When it comes to things to do in Slovenia, one has to have in mind that this is a small country in Central Europe that connects the Mediterranean coast and Julian Alps. That gives you the opportunity to go swimming and hiking on the same day. Hence, I enjoyed gorgeous views of Slovenia’s famous lakes, charming urban architecture, beautiful mountain slopes while being able to hop from one place to the next – in almost less than an hour!
If you are interested in visiting Slovenia, here are a few things to know about the country.
It covers a small portion of Europe of about 20,270 square kilometers with a population of more than 2 million but it has different climate properties given the diversity of its terrain. Its long history was mainly connected to Western Europe, the Republic of Venice, Austro-Hungarian rule while most of the 20th century, the country was part of former Yugoslavia. It became a European Union member in 2004.
The fact that I loved the most is that Slovenia is proud of its environmental efforts in creating a country covered in forests and greens with no air pollution. All that exploring was thus even more enjoyable.
I should mention that Slovenia was declared one of the 5 world destinations to visit in 2022 by Lonely Planet. Its geographical diversity provides a wide range of options so that you can go to the coast during summer or take in some breathtaking landscapes in Bled, but you can also go skiing. Don’t forget that advents in Slovenian towns during the festive season are just mesmerizing.
Slovenia Travel Guide
Ljubljana is the biggest urban area in the country with the largest population. It’s also the capital listed as a must-see in every Slovenia travel guide.
The city is extremely charming with a lot to see. There will be a special post dedicated to Ljubljana but let me just say that you will be thrilled by the architecture the city is so proud of, a nice waterfront of Ljubljanica river with cafés and restaurants lined up, a great medieval castle overlooking the central area, and diversity of food.
Its long history will make you immerse into Greek mythology, imagining the golden fleece and dragons. And you will be able to see a few all around the city.
Given that it’s safe and easy to navigate, more than a million travelers come to visit Ljubljana every year. Most of the city is designed by a native Jože Plečnik who studied in Prague and Vienna at the end of the 19th century. Make sure to visit the Prešern’s Square or the Triple Bridge.
Still, you can’t really get to know Slovenia without at least tasting its Kranjska sausage, famous tarts, and cakes, or its Laško beer. These will be among things to do in Slovenia you just can’t skip.
This lake is the largest permanent lake in the country and it’s situated just beneath the Julian Alps at the Triglav National Park. It covers 318 hectares.
Its waters can get to 22 degrees Celsius during summer but the lake can also sometimes freeze in winter. The lake is not only famous for its breathtaking greenery but it is also a paradise for active holiday lovers. You can go swimming, boat riding, windsurfing, kayaking, fishing, or just walking around the lake taking in the fresh air. Better make a list of all the things to do in Slovenia when thinking about Lake Bohinj.
There is also an interesting legend about the goat that is now a hallmark of the local beer I will tell you about in a separate post.
This is one of the landmarks of Slovenia one just can’t miss. If you visit the country without seeing Bled, it’s like you have never been. Photos of the small island in the middle of the lake are so frequent on social media that I am sure you know what I am talking about.
The lake is situated only 55 kilometers from Ljubljana in the area of the Julian Alps. So, Blejski otok or the Bled Island is the most picturesque part of the lake. There are a few small buildings on the island and the 17th-century Catholic church dedicated to the Assumption of Mary.
In one of the following posts, I will explain how to get to the island and what to expect there. Have in mind though, that some of the best photos of the island can be taken from the hilltop medieval castle overlooking the lake.
The small town of Škofja Loka feels like walking back in time. With a population of about 12,000, the town offers a museum inside the Loka Castle on the top of the hill, nice walkways, and tiny squares with cafés that represent true Slovenia attractions.
The name means ‘bishop’s meadow’, and here is why. Emperor Otto II granted the lordship of Škofja Loka to the German Bishops of Freising in 973. The town continued to be connected to its ecclesiastical principality for the next thousand years. The castle became the residence of the bishop’s governor.
After most of the town was destroyed by invaders, earthquakes, fires, etc., throughout centuries, it was finally restored and it today serves as a reminder of turbulent times. Nevertheless, its charm is undisputed. For example, where else can you walk into the 15th-century church right after you have seen the medieval bridge!
If you are into seaside resorts, you should head over to Portorož. The town is known for its casinos, luxury hotels, sailboats, but it’s also referred to as a spa town. So, another must-see on our list of things to do in Slovenia.
Portorož belongs to the coastal municipality of Piran at the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Slovenia’s coastline stretches between Italy and Croatia. Even though it’s only 47 kilometers long, it is home to a few lovely towns. Portorož is one of them.
One of the loveliest towns on the coast in my opinion is Piran. Not only that it has such an important Venetian heritage, but you will often forget where you are given the narrow allies and decorative architecture. Even the Italian language was dominant here up until the mid-20th century.
This is one of the major towns of this part of the Adriatic coast called Slovene Istria. Piran was under the rule of the Republic of Venice from the 13th to the end of the 18th century. It later became an Austro-Hungarian town with over 15,000 inhabitants. The town was annexed to Yugoslavia in 1954 and to Slovenia in 1991.
When you come here, you can’t miss seeing Piazza Tartini, the vast square, the 15th-century walls above the town, the Saint George Cathedrale – or to try some delicious seafood and Italian ice cream. Hence, some more things to do in Slovenia.
Travel to Slovenia
When borders were opened for the first time after the Covid shutdowns, Slovenia was one of the countries I was excited to see given that it’s safe with a high level of environmental awareness. I just needed a place with some fresh air, clean waters, and moderate weather.
The only rule for entering the country was to have a vaccination certificate or a PCR. Still, make sure to check out the new government restrictions given that they change according to the Covid situation in the country and in European Union.
Next: THE CHARM OF LJUBLJANA
The full SLOVENIA SERIES