Slovenia is a small, mountainous country in southern Central Europe, bordering Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Italy. Slovenia used to be a constituent republic of Yugoslavia and declared independence in 1991. It is the most affluent of former communist states. It is quite a safe country with very good infrastructure and the alpine landscapes are spectacular.

There are no big cities in Slovenia and the capital Ljubljana has a population of approx. 280,000 people, which is not much by European standards. The second largest city, Maribor, is significantly smaller than the capital and has a population of approx. 96,000 people. Despite the lack of cities, the country is very industrialized and has a relatively strong economy.

Most popular tourist destinations in Slovenia include the capital city Ljubljana, Lake Bled and the Adriatic coast with the charming town of Piran. There are three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Slovenia: Škocjan Caves, Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps and the Heritage of Mercury (a joint site of Spanish Almadén and Slovenian Idrija).

In many places you will notice Italian and Austrian influences. For historical reasons, the strongest Italian influences are in the coastal region: Koper (Italian: Capodistria) and Piran (Italian: Pirano). Slovenia was part of the Austrian Empire for centuries, so Austrian and German influences are also very visible in the culture and architecture.

Despite these strong influences, the core of the Slovenian culture is Slavic and the Slovenian language is a South Slavic language, closely related to Croatian and Serbian. It must not be confused with Slovak, which is also a Slavic language, but belonging to the West Slavic group. Slovak and Slovenian are not mutually intelligible, but speakers of these languages may recognize many shared Slavic words. Many Slovenians, especially the younger generations, can speak either English or German, and sometimes both these languages, so you should not experience major communication problems during your stay in this beautiful alpine country.

Lake Bled is one of Slovenia’s major tourist attractions and it offers many great photo opportunities. However, you have to c…

Lake Bled is a beautiful lake in the Julian Alps, about 35 km or 22 miles from the Slovenian capital city Ljubljana. It…