Looking for important travel information while backpacking in Slovenia? Here you will find information on working in Slovenia, entry visas, Slovenia hostels, and much more.
Table of Contents
- Facts About Slovenia
- Entry Visa Requirements for Slovenia
- Foreigner Work Permits and Backpacker Jobs in Slovenia
- Slovenia Hostels
Facts About Slovenia
Perhaps un-chartered territory for many Western travellers, Slovenia is a remarkably scenic country in south-central Europe. It is not only home to a dramatic Alpine region, but also boasts a spectacular coastline running along the Adriatic Sea.
You can visit this small country to ski, to explore the lakes and the caves, or to roast yourself on the beach. Then, of course, you have Slovenia’s cities, beautiful and historical, with a thriving nightlife, top shopping, and great cafes and restaurants. Slovenia is truly a mix of breathtaking natural splendour and modern lifestyle.
Slovenia is all the more impressive for having so quickly turned its back on those grisly Communist years. The Slovenes have embraced their own cultural and ethnic heritage and transformed their home into an affluent country. One mark of this progress came in 2004 when Slovenia was accepted into the EU.
- Currency – Euro (€)
- Time – GMT + 1
- Languages – Slovenian, Hungarian, Italian
- Telephone services – Country code +386 Emergency numbers – Police 113 Ambulance and Fire 112
Climate in Slovenia
Slovenia’s coastal region sits on the Adriatic and enjoys the same wonderful Mediterranean climate as Italy and parts of Croatia. Hot and dry weather is the norm for the summer months and temperatures are often around 30°C (86°F). Winters also tend to be mild, though it is quite usual for them to be wet too.
Away from the coast, summers are a little cooler. The average highs are usually near the 20°C (68°F) mark. Unfortunately for sunbathers, heavy downpours are also frequent during the summer. As for the winter, there is a lot of sun, but be prepared for cold weather in the Alpine regions.
Things to do in Slovenia
Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, is an endlessly interesting place to visit. Italian Baroque and Austrian Art Nouveau architecture characterize the look of this seductive city. Among the old buildings, a modern, urban lifestyle flourishes, from which art galleries, music festivals and interesting museums have emerged.
There are trendy fashion houses as well as outlets selling more traditional Slovenian goodies. In particular, the flea market (near to Tromostoyje) has all kinds of cheap antiques to buy.
The metropolitan centre is also host to great nightlife. Bars, clubs, cafes, concerts, and theatre are all on offer. One not to miss is the Jazz Club Gajo. Over the years it has attracted some of the most famous figures from the world of jazz. A visit in July may be worthwhile as this is when Ljubljana is taken over by the International Summer Festival.
The natural beauty of Slovenia is a hugely important part of the country’s appeal to visitors from abroad. Just outside Ljubljana are the Postojna Caves. So breathtaking are these caves that UNESCO made them a World Heritage Site. Guided tours will take you by train through the many miles of galleries and chambers.
Maribor, acknowledged as Slovenia’s second city, is in the northeast. Here you’ll find a melange of old and new. Maribor has the hallmarks of a heavily industrialized city juxtaposed with mysterious old streets and highlighted by the Gothic cathedral. Glavni Trg, a charming Renaissance square, captures the essence of Maribor’s past. While visiting, one might like to venture to nearby Ptuj. This is the oldest town in the country and is full of art galleries, museums, and a theatre.
For those perhaps seeking a lazy sun-drenched holiday, the Slovene Istria region is perfect. Bordering Italy and Croatia, this popular area of Slovenia basks in the Mediterranean sun and runs along the warm Adriatic Sea. Towns like Piran are picturesque seaside havens, embellished by cobbled piazzas and charming buildings. The port of Koper is equally attractive, full of nice hostels and restaurants.
