Slovenia is not much in the public consciousness like France or Italy. With President Trump’s wife being from Slovenia, the name has begun to crop up a little bit more lately, but on the whole it’s rather an overlooked country. Just because it’s not as famous as its neighbours however that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth a visit. In fact, in my opinion it’s one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. And for people who are avid hikers, like me, it’s go so much to offer!
Most people don’t associate Slovenia with the seaside—that is, of course, the people who in fact have heard of Slovenia and can place it on the map—but it does have a coastline that’s nearly 50 kilometres in length. It stretches from Italy, near Trieste, down to the Croatian border. For anyone visiting this almost-landlocked country, it’s worth a visit to the sea as it offers specular views and there are plenty of options for costal hiking as well, complete with beautiful cliffs.
But it’s the mountains that make Slovenia a marvellous place to have an active holiday. The highest mountain in Slovenia is the Triglav, a mountain so distinctive that it features on the Slovene coat-of-arms and was also the inspiration for cap of the partisan guerrilla fighters in the Second World War, which was called by the diminutive of triglavka. When the country was part of Yugoslavia the Triglav was the highest mountain in the entire confederation and was—and remains—a popular place for hikers and climbers to visit.
Not far from Austria (the country can easily be seen from the tops of any of those peaks that one hikes up), the north of Slovenia is home to snow-capped peaks, nearly as impressive as the Triglav. It’s possible to do quick day trips to Austria for either cultural or natural tourism and then require to slightly cheaper Slovenia for the nights, but apart from language there are not many differences between southern Austria and northern Slovenia.
Despite the rocky, snow-capped peaks that dot the Julian Alps of northern Slovenia (and Italy), the mountains are not quite that high, even by Europe’s relatively modest scale. Nevertheless, this region has some of the best climbing on the continent that entices and invites novices as well as experts and regardless of what you’re after the region doesn’t disappoint.
But it’s not just the nature and the beauty that makes this such as a marvellous place to visit, the culture and the people are inviting. If you’re lucky enough to go to Slovenia then be sure to budget in a couple of days to explore the towns and cities and take in a bit of the culture and not only the impressive nature.