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Take a little bit of Bavaria, a sliver of Mediterranean Riviera, a stretch of the Danube, a touch of Venice and a slice of the Balkans, and you have Slovenia, one of eastern Europe's best-kept secrets. This charming little country, which declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, walked away relatively unscathed from the turmoil that engulfed the rest of the region.

Showcasing mountains and lakes, castles and alpine forests, vineyards and meadows, beaches and island resorts. Lying at a natural hub of European routes at the eastern tip of the Alps, its lovely baroque capital, Ljubljana, is just a two-hour drive from Venice and a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Vienna.

Understanding The Geography

Slovenia, officially the Republic of Slovenia, is a coastal Alpine country in southern Central Europe bordering Italy to the west, the Adriatic Sea to the southwest, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north.

Four major European geographic regions meet in Slovenia: the Alps, the Dinarides, the Pannonian plain, and the Mediterranean.

Slovenia's highest peak is Triglav (2,864 m; 9,396 ft); the country's average height above the sea level is 557 metres (1,827 ft).

Around one half of the country (10,124 km²; 3,909 sq mi) is covered by forests; this makes Slovenia the third most forested country in Europe, after Finland and Sweden. Remnants of primeval forests are still to be found, the largest in the Kocevje area.

Grassland covers 5,593 square kilometres (2,159 sq mi) of the country and fields and gardens 2,471 square kilometres (838 sq mi). There are also 363 square kilometres (140 sq mi) of orchards and 216 square kilometres (83 sq mi) of vineyards.

Cities in Slovenia

  • Ljubljana - the picturesque pint-sized capital
  • Izola - port
  • Koper - industrial port city with a Venetian old city
  • Kranj
  • Maribor — Slovenia's second city
  • Nova Gorica
  • Novo Mesto
  • Piran - port
  • Portoroz — Beaches, casinos and package tourism
  • Ptuj
  • Slovenj Gradec
  • Velenje

Climate Conditions

Slovenia’s climate is sub Mediterranean on the coast, Alpine in the mountains and continental with mild to hot summers and cold winters in the plateaus and valleys to the east.

The average temperatures are -2°C (28°F) in January and 21°C (70°F) in July. The average rainfall is 1,000 millimetres (39.4 in) for the coast, up to 3,500 millimetres (138 in) for the Alps, 800 millimetres (31.5 in) for south east and 1,400 millimetres (55 in) for central Slovenia.

Understanding The Culture

For a pint-sized country Slovenes are fiercely proud of their culture. Two names you will run into over and over again are national poet France Preseren (1800-1849), who penned (among other things) the Slovenian national anthem, and the architect Joze Plecnik (1857-1957), credited with Ljubljana's iconic Tromostovje bridges and, seemingly, half the modern buildings in the country. In modern times, industrial band Laibach has served to put Slovenia on the map.

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