Home » 10 reasons Slovenia should be your next big Eurotrip

10 reasons Slovenia should be your next big Eurotrip

written by Ashlea Wheeler March 3, 2016

It took two trains, a bus, and 13 hours for us to get from Vienna to Ljubljana, Slovenia. We could have done it faster, but our backpacker’s budget hadn’t afforded us the luxury of booking the direct train. The bed of our downtown hostel looked mighty tempting after the long journey, and we promptly collapsed onto it.

The next day, we eagerly explored Ljubljana and quickly came to the realisation that the journey had been 100% worth it. Slovenia – the relatively quiet country that we’d known almost nothing about became one of our most memorable stops in Europe. It had everything that we could possibly want in a trip to Europe – an interesting culture, unbelievably pretty scenery, and a quirkiness that we hadn’t seen anywhere else. It’s been awhile since my visit, but I still haven’t stopped telling people about how much we loved it.

Here are 10 reasons why Slovenia should be in your next big Eurotrip.

1. It has a cool Eastern European influence

slovenia---pedro-szekely

Image c/o Pedro Szekely, Flickr

If you want a taste of Eastern Europe without being too far from other popular European destinations, Slovenia is the perfect choice. A bus or train from Venice or Zagreb will get you to Ljubljana in only a few hours. This former Yugoslavian state gained independence in 1991, and became the first former communist country to join the Eurozone in 2007. This, plus it’s location, gives it a unique combination of Eastern European and Mediterranean vibes. I was fascinated by the country’s communist past and how remnants of it are still present in modern Slovenia.

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2. Street art is everywhere

slovenia---ljubljana-globe-well-travelled

Image c/o Globe Well Travelled

I’m a sucker for any city filled with street art, but Ljubljana stands out to me as one of the best. While I was visiting, Over the past 25 years, Slovenian activists have made their voices heard by showing support at many protests, including LGBT rights and anti-war rallies. This determination has flowed through Ljubljana, with propaganda scrawled over many city buildings by residents who are itching to get their messages across. The best place to get your street art fix is the Metelkova district, a former army barracks that was taken over by artists in the early 1990s and has now been transformed into a creative and lively area with colourful walls and some great nightlife.

READ MORE: 7 UNDERRATED CITIES WELL WORTH VISITING IN EUROPE

3. The streets are decorated with quirky objects

On top of the street art that’s splashed throughout Ljubljana, you’ll also come across some interesting street decorations. Wander beneath brightly patterned umbrellas hanging over street lights, see thousands of pairs of shoes draped over the powerlines, or sit yourself on a neon pink park bench. These quirky objects are sure to make your day a little bit brighter.

4. It’s really cheap

The Eurozone crisis hit Slovenia hard in the late 2000s, which has resulted in fairly low prices compared to its neighbouring countries. For my fellow backpackers who are always on the lookout for cheap destinations, Slovenia is a top choice! A casual meal will be around 7 Euro, a beer will only set you back about 2.50 Euro, and you can grab a great coffee for only 1.30 Euro.

READ MORE: 4 UNEXPECTED BENEFITS OF VISITING THE BALKANS ON A GROUP TOUR

5. Ljubljana is the green capital of Europe

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Image c/o Gilad Rom, Flickr

I love discovering cities that actually give a damn about socially responsible tourism. Ljubljana has just been awarded the European Green Capital of 2016, which is a huge deal for eco-conscious travellers like myself. The city’s environmental efforts have included transforming the entire downtown area into a pedestrian only zone, initiatives for cyclists (there’s a bike-sharing program if you want to join in), and methane-fuelled public buses.

6. You can drink unpasteurised milk from a vending machine

Have you ever wondered what milk tastes like before it’s processed through machines? It seems like a crazy idea and is actually illegal in some countries, but not in Slovenia! The locals like their food and drink to be high quality and as fresh as possible. There are vending machines in the markets of Ljubljana where you can pop in a few dollars and get a stream of unpasteurised milk poured into a glass bottle for your drinking pleasure.

READ MORE: 5 EUROPEAN DAY HIKES EVERYONE SHOULD EXPERIENCE

7. There’s a touch of the 80’s hanging around

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Image c/o Globe Well Travelled

If you’ve ever questioned what it would be like to live in (or relive) the 80s, you might find some of it left here in Ljubljana. Not only will you see men sporting some dashing chevron moustaches, you’ll also spot some disco dancing posters and neon colours splashed about the city. The locals celebrate the remnants of this bright and fun decade in what I can only assume is a touch of nostalgia.

READ MORE: 7 THINGS I LEARNT TRAVELLING SOLO THROUGH EUROPE

8. It makes for a less touristy Mediterranean holiday

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Image c/o Steven Gong, Flickr

If you’re looking for some Mediterranean beaches that aren’t overcrowded, you might be surprised to find out that Slovenia actually holds 46km of coastline between Italy and Croatia. And if you’re keen for some outdoor dining in the warm Mediterranean air, head straight for downtown Ljubljana. Let me tell you, there’s nothing more satisfying than sitting by the river at sunset, enjoying a glass of Slovenian wine along with some Italian food, all without the hoards of tourists that frequent Slovenia’s neighbouring countries.

Tourism in Slovenia is on the rise, so make sure you get in quick! 3.5 million visitors passed through the country in 2014, which is a 23% increase from 2009. It won’t take long before the rest of the world discovers how fabulous this country is.

