For such a small country, Slovenia packs an amazing amount of diversity and stunning natural beauty. Snowcapped Alps; long, green valleys; and lakes and rivers so blue they almost hurt your eyes.
Vršič Pass This curving WWI-era highway crosses the Alps at an elevation of 1611m as it runs from near Kranjska Gora to Bovec.
Velika Planina High-altitude Alpine pasture land that offers some of the best mountain photo ops we’ve ever seen.
Soča Valley Hair-raisingly steep verdant valleys and deep gorges cut through by impossibly blue water.
Lake Bohinj Bled’s lesser-known (but larger) sister lake is no wallflower. It's an emerald-green mountain paradise with a quieter, more rustic feel and a glimpse of Mt Triglav.
Logarska Dolina The ‘pearl of the Alpine region’ offers caves, springs, rock towers and waterfalls – as well as rare fauna such as mountain eagles.
Škocjan Caves Dramatic scenery of a different sort – all of the melodrama here is below the ground.
Slovenia’s most attractive cities and towns are the kind of places where you feel you can walk through the past (be it Roman times, the Middle Ages or the communist era).
Ljubljana Roman Emona flanks a medieval core ringed with art nouveau creations and a communist hinterland of pre-fabs.
Ptuj One of the oldest towns in Slovenia, this former metropolis from the Middle Ages boasts a symphony of red-tiled roofs.
Škofja Loka The ‘Bishop’s Meadow’ is a perfectly preserved medieval town with an intact square and a spooky hilltop castle.
Kropa This one-horse, former iron-working town is a surviving living museum of the country’s once-mighty industrial tradition.
Piran It’s hard to imagine a more romantic spot anywhere than this little Venetian port jutting out into the Adriatic.
Radovljica A colourful main square of 16th-century townhouses and the delightful Beekeeping Museum.
Castles & Churches
Slovenia had so many hilltop fortresses in the Middle Ages, it was known as the 'country of castles'. It is also blessed with some of the most beautiful houses of worship in Central Europe.
Predjama Castle Could easily be called ‘pre-drama’ for its dramatic perch tucked high inside a cliffside cave.
Ljubljana Castle For history, look no further than the capital’s hilltop fortress that’s been around since at least the 12th century.
Old Castle Celje There's not much inside this 13th-century fortress but it evokes the past like few others and the views are commanding.
Church of St John the Baptist Gazing out at Bohinj, this tiny church of unknown age is awash in delightful 15th- and 16th-century frescoes.
Church of the Holy Trinity You'll never forget the macabre 15th-century Dance of Death fresco at this church by the coast.
Basilica of the Patroness Mary Only named a basilica in 2010, this hilltop church contains a stunningly carved altar.
Walks & Hikes
Slovenia is crossed by thousands of kilometres of hiking trails, many passing through points of considerable natural beauty or paired to teach the lessons of the country’s moving history.
Climbing Mt Triglav The ultimate Slovenian hike involves a trek to the top of Mt ‘Three Heads’; at 2864m, it's a point of considerable national pride, especially for those who reach the top!
Trail of Remembrance This trail wends its way 34km around the capital along the boundary where German barbed wire once enclosed the city during WWII.
Alpe-Adria-Trail Six stages of this stunning transnational trail pass through Slovenia and through varying regions filled with mountains, lakes, rivers and vineyards.
Kobarid Historical Trail This 5km-long trail starting from Kobarid is the prettiest open-air museum of the atrocities committed during wartime that you’re ever likely to see.
Jeruzalem-Ljutomer Wine Road Walk or cycle this lovely trail that begins at Ormož and continues for 18km north to Ljutomer, passing many wine cellars and restaurants en route.
Lake Bled If you're looking for something easy and relaxing, a two-hour circuit around lovely Lake Bled is just the ticket.
Slovenia is in the midst of a slow-food, organic-food, local-food revolution that prizes original recipes and fresh, quality ingredients. The country’s excellent wine is sorely underrated.
Odprta Kuhna This weekly food festival in Ljubljana's main market square allows you to taste your way round Slovenia.
Slovenian Coast Slovenia's tiny seacoast is big on seafood. Piran, in particular, is filled with excellent places to sample the spoils.
