours Route

Over 5,000 kilometres of routes follow scenes from the saint’s life and folklore, linking his birthplace of Szombathely, Hungary to Tours, France, where you’ll find his grave. The route passing through Slovenia stops at landmarks like the Church of St. Martin in Domanjševci near the Hungarian border.

Routes of the Olive Tree

A universal symbol of peace, olive trees date back millions of years, with the dedicated “olive tree civilization” extending from Greece throughout Euro-Mediterranean countries. These routes celebrate all of the players involved in olive tree production (artists, farmers, small producers), and, according to the website: “These routes are a gateway to new cooperation between remote areas that would otherwise be condemned to isolation.”

Iter Vitis Route

Wine production is one of the key symbols of identity in Europe, and this route preserves the heritage of wine biodiversity. Iter Vitis intersects with the paths of Saint Martin de Tours in Slovenia.

European Cemeteries Route

Cemeteries are seen as historical museums, offering an interesting insight into local history. Žale Cemetery in Ljubljana, for example, showcases the work by one of the most important architects in Slovenia: Jože Plečnik.

Impressionnisms Routes

Six routes—one of which is in Slovenia—trace the footsteps of influential Impressionist painters like Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The Grohar Route follows the trail of Slovenian Impressionist Ivan Grohar, featuring stops at memorial sites like the artist’s birth home in Škofja Loka.

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