We are happy to welcome you to our tiny but fabulous home country! You may never have heard of Slovenia before deciding to do an exchange here, but that’s ok - many haven’t.
The democratic Republic of Slovenia has existed only since 1991, being a part of socialist Yugoslavia after the 2nd World War. We are a small country with about 2 million inhabitants that speak Slovene, our native tongue. This has forced many of us to learn English and other foreign languages, so you will never have trouble communicating when in Ljubljana. Slovenia is a green, diverse, sparsely populated country with mountain and hill ranges and a tiny bit of coastline on the Adriatic sea. Being small definitely has its advantages, such as having to drive less than two hours from Ljubljana to reach our mountains, seaside and even to cross the border into the neighbouring countries of Croatia, Italy and Austria (you’d have to drive a bit longer to reach Hungary). Our currency is the Euro (€), used in many countries across the European Union.
Ljubljana, Maribor and some other larger cities, have inner city bus lines. Our main international airport is 30 km away from Ljubljana city center and is accessible by frequent bus connections. Getting around in Slovenia is easy and convenient with our railway network and bus and coach connections.
Air traffic in Slovenia is handled by Slovenia's international airport Jože Pučnik (near Ljubljana), which is also the home of Slovenian airlines Adria Airways. Both cities are located near several large airports, for instance Zagreb (ZAG), Vienna (VIE), Venice (VCE), Graz (GRZ) and Klagenfurt (KLU), where you can find cheap charter flights.
Direct train lines to Ljubljana and Maribor are from Zagreb (CRO), Rijeka (CRO), Graz (A), Budapest (H), Venice (I) and Vienna (A). On some lines it is necessary to change trains in Ljubljana, Zidani Most or Pragersko to arrive. The conductor will alert you if you need to do so when he checks your ticket and when in doubt, you can always ask him for help. Slovenian railway link
You can use Goopti transport. Goopti is an international company specialized in road passenger transportation. It’s reliable, comfortable and cheap option to get to every city with car. You can book your ride on their website: https://www.goopti.com/en/
Another option for travelling around Slovenia or from nearby cities is www.prevoz.org
It’s a website where Slovenian people offer a ride share with car (similar to Blabla car).
Ljubljana is Slovenia's capital and largest city. It's known for its university population and green spaces, including expansive Tivoli Park. The curving Ljubljanica River, lined in outdoor cafes, divides the city's old town from its commercial hub. Ljubljana has many museums, including the National Museum of Slovenia, displaying historic exhibitions, and the Museum of Modern Art, home to 20th-century Slovene paintings and sculptures. As befits a nation’s capital, there is always much going on and many hidden places to explore.
Maribor is the capital of the Styria region (Štajerska) and the second largest city in Slovenia with an estimated population of 119,000 residents. The city is small, surrounded by the Pohorje hills on one side and vineyard hills on the other, and through the town flows the river Drava.
Maribor offers a rich wine tradition with the oldest grapevine in the world, a great city pulse with its flourishing cultural history, one of the most beautiful city parks in Europe, the green Pohorje hills with various possibilities for exploring, recreation and relaxation and events like Festival Lent, the Old Vine Festival, Festival Maribor, FIS Ski World Cup event Golden Fox (Zlata lisica) and numerous other events that enliven Maribor’s everyday life.
Festival Lent is an international multicultural festival and the peak of summer life in Maribor, usually beginning in the last week of June. Enjoy more than 14 days of excellent concerts of classical, jazz, pop and ethno music, theatrical and dance performances, folklore dances. You shouldn’t miss the after parties in the Minorite Church either.
The hills of Pohorje offer you sporting and free-time opportunities: skiing, hiking, cycling and untouched nature: primeval forest, a peat moor with lakes (Lovrenc lakes, Črno, Ribniško), the waterfalls Veliki and Mali Šumik.
Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj
Definitely the most popular destination in Slovenia is Lake Bled - a small lake close to the mountains made special by an island with a church in the middle and a castle on the above cliffs.
There is also a beautiful natural gorge called Vintgar gorge nearby.
Lake Bohinj is also nearby. The mountainous scenery is just gorgeous.
Postojna cave and Predjama castle
The very famous Postojna cave with beautiful Carst underground also featuring some unique animal species is about 40 minutes from Ljubljana.
There are also some other amazing caves nearby, just a bit harder to reach (Škocjanske jame - on the UNESCO heritage list).
Nearby there is the picturesque Predjama castle, situated at an opening of another cave.
The Karst region, situated in the South-West, is well known for its distinctive rural architecture, winemaking and prosciutto. Drive through the charming villages (for example Štanjel) and stop at a vinery for some wine tasting!
We do like to brag about our small, but beautiful seaside (starring the small town of Piran). It’s
easy to reach and wonderful to wander around for a while or have a swim in the sea during the summer.
In winter you might also consider trying out skiing in one of our small but affordable ski resorts (Krvavec is a popular one and closest to Ljubljana, while there is an actual skiing slope in Maribor called Mariborsko pohorje).
There are still many other amazing regions in Slovenia, so let’s list some more, just to give you an idea:
- The river Soča (also called emerald river)
with its beautiful gorges, waterfalls and surrounding mountains and cultural heritage (amazing first and second world war historical memorials). This is a perfect place to try out rafting, ziplining or go hiking.
- Velika planina (a mountainous sheperds area, accessible also by a lift) and nearby Logarska dolina - a beautiful mountain valley.
- Visiting some beautiful old towns: Ptuj, Celje, Kranj, Novo mesto, Škofja Loka…
Slovenia has a diverse history of its own, but its culture shares some common features with Italy, Austria and with Hungary. It has always been a predominantly christian country, but in recent decades more and more people are non-religious or undeclared, especially the younger generations. By nationality, around 85% of inhabitants are Slovenians, there are also the Italian and Hungarian minorities and the rest are mostly immigrants from the countries of ex-Yugoslavia.
We greet each other by shaking hands; hugs and kisses are reserved for best friends, family or significant others. Our biggest meal of the day is usually lunch, sometimes early dinner (we don’t eat so late). Slovenians usually eat a lot of meat and consuming wine with basically every meal is considered normal. But don’t worry - if you are vegetarian/vegan/don’t eat pork… there is always a lot of options, just ask! And don’t get scared, Slovenians are known to be big drinkers and drinking alcohol in public is still legal in Slovenia, so in warmer months expect parks and squares to be full with students drinking beer or wine. It is however never allowed to smoke cigarettes inside bars, restaurants and clubs, if they don’t have a special filtered smoking room.
You will be accomodated in a student dorm. Please keep in mind that students in dorms in Slovenia usually have to share the room with another student (double same sex rooms) and that single rooms are very rare.
Don't confuse Slovenia and Slovakia! :)
P.S.: Read our exchange conditions carefully!