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Slovenia Adventure Travel Guide

Although tiny, Slovenia is huge for outdoors adventures. With the third highest proportion of forested land and the greatest proportion of protected natural areas in the EU, Slovenia is an outdoors playground. Add to that the Alps and Dinaric Mountains, and the legendary Postojna caves in Slovenia’s Karst Plateau on the Mediterranean coast, and you have a topography made for outdoors adventures. With two ranges of rugged mountains, mountain biking in Slovenia is unbeatable. Add to that landscape a multitude of rivers and it’s easy to see why whitewater rafting and kayaking in Slovenia are world-class. With both mountains and a limestone coastline, canyoning in Slovenia is unlike anywhere else in the world.

Place

Slovenia

Location

Slovenia is located on the border between Central and Southeastern Europe and shares borders with Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, Austria to the north, Italy to the west, and has a short coastline Adriatic Seas.

Major Cities in Slovenia

The capital and largest city in Slovenia is the capital Ljublijana. The only other city with a population over 100,000 is Maribor.

Geography of Slovenia

At 20,273 square kilometers (7,827 square miles) Slovenia is about half the size of Switzerland and twice the size of Jamaica. 10,124 square kilometers (3,909 square miles) of that, a whopping 58.5% is covered in forests, the third largest proportion in Europe after Finland and Sweden. Despite this, there is relatively little logging. The interior forests are, like much of Europe, mostly oak and beech. The mountains contain species better adapted to the Alpine environment like spruce, fir, and pine.

The majority of Slovenia is mountainous. Most of the north is considered Alpine it’s northern border with Austria runs through the Alps. Central and most of southern Slovenia are covered by the Dinaric Mountains. The eastern and northeastern regions are part of the Pannonian plain and are thus quite flat, while the Karst Plateau in the southwest is largely made up of limestone and, in addition to being home to Slovenia’s 46.6-kilometere coastline on the Adriatic sea, is renowned for its numerous underground rivers and gullys and world-famous caves. The most famous of these caves—and they are very famous—include the Postojna Cave and the Skocjan Caves, which comprise on of the largest underground canyons in the world and are a Unesco World Heritage Site.

The highest peak in Slovenia is Triglav in the northwest at 2,864 m (9,396 ft). It is also the namesake of the nation’s largest national park, Triglav National Park. Slovenia value their country’s wilderness, and the government has accordingly established 286 Natura 2000 sites—260 for habitat and 26 for wild birds—to a total of 36% of the country’s total area. That’s the highest proportion in the EU. If you want pristine untouched wilderness, there are few countries better than Slovenia.

Weather and Climate in Slovenia

Because of the wide variety of geography in Slovenia the climate varies in different parts of the country. Slovenia has a pleasant Mediterranean climate on the coast. The eastern part of the country has a cooler and more varied continental climate, and the mountains have a cool Alpine climate. Precipitation varies widely across the country.

Slovenia Description

Located on the border between central and eastern Europe, and with a varied geography including mountains, plains, and Mediterranean beaches, and a history steeped in culture and religion, Slovenia is can be thought as the heart of Europe, both literally and figuratively. Slovenia is well developed and has the highest GDP of all new EU member states with an economy comparable to those of South Korea and New Zealand. Wealth is concentrated in the west of the country and visible affluence changes considerably as one travels east.

Slovenia has a strong tourism industry because of its historical sites and incredible geography. One can drive to from the Mediterranean beach in Koper to Triglav National Park (home to the country’s highest peak, the scenic Lake Bled, and the Soca Valley) in just two hours. The unique geography of the Karst Plateau is also a major draw. The Postojna Cave alone attracts 28 million visitors each year, and the Skocjan Caves, a Unesco World Heritage Site, are also brings many visitors. The area surrounding Maribor, the country’s second-largest city, is renowned for its vinyards. English is more commonly spoken than in most European countries, making it fairly easy to get around.

Slovenia Outdoors Adventure Highlights

  • The Unesco-listed Postojna caves in Slovenia are a natural marvel and the longest publicly accessible depth of any cave system in the world.
  • Mountain biking in Slovenia is a fantastic way to enjoy the expansive forests this country is renowned for.
  • With a rugged landscape and multitudes of rivers, whitewater rafting and kayaking in Slovenia are plentiful and among the best in Europe.
  • The unique limestone geography of the Krast Plateau make canyoning in Slovenia an otherworldly experience.

