Monday, September 8, 2008


From wherever you arrive, Slovenia is only an arm’s length away. It is only 230 kilometers to the Slovene border from Vienna, 240 kilometers from Budapest, and 460 kilometers from Milan. Even from Prague, you can reach Slovenia by car in eight hours. One of the youngest European countries, it is well linked to the world by road, by rail, by air and by sea.
Where is it? Slovenia lies between mountainous Austria and Italy, the plains of Hungary, and the warm Adriatic Sea. Its diverse landscape always astonished first-time visitors. Waiting for you are the snow-covered mountains of the Alps and Triglav National Park with countless glacial valleys, gorges, waterfalls and crystal clear waters. Waiting for you is the Mediterranean coast, the unspoiled karsts world with plateaus, fields, valleys, and disappearing lakes and rivers. There are more than one hundred subterranean caves, ranging from the world-renowned Postojna and Skocjan caves with their picturesque stalactites, stalagmites, and translucent curtains to less accessible caves you can explore in the company of experienced local guides. Waiting for you are renowned health resorts and health spas developed around numerous thermal and mineral springs, ancient villages and medieval towns, castles of the past and modern casinos.
Less than a two-hour drive separates visitors from adoring rugged mountain peaks to enjoying the sunny Adriatic. From Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, you can be in the heart of Slovene Alps in one hour, and to reach the lovely Pannonia plain takes no more than a three hour drive. The primeval forests in the south are only an hour away. In few other countries will you find such diverse landscapes and natural habitats with numerous and indigenous animal and plant species.
In Slovenia you can ski in the morning and sunbathe on the coast in the afternoon. You can have breakfast with the shepherds in the Alpine meadow and after dinner visit a wine cellar at the edge of the Pannonia plain. You can travel through time in museums, castles, churches, and galleries all day and amuse yourself at one of Europe’s best casinos in the evening. Today you can be impressed by the attractions of a farm holiday and tomorrow you can enjoy top cultural events.
Families, businessmen and those who enjoy active holidays will have plenty of things to do in Slovenia. Walkers can enjoy the silence of the mountains, sports climbers, skiers, bikers, canoeists, boatmen, fishermen, hunters, golfers, horseback riders and other can enjoy their favorite sports in variety of landscapes.
Many Slovene dishes spring from the three great cultures – the Pannonia, Alpine, and Mediterranean. The oldest Slovene foods are dishes made from flour and grouts. The best known are the breads made for holiday occasions which today appear in the form of braided loaves or wreathes, the struklji which Slovenes prepare in 70 different ways stuffed with sweet filings, meat, or vegetables, and zganjci. A real Slovene specialty is potica, a dessert for holiday occasions also prepared with the widest variety of filings. A major event in the countryside is the slaughtering of a pig from which many various products are made: grouts and white klobasa, blood sausage, roasts, stuffed tripe, smoked sausage, salami, ham, bacon, and, of course, the highest quality and most prize karsts prsut. Recipes for the preparation of poultry, especially goose, duck, and capon, have been preserved for many centuries. And it is obvious than in a country beside the sea there is a large choice of the fish and seafood, which we find most often on Primorska menus. In every good restaurant you will find some of these dishes on the menu.
This country is a true winegrowing country. Winegrowing was established in that part of the world by the Celts, winegrowing flourished under the Romans, monastery cellar men were responsible for the spread of winegrowing in the Middle Ages and the 19th century winegrowers studied their work. Today there are three wine regions in Slovenia: the Primorska, Posavje and Podravje Regions, and there are 14 districts with recognizable characteristics.
The history and identity of the Slovene people is closely linked to the Slovene language spoken by only two million people, and to the lively cultural life. Slovenes still regard genuine personal contact as a high value. Their hospitality and this immensely rich corner of the world, they will share with visitors. The soul of Slovenia is its people are reflected in the architecture of its cities, towns, and villages and in the many cultural events that always enchant first-time visitors and returning ones.

