Beaches by the sea, mountainous regions, stalactite caves and vineyards – they’re all things we associate with holidays. Slovenia is the only country in Europe which combines all of these things. There is so much to discover and experience, be it cycling tours through the vineyards, skiing in the Alps, hiking, relaxing on the coast, party at the après-ski…the list goes on. Slovenia is the perfect holiday destination for every season and has something to offer everyone. In addition to the beautiful countryside, the architecture, which is particularly impressive in the capital, should not be overlooked. With around 2.1 million residents, Slovenia is the fourth-smallest country in the European Union.
This article provides a brief summary of our Favourite 3 Slovenian Cities that are certain to delight all travellers.
Good to know
- In built-up areas a speed limit of 50km/h applies, on country roads it is 90km/h, on dual carriageways 100km/h and on motorways 130km/h
- In Slovenia, all vehicles must have their lights on during the day too
- To say hello to someone, you say “Živijo“
- In Slovenia, people traditionally greet each other with a handshake and three kisses
- Slovenia is one of the countries with the greatest degree of biodiversity, being rich in animal and plant species
- Carniolan sausage from Slovenia is considered to be the national dish par excellence, and should definitely be sampled
Top 3 cities
Slovenia’s capital city Ljubljana is also known as the City of Dragons. The dragon is not considered by the city to be a monster, but rather symbolises a protector of power, courage and wisdom. In winter, Ljubljana celebrates the so-called Dragon Carnival with impressive costumes, music and a parade – the ultimate party for everyone.
The animal isn’t just depicted on the coat of arms; the famous Dragon Bridge in the city centre was also named after it. The creator of the Dragon Bridge was no less than Slovenia’s greatest architect, Joze Plecnik. He had it built in 1902. The art nouveau bridge was the first reinforced concrete structure in Ljubljana, a technical masterpiece for the time. In addition to the Dragon Bridge, Joze Plecnik also created another of the city’s landmarks, the so-called Triple Bridge, a complex comprising three bridges that you can use to cross the river on foot. The location is a historical junction between Ljubljana’s central square, Prešeren Square, and the picturesque Old Town. Each of the three bridges exhibits architectural features such as the ornate streetlamps and the different balustrades.
The city, however, also has a lot more to offer, including beautiful green spaces such as the vast Tivoli Park. The university city also has a wide range of museums which include the National Museum of Slovenia with its historical exhibitions and the Museum of Modern Art.
On the banks of the Ljubljanica River, which separates the Old Town from the more modern commercial centre, you can find small cafes with outdoor terraces; a wonderful spot to enjoy the view of the river and take a relaxing stroll.
During a walk through the city you can discover the Slovenian treasure trove of buildings in the so-called art nouveau style dating from the beginning of the 20th century. Most of the buildings are situated close to the Triple Bridge and Prešeren Square. Amongst the most impressive are the narrow, painted Hauptmann House and the noble Urbanc House, which was the city’s first department store. Along the Miklošičeva ulica Street you can find other gems such as the Grand Hotel Union and the Cooperative Business Bank building. The latter is an extraordinary example of late art nouveau style and the work of Ivan and Helena Vurnik.
Summary: Ljubljana is a fascinating city which has plenty to offer, particularly in terms of architecture. The wide range of green spaces, art, culture and charm is what makes the city so special.
Maribor is situated in the heart of Slovenia’s hilly wine region on the Drava River. The Drava is 750km long and is a scenically well-situated tributary of the Danube. The river is strongly associated with the development and life in Maribor. A whole host of activities are available on and along the river: along the bank there are numerous cycling and hiking routes. On the Drava, you can waterski, surf or take a raft or boat trip. According to an ancient legend, the roots of the Old Vine extend deep into the Drava which has been soaking them for centuries.
The house façades in the heart of Maribor’s Old Town are also particularly beautiful, and the fortified towers directly at the riverside are also sights not to be missed. The Jewish district on the banks of the Drava is also particularly impressive, with the synagogue and the Jewish Tower, and the Basilica of Our Mother of Mercy in the centre of the city.
For those on the lookout for treasure and bargain hunters, a flea market is held every Sunday on the former car park of the TAM factory. The meeting place for collectors and antique lovers is, however, also a fantastic opportunity to simply take a stroll and have a browse around.
The city boasts – at more than 400 years old – the world’s oldest grapevine, also known as the “Honourable Old Lady”. A trip into the vineyards, which is best negotiated by bike, is a real pleasure. As well as the fabulous views, there are also many opportunities for stops along the way, where you can enjoy the best of local hospitality. The Honourable Old Lady is the starting point for the three wine routes. In the autumn, the vineyards get a new lease of life and look forward to the new vintage. A range of cycling and hiking tours allow you to experience the magic of the grape harvest, which is also a wonderful social occasion.
Slovenia’s largest skiing area is located in Maribor and is a meeting place for keen snow enthusiasts. After the varied selection of all-day activities, there is also the opportunity to relax with wellness facilities and a range of different events. Or perhaps you would prefer to head to the slopes to sample the après-ski?
Summary: With a combination of nature, relaxation, active pursuits and partying at every time of the year, Maribor offers the full package as a travel destination. Whether you’re travelling alone or with others – everyone is sure to find something here.
Piran is the holiday resort on Slovenia’s Adriatic coast. It is known for its Venetian architecture and its long pier. A wonderful example of the town’s Venetian-Gothic architecture is the Venetian House in the centre of the town close to Tartini Square. The house was built in the first half of the 15th century.
Afterwards, take the opportunity to visit one of the lovely cafes in Tartini Square and enjoy the view. There used to be a fishing harbour where the square is today. It was filled in with sand in 1894 and now constitutes the centre of the town. Today, the square is covered with gleaming marble which reflects the light from the buildings and streetlamps in the evenings.
Piran became known for its olives and its salt. Fleur de sel was harvested nearby, which was very valuable at that time. Still to this day, the locals are very proud of their salt and salty products. These are something that you simply have to sample, not just in the food but also by taking a trip to the saltworks to learn about the history of salt harvesting. Afterwards, you are well advised to try the dishes made with locally-caught fish – and the local dark chocolate is also a must-try.
In Piran there are many lovely spots for swimming and sunbathing. But the hotels also boast some of the best spas in the country. Treatments are characterised by their use of salt and mud, which have a therapeutic effect.
The town’s main attraction is St. George’s Parish Church, whose tower you can enter, something that is recommended for its panoramic view alone.
Summary: Piran is a fantastic location in the summer. In addition to relaxation, there is also plenty to discover.
Slovenia has something for every conceivable type of holidaymaker! It is an exciting holiday destination at every time of the year, that you simply have to visit.
Are you curious and keen to experience an impressive new culture?