Slovenians are so proud of Mount Triglav, they put the three-headed mountain on their national flag. Conquering the 2864-metre limestone peak, the highest in the Julian Alps, is a rite of passage for locals and just one of the outdoor activities awaiting you on Slovenia holidays, along with a variety of adventure sports and more.
With over half of Slovenia’s 20,000 square kilometres covered in forest and its Triglav National Park containing a good chunk of the Julian Alps, this is one of Europe’s wildest alpine corners. The country also touches the Adriatic coast, where Piran’s winding streets and Venetian Gothic architecture tumble towards the Mediterranean. The capital, Ljubljana, has a mountain-backed cityscape of art nouveau facades and pillared bridges designed by local modernist hero Jože Plečnik, all overlooked by a 16th-century hilltop castle.
One of Europe’s greenest capitals, Ljubljana has restricted traffic in the centre, leaving its riverbanks to cyclists, strollers and the cafés and bars enjoyed by its 50,000 students. At the fairytale Lake Bled, sundowners come to admire views of a baroque church spire rising from a lonely island, framed by a medieval castle on a craggy bluff and the snowy sweep of the Julian Alps. Slovenia is even impressive underground, where a 4 kilometre electric railway explores the cool caverns and tunnels of the millennia-old Postojna Caves. This part of former Yugoslavia mixes culinary influences from its neighbours, including Italy and Hungary, with farm-fresh produce. Classic Slovenian dishes include ‘Pršut’ prosciutto, trout from the alpine rivers, cheese dumplings and Potica nut roll dessert, washed down with local red and white wines or Zlatorog beer. In every way, holidays to Slovenia are crammed with surprising discoveries.
May heralds sunny days for seaside strolls and mountain hikes, as well as the beginning of the rafting season. Wildflowers fill alpine pastures and Bohinj holds its International Wildflower Festival.
Summer brings blue skies and the festival season, with events livening town squares nationwide and Ljubljana, Lake Bled and Piran staging well-attended music festivals.
A dry month for hiking, when the Adriatic resorts are still open and you can wrap up warm in the mountains. Also, Bohinj holds its Cow’s Ball folk festival.
Triglav National Park
Cutting through the Julian Alps, the Soča and Radovna Rivers offer some of Europe’s best water sport opportunities. Options also include mountain biking, hiking, kayaking and canyoning.
Slovenia’s oldest town seems preserved in the Austro-Hungarian past, with its red roofs and baroque towers rising from cobbled streets cut by the Drava River.
Follow the 1.5 kilometre boardwalk, suspended between Vintgar’s mossy rock walls and the boulder-strewn Radovna River below, to Sum Waterfall. The path optionally carries on to Bled via the steep Hom rock to a pilgrim church.