Slovenian Alps and Lakes
In the northwest are the Julian Alps, made even more remarkable by the mountain lakes, Bled and Bohinj. Entirely untarnished by modernity, visitors can enjoy alpine views and sleepy mountain hamlets set in the wooded shores of the lakes. Once again it’s the summer months that offer spectacular entertainment, with the Rikli’s Days festival in July, when thousands of candles are floated on Lake Bled.
Finally, wherever you happen to be in Slovenia, part of the fun is to enjoy some of the homemade wines and honey.
Unique Activities in Slovenia
Another good way to get an idea of things to do while backpacking Slovenia is to scan the activities offered by Get Your Guide or Viator. They work directly with local tour operators, so you won’t have to scour the internet or roam around town trying to find the best deal.
If you know your schedule ahead of time, a great insider tip is to buy tickets for major tourist attractions ahead of time. Tiqets has entrance tickets and skip the line passes for major attractions in Slovenia so that you can avoid the lines and save that precious time for more exploring.
How to Travel Around Slovenia
The three major domestic and international airports in Slovenia are Ljubljana (or Brnik) Airport, Maribor Airport and Portoroz Airport near Piran. All have good bus and taxi services.
If you’re flying to Slovenia or plan to take short flights within the country, we recommend using a flight comparison search engine. Kiwi is a new favourite among travellers. On average, we have found the cheapest flights with them compared to the other websites out there.
Of course, it is always worth checking Skyscanner to guarantee you’re getting the best deal. Both websites offer great flexible search options. You can search the whole country of Slovenia to find the cheapest airport to fly into, and also see prices for a full month if you’re flexible on travel dates.
Ferries to Slovenia
Another way to get to Slovenia (and one that many Italians use every year) is the catamaran journey from Venice to Izola, which runs between April and October.
Train vs. Bus
Train and long-distance bus are the standard modes of transport for getting around the country. Buses are the more economical option. Nevertheless, they are well-equipped with the usual modern conveniences that you should expect when travelling in Europe. Train travel, on the other hand, is the fastest way between two cities and the train stations are conveniently located right in the center of town.
It depends on your preference, and certain routes are better suited to one mode of transport than the other. To compare your options for journeys from A to B, you can try Omio. They compare trains, buses (and even flights) so you can decide for yourself the tradeoff between cost and travel time.
The country is a part of the Eurail network, which is a good choice if you plan to take multiple train journeys in a short period of time. Eurail offers both multi-country passes and One Country Passes. To decide whether you should buy individual tickets from A to B, or whether you should purchase a Eurail pass, read our Travelling Europe by Train guide.
Travelling around the diverse regions of Slovenia is straightforward, with good train and bus links. The more remote areas, such as the lakes, are often only accessible by bus, so it is wise to plan out your routes and connections if you are visiting places like lakes Bohinj or Bled. Another way to get absolutely anywhere is to go by car on the good and well-connected road networks.
Driving in Slovenia
If you want the flexibility to stop in smaller towns between the major cities, check AutoEurope or Europcar to compare offers from the major car rental agencies in the region. Before deciding, read more about what to expect of driving in Europe.
Backpacking Tours in Slovenia
Though part of the fun of backpacking Slovenia is exploring on your own, there are situations, especially when venturing off the tourist trail, when it does make sense to go with a guide or a small group. Joining a backpacking tour is a good option for those travelling Slovenia alone who would like to meet up with like-minded travellers.
For these times, a popular option among backpackers is G Adventures. They hand-select local guides to ensure authenticity and quality. Their most popular tours which include time in Slovenia are their 10-day Venice to Budapest Explorer tour covering Hungary, Austria, Italy and Slovenia, or their 10-day Sailing Italy to Croatia tour covering Croatia, Italy, and Slovenia.
Health and Safety in Slovenia
Tick-borne Encephalitis can be caught from ticks in the forests, so vaccination is suggested. More generally, vaccinations for hepatitis B, tuberculosis and diphtheria are sometimes advised. The sensible thing is to consult your doctor before going.
Fortunately, drinking water from the taps is safe, though people with an unsteady constitution may experience some cramping to begin with. In addition, milk and other dairy products are usually safe to consume, as are meats.
