Slovenia is located in the northwestern parts of the Balkan Peninsula. To the north it borders with Austria, to the west by Italy, to the northeast by Hungary and with Croatia to the south and southeast. The country has an outlet on the Adriatic. Slovenia occupies an area of 20,273 sq.km. This is one of the small European countries. It was formed after the disintegration of former Yugoslavia. Slovenia declared its independence in 1991, making it one of the first independent states in Yugoslavia.
Relief. Slovenia has a predominantly mountainous relief. The country lies between two of the biggest mountain ranges in Europe – the Alps and Dinaric Mountains, which descend gradually to the shores of the Adriatic Sea.
The mountainous landscape makes the country a popular and beloved tourist destination for skiers, mountaineers and lovers of green tourism. The highest point of Slovenia is Mount Triglav.
It is located in the northwestern parts of the country in the Julian Alps. It is 2864 meters high. To the east as a whole the altitude of Slovenia significantly decreases, reaching the most fertile areas in eastern parts of the country.
Climate. Slovenia is the only Mediterranean country, which falls entirely within the temperate climate zone. Along the coast Adriatic Sea makes the climate to be milder, but inland temperate climate become continental.
For example, in coastal areas of Slovenia in the towns of Koper, Izola and Piran winter lasts from December to early March and daytime temperatures are mostly between 7 and 10 degrees.
In March and April the weather warms up very quickly. It is usually around 10 degrees in March and about 18-19°C in April. In May, summer is already fact and at the end of the month, temperatures reach about 23 – 25°C. The summer is longer in comparison with the interior.
It lasts from June to late September and in July is the hottest weather – around 28°C. Meanwhile, in Ljubljana winter is much colder and wetter with daytime temperatures from 2 to 5 degrees.
In winter often forms dense and durable fog. Spring lasts three months – March, April and May. Temperatures are 10°C in March, 15 in April and 20 in May.
Summer lasts from June to early September. It is not too hot. Temperatures are mostly in the range of 22 to 25°C. Sometimes temperatures can become much higher, especially in times when Europe is covered by warm air masses.
Autumn comes quickly and the temperatures fall sharply to around 18 degrees in late September. October is about 3-4 degrees cooler than September and temperatures are around 14 – 15°C and in November you can feel the approaching of winter. Temperatures are between 5 and 10°C.
Slovenia is a rainy country. Rainfall is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. Inside the country there is rainier climate. On the shores of the Adriatic Sea precipitations are poorer.
In the period from December to March can fall very heavy snowfall, although in different years quantities vary significantly. Along the shore, of course, snow is much poorer, but it is not excluded.
In mountainous areas snow is most durable and thick. If you travel in Slovenia in the winter you must be always prepared with winter tires and chains.
Do not be fooled by the proximity of the Mediterranean – here is colder than other Mediterranean countries, since Slovenia is located quite north.
Population, settlements and languages. The population of this small Balkan country is not very diverse. The majority of residents consist of Slovenes who belong to the southern Slavs.
The population reaches about 2 million people. The largest city is the capital Ljubljana, where live about 300 000 people. Other major and important cities are Maribor (100 000) and Celje (40 000).
Both cities are located in the northeastern parts of the country. Maribor is located about 10 kilometers from the border with Austria. Cities that are located on the shores of the Adriatic Sea are small but very picturesque.
After joining the European Union population of Slovenia began to expand rapidly and to diversify in terms of its ethnic composition. The reason is the higher standard of living compared to other countries in Eastern Europe.
Economy. Slovenia is one of the most dynamically developing and rich countries in Eastern Europe. There is versatile economy. Agriculture is well developed.
Apples and vines are typical for local plant-growing. Most important in livestock-breeding are sheep and cows. Industry is also well-developed. Slovenia produces clothes, shoes, groceries and even cars. Small population is one of the reasons that enabled Slovenia to recover quickly after the breakup of Yugoslavia.
Tourism in Slovenia
Slovenia is probably the only Mediterranean country which is more attractive with its mountains, than with its coast. The reason? Well, very simple – while the coastline is less than 50 km, the mountains cover the majority of the country.
The well-known mountain chain of the Alps does not need advertising. Moreover, along the coast beaches almost completely absent, and where still there are some they are usually dark and rocky and not suitable for sunbathing.
At the same time the mountains are covered with magnificent deciduous and coniferous forests. They are a great place for biking, hiking and long walks. The beautiful mountain waterfalls pour out ice water on the cliffs. Here you might encounter some typical European representatives of the wildlife – bear, wolf or fox.
Slovenia has a typical Balkan feature and it is that despite of its small area here has a tremendous natural diversity. High mountains with snowy peaks alternate with valleys and picturesque countryside, where under the warm Mediterranean sun grow quality grapes.
Here you can indulge in the increasingly popular lately rural tourism and to enjoy the provincial Slovenian atmosphere that will impress you with a unique combination of alpine and Balkan beauty.
If you visit this beautiful country you must see the Škocjan Caves. They are on the list of natural and cultural heritage of UNESCO. The place is located in western Slovenia, only a few kilometers from the Italian city of Trieste.
Caves are the only site in Slovenia, which is listed by UNESCO. The caves are located in the famous Karst Plateau, from where comes the name “karst”. In the Škocjan Caves you’ll see rare species such as the Olm (or Proteus), which inhabits only those parts of the world.
This is the kind of amphibian with pink or whitish colouration. Here you will see beautiful rock formations that resemble draperies. Moreover, there are many stalactites and stalagmites, creating strange shadows and silhouettes. Taking pictures into the cave is prohibited.
The capital of Slovenia – Ljubljana – is a beautiful city that is not too big and dynamic. It has a wonderful historic atmosphere, similar to most of the European capitals.
In the city center you can find small and narrow streets, and on top of not very high hill rises Ljubljanski Grad – this is a beautiful medieval fortress, which reveals a remarkable panorama of this old European city.
When to visit Slovenia? Slovenia is a country that you could visit throughout the year. Here nature is very beautiful no matter whether it is summer, winter or any of the transitional seasons.
In winter, Slovenia is an excellent place for skiing. In summer, spring and autumn the country is an excellent place for long treks, green tourism and touring the countryside. Warm and sunny days are suitable for long hikes and rock climbing.
What clothes should you prepare? If you travel to the capital Ljubljana from late May to early September, shorts and short sleeves are perfectly suited.
However, it will be better if you put a thin jacket or an anorak in your luggage. For the second half of September and early May is most appropriate to prepare a light spring clothes.
October and April are usually cooler. For these two months is good to prepare some not very warm jacket. From November to March you need winter clothing and warm jacket.