Slovenia may be small and compact, but it's beauty will transport you into a fairy-tale like state. The world renowned Lake Bled, the many dramatic castles perched high on hill tops or jutting out of mountains and the mesmerising underground cave systems of Postojna and Skocjan are enough to draw you in. But it is also home to the insanely beautiful beaches of Piran and the bright turquoise rivers of the Triglav National Park, Soca Valley and Vintgar Gorge. Slovenia’s capital city, Ljubljana, feels romantic with its beautiful cobbled streets and gorgeous architecture, and the famous Lipica, one of the oldest stud farms in Europe, makes for a fascinating day out. Not only is this country unbelievably beautiful, it is relatively inexpensive and easy to navigate.
Climate in Slovenia
Slovenia is typically European in its climate with two distinct seasons, summer and winter. However, because Slovenia has a variety of different terrains, it has many different climate conditions. The northeastern part of Slovenia has a continental climate (cold winters and humid summers), the mountainous regions receive a lot of snow and can be extremely cold in the winter months, and the coastal regions have a sub-mediterranean climate where the summer months are longer and the winter months are mild, albeit wet!!
January is the coldest month with daytime temperatures dropping to below 0°C (32°F), and even colder in the mountainous regions of the north. During the winter months of December and January, rainfall is likely and in the mountainous regions, heavy snowfall and snowstorms are common. During the summer months of May to September, temperatures vary between 20-26°C (68-79°F), occasionally reaching 30°C (86°F). July and August are the best times to visit, with average daytime temperatures of 22°C (72°F).
Currency in Slovenia
Since January 2007, Slovenia has adopted the Euro, leaving behind their existing currency of the tolar. At the time of writing the conversion rate is as follows: €1 = $1.12 USD
Slovenia has a great banking system and plenty of ATMs throughout the cities and towns. Most ATMs will charge you to withdrawn money, but there are some that offer free withdrawals to customers who bank with partner institutions. Do your homework beforehand and always choose to pay in local currency, this refers to withdrawing money as well as paying over the counter. This will avoid extreme charges and poor exchange rates. If you are exploring Slovenia for its stunning countryside, I would suggest having plenty of cash on you, the more rural you go, the less likely you are to find ATMs. The main banks you will see in Slovenia are:
- Unicredit Bank
- NLB Bank
- SKB Bank
- Sparkasse Bank
Go Travel and Talk Top Tip: Always let you bank know beforehand when you are travelling abroad. This will hopefully prevent them from freezing your card.
Getting Around Slovenia
The main mode of public transport in Slovenia is bus. Slovenia is a beautifully compact country and it is very easy to navigate with an exceptional transport system. You can jump on a bus and travel around the cities, towns and across other European countries really easily, with most international buses stopping in the capital city of Ljubljana. For these international journeys, the green FlixBus coaches are becoming increasingly popular for their seamless service and budget friendly prices. Within Slovenia, buses travel from cities, through towns and out into the rural areas at all times of the day. You can buy your ticket from the driver or at the bus station, if you are coming from a major town or city. If you don't want to carry money with you all the time, you can purchase a Urbana Card from the Tourist Information centre or any newsagents in Ljubljana, which can be topped up as much as you like. The average price for a bus journey within Ljubljana city is €1.20 ($1.40).
Another way to travel is by train. Trains run to Slovenia daily from other European cities, either during the day or as sleeper trains running throughout the night, and they are super clean and comfortable. Slovenia is also part of the Euro Global Pass which is a great way to explore Europe.
The main train station in Ljubljana and it has very good links to other major towns/cities throughout the country, tickets can be bought online, on the train or at the train station. For a map of the Slovenia's rail network, click here. Prices for trains are dependent upon where you are traveling to; for a ticket from Ljubljana to Lake Bled, it costs €8.50 ($10) and around from Ljubljana to any of the border points in Slovenia it costs around €18 ($15).
Probably the best way to explore Slovenia is by hiring a car, although it can work out a little bit more expensive than buses. However, it gives you flexibility and it can be more time effective. If you plan in advance, you can hire a car for as little as €100 ($85) for 1 week, but you will need to pay a deposit and a little extra for the insurance. The roads are very well maintained and signposted, connecting you to pretty much anywhere you want to go. I would strongly advise booking this in advance and picking the car up at Ljubljana Airport or in Ljubljana's city centre, there are plenty of companies to choose from.
Travel Insurance for Slovenia
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries and it is the only travel insurance we will ever use! It is designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
WorldNomads.com is backed by a suite of strong and specialist travel insurers who provide you with great cover, 24 hour emergency assistance and the highest levels of support. The WorldNomads.com prices are some of the most competitive online and if you need to change plans, you can buy more cover or claim online while you are still away. You can even buy a World Nomads policy if you're already travelling. They also offer travel safety advice and tips online through the World Nomads Travel Safety Hub and WorldNomads.com members can learn the local lingo through a series of iPod & iPhone Language Guides and can stay in touch with family and friends with an online travel journal. You can find out more about why travel insurance is important for your trip. If you have any questions about your travel insurance or travel safety in general, please contact WorldNomads.com directly.
Medical Advice for Slovenia
Whilst I did not have any vaccinations for Slovenia, the World Health Organisation recommends that you should have the following. These can be booked through your doctor. If you would like more information, check out Fit for Travel.
- Hepatitis A and B (for protection against contaminated food/water).
What to pack for Slovenia
- Long sleeved tops and long comfortable walking trousers if you are hiking
- Dresses / shorts / light clothes for the beach
- Warm clothes for cooler cities & hiking ~ scarf, hat, gloves, jumpers, jackets
- Quick dry towel
- Waterproof clothing / rain poncho - I suggest both!
- Walking shoes / walking boots / trainers / sandals
- Money belt
- Bug spray and sunscreen
- Battery pack / electronics
- First aid kit
- Padlocks x3
- Packing cubes. Go for different colours to separate your clean and dirty clothes!
- Life Straw. This is an amazing accessory to have when you are trekking and a cheap alternative to buying water along the way, it also saves on buying plastic bottles and for every purchase, a child in a developing country, receives clean drinking water for 1 school year!
- Zip lock bags for traveling with leftover food / prevent liquid items from spilling
- Travel Pillow
- Zip lock bags for traveling with left over food items / prevent liquid items from spilling
Safety Considerations for Slovenia
Slovenia feels safe and I never had any problems exploring this beautiful country, but it is always good to remain vigilant:
- Always keep your valuables hidden or locked away.
- Always keep your valuables in your small backpack and wear it on your front.
- When travelling on buses, do not store your backpack overhead or in the back of the bus, keep it on you at all times. For extra security, put your passport, money and phone in a money belt around your waist, under your clothes.
- When travelling on buses, always padlock your big bag.
- Do not walk around at night on your own, always take a taxi, even if it is a short distance.
- Always ask your hostel about the area and for safety advice.
- Keep your two bank cards separate so if anything happens, you have a second source of money.
- Always have at least one photocopy of your passport so if you lose it, you still have a copy.
- Bring another form of identification with you (drivers license).
- NEVER leave your drink unattended when out at night.
Budget for Slovenia
This is completely subjective and dependent on what you do whilst in Slovenia. Transport is relatively cheap and there are plenty of budget friendly hostels in the major towns and cities, and good guest houses in the more rural areas. However, if you are visiting castles and underground caves, renting kayaks or boats, eating out three times a day and exploring off the beaten path, your expenditure soon adds up. If you are going as a backpacker, €60 ($70) per day should be sufficient.