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Summer holidays in Slovenia

Photos: iStock (unless written otherwise)

If you're searching for the perfect European summer holiday destination, look no further, you have found it.

Slovenia is a small country, located on the northern edge of the Mediterranean and in the far south of Central Europe. It covers a mere 20,273 km², but despite its small area, it offers many natural, historical and cultural treasures that are sure to make you fall in love and never want to leave. The best thing about Slovenia is its amazingly diverse landscape and biological diversity – you can enjoy the fast-paced city life or retreat to the rural countryside, enjoy some fresh mountain air, go deep underground into the karst caves or soak up the sunrays at the seaside – all in a single day. But if you truly want to experience this jewel of a country, take your time and visit Slovenia for a little while longer.

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Valley in the Triglav National Park

What you need to know about Slovenia, Europe

Slovenia lies in the far south of Central Europe, bordering on Italy in the west, Austria in the north, Hungary in the northeast and Croatia in the east and south. Its unique position at the crossroads of all main cultural and trading routes in Europe makes it a juncture of different cultural and historical legacies and therefore the perfect summer holiday destination. 

Most of Slovenia has a continental climate, with the exception of the Primorska region (also known as the Slovenian Littoral), which has a pleasant sub-Mediterranean climate, and the far northwest mountainous area, which has an alpine climate. This extremely diverse area, rich in mountains, rivers, lakes and forests is a natural treasure that offers many possibilities to enjoy your summer holiday. Visit Slovenia and experience a Slovenian summer holiday which you will remember and cherish forever.

Slovenia makes the perfect holiday destination for families, couples and even solo travelers, looking for exciting new experiences. Holidays in Slovenia offer adventurous trips and experiences, breathtaking natural sights, calm relaxation in nature, educational, historical and cultural excursions and many other fun activities for everyone to enjoy. Start planning your Slovenia summer holiday now! See the immense range of options that Slovenia travel has to offer.

sightseeing Piran
Sightseeing in Piran

Exploring Slovenia: places to go and sights to see

Slovenia is so geographically rich that despite its small size, it offers so many stunning sights you might not be able to decide what to see first.

Cities: places to visit in Slovenia

 

Slovenia mostly consists of medium and small-sized towns with a rich historical and cultural heritage. The only big city is the nation’s capital, Ljubljana, which has been located at the crossroads of important trading routes throughout history, making it a true gem. Walk through the paved streets of Old Ljubljana in search of the remnants of the old Roman city of Emona, admire the Gothic and Baroque-style buildings and observe how the art nouveau movement influenced the architecture. Take a nice walk to the Ljubljana Castle or take the cable railway and enjoy the perfect view of the whole city. A walk through Ljubljana is like a walk through history. Visit museums, galleries and festivals and enjoy delightful cuisine which brilliantly merges influences from all over the Balkans, the Mediterranean and Central Europe.

Among the places that you should definitely visit are: Ptuj, the country’s oldest town, which has been populated since the late stone age, Maribor, the country’s second largest town, Koper, Piran, Portorož and Izola, all coastal towns with wonderful cultural and historical sights, as well as Kranj, the capital of Gorenjska and nearby Kranjska Gora, which is an important tourist and winter-sports center.

maribor cityscape
Maribor cityscape

The most interesting sights to see in Slovenia

While you’re visiting Slovenia’s coast, don’t forget to visit Moon Bay in the Strunjan Nature Park and the  Saltworks in Sečovlje, where you can see how salt is still being harvested in the traditional way. The Museum of Salt-Making is also worth a visit. You can enjoy a sunny day on one of many well-kept Slovenian beaches. Even though Slovenia has a relatively small coast, there are many options for you to enjoy your Slovenia beach holiday. 

When you return inland, stop by at Postojna and Škocjan, where you can enjoy the most beautiful underground caves. Postojna Cave or the Dragon Cave is world famous, not only for its magnificent beauty and for being one of Europe's longest cave networks, but also for being the home to one of the rarest and strangest creatures on Earth, the blind aquatic salamander Proteus anguinus, also known as the Olm. Postojna Cave is probably the only place on Earth where you can see this nearly extinct creature. Find more information about this unique underground world.

predjama castle
Predjama castle

The 800 year old Predjama Castle, which stands a short distance from Postojna Cave, is also a magnificent sight, positioned on a vertical, 123 meter-high natural rock wall, and has been a popular filming location for many movies and documentaries over the decades.

