What Is Slovenia Known For? Here’s Why We Love Slovenia
We know, your travel bucket list is probably endless like yours. But can you really resist those dreams of a getaway in central Europe this summer? Slovenia is known around the world for its gorgeous snow capped mountains, emerald green lakes, intricate cave systems, and winding rivers.
The word Slovenia translates to “the loved one,” and you’re sure to fall in love with the country and its beautiful historic cities, unique European fare, exceptional wine, world-renowned hiking and skiing, and its warm and friendly people. Here’s the scoop on what simply can’t be missed when you visit Slovenia.
What is Slovenia Known For?
On Slovenia’s surface, it may seem like any other small country in central Europe. We’re here to help you dig deeper and get inspired for your trip to Slovenia!
Interesting Facts About Slovenia:
- Slovenia became an independent democratic republic in 1991, leaving Yugoslavia and joining the European Union.
- Slovenia is famous for its own breed of a majestic white horse, the Lipizzaner.
- Slovenia covers an area of almost 8,000 square miles and has a population of ~2 million.
- Slovenia is one of the most sustainable countries in the world, with its capital city Ljubljana, receiving the award for greenest capital in Europe in 2016.
- Slovenia’s national anthem is “Zdravljica” or “The Toast,” written by France Prešeren in 1844.
- Slovenia is home to more than 10,000 caves! Some of the most famous are found in Postojna Cave Park and at the Škocjan Caves.
- Slovenia has one vineyard for every 70 people, more than 28,000 in all (add that to the list of reasons to visit Slovenia!), and 94% of Slovenian wine is consumed in the country.
- Slovenia is home to a creature called the olm or the “human fish,” an aquatic, cave-dwelling, blind salamander. They get their weird nickname because of their pinkish skin color—similar to humans.
- Slovenian is the official language of the country and is spoken by the majority of the population, though Hungarian, Italian, Croatian, Serbian, and German are also common (Fear not! English is widely spoken and understood in most cities and popular tourist destinations).
What are the Popular Tourist Sites in Slovenia?
- Ljubljana. Rich with Slovenian culture and history, the capital city of Ljubljana is also the country’s biggest city by population. Outdoor cafes line the streets along the Ljubljana River between Old Town and the commercial district, where you can sample some of the best Slovenian wine from a local vineyard and fresh, authentic cuisine. The viewing point at Ljubljana Castle is the highest point in the city, from which you can see sweeping views of lakes, rolling hills, and the Julian Alps.
- Triglav National Park. Slovenia is one of the greenest countries in the Baltic Region, and Triglav National Park has endless natural beauty to explore! An easy day trip from Ljubljana or Lake Bled, the park is home to enchanting forested hiking trails, challenging mountain biking trails, the highest mountain in Slovenia, Mount Triglav, and breathtaking waterfalls among scenic, unspoiled nature.
- Valley of the Seven Triglav Lakes. One of the most popular areas in Triglav National Park is the Valley of Seven Lakes, which boasts some incredible hikes with seriously stunning Slovenian lake and river views. Make your way along the trails and catch glimpses of Mount Tičarica and Mount Zelnarica’s highest peaks, along with gorgeous views of all ten (yup, there are actually more than seven) lakes.
- Soča Valley. Slovenia’s Soča Valley is a popular adventure destination for rafting, padding, fly fishing, and canyoning. The most beautiful river in the country, the electric blue Soča River, The impressive Solkan Bridge is the longest stone arch railroad bridge in the world, originally built in 1905. It was destroyed by German forces during World War I, reconstructed, and reopened in 1927.
- Bled Castle and Lake Bled. Overlooking the picturesque, emerald green waters of Lake Bled, Bled Castle sits high on a cliffside and is the most visited attraction in Slovenia. The oldest castle in the country still in use today, the renaissance marvel celebrated its 1,000th birthday in 2011. From the city center, Bled Castle is only about a 5-minute drive. Once you park, the remaining walk on foot to the castle takes about 15 minutes.
- Predjama Castle. Ever been to a Renaissance-era castle… built into a cave on a cliff? Predjama Castle is more than 800 years old and carved from naturally formed caves on a 400-foot cliffside. It’s the largest cave castle on Earth, with secret tunnels running through the cave systems. Talk about gothic.
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What are the Outdoor Activities in Slovenia?
- Hike Mount Triglav via Ferrata. If adrenaline is your drug of choice, this hike is for you. Sitting at over 9,300 feet and one of the most epic hikes in Slovenia, Mount Triglav is the highest peak in the country and in the Julian Alps. Reaching the summit takes 1-2 days, depending on how much of a hiker you are. The views on this European peak are beyond breathtaking!
- Hiking the Trails at Vintar Gorge. The enchanting boardwalk trails at Vintgar Gorge travel over rushing rapids and canyons carved by the emerald green Radovna River, including the highest river waterfall in Slovenia.