Slovenia Outdoors Adventure Activities

• Scuba diving (wreck, reef, cave)
• Snorkeling
• Sailing
• Kitesurfing
• Windsurfing
• Paragliding
• Hang gliding
• Sky diving
• Bungee jumping
• Hot air ballooning
• Whitewater rafting
• Kayaking (river, lake, sea)
• Hydrospeed/riverboarding
• Canoeing
• Caving and spelunking
• Hiking/trekking (all levels)
• Via Ferrata
• Canyoning
• Rock climbing (all levels)
• Ice climbing
• Abseiling/rappelling
• Mountain Biking (novice to expert)
• Horseback Riding
• Skiing and snowboarding
• Cross-country skiing

Budget Travel in Slovenia

• Hostels in Slovenia are a bit cheaper than those in most of Europe, with dorm beds in Ljublijana starting around $21 USD in places like Hostel Azur and Hostel & Hotel Print
Check out this page for a full list of Slovenia hostels.
• Slovenia restaurants are also quite reasonable with meals starting around $7.50 USD. Many Slovenia bars will also have decently prices snacks, and beers starting around $3 USD.

Travel Insurance

I like to use World Nomads. It’s not too expensive and signing up is fast and straightforward. They also have pretty good coverage for sports equipment like surf and snowboards, but it varies depending on your country of origin, so be sure double check. You can get a free quote on their website.

Slovenia Photos

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Images (in order) courtesy jsouthorngaetankus.schmitzPaul AppletondokiaiKalense Kidhdzimmermann29cm29cmMassimiliano Tessaris Photography ©Lauras Eye, and rucativava on Flickr.

Suggested Reading

Click on the images for more information

Slovenia Map


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The information on this page was provided by My Slovenia Info. If you want to know more about Slovenia they are the people to ask.

Disclosure: If you purchase insurance, book a hostel, or purchase one of the recommended books on this page using the links provided, I will receive a small commission. I do not, however, recommend these products simply to make money. I recommend World Nomads travel insurance because I use it myself and feel that they offer a good product that suits my needs at a fair price. I recommend Hostelbookers.com because they have the cheapest booking prices that I have seen online and a large selection, and I recommend the selected books from Amazon.com because they have reputations for quality information and were up to date at the time of writing.If you have found my blog useful I hope that you will consider purchasing some of these products using the links on this page to help me to continue providing free information about adventure travel around the world.
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11 Responses to Slovenia Adventure Travel Guide

  1. David Robertson August 14, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    Hi Matt,
    A nice review of my favourite destination. We have been going there for 10 years now and will be going back again. Just one point that you might want to correct, Triglav is in the northwest of the country.

    We have had some superb holidays there. Mainly walking in the Julian Alps but other areas offer good walking too.

    Cheers

    David

    • Matt August 14, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

      You’re totally right! Thanks very much for the heads up David. I’ll fix that right away.

  2. Jeremy Branham August 14, 2011 at 9:59 pm #

    Good write up Matt! There’s probably no one out there who has written more about Slovenia recently that me. Love the country! I have a friend who is a tour guide from Slovenia and I’ve worked with the Slovenia tourist board on a couple of posts giving people a nice overview of Slovenia. Probably no bigger champion for this country than me!

    • Matt Gibson August 15, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

      Nice. When I head over there I will definitely get in touch with you first. Sounds like you have some wicked contacts there.

  3. Shirlene from Idelish August 15, 2011 at 2:16 am #

    Great write up! It’s so thoroughly written that I’ve bookmarked it for when we visit Slovenia! When would you recommend to be the best time to visit?

    • Matt Gibson August 15, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

      Hi Shirlene. I’m glad you liked it. When to go definitely depends on what you want to do. If you’re interested in hiking and kayaking and the like, then summer would be best. But if you want to go skiing then, of course, winter is the time.

  4. Josh Aggars August 16, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    Hi Matt,

    You also missed off the fact they seem to get drawn against England in every Euro or World Cup qualifying campaign (or maybe that’s just my memory). Whilst that is no doubt of little interest to most for me it always heralds the thought ‘I really must go to Slovenia finally and catch an England away match whilst I’m at it’… never turns out that way though.

    Great write up dude. When I do go I’ll print this out before hand.

    Cheers
    Josh

    • Matt Gibson August 16, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

      Ha ha. Yeah, football (I actually almost wrote soccer) isn’t really my thing. I like it and all, but I don’t really watch many sports…or TV for that matter. Glad ya liked it!

  5. Lisa August 16, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    Matt, Great information. I have wanted to see Slovenia for a while. Friends have visited and said many good things. I love the photo of Lake Bled.

    • Matt Gibson August 17, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

      Thanks very much Lisa. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  6. Marko from Travel Photo Blogging August 21, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    Nice post!

    This definitely is the kind of info one would need when planning a visit to Slovenia. Although it is not all that famous yet, I strongly recommend a visit to this little gem of a country before tourists overrun it.

    I’d say nature is the strongest point of Slovenia.

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