If you’re a fan of stunning nature (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?), you will certainly enjoy a visit to Gorenjska, where there are many places to choose from. A trip to the Triglav National park guarantees you a wonderful day. Stop by Kranjska Gora and visit the Zelenci natural reserve, where you will be welcomed by the serene, emerald green water of Lake Zelenci. Other lakes in the Gorenjska region that are surely worth a visit are the world famous Lake Bohinj and Lake Bled. While in Bled, take a boat ride to the island in the center of the lake and visit the beautiful Bled Castle. Don’t forget to stop by a café or confectionery shop and order the famous Bled cream slice. This sweet specialty is only the start of the delightful cuisine of Slovenia.

bled lake
Lake Bled

Cuisine: The best local foods that you should try!

If you consider yourself a foodie, Slovenia will surely provide you with some exciting new experiences. Slovenian cuisine is as diverse as its landscape and culture, with many influences coming from neighboring countries as well as many unique and native foods and drinks specific to Slovenia or only a certain region. Experts say that Slovenia has 23 gastronomic regions. Here we present you with a short list of suggestions of our favorite local foods and drinks that you should try:

  • Ajdovi žganci (Buckwheat mash)
  • Kranjska klobasa (Carniola sausage)
  • Idrijski žlikrofi (small dumplings, filled with potatoes, onions and pork crackling, boiled)
  • Matevž (potatoes and beans)
  • Kraški pršut (Karst prosciutto)
  • Kraški zašink (Karst cured neck meat)
  • Prleška tünka (a meat product from Prlekija, made of minced lard and pork)
  • Zgornjesavinjski želodec (an air-dried meat product, made of high-quality bacon and pork meat, stuffed in a pig’s stomach, from the UpperSavinjaValley)
  • Potica (Nut roll)
  • Prekmurska gibanica (an eight-layer pastry from Prekmurje)
  • Blejska kremšnita (a cream cake from Bled)
  • Cviček (Slovenian wine from the Dolenjska region)
  • Teran (Slovenian wine from the Primorska region)
  • Slovenian beer, the best known being Union and Laško, but many other local craft brews are also available.
slovenian food
Potica, Prekmurska gibanica and Blejska kremšnita

Summer activities in Slovenia

Your active and exciting Slovenia family holiday

 

Slovenia offers many activities for active families and individuals who like to enjoy their holiday in a fun, active and adventurous way. There are many cycling and hiking trails throughout Slovenia that are a fit for all generations, as well as canyoning, kayaking and rafting for those who love wild waters in the heart of magnificently raw nature. Those in need of an adrenaline boost can try zip lining, skydiving, climbing and adrenaline parks, while those who seek a more tranquil and relaxing summer vacation can enjoy paddleboarding, fishing, fly-fishing and photography in one of Slovenia’s many stunning water-side destinations.

 

Cycling holidays in Slovenia

 

Slovenia, with its diverse landscape, offers many wonderful experiences for cycling enthusiasts, such as mountain biking, road cycling and Slovenia bike tours. You can partake in one of many Slovenian cycling events, such as the world famous Franja Marathons or Ride to Vršič or Tour of Slovenia, where the most physically prepared cyclists go on a Slovenia trip, traveling the country by bike and testing their endurance. You can also choose a region of your liking and take one of the many popular trails.

Popular cycling trails by region:

Primorska

  • Solkan – Plave cycling route
  • Vipava – Nanos cycling route
  • Predmeja – Trnovski gozd cycling route
  • Tolmin – Kobarid cycling route

Dolenjska

  • Panorama cycling route in Kostanjevica na krki
  • Šmarješke Toplice – Otočec cycling route
  • Poljanska dolina cycling route

Štajerska

  • Benedikt archeological road
  • Bistrica cycling route
  • Pohorje cycling route to Šumik

Gorenjska

  • Rateče – Mojstrana cycling route
  • Podgora cycling route

Prekmurje

  • Tromejka cycling route
  • Goričko cycling route

Koroška

  • Drava cycling route
  • Šterkna cycling route
  • Cycling park Peca
cycling slovenia
Cycling in Logar Valley (www.slovenia.info, photo: Jošt Gantar)

Hiking in Slovenia

 

Hiking is one of the most popular ways to spend your free time and enjoy the great outdoors in Slovenia. Slovenia is known for its great hiking trails, and Slovenian mountains offer many routes of different difficulties. The most popular hiking destination and one that every Slovenian and hiking enthusiast from abroad should experience is Triglav, the highest peak of the Julian Alps in Slovenia. If you conquer this mountain, you can consider yourself a true Slovenian.