Groats If Slovenian cooking has a signature side, it would have to be stick-to-your-ribs barley or buckwheat groats.
Pršut Air-dried, thinly sliced ham similar to Italian prosciutto but maybe even airier and more flavourful.
Cream Cake Cafes and sweetshops around Lake Bled pride themselves on the quality of their kremšnita: a dollop of vanilla custard sandwiched between layers of flaky pastry and topped with whipped cream.
Carniolan Sausage Spicy, filling, delicious Kranjska klobasa hails from the Julian Alps and is so good it's won protection from the EU.
Wine, Brandy & Beer
Karst Wine Region An underrated wine region known for its Teran dark reds and Mediterranean malvasia whites.
Vipava Valley Many of the best reds in Slovenia are produced here, especially merlots.
Goriška Brda Small, family-run wineries in a wonderful setting of rolling hills and fortified villages.
Metlika Wine Area The hills north of Metlika are home to Bela Krajina's most important wine districts.
Žganje Classic brandy distilled from a variety of fruits – from plums and pears to cherries and blueberries.
Jeruzalem Ormož Winery Along the scenic Jeruzalem-Ljutomer Wine Road, try the peppery pinot grigio and spicy-sweet traminec.
Green Gold Beer Fountain The world's first beer fountain dispenses glasses of beer deep in the heart of hop-growing country.
Slovenia is an active destination. And while hiking and biking are still the most popular ways to relax, there are lots of chances to swim, boat, raft or jump out of a plane.
Rafting the Soča The signature Slovenian outdoor adventure involves a breathtaking float down one of Europe’s fastest and most beautiful rivers.
Adrenaline Sports A growing number of operators, particularly at Bovec, Bled and Bohinj – offer the chance to try ballooning, canyoning and paragliding, among other instant rushes.
Caving Slovenia has dozens of caves, and some are extraordinary: Škocjan has walls that run 100m high, while Postojna's caverns are vast and bejewelled.
Skiing The Julian Alps offers myriad chances to hit the slopes. Kranjska Gora is the centre of the country’s ski universe, but is just one of several popular resorts.
Hiking Mt Triglav Slovenia’s only national park, Triglav National Park, covers a huge swath of Slovenian turf in the northwest. It’s a world of rivers, streams, waterfalls and hiking trails.
Viewing Brown Bears Go looking for brown bears in the beautiful forests of Lož Valley east of Postojna.
Spas & Thermal Baths
Slovenia counts upwards of 15 thermal spa resorts, most of them in the eastern part of the country, Dolenjska and Prekmurje. They are excellent places not just for 'taking the cure' but for relaxing and meeting people.
Dolenjske Toplice Cosy and wooded resort town with all the mod cons dating back to the 17th century.
Terne Radenci Slightly down-at-heel but atmospheric spa town that also boasts Slovenia's premier mineral water.
Terme Olimia Enormous spa complex on the Croatian border with a great fortress looming above it.
Lepa Vida Thalasso Spa Luxury spa overlooking the salt pans of Sečovlje, where the Slovenian coast meets Croatia.
Terme Catez A 'Summer Thermal Riviera', packed with family-friendly fun and hugely popular on weekends.
Rogaška Riviera Located in Slovenia’s oldest and largest spa town, a veritable ‘cure factory’ with a fin-de-siècle feel.
Why stay in a hotel when you've got the chance to sleep in a futuristic pod by a pool or in one hanging from a tree?
Garden Village Bled Forget air mattresses and sleeping bags, hire a pier tent hung over a stream or stay in a treehouse.
MCC Hostel A creative take on the hostel model in a converted brew house in Celje, with each room bearing a unique theme.
Glamping Malerič Four futuristic pod-style apartments arranged in front of a natural swimming pool, with splendid rural outlooks.
Pristava Lepena Positively idyllic ‘hotel village’ set in an Alpine meadow above the Lepena Valley.
Herbal Glamping Resort Ljubno Glamping doesn't get more swish than this intimate resort, southeast of Logarska Dolina.
Majerija Ten rooms built under the ground – under the herb garden, in fact.