If you’re looking for something more from your holiday than just lounging around on the beach, then Slovenia is a brilliant alternative destination. Found at the eastern end of the Alps, there’s something for everyone in Slovenia. Whether you’re looking to explore the great outdoors, take part in watersports, learn more about Slovenia’s history or sample its melting pot of cuisine, it’s a great place for a holiday. If you want a bit of beachlife thrown in, you can get that too!
Active holidaymakers will really get the most out of a holiday to Slovenia. It has far more in common with its Alpine neighbours than those countries to the east. Picture tree-lined mountains, glacial lakes and pretty log cabins. If you’re into hiking, cycling or white-water rafting, there are plenty of opportunities to get out and about in Slovenia. The Pokljuka Mountain, in particular, is a top base for heading out into the Julian Alps. Some of the best features of this landscape, include the Postojna caves - a huge maze of stalactites and stalagmites. The clear waters of the Soca river are also worth a look.
Those looking for something more lively in Slovenia should head to its capital of Ljubljana. It’s perfect for a romantic trip as you walk along the city’s promenades past beautifully-preserved historic buildings. Groups of friends will equally enjoy Ljubljana for its vibrant nightlife. Holidaymakers should also stop off at the city of Maribor, which is the centre of Slovenia’s wine-making trade.
Slovenia’s pint-sized capital has a youthful spirit, mainly thanks to its big student population. If you’re looking to party in Slovenia, then look no further than the bars and nightclubs of Ljubljana. But as you stroll along the banks of the Ljubljana River, you’ll also come across cute cafes and boutique shops that are perfect for bagging a souvenir. Culture vultures can see tons in Ljubljana too, including museums, bridges and the national gallery.
Foodies should make sure they stop off in Slovenia’s second city of Maribor. As well as great local grub, much of Slovenia’s wine is made in and around Maribor. It would be rude not to sample a little of the local tipple. This wine-making tradition dates back centuries. In the centre of Maribor you can even come across the oldest vine in the world. This 400-year-old plant is the subject of several festivals in Maribor and even has its own theme song.
The cute little city of Celje has a lot of history to explore. The remains of the original Roman settlement can still be seen lying underneath the town. There are also some more modern landmarks to glimpse on a stroll - a stone fountain, sculptures and the old town walls.
If you’re looking for a trip that combines glorious views and adrenaline-inducing pursuits, a visit to the Slovenian alps is your best bet. With a number of activities – from hiking and biking to water sports and air sports, holidays to Slovenia spell a great getaway for active types. If you prefer something more laid-back, there’s the opportunity to enjoy your surroundings with golf, horse riding and fishing as well as swimming in some of Slovenia’s beautiful lakes. The other side of Slovenia is its excellent food and drink, with tempting cuisine in abundance. Head to one of the locally-run restaurants to enjoy baked meatballs, potato and cabbage dishes and delicious cheeses from around the region.
From its meandering cobbled streets to its gothic castle, Lake Bled is the perfect destination to catch a glimpse of Slovenia’s traditional side. Jam packed with historical sights, a visit here is all about delving deep into the country’s culture. Of course, the centrepiece is the glorious lake itself, with panoramic views you’re guaranteed to fall in love with. You’ll see a few boats on the water, although noisy motor boats have been banned. Instead, enjoy a gentle cruise on a traditional Pletna boat to the iconic Church of Maria of the Lake, a long-favoured wedding venue.
Surrounded by nature and within reaching distance of both Italy and Austria, a visit to Kranjska gora is ideal for those seeking more from their holiday. Located high up in Slovenia’s Alps, this mountain town has a charm of its own, with picturesque surroundings that wouldn’t look out of place on a postcard. If you’re keen to lace up your boots and explore the local area, you’re in luck. There are numerous walking trails that follow up through forests and meadows, with plenty of places to stop for a drink or bite to eat.
History in Ljubljana
Travel back to an era of kings, queens, knights and damsels in distress by visiting Ljubljana Castle. This well-preserved medieval fortress overlooks Ljubljana from the nearby Castle Hill. The views over Ljubljana and the neighbouring mountains alone are worth climbing up to the castle. You should also check out the iconic Dragon Bridge. It’s guarded by four dragon statues at either end of the bridge.
