Situated in central Europe, Slovenia is fast becoming a favourite with holidaymakers seeking pristine landscapes, alpine peaks, rustic charm and medieval history. It's lakes and rivers provide the perfect back-drop for a tranquil break, while its towns and cities provide plenty to keep culture-vultures and history buffs enthralled throughout their stay. Slovenian cuisine, too, holds much appeal - borrowing from each of its neighbours including Italy, Austria, Hungary & the Balkins and re-imagining dishes as traditional Slovenian fare.
Slovenia also holds a long affinity with skiing and boasts a large number of winter sports venues and ski resorts. Krvavec is easily reached from Ljubljana and has 26km of ski runs for a wide range of skill levels, while the Velika Planina ski resort and its nearby Terme Snovik thermal spa offer the perfect combination of winter sports and wellness. The capital, Ljubljana, is perfectly situated for exploring the rest of the Central Slovenian region where its diversity allows visitors to choose between a relaxing holiday, active adventure or both! Visit the enchanting alpine resort town of Bled, and its famous lake with an island in the middle and a castle perched upon its shores. Nearby Radovljica, one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Slovenia, is also worth a visit, not least for the peace & quiet it offers, along with the many hiking and cycling paths leading from the town centre.
South of Ljubljana, the Dobrepolje valley is best known for its scenic attractions, in particular its underground karst caves. The Podpeč Cave (Podpeška jama) is perhaps the best known.
Heading north, Trzin hosts numerous cultural, sporting and other events throughout the year and enjoys a diverse history. Like many Slovenian towns, the surrounding countryside of Trzin is beautiful and includes popular hiking spots such as Dobeno and Rašica.
The diverse natural surroundings of Ljubljana (a total of 25 municipalities) are perfect for day trips or longer excursions designed to explore more of the region including the Kamnik Alps, pre-alpine hills, the plains of the Ljubljana Basin, the unique Ljubljana Marshes, Karst fields, subterranean caves, rivers and lakes.
The Slovenian people are mainly of Slavic descent, and the predominant religion is Roman Catholicism, which is still widely practised by a large portion of the population.
Slovenia was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and because of this, it has always retained close cultural ties to Western Europe, at least in terms of social attitude.
Food and Drink
Slovenian restaurants are usually always packed at mealtimes. Ljubljana's old town has the highest concentration of excellent restaurants in the country, and almost every restaurant, however upmarket, will welcome you with true Slovenian hospitality and quality service. Portions are always large, in the tradition of Eastern Europe. A meal will usually consist of thick soup (usually meaty) with main courses of roast meat or other and a selection of warm vegetables depending on the season. Paprika is used widely as a flavour enhancer as are garlic and salt. Cold meats, bread, cheese and sausage are often served buffet style.
Dishes such as chicken fillets with a pistachio nut crust and roast foal are distinctively Slovenian in character and are served pretty much anywhere. The more adventurous might want to try some of Slovenia's hearty staples such as zelodec sausage with potatoes, juha soups (with beef, noodles or chunky vegetables) and Hungarian inspired goulash laced with paprika.
The area that is modern-day Slovenia became part of the Roman Empire in the 1st century AD and was known as Pannonia and Noricum. Slovenia became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes with the downfall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which became known as Yugoslavia after 1929. During World War Two, the country was annexed by Germany, Italy and Hungary, but became a republic of the re-established Communist Yugoslavia in 1945 under the rule of Tito.