From canyoning on the Soča River to taking a brine bath in an outdoor spa surrounded by nature, Slovenia offers a variety of experiences including places to visit, activities to partake in, food to try, and so much more. To help you make the most of your time, take a look at our list of things to see and do when visiting this Eastern European country to make your trip even more unforgettable.
Water sports enthusiasts will enjoy spending time amid the country’s lakes, rivers, and streams of all sizes. While SUP (stand-up paddle boarding) is arguably the most popular activity on lakes and at the seaside, Slovenia’s beautiful rivers lend themselves more to rafting and kayaking, especially on the pristine Soča River. Adventurous travelers and adrenalin junkies should try canyoning, where under guided supervision groups or individuals cross canyons by scaling waterfalls and sliding along natural water chutes.
One of the best way to get to know a country is through its traditional food, and locals in Slovenia are always happy to introduce their traditional specialties. In Prekmurje, visitors can enjoy bograč (a thick stew) for lunch and prekmurska gibanica (a layered pastry) for dessert. When visiting Bled, trying kremna rezina (a chantilly and custard cream cake) while enjoying the beautiful views is a must. Across the country, kranjska klobasa (a sausage), is one of the best-known dishes, and is served with sour turnips or sauerkraut. When in Slovenia visitors should also try potica (a traditional festive cake) that has been served for centuries at holidays and important celebrations.
Aside from the usual hotels, hostels, and B&Bs, Slovenia also has some extraordinary accommodation options for its visitors. Among them, the herdsmen’s cottages on Velika Planina plateau allow visitors to experience a way of life still very much present in the modern era. Though the cottages come equipped with modern amenities, they also provide the charm of the herdsmen’s simple lifestyle. In the morning, a typical herdsmen’s breakfast (milk or buckwheat) is a great way for visitors to taste traditional food and get their energy for the adventures ahead.
The underworld of Slovenia hides thousands of caves. Those open to the public reveal the incredible beauty of the karst formations that have been forming for millions for years. One of the most significant caves in Slovenia – and the world – are the Škocjan caves, which house the largest known underground canyon in the world. Their beauty and unique formations are among the many reasons why they were added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites in 1986.
Slovenia has a long and rich tradition of producing wine in both small and large wineries. Wine tours are available throughout the year, but autumn is when most wine-related events take place. In September, visitors cannot only taste the delicious wine, but they can also participate in harvesting the grapes, while October sees St. Martin’s Day, Slovenia’s biggest wine-related holiday, when events held all over the country celebrate the must (young wine) being made into Slovenia’s finest vintages. The extensive selection of excellent local wines makes Slovenia a great destination for all wine lovers.
Hiking is one of the best ways to see and admire the natural beauty that this country has to offer. Slovenia’s plentiful trails are suitable for everyone, from experienced hikers through to those looking for a casual day trip. Many mountains and hills have restaurants at the summit – some open every day, others just on the weekend – where hikers can recharge their batteries with local food and beverages. Smaller hills are suitable for hiking year-round, but visitors should conquer the bigger mountains between July and September. Experienced hikers will enjoy the climb to the top of Triglav, the country’s highest mountain, to take in the magnificent views across Slovenia.
Around the country, Slovenia offers music festivals throughout the year. In the capital city, Ljubljana Jazz, The Druga Godba Festival, and Ljubljana Festival have a long tradition of representing great music. In Maribor, Lent Festival (the largest outdoor festival in Slovenia) has been going for almost thirty years, and transforms the city into a festival setting, while Tolmin, a small northwestern town surrounded by crystal-clear water, mountains, gorges, and forest, first hosted the MetalDays festival in 2004. Since then, other events have discovered this beautiful setting and every year more and more festivals come to Slovenia’s beautiful lands.
Sometimes it’s nice to take the time to relax body and mind. Nowhere is this more readily available than at Slovenia’s seaside, where the calming sound of waves, delicious food, and friendly people will help visitors experience a sense of tranquility. In Portorož, spa hotels in the town center offer wellness treatments and relaxation in the form of saunas, an ice room, a whirlpool, and an ice-water pool, while for those who prefer to relax outside, Lepa Vida Thalasso Spa in Seča is a must. Located in the middle of salt fields, this one of a kind spa uses the healing power of salt – after a relaxing massage, guests can relax in a healing brine or a salt pan bath while enjoying the sounds of nature.