Sustainable tourism is a huge consideration for many people looking for travel inspiration right now. Slovenia ranks highly in this category, thanks to its emergence as a trendy destination during a time when an ethical way of exploring new places comes to the forefront. Here’s a look at a country that’s making the most of its natural beauty and the great outdoors.
Here at Culture Trip, we’ve seen a massive rise in searches for Slovenia in recent years. The picturesque Lake Bled is always a big draw, with misty scenes that make for perfect social-media posts. The great thing about this Central European country is that it lives up to its own hype, guaranteeing fantastic value for money, a wide selection of enchanting places to explore and a lack of crowds even during peak season.
Ljubljana, the cultural and economic centre of Slovenia, has been designed to make the most of its natural parks and historic architecture, creating an environment that is easy to navigate even on your first visit. There are many must-visit attractions in the capital, but even if you’re just after a relaxing short break, you can simply wander around the pretty streets and narrow pathways at your leisure.
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One of the reasons Slovenia is seen as a sustainable tourist destination is that it can entice visitors to different corners of the country with relative ease. In the northwest is the Julian Alps, home to Lake Bled, while on the border with Austria you’ll find several outstanding ski resorts that are among the best in Europe. Winter-sports enthusiasts looking for a fresh challenge should consider this region instead of the more traditional yet overcrowded locations such as Switzerland and Austria.
To the west, Slovenia shares a border with Italy, and in the south, there’s an even longer connection with Croatia. Slovenia is an important crossroads between countries – a reputation that has seen it influence its neighbours and vice versa. As such, the majority of tourists who enter the country come from Italy, Germany, Austria and Croatia. Many bring their own vehicles or rent when they arrive, as the road network stretches throughout the country. While there is a train service here and regular buses, your best bet to get around is your own set of wheels.
Let’s start with an unlikely candidate. There are several luxury hotels in Ljubljana perfect for romantic holidays, but how about a night behind bars instead? This former prison (no really) has converted each cell into rooms with a difference, with walls featuring works of art to transport you away from the building’s previous life. We think a stay with a difference is one of those experiences that will remain with you for a long time after your holiday, although perhaps don’t ask for porridge for breakfast.
At Vila Bled, you have direct access to Lake Bled for water-based adventures, or you can simply relax on the terrace while taking in the fairytale views. The hotel also has an award-winning restaurant, specialising in seasonal and local ingredients. We previously picked out this property as a candidate for the ultimate minimoon escape.
We haven’t spoken much about the coast yet, so here’s our chance, with this remarkable hotel. This property claims to be only five steps from the sea, and from looking at the pictures, that seems about right to us as well. The town of Piran is famed for its medieval architecture, and this boutique hotel is a budget-friendly place to stay as you start to explore the setting.
Also on the coast, the Kempinski Palace Portorož takes a far more luxurious approach. The timeless decor is reminiscent of the grand hotels that once attracted the rich and famous to far-flung destinations, but this is a modern classic fit for today’s discerning traveller. It’s about as glamorous as it gets, and we all deserve a bit of that at the moment.
The Culture Trip list features places with a feel-good factor that we can’t wait to visit in 2021 and beyond (once we can travel again). It celebrates travel that’s good and makes you feel good. The destinations are dedicated to sustainability; they offer something new and exciting, or an unforgettable moment that will make us fall in love all over again with the world we’ve missed in 2020.
Culture Trip compiled the list based on insights and recommendations from its global community of travel experts and local insiders, combined with search data from millions of users from around the world to understand interest in those destinations.