How do I get to Slovenia?
Ljubljana is Slovenia's largest city and home of its largest airport. There are direct flights from 20+ European cities, as well as good train and bus connections. From a major US city, you can expect your flight to have at least one layover on your way to Slovenia.
How big is Slovenia?
Slovenia covers 7,827 square miles (about the size of New Jersey) and hosts a population of just over 2 million. Slovenia is one of Europe's smallest countries and the US is 485 times as large. For such a small country, there's a lot to see—here's a primer on the country's Best Places to Visit.
Do I need a visa for Slovenia?
If you're American, the answer is no. Americans can travel visa-free in the Schengen Zone (the borderless portion of mainland Europe, which includes Slovenia) for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. For stays longer than 90 days, you'll need a long-stay visa, which you can learn about on the Slovenian embassy website.
Is Slovenia a safe place to travel?
Yes! In 2017, Slovenia was ranked as one of the safest countries in the world. Crime rates are extremely low and the police are reliable here.
Is Slovenia a good family destination?
Definitely. Slovenia is an excellent destination for outdoor adventures or city breaks with kids. You'll find plenty of swimming, boating, stand-up paddling, and waterside fun at Lake Bled and the Soca Valley offers white water rafting, canyoning, and hiking adventures that are kid-friendly.
Ljubljana's funicular, castle, mini train, science center, and sprawling Tivoli Park are all good destinations for families with children. Older children will also find the city's "escape rooms" and outdoor markets fun.
When's the best time of year to visit?
For outdoor activities and bustling towns, summer is the best time to plan a trip to Slovenia. You'll find Ljubljana bursting with food festivals and live outdoor music, Lake Bled perfect for swimming, and the Alps primed for hiking, cycling, and rafting adventures. Luckily, Slovenia's still a bit off the beaten track, so even though things get lively in the summer, you won't encounter nearly as many crowds as you'll find in other major European destinations.
If you prefer a quieter vacation, plan your trip in the spring or autumn. In late September and October, the fall colors in the Alps rival those of New England. In the spring, you'll have the countryside mostly to yourself and off-season pricing makes it easy to vacation on a budget. If you plan to visit in spring or fall, though, don't forget your rain gear: the Alps get much of their rainfall this time of year (learn more about the Best Time to Visit the Julian Alps).
Slovenia is also a great destination for skiing, winter sports, and charming, snow-dusted European villages. If this sounds delightful to you, book your vacation between December and March (learn more about Slovenia's winter activities here).
For more information on when to visit Slovenia, read this article.
How many days should I spend in Slovenia?
Most people who visit Slovenia wish they'd stayed longer - so give yourself plenty of time! For just a taste of what the country has to offer, plan for at least four days. And if you want to stay longer? It's easy to fill up a week with everything from cave exploration to white water rafting to six-course dinners in the Alps. Here's an article with more guidance.
I don't speak the language. Can I travel independently?
Yes! In cities and popular tourist areas, you'll find that most people—especially young people—speak fluent English. In fact, Slovenia took 6th place in the world for fluency in English.
Is Slovenia expensive?
No. Slovenia is one of the more affordable countries in Europe. At the time of this writing, living costs in Slovenia are about 50% lower than the USA. At the time of writing, a meal in a budget restaurant will run you about $8 USD in Slovenia. A cappuccino averages $1.50. And a train ticket from Ljubljana to Lake Bled will cost you around $7.
How do I get around Slovenia?
Trains and buses are clean, reliable, and easy to navigate in Slovenia. You'll also find plenty of walking and cycling paths if you prefer to get around on foot or by bike. If you want to visit somewhere remote (like the wildly popular Hiša Franko restaurant and guesthouse), you can always rent a car, but for the most part, you don't need to and getting around without a car is typically cheaper and easier.
What currency is used? Are credit cards widely accepted?
Slovenia is on the euro and you'll find most places take credit cards. It's always a good idea to carry a little cash, though, for markets, street vendors, or small purchases (shops may have minimum purchase amounts if you want to use a card).
Is there a tipping culture in Slovenia?
Tipping is not obligatory in Slovenia. In restaurants, locals typically just round up on the check, and tourists can follow suit. It's also polite to give a euro or two to hotel staff and taxi drivers, and some hotels may include a service fee in the room price. For excellent service, feel free to tip up to 10%.
What should I pack?
This depends on what time of year you're visiting! If you're coming in winter, bring a good coat and plenty of cold-weather gear, especially if you plan to visit the mountains and do some skiing in the Julian Alps. If you're coming in the fall or spring, pack a good raincoat and wear layers. The weather can be warm some days and cool on others. In September, you might even find it warm enough to swim. In the summer, dress for heat and bring your bathing suit and plenty of sunscreen.
What's the food like?
Slovenian food is influenced by Italian, Austrian, Croatian, and Hungarian food and you'll find lots of special unique treats here. Pumpkin seed oil is popular (and you can find it any fresh market), as are local wines. Keep an eye out for Slovenian versions of goulash, gnocchi, and strudel. For a popular foodie experience, look no further than Hiša Franko, a restaurant run by the top female chef in the world.
Eating in Slovenia is one of the country's great local experiences—check out this article for a few more.
What type of electrical adaptor will I need?
Slovenia uses typical European outlets for the Europlug (the two-pole plug with round pins, rated up to 250 volts and currents up to 250 volts), so any European adapter should do. Take a look at your electronics and other plug-in devices to check for voltage compatability—you may need a converter as well. And note that the UK uses different plugs, so if you're hitting mainland Europe and the British Isles in the same trip, you'll need more than one adapter.