Slovenia is a small, chicken-shaped country in central Europe. The country prides itself with fairy-tale like lakes, turquoise rivers, enchanted castles, lush forests, charming seaside and the kindest, most welcoming people you will ever meet! With a population of just over 2 million people, Slovenia is a true heaven for nature lovers and explorers. Approximately 60% of the country is covered in forests, there are many beautiful caves, Alps, wine-regions and picturesque towns. Slovenia is a great year-round destination and has something to offer to anyone coming in summer or winter.
Slovenia is also the place where I was born. Growing up in Slovenia I never explored my own backyard and now having spent the past 10 years out of Slovenia, I tend to do a lot of touristing whenever I visit. It struck me a little late just how beautiful my home-country is and how much I have left to discover. I would now dare to say I have seen more of Slovenia than my friends or family, who still live there!
Accommodation – I am giving you a local perspective on costs here, since I always stay at my parent’s house when I visit. Generally speaking you will need around $50 USD per night to stay in a mid-range hotel in Ljubljana and other touristy places. It’s worth staying a little out of the main spots if you want to save – Slovenia is small and you can easily get anywhere even if you stay outside the center.
Food – You will notice quite fast that Slovenian food is very delicious, cheap and the portions in many places are so big, you will definitely be able to share. A meal at my favorite Mexican restaurant in Ljubljana center is $10, and I always split it with my boyfriend. A kebab will cost you around $4 and a burek (a must try!!) about $2.50. You can spoil yourself and eat fancy, but expect the prices to then be around $25 for a main dish. Skip eating in the old town Ljubljana – the food is average and the prices reflect the clientele (aka, hardly any locals).
Transportation – Don’t even consider public transportation during your trip to Slovenia. It will take you 3 times longer to get to a desired destination and you’ll probably need to walk some time as well. Rent a car for your trips out of Ljubljana. And if you plan to only stay in Ljubljana – WALK! The city is small and so beautiful you don’t want to be on the bigger roads. Car rental per day is around $20, gas around $1.50/L and a weekly vignette (you need this sticker to drive on the highways), will cost you around $17.
Suggested daily budget – $50-80 USD. Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a mid-range hotel, eating out in mid-range restaurants and renting a car. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or eat out more often, expect this to be higher!
Slovenia is a great year-round destination. In winter the temperatures drop below minus, so the alpine northwest sees abundant snow from December to March. Spring is fantastic for rafting on Soca River and summer is ideal for climbing, hiking and strolling around all the cities. Best time to visit Slovenia as a first timer is beginning of June. The tourists haven’t arrived yet (no crowds in Ljubljana) and the school and work is still going for the locals. July and August get very busy and also tend to be very hot.
Slovenia is still a fairly unknown destination, so go explore before the crowds roll in. A week is just enough time to explore all the regions, so make sure you come prepared with knowing the sights you want to see. I love Slovenia and I visit twice a year.