20,273 sq km (7,827 sq miles).
2 million (2014).
98.1 per sq km.
Head of state:
President Borut Pahor since 2012.
Head of government:
Prime Minister Miro Cerar since 2014.
230 volts AC, 50Hz. European plugs with two round pins are standard.
Green, clean and keen to please, Slovenia might lack the pulling power of its heavyweight neighbours, but this charming country is rich in rewards for travellers willing to take a punt.
Sandwiched between Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, this diminutive nation occupies a picturesque pocket of Europe, which is characterised by verdant valleys, glacial lakes and snow-capped mountains.
Slovenia has been greatly influenced by the countries surrounding it; the baroque architecture, ancient castles and sophisticated cuisine are evocative of western neighbours, while the quaint rural villages, Slavic language and low prices have a decidedly eastern flavour.
But, ultimately, Slovenia has its own identity. The first of the former Yugoslavian states to join the EU, the country is a progressive, forward-thinking nation and its people are easygoing and welcoming to outsiders.
Most travellers begin their Slovenian adventure in the capital, Ljubljana, a charming university city whose resident academics give the place a youthful vibe. Carved in two by the Ljubljana River, the city is peppered with cafés, independent shops and a gamut of excellent restaurants. It has a laidback vibe and a calm ambiance, unlike most capitals on the continent.
But it’s when you step outside the capital that Slovenia showcases her true charms; the beautiful Adriatic coastal towns; the rolling vineyards of Jeruzalem-Ormož; the picture-perfect lake Bled; the caves of Postojna and Škocjan; and the black ski runs of Kranjska Gora.
Slovenia is a particularly attractive proposition to outdoor enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies, who can try anything from cycling, hiking and paragliding to white-water rafting, caving and mountaineering. Less adventurous visitors occupy themselves basking on beaches, people-watching in cafés and quaffing some of the country’s excellent wines.
However you spend your time in Slovenia, you‘ll probably leave wondering why more people haven’t cottoned on to her many charms. But, ultimately, her quiet beauty and understated elegance make Slovenia all the more appealing.
Last updated: 18 October 2015
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. ‘We’ refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Take care in busy tourist areas.
Foreign visitors and residents can be targeted by scam artists. Scams can cause great financial loss. If you receive an e-mail claiming to be from HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) offering a tax refund on provision of your bank details you should make absolutely sure that it is not part of a scam.
Vignettes for motorway travel are available for weekly, monthly or yearly periods, and can be purchased at petrol stations and DARS (the Slovenian Motorway Company) offices in Slovenia as well as outlets in neighbouring countries near the Slovene border. The Vignette is compulsory for all vehicles under 3.5 tonnes in weight. Police monitor motorway use, and stop motorists who do not have a Vignette. Failure to have or display a Vignette will lead to an on-the-spot fine of up to €800.
Winter equipment is mandatory from 15 November until 15 March. Your car must be equipped with either winter tyres, or have snow chains and radial tyres with at least 4mm tread depth. You can be fined 125 Euros for not having this equipment, or 417 Euros if you cause a delay on the road for the same reason.
By law, you must have your headlights on at all times, while driving in Slovenia. You are also required to carry a reflective jacket, a warning triangle and a first aid kit in the vehicle. If you intend to hire a car and drive it into Slovenia you must declare this to the car hire company first, as you must have adequate car insurance cover. Heavy on-the-spot fines are in place for traffic offences and jaywalking. The police are empowered to impose on-the-spot fines for offences including speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol and for using mobile phones without properly installed wireless headsets (Bluetooth).
For the latest traffic conditions, check the PIC Traffic Information Centre website.
In 2013 there were 125 road deaths in Slovenia (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 6.1 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2013.
See the European Commission,AA and RAC guides on driving in Slovenia.
If you are planning a skiing or mountaineering holiday, contact the Slovenian Tourist Board in the UK (telephone: 0870 225 5305) for advice on weather and safety conditions before travelling. Off-piste skiing is highly dangerous. Follow all safety instructions meticulously. There is a danger of avalanches in some areas.
Ljubljana is a small capital city and an increasingly popular destination. You should arrange accommodation before travelling.