If you're in search of an under-the-radar European getaway – one that will surprise and delight while inciting major FOMO in others – consider Slovenia for your next trip.
The shared borders with Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Italy mean this country has most, if not all, of their alluring characteristics: charming towns, endless natural beauty, outdoor adventures, delicious food, Adriatic coastline, fascinating culture and a fascinating, ever-present history.
Yet Slovenia remains a relatively undiscovered paradise. To get the inside line on planning the perfect trip to Slovenia, I recently spoke with Saša Sme, our Elsewhere by Lonely Planet local expert. Read on to learn more about both Slovenia and Saša and why you should work directly with Elsewhere's team of local experts to plan an unforgettable trip.
Quite coincidentally. I was looking for a summer job during my third year at university and answered an ad from a tour operator here in Slovenia. I had a great summer in Greece. Then I got my tour guide's license, and I've continued doing this in different places ever since. Now I'm doing it from my home base of Ljubljana
Most have no idea about Slovenia in general, especially those who are from outside of Europe. Even with Europeans their knowledge of Slovenia varies. M ost of them, especially maybe the older generation, remember Slovenia being part of Yugoslavia. Even those who know about Slovenia, or where it is, mostly have little specific information.
I would describe Slovenia as the sort of a green oasis in the middle of Europe – a place that is relatively small compared to at least the immediate neighboring countries. The natural diversity in Slovenia is unbelievable. In a matter of maybe an hour or a couple of hours' drive, you can go from skiing up in the mountains to having lunch by any of the lakes, and in the afternoon you are enjoying the swim in the sea.
We have put a lot of emphasis on protecting the environment over the last 15 years . We enjoy very clean air.
We always stress to all potential visitors to Slovenia that they have to spend at least a day or two in Ljubljana. Even though our capital doesn't offer as much as some other European cities, Ljubljana Castle is definitely the most distinctive part of the old city. You need to see the hustle and bustle of the city center. A lot of people are surprised that we still have open green markets every day (apart from Sundays). Then we have a special fish market and a covered market.
Our natural cave system, and specifically the Skocjan Caves. People are amazed by the fact that it has the biggest underground river canyon in any of the caves around the world. Križna (Cross) Cave is also quite interesting because you can
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