 

Kayaking, rafting, canoeing and paddleboarding

 

Slovenia is one of the water-richest countries in Europe, with a dense river network that offers many possibilities for exciting activities. For the most adventurous water enthusiasts, there are kayaking, white water rafting and canoeing. The Soča River is a world known kayaking destination, where you can take a class or, if you’re a more experienced kayaker, face the river rapids on your own. The Koroška region also offers the possibility of kayaking in an abandoned mine.

For those less experienced, rafting is a better choice, since no prior knowledge is needed. You can enjoy Soča River rafting in Bovec, Slovenia, where you are sure to have a great time! For those who enjoy calmer waters, canoeing or paddleboarding on one of two biggest and most beautiful Slovenian lakes – Lake Bled or Lake Bohinj – might be a better choice. Certainly anyone who enjoys water activities will find something to enjoy on their Slovenia holiday. 

rafting soca
Rafting on Soča river (www.slovenia.info, photo: Iztok Medja)

Climbing, canyoning and underground caves

 

For those who enjoy climbing, Slovenia offers many more and less difficult natural climbing areas, as well as options for ice climbing on waterfalls throughout the Alps. This is an excellent experience for experienced climbers. An even more special experience for climbing enthusiasts is Bovec canyoning, which is a combination of climbing and hiking through the natural canyons of the Soča River and its waterfalls, where the whole family can safely enjoy the adventure of a lifetime.

More laid-back families can, on the other hand, enjoy a tour of one of several astonishing underground caves that Slovenia has to offer in Škocjan and Postojna. The extraordinary sculptural rock formations that form underground in the Slovenian caves truly are a unique and magical, yet completely safe experience for the whole family.

 

For the bravest of all:  zipline Slovenia, skydiving and adrenaline parks

 

For those who crave a dose of adrenaline on a daily basis, Slovenia offers many options to experience that in the form of adrenaline parks throughout the country, skydiving, bungee jumping and ziplining. Bovec zipline is the biggest zipline park in Europe and offers 10 ziplines in sizes from 250 to 600 meters, in a total length of 4 kilometers. It offers an adrenaline-filled experience and wonderful panoramic views of Slovenia’s most treasured landscapes.

zipline bovec
Zipline Bovec (www.slovenia.info, photo: Iztok Medja)

Entertainment and nightlife: Slovenia festivals

Slovenia hosts many cultural and musical events that are definitely worth visiting. Whether you enjoy classical music, musicals or rock festivals, Slovenia has it all. Especially in the summertime, the festival fever takes over the country. Here are some suggestions of festivals and events that you might like:

  • Festival Lent in Maribor is the biggest open-air festival in Slovenia and one of the biggest in Europe. A rich program, consisting of sports events, art, music and theatre shows, hosts local and world-famous names and is a great social start to the summer.
  • Ljubljana Festival is one of the oldest festivals in Slovenia and has been a part of the summer entertainment for more than 65 years. It hosts local and foreign artistes and musicians in a varied and rich program that takes place every summer in Ljubljana.
  • MetalDays is an open-air festival in the beautiful surroundings of Tolmin, for all lovers of metal music. It hosts world-famous as well as local musicians.
  • Pivo in cvetje (Beer and Flowers) is the biggest tourist and music event in Slovenia, organized in Laško. The four-day event is considered the highlight of the summer, with more than 40 concerts, shows and performances, entertainment for kids and adults alike, good food, beer and of course, freshly planted flowers.
  • Druga godba is a world music festival held in Piran and Ljubljana, and is considered to be one of the most important festivals in Europe. It has been organized for more than 30 years and is considered to be unique in its choice of performers and music. Making place for those performers that don't get the deserved space on mainstream channels and festivals, Druga godba is proud to fuse ethno and modern music and host artistes from all around the globe.

The daytime events and nightlife in Slovenia will surely entertain you anytime of the year, but especially in the summer months, when there’s a festival happening on practically every corner.

festival lent
Festival Lent (www.slovenia.info, photo: Narodni dom archive)