- Paddleboard on Lake Bohinj. One of the best ways to experience the beauty of Lake Bohinj is by getting yourself out on it! Rent a paddle board and make your way across the crystal clear waters for a relaxing day on the lake.
- E-bike through Goriska Brda. Cruise your way through quaint country villages and rolling hillsides on an e-bike adventure through the vineyard region of Goriska Brda, known as “Slovenian Tuscany.” You’ll pass gorgeous scenery, old farm settlements, and plenty of chances to stop and sip some famous local wine.
- Caving in Postojna Cave Park. Take a train ride deep underground through Slovenia’s second largest cave system in Postojna Cave Park, one of the most visited attractions in the country!
- Swim in the Gulf of Trieste. Explore Koper, Izola and Piran, three historical towns with beautiful beaches and serene coasts.
What are the Cultural Events in Slovenia?
Culture and history are both alive and thriving in Slovenia, and this is a country that knows how to celebrate. Here are some of the best festivals held in Slovenia:
- Old Vine Festival. People in Slovenia take pride in their wine, and the long-standing tradition is celebrated at the Old Vine Festival in Maribor. The tasting of the first grapes is an important part of the ceremony, always done by the mayor. Watch the city come alive with celebration as you enjoy live music, street vendors, and art as you stroll and sip your wine.
- Planica. Slovenia has some of the best skiing in Europe, and the Planica sports festival takes place in the snowy Planica Valley, home to the largest ski flying hill in the world. If you’re looking for active experiences and year-round snow sports, this alpine paradise is where milestones are made and records are broken.
- Kravji Bal or “The Cow Ball”. Every September in Bohinj, the Kavji Bal or “Cow Ball” is held to celebrate the return of the shepherds and their herds from a summer of grazing in the beautiful alpine pastures of the Julian Alps. Crowds gather to witness the homecoming and listen to the many folk music ensembles, brass bands, orchestras, and other theatrical performances.
- Beer and Flower Festival. A celebration of culture and history, the Beer and Flower Festival in the city of Laško becomes the center of Slovenia for 3 days for the biggest summer festival in the country! Businesses brew fresh beer and wine, plant fresh flowers, and performers come from near and far to fill the streets with lively music. Don’t forget the FOOD! Vendors bust out the best street food and restaurants offer top-notch dining amid all the fun.
What Food is Slovenia Known For?
So what is Slovenia known for other than nature? Some of the most flavorful and unique combinations in the world. Here are the must-try staples of Slovenia:
- Wine. Slovenia is among the top-ranking wine growers in the world. So yeah—you can enjoy some damn good wine here! Taste and toast some of the best vino in the European region. The Istrian Countryside is especially picturesque and allows you to cycle from vineyard to winery and all take in the gorgeous scenery in between.
- Honey. Slovenia has a rich history of beekeeping and produces some of the finest honey in the world. Beekeepers take great pride in the tradition, and honey is immersed in tons of Slovenia’s cuisine. The lush, green environment is perfect for the honey bee, which thrives in the Slovenian countryside.
- Kremna rezina. Do not miss your chance to try this famous dish! This delectable dessert is layered with cream, custard, and puff pastry to make for the ultimate sweet escape in Slovenia. Cafes across the country will offer this treat. We suggest finding one with a view as delicious as your kremna rezina.
- Idrijski žlikrofi. This dumpling dish is made from minced pork, ham, potatoes, onions, and spices served up in a thick, creamy sauce of mutton ox or rabbit… sorry, is your mouth watering too?? Find these delicious little morsels at just about any restaurant in the Idrija area in western Slovenia.
- Kranjska klobasa. Kind of like a Slovenian take on a hot dog, this traditional sausage is hot on lots of menus across the country. Made with pork, ham, bacon, and a secret blend of seasoning, this link pairs perfectly with a side of sauerkraut and mustard or horseradish sauce.
Ready to Explore Slovenia?
Yeah—we had a feeling you would be once you got the facts about Slovenia! This hidden gem has everything you could possibly imagine for a dream rendezvous in Europe. Mountains, lakes, rivers, fine wines, and amazing food? We’re there, so JOIN US! The travel gurus at Explorer Chick have organized the ultimate Slovenia vacation just for you.
Our small-group tour includes hut-to-hut hiking in the Julian Alps, soaking in the thermal springs at Lake Bled, exploring Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj, and an e-bike tour complete with wildflower foraging, weaving through orchards and olive groves, a stop at a local lavender farm, and oh yeah—WINE! Check out our trips and book your perfect Slovenia excursion with an incredible group of adventure gals!
Meet the Writer
April is an adventure lover and freelance writer based in New England, with a passion for public lands, wild places, and all things outdoors. She loves camping in any form and spends as many weekends as she can hiking New Hampshire’s highest peaks, or road-tripping with her sweet dog Marley. If not in the mountains, you can find her planning her next expedition or caring for one of her far-too-many-houseplants.
Favorite outdoor adventure: National Parks Hiking and Road Trips!
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