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Tiny Slovenia, hemmed into the Adriatic by Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, packs a lot into its diminutive proportions. In Slovenia there are lovely lakes and towering mountains, rural backwaters and a cosmopolitan capital – and the best thing is, you can see it all in a relatively short amount of time: small is beautiful!

Slovenia is a great destination for adventure-lovers – the hills are perfect for walking, the rivers exciting to raft, there are some spectacular caves to spelunk, the proportions perfect for getting around by bike. But take time out from the activities to tour Slovenia’s mouth-watering wineries, roam its romantic castles and join the locals in a country inn for a raucous evening of folk music.

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Take to the pristine waters of Lake Bled by boat, mountain trek in the Julian Alps, or speed down gorges on a raft. Slovenia is Europe’s hidden gem of unspoilt landscapes and off-beat adventure…
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Wanderlust recommends

Hike in the Julian Alps of Triglav National Park

Kayak the gentle rapids below Lake Bohinj

Delve into the vast caverns at Skocjan

People-watch from the pavement cafés of laid-back capital Ljubljana

Sail out to the fairytale castle floating on Lake Bled

Listen to traditional music and folk tales in Adlesici, a taste of the old-school Slovenia

Wonder at the gravity-defying magnificence of Predjama Castle

Wanderlust tips

Lace up your hiking boots: small Slovenia has over 7,000km of walking trails, marked by a red circle with a white middle; the Alpine Association of Slovenia, based in Ljubljana produces maps and other info.

Public toilets aren’t that widespread; you usually have to pay a small fee to use them.

Motorcycles, cars and vans must carry a vignette in order to drive on any Slovenian motorway or the Ljubljana ring road.

When to go to Slovenia

Slovenia has warm summers, mild spring and autumn weather, and harsh winters – though these are good for skiing in the Alps. The average temperature is 20°C-plus in July, and around 0°C in January.

May and June can be wet, and snow lingers in the mountains, but the wildflowers are profuse. June-September is best for hiking.

International airports

Ljubljana International (LJU) 26km from Ljubljana.

Getting around in Slovenia

Several local bus companies link towns across Slovenia, with a more limited service at the weekends. Trains are slow; Slovenia has a few steam train services, great for spotters.

Hiring a car is the best way to explore, giving maximum flexibility and access to more remote, and appealing, areas. Cycling is a wonderful way to explore.

Slovenia accommodation

Campgrounds in Slovenia are cheap and widespread, and great ways of staying in remote countryside locations; many sites have bungalows for rent if you don’t have a tent. There are basic huts in some mountain regions.

Farmstays are a fun and immersive option; you may get to help with the chores. Rustic guesthouses are good budget options. There are high-end hotels; prices will be far higher in summer.

Slovenia food & drink

Slovenia’s cuisine borrows influences from Austria, Hungary, the Balkans and Italy to create an interesting eating experience. Meals are often meat-based – pork, veal and beef are the most common, plus cured meats such as salami and proscuitto. Breads are good, soups a hearty starter.

Vegetarians might struggle in Slovenia, though salads are popular. Cheesy dumplings are another good non-meat option.

Slovenia produces lots of wine, some of it excellent (though cheap stuff often tastes just that). Try reds from the Primorska region and the Zlata Radgonska Penina sparkling white. Pivo (beer) is very popular; the main brands are Union and Zlatorog. Espresso and Turkish coffee are common.

Health & safety in Slovenia

No specific jabs are required for Slovenia but check with your GP before travelling. Take high-factor sunscreen.

Tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease, are present in Slovenia – wear repellent and check yourself for ticks after walking in wilderness areas.