Exploring the mountains
Get ready to ramble on your holiday to Slovenia by picking a hiking trail into the mountains. There are lush forests, national parks and glittering lakes to take a look at. If you’re an experienced walker, the cross country trails of the Julian Alps provide a stern challenge. Seasoned cyclists can also take to these mountain hills. If you want something a little gentler, then pedal through Slovenia’s wine country.
Journey to the southern coast of Slovenia and you’ll find plenty of beachside watersports, such as windsurfing, jet-skiing and sailing. But Slovenia’s rivers are also a great place for fun on the water. You can try your hand at kayaking, canoeing and whitewater rafting. A white-knuckle ride down rapids and waterfalls is great fun if you’re travelling with a group of friends.
Beaches in Slovenia
Slovenia may not be renowned for its beaches, but you can relax on the sands here. The Slovenian Riviera stretches for around 30 miles along the coast of the Adriatic Sea. There are pebbly beaches, hidden coves and cute coastal towns. One of the most popular sandy beaches is in the resort of Portoroz. It’s a lively town, with a distinct Italian flavour.
The best time to visit Slovenia depends on what type of activities you’re most interested in. For skiing holidays, the winter months between December and March are a prime time to race down alpine slopes in the country’s northwest region. After the snow melts, the rivers swell in the springtime for world class white water rafting adventures. These same landscapes draw outdoor enthusiasts in the summer for climbing, cycling and hiking through meadows of wildflowers. At this time of year, its dense forests are lush and green, with lakes like Bohinj and Bled warm enough for swimming.
Slovenia’s climate is different along the Adriatic coast, marked by warm summers, mild winters and gorgeous shades of autumn foliage. For popular tourist destinations like Lake Bled or Ljubljana, you can avoid the crowds by travelling outside the peak season in July and August. Spring and autumn are ideal times to visit the country if you want to enjoy the top attractions in relative peace.
There’s a thriving calendar of events throughout the year in Slovenia. Summer’s a prime time for cultural events including the Ljubjana Festival, with 10 weeks of musical and operatic performances. Head to the town of Indrija for its Lace Festival in June, or to Bohinj in October for the annual Hiking Festival. Another highlight in Bohinj is the Cow’s Ball, taking place on the third Sunday each September. Cows are dressed up with colourful wreaths and paraded around Lake Bohinj with milkmaids and cow herders in tow. You’ll be able to sample locally made cheeses and try traditional arts like log sawing or horseshoe casting.
Winter’s a particularly magical time in Ljubljana, when locals gather together in Christmas markets and the Castle Hill is illuminated in coloured lights. With a sprinkle of snowfall, the city’s medieval centre can look even more enchanting that usual.
What you eat in Slovenia is going to depend greatly on where you are in the country. The grub near the Alps is very different to what’s on the menu at the Adriatic coast. Almost every popular dish is made from local ingredients though, particularly cheeses, sausages, oils and honey. You’ll see a Hungarian influence on Slovenian cooking with goulash served up in plenty of restaurants. But many dishes come from neighbouring Italy. You’ll get potato gnocchi dumplings, risotto, ravioli and plenty of pizza.
Restaurants in Slovenia
Whether you’re in a high-end restaurant or a cheap cafe in Slovenia, you’ll generally be served some authentic local cuisine. The people here are rightly proud of their grub and focus on the classics, albeit often with a twist. If you’re out of the major cities and towns, you can expect some simple, yet delicious, food.
Holidaymakers of all ages and interests will find something to keep them active during a trip to Slovenia. There’s loads to see and do in Slovenia, even if it’s nothing more than taking in the scenery from the beach on the Adriatic coast. Look no further than easyJet holidays when you’re booking a holiday to Slovenia. The best bit? You can save yourself some spending money by booking a hotel and flight together with easyJet holidays. Take a look at our Slovenia destination guides for more inspiration.
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