Despite these facts, travel insurance is always advisable, although if you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you will be entitled to state medical care.
The Official Language in Slovenia
Slovenian (or Slovene) is the official and predominant language of the country. Italian and Hungarian are also widely used and are recognized as official languages. English is also spoken throughout Slovenia.
Entry visa requirements for Slovenia
Visitors from European Union countries do not need a visa to enter Slovenia, nor do they need a residence permit for a stay of up to three months. After this point, a permit can be obtained from the nearest Administrative Unit.
Foreigner work permits and backpacker jobs in Slovenia
Compared to some of its eastern European neighbours, Slovenia is a good environment to work in, having signed all the major laws regarding equality.
Seasonal jobs may be found in the busier coastal towns, while Ljubljana offers more diversity for work seekers. Whatever you are looking to do, it is best to go through the extensive network of student employment agencies, as these are most likely to find casual and temporary work quickly.
If you are heading to Slovenia planning to find employment, it is important to run off a few copies of your up-to-date CV before leaving, as this, in particular, is the first essential step to being hired in Slovenia.
Slovenia Hostels and Budget Accommodation
For backpackers travelling on a limited budget, Slovenia is a good choice because of its many youth hostels. There is cheap accommodation on offer throughout the cities and mountainsides. As always, a bit of homework helps to root out the nicer digs.
We have had good experiences finding hostels on HostelWorld. They have the largest inventory of hostels worldwide, and with over 10 million reviews and ratings from other travellers, you know exactly what to expect.
Another good way to find accommodation in Slovenia is by checking hotels.com and booking.com. With both sites, you’ll not only find hotels, but also homestays, hostels, and other unique accommodation. We have discovered some great finds and have appreciated the ability to book ahead. You can use their advanced filtering to narrow your results by budget, location score, overall review score, and amenities. Many of the places on booking.com also offer free cancellation, which takes the pressure off the planning phase of your trip.
Ljubljana has a range of accommodation, from luxury hotels to more modest simple guestrooms. During the university vacation period, it is often possible to rent out student halls of residence for extremely competitive prices.
The coastal towns in Slovene Istria offer more resort-style hotels that inevitably cost a little more. This is owing to the popularity of the region. Of course, you are paying for all the trappings of nicer accommodation in a charming holiday destination.
Camping in Slovenia
For those adventurous people travelling around the mountains, there is a good scattering of campsites to be found. Campsites are generally very cheap, if a little cold in the winter. And, for those who are tackling some of the big peaks, like Mount Triglav, you may want to stay in a mountain hut on the way up.
Useful links for backpacking in Slovenia
- Eurail – Rail Passes for travellers who plan on doing lots of train travel in a short period of time. Single-Country and Multi-Country passes available
- Omio – Train, bus, and flight search for Slovenia and all of Europe. Offers online booking and mobile tickets
- Auto Europe and Europcar – Europe’s leading rental car search engines to rent a car in Slovenia
- Kiwi, Skyscanner, and Opodo – Flight comparison search engines to find the cheapest flights to Slovenia and within the country
- GetYourGuide and Viator – a collection of things to do in Slovenia. Also offers Skip the Line tickets for crowded attractions
- Tiqets – Website selling entrance tickets and skip the line tickets for major attractions in Slovenia
- G Adventures – guided small group tours in Slovenia, great for solo travellers or for those interested in a more adventurous trip which would require a guide
- HostelWorld – #1 hostel search website to find hostels in Slovenia. Thousands of hostels and millions of reviews from fellow travellers
- Booking.com – commonly used booking site in Slovenia. Hostels, hotels, and other unique accommodation with advanced filtering and millions of reviews
- Travel Insurance – read our comprehensive overview of Travel Insurance and some recommended providers for your backpacking trip to Slovenia
There you have it, the ultimate Slovenia backpacking guide. We hope you have found all the information you need for backpacking around Slovenia.
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