READ MORE: 5 BEAUTIFUL ISLANDS IN EUROPE YOU HAVEN’T DISCOVERED YET

9. You can row a boat on the most beautiful lake you’ve ever seen

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Image c/o James Southorn, Flickr

Lake Bled is so beautiful that you’ll swear it’s been Photoshopped. You can rent a rowboat from the township of Bled and slowly make your way out to Bled Island in the centre of the lake. It takes about 15 minutes to row out (and I’ll give you prior warning – your arm muscles will definitely complain afterward) but it is totally worth it. Once you step foot on the tiny island, you’ll find a quaint church (the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Maria) and a small cafe where you can sip on hot chocolate and admire the surrounding scenery. This is surely the most tranquil spot in Slovenia.

10. You can play pretend in castles

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Image c/o Erin Johnson, Flickr

Slovenia isn’t known to be the castle capital of Europe, but it actually holds nearly 100 of them. Ljubljana Castle stands on a hilltop overlooking over the city, Bled Castle has some darn spectacular views of the lake and surrounding hills, and Predjama Castle is impressively built into the side of a cliff. You can discover old canons or climb up onto lookout towers and pretend to defend your people from a make-believe army. Take your pick of castle and have fun.

Words by the talented Ashlea Wheeler, aka A Globe Well Travelled. Check out her Instagram feed for some serious wanderlust. 

Feature image c/o Alenka Skamperle, Flickr 

 

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15 comments

Peter January 8, 2019 - 3:37 pm

Can you just stay in Llubljana and do day trips for most things, or is it better to stay in a variety of places?
We prefer not to have to pack up and move every day or two if possible.
We only have about 8 days.

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Katherine Benn September 8, 2018 - 12:27 pm

Hi Ashlea, I really enjoyed reading your wonderful blog about Slovenia and definitely want to visit at some point. One of my daughters is currently travelling through the area and has raved about it’s natural beauty and says it’s one of the prettiest places she has ever seen and she has been to quite a few countries now.

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traveler May 29, 2018 - 11:14 am

But don’t think you have to rent a boat on Lake Bled and row yourself out to the island. Take a trip across the lake in the traditional Pletna boat Pletna boats are available to board and are a lot of fun. Don’t miss the island!

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Cynthia February 14, 2018 - 12:05 pm

Hi, all. I’m looking for a place for my family to visit this December, 2018. Is Slovenia a good winter destination, or best visited in summer? (We are not skiers.)

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Rebecca Shapiro February 16, 2018 - 2:34 am

Hi Cynthia! Thanks for reaching out. Slovenia is GORGEOUS. You certainly won’t be short of things to do in winter – Bled is still beautiful and there are hikes aplenty. But there’s a reason our Slovenia trips (intrepidtravel.com/slovenia) start in May – the landscapes are particularly lush and beautiful then. We also have a great trip for families in case you are interested! https://www.intrepidtravel.com/slovenia/slovenia-family-holilday-teenagers-108879

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Katja Rogelj December 7, 2017 - 11:35 pm

Now, that Lonely Planet put Julian Alps on the top 3 destinations to go in the World for 2018, Soča valley is a must see, as it’s in the heart of Slovene’s Alps and one of the most beautiful outdoor adventure hubs in Europe.

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Vesna November 3, 2017 - 12:43 am

Great bog post. You should have visited Soca valley as well. Maybe next time!!! Vesna

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Rob September 17, 2017 - 5:59 pm

Wow, you’re pictures are amazing! We picked up some fantastic tips here our own visit to Slovenia, such an incredible country! https://twomenabouttown.com/2017/09/17/twomenabouttown-big-brexit-tour-trip-3-croatia-and-slovenia-part-2-2meneutour/

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Myanmar travel March 23, 2017 - 3:00 pm

What about festivals, markets, food and hotel?

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Apartment Ljubljana Center January 12, 2017 - 6:21 am

What about the food! The food is awesome. Mediteranean, Slovenian, Balkan, Italian, Austrian, Hungarian, you’ll find just about anything here. 🙂 Try the local stuff: Žganci, Mohant, Potica, prekmurska gibanica, Blejska rezina, Kranjska klobasa, jota, ričet, Kraški pršut, teran, malvazija…

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Darinka August 17, 2016 - 3:46 pm

My father is Slovenian, my mother Croatian, I was born in Petrovina, 70km from Zagreb – we will be taking mum back there for a holiday as we promised her. According to my father much has changed, but I guess since the WW2 there would have been many changes, many stories, but a really beautiful part of the world of which I am very proud.

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Animsaj August 16, 2016 - 7:46 pm

pop in a few euros 😉

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David March 20, 2016 - 10:55 pm

Slovenia is definitely one of my favourite countries to visit in Eastern Europe. From its beautiful mountain ranges which are perfect for skiing in the winter to swimming in Lake Bled in summer. One of my favourite moments was taking a row boat out to the island to ring the bell. Such perfect scenery to enjoy a slow paddle and the day out on the water.
In terms of its capital city I love visiting Ljubljana. In summer there is always something happening with street performers or musicians in the streets, the fresh food markets everyday, plus lots of cheap eateries and cheap night life makes it a great place.
Im a fan of the very quirky Skeleton club, but was more of a fan when it was the underground Skeleton Bar found down that little alley way.

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andy van Emmerik March 20, 2016 - 11:30 am

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Bharat & Supriya March 19, 2016 - 2:53 am

Very insightful!

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