Slovenia is surrounded by far more popular destinations like Italy and Croatia, but we’ve all been missing out by neglecting this gorgeous and fascinating destination. If you need some ideas why, I have plenty of reasons to visit Slovenia.
Everyone speaks English
A lot of people give a pass to European destinations where they’re scared no one will speak English. But Slovenia is surprisingly English-friendly. I feel like some of these people speak better English than I do. So getting around is really simple and everyone is happy to help you. I’ve even heard some Slovenians enthusiastically greet people in Italian and Spanish. They obviously try really hard to be accommodating, which makes visiting Slovenia pleasant and hassle-free.
The natural landscape
What brought me to Slovenia in the first place was my very specific desire to visit an alpine lake surrounded by beautiful mountains. There are a few of them here but as a first time visitor, I went to Bled. Lake Bled is one of those rare locations in the world that even the most beautiful Pinterest and Instagram photos don’t do it justice. Being surrounded by lush green mountains that are reflecting off the clear blue waters of Lake Bled is a rejuvenating and unforgettable experience.
For inspiration on what to do in Lake Bled, check out my recommendations.
With its mountains, its caverns, caves, waterfalls and gorges, Slovenia offers endless opportunities to immerse yourself in beautiful and unique natural landscapes during any season. This also means you can partake in interesting outdoor activities when you visit Slovenia like biking, hiking, whitewater rafting, skiing, and other sports.
It’s not too crowded
Since Slovenia isn’t at the top of many people’s bucket lists, it’s not too packed even in August which is a horrendously busy time to travel in Europe. So you can actually enjoy strolling alongside the river in Ljubljana and hiking in the parks and mountains because you’re not competing with a mob of people doing the exact same thing. This makes it not only really enjoyable, but also cheap since demand isn’t as high.
It’s really affordable
I’ll be perfectly honest. The only reason why I’m in Slovenia right now and not in Hallstatt is because it would have cost me more than double to visit Austria. Slovenia is incredibly affordable to stay in, travel around and eat and drink in. If you wanted to come here and be absolutely and completely frugal, you could have a giant slice of meat burek for dinner and two glasses of wine for 4 euros. If you treat yourself to dinner in the same price range as TGI Friday’s, you can actually enjoy a really fantastic fine dining experience.
Ljubljana is really cool
A lot of European cities are really adorable because historic old towns usually are. That’s not enough to make a city special, but Ljubljana has all the makings of an undiscovered hip gem. There are certain parts of the city, like the abandoned Rog factory and Metelkova, which have been coopted by artists and hipsters into underground art galleries, bars, and clubs. Looking like something that you’d see in Berlin, the mini art cities are full of murals, sculptures and cheap drinks. So on an average Tuesday night, you might find a mini open-air film festival just a few feet away from a dubstep club. This is not your average European capital; it’s significantly cooler than that.
Slovenia is romantic
So many people’s idea of a romantic vacation is Paris or Santorini, but I can’t think of anything less romantic than tiny crowded streets and aggressive panhandlers. Slovenia is romantic precisely because it’s less popular. So you can take a boat out on an alpine lake without having to wait in line for 45 minutes to rent one. You can have a secluded picnic up on the hills or a city park or cozy up in some corner of an outdoor cafe even on the busiest nights. It’s romantic without even trying, but when it does try and a guy is playing an accordion by the Ljubljanica, it’s romantic in the Hollywood movie way that you think should be fake.
The food is fantastic
Slovenia is in a geographical sweet spot where they have a lot of Mediterranean and Eastern European influence so dining is uniquely diverse and cross-cultural. You can expect a lot of burgers, pizza and pasta if you’re the kind of person that avoids things that are too foreign, but you can also have local soups, meat and fish delicacies, desserts, and drinks. If you like lamb, seabass, and truffles, you’ll enjoy eating here. (You can also go truffle hunting in Istria, by the way). Slovenian meat and cheeses are always on the menu along with potica pastries and cream cakes.
Slovenia is fairly progressive about LGBT rights. Though it doesn’t have a huge gay scene, it’s one of the friendlier states when it comes to gay rights and acceptance of the former Yugoslavian countries. Interestingly, though male homosexual activity was decriminalized in the 70’s, lesbian relationships were never illegal. I’m not sure if this is the reason why Slovenia is full of lesbians, but I’ve literally never seen so many lesbians in public without being at a pride parade. So if you’re a lady-loving lady, this is one of the best reasons to visit Slovenia.
There’s plenty of wine (and cheese)
I highly doubt Slovenia would be considered even a top 10 wine destination in the world, but winemaking has been a huge part of Slovenian culture since the 5th century BC! There are several wine-making regions in the country, where you can visit vineyards and sample wine (did I mention it was romantic?). You can also try their tasty whites and reds in local restaurants all over Slovenia. Certain parts of the country are also known for their cheese production so aside from enjoying great local cheeses with your wine, you could plan to visit dairy farms as part of your trip.
It’s a beach destination, too
Though its neighbors to the south get all the glory for wonderful coastlines, a very small part of Slovenia is on the Adriatic Sea. So if you’re not interested in visiting for skiing or alpine hiking, perhaps you rather party and tan at the Slovene Riviera. The sandy shores of Piran have sun and mild temperatures all year round. Slovenia really has something for everyone.