The sunny Alps

The mighty but easily accessible Julian Alps, the tourist area in this attractive geographical area are linked by the offer of four developed tourist towns: Bled, Kranjska Gora, Bohinj and Bovec with the Soca Valley. Most of the area is within the Triglav National Park which measure 85 hectares and is one of the largest natural parks in Europe. The park lies in the vicinity of high stony mountains including Mount Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia – and deep river gorges, highland karst potholes and friendly highlands. It protects many endemic animal and plant species (living in the park, among unique plant species there are chamois, mountain sheep, wild roosters, grouse, eagles and marmots) and the tradition of the hard life of alpine dairymen and mountaineers. The renowned Bled with its lake and the island with a church from the 17th century (and the bell of wishes) is situated at the edge of the park, and above it stands a medieval castle. Bled is considered a real tourist paradise with its thermal springs and other natural attractions, numerous recreational possibilities, its conference hall, casino and golf course. The best rowers of the world measure their strength in competition at Bled.
Bohinj is the starting point for numerous mountain hikes, Lake Bohinj and Bohinjska Bistrica are a paradise for lovers of water sports (kayaking, canoeing, rafting, hydro speeding, swimming) and fishermen. In its surroundings thee are ski slopes and trails for cross-country skiers and also facilities for mountain biking, paragliding, sport climbers, horseback riders, and tennis and mini golf players. Bohinj (and its surrounding areas) inspire visitors with a rich ethnologic heritage with many cultural and sacral attractions as well. In Bohinjska Bistrica a new water park is being built.
A famous tourist destination Kranjska Gora attracts visitors with outdoor sports (hiking, mountaineering, cycling, horsemanship, paragliding, and fishing) in the summer, and in winter with excellent slopes for winter sports and other joys of the winter such as the dog sled, night sledging from Vrsic, roaming across the landscape by snowmobile. In Kranjska Gora there are the World Cup competitions in Alpine skiing. Visitors can enjoy its casino and wellness programs, and younger visitors can enjoy the original land of the Slovene hero Kekec. In the nearby Planica, in the shelter of two thousand meter high mountains, the best ski jumpers in the world compete every year. In the Soca Valley, the valley of the emerald river, attract those who search peace as well as lovers of adrenaline. Here there are opportunities for numerous water sports from kayaking to canoeing and rafting. You can also go paragliding, hang-gliding or cycling and experience the valley which is also loved by fishermen. The largest number of accommodation and guest-houses can be found in Bovec, Kobarid, and Tolmin. From the valley you can reach the highest Slovene ski centre Kanin which is only an hour’s drive from the coast, and where it is possible to ski until summer. Along the Idrijca River you can come to Cerkno and Idrija. This is the home of famous lace-making tradition, Idrija’s mercury mine and the Gewerkenegg Castle. That area also has reminders of many terrible battles of the First World War. They are presented in the award winning Kobarid museum. In the upper part of the valley is picturesque Trenta with the information office of the Triglav National Park, a museum and the famous alpine botanical garden Julijana.

The green Mediterranean

The Slovene coast which measures 46.6 kilometers is covered with abundant vegetation. Here is a natural reserve with a rich supply of marl and sandstone and the unique Strunjan cliff which ascends 80 meters above the sea and is the highest flinch wall on the Adriatic coast. Here are the Secovlje salt works, first mentioned in 13th century. Due to their extremely abundant natural and historical heritage they were named a regional park and are a rich sanctuary of plant and animal worlds. They play a very important role in the world of ornithology, because they offer ideal conditions for birds due to the warm climate and abundance of food in the salt works and they provide a natural habitat for about 80 bird species which nest there.
Here the town of Piran, Izola and Koper attract visitors with their medieval image. Koper with its historical core represents one of the most picturesque parts of the northern part of the Istrian Peninsula. Water sports are very important; there are many regattas in the Bay of Koper and the town has built a small marina. It also organizes the Summer Festival of Primorska. The town’s surroundings and the countryside are exceptionally attractive: the steep rock walls by Crni Kal and Osp provide an ideal place for lovers of free climbing and the countryside “boasts” specific culinary and wine offers.