Things to see and do in Slovenia
Slovenian Tourist Board in the UKAddress: 17 Dartmouth Street, London, SW1H 9BL
Telephone: +44 20 7227 9713
Attractions in Slovenia
Be beside the seaside
Slovenia may not boast much in the way of a coast, but what it does have is absolutely beautiful. The coastal towns of Koper, Piran and Portoroz are gateways to the country’s best beaches and. They are also home to splendid Venetian architecture, excellent waterfront restaurants and top hotels. Every year the town of Portoroz holds a contemporary art symposium with creations on display in the sculpture park, Forma Viva.
Chill out at Radenci
This is the best-known of Slovenia's 15 certified natural health resorts, having received its first guests in 1882. It is also known for the Radenska mineral water, which is said to have been served at the imperial court in Vienna and to the Pope in Rome.
Don your skis in Maribor
Slovenia’s second largest city, Maribor offers skiing, shopping, coffee by the river, and wine. Essentially, it has the Pohorje mountain (with floodlit night-time skiing) on one side and vineyards on the other, while the river Drava meanders in-between. In the quaint Lent area by the river is the world’s oldest vine, which is said to be more than 450 years old.
Explore Postojna Cave
Take a train into the spectacular 20km (12-mile) cave of Postojna, which features gigantic stalagmites and a cavernous hall that can hold over 10,000 people. Considered to be one of Europe’s finest karst landscapes, Postojna is also home to an aquatic salamander called olm (aka “the blind human fish”). Speleological equipment can be provided for caving enthusiasts, and special interest tours can also be arranged (tel: +386 5700 0100; www.postojnska-jama.eu).
Fall in love with Slovenian wine
Goriška Brda is a breath-taking wine region where the climate of the Julian Alps and the Adriatic Sea meet, giving body and freshness to the local wines – especially varieties such as Rebula. Vipava Valley is another delightful vineyard area with small, family-run wineries producing top whites from rare and ancient grape varieties such as Zelen, Pinela, Klarnica and Pikolit, and top reds from Merlot grapes.
Go on a day trip to Ptuj
Medieval features abound in this delightful town, which overflows with cobbles, churches and impressive baroque buildings. Officially the oldest settlement in Slovenia, it boasts a castle, thermal spas and some fabulous wines – underneath the streets are historic wine cellars that contain the country’s oldest aperitifs.
Hike around Lake Bohinj
Slovenia’s largest permanent glacial lake, Bohinj is longer, narrower and less crowded than Lake Bled. At the north-western tip is the waterfall Slap Savica, which can be seen after zigzagging up more than 500 steps. The lake is perfect for boating and swimming, while the area is also popular with hikers and cyclists (tel: +386 4574 7590; www.bohinj.si).
Imbibe art at Metelkova Mesto
Ljubljana’s military barracks, built for the Austro-Hungarian army and used by Italian and German occupying forces, were taken over by artists in 1994 and transformed into an autonomous cultural centre. It is made up of seven buildings and includes space for musicians and performers, art installations, studios, and several nightclubs (www.metelkovamesto.org).
Induce adrenaline at Bovec
Located in Triglav National Park, this pretty little town is a Mecca for adrenalin-junkies, who flock here in the summer for white water rafting, kayaking and canyoning on the Soča River. In the winter, there is skiing at the nearby Kanin Ski Centre (tel: +386 5384 1919; www.bovec.si).
Marvel at Bled Castle
Perched atop a steep cliff, 130m (426ft) above Lake Bled, is Slovenia’s oldest castle. Bled Castle dates back to 1011, although much of its present look comes from the restoration that followed an earthquake in 1511. The main attractions are the Gothic chapel, built in the 16th century and renovated in Baroque style around 1700. Visitors also flock to the views of Bled, the lake, its island and the mountain ranges of the Karavanke and Julian Alps (tel: +386 4572 9782; www.blejski-grad.si).
Pilgrimage to Jeruzalem (no, not that one)
An hour from Maribor by car, Jeruzalem is a tiny settlement in the middle of the most stunning terraced wine hills. There are plenty of places to taste the local dry and sweet whites and to sample them with the local cuisine. The Tourist Information Centre (TIC) by the old church has both maps and wine.
Search for the Ljubljana Dragon
The city's symbol, the mighty dragon, is depicted throughout the city on buildings, bridges, iron and woodwork. Visit Dragon Bridge for an up-close encounter with the brave beast or go on a dragon hunt and see how many you can find.
Ski at Kranjska Gora
This historic alpine town is Slovenia’s top ski resort, with 30km (18 miles) of runs to choose from. Located in the Julian Alps, the north-western part of Slovenia, the resort is close enough to the Austrian and Italian border to walk to them in two hours. It has a lively central square, a pretty church, two casinos and great views down the valley. There are plenty of hiking and biking trails, too (tel: +386 4588 5020; www.kranjska-gora.si).
Spend a weekend in Ljubljana
Take your time wandering the streets of the country's capital. The Ljubljana River runs through the city with al fresco cafés on the bank promenades, great for people watching and refuelling. Structures and buildings you shouldn't miss include Ljubljana Cathedral, the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation, the Fountain of Three Carniolan Rivers, the Town Hall and the gorgeous Nebotičnik Skyscraper (tel: +386 1306 1000; www.ljubljana.si).
Take a dip in Lake Bled
This year-round mountain resort, only 35km from Ljubljana airport, is a truly beautiful sight with a church on a tiny island surrounded by glacial waters, mountains and trees. Overlooking it, medieval Bled Castle perches on a cliff edge. In the summer, you can swim, fish or row, perhaps to the island to ring the Wishing Bell (tel: +386 4578 0205; www.bled.si).
Trek through Triglav National Park
Taking its name from Mount Triglav, which at 2,864m (9,396ft) it is the highest summit in Slovenia, this park covers 4% of the entire country and is laced with hiking trails. It is also home to glacial lakes such as Bohinj, waterfalls (Savica and Peričnik), and gorges (Blejski Vintgar and Tolmin).
Uncover the legend of Predjama Castle
This destination is worth visiting just to hear how Erazem of Predjama, a 15th century robber baron who was holed up in this ‘impregnable’ castle, finally met his end. Think Elvis. Predjama Castle was built into a cliff, 9km (5.5 miles) from Postojna Cave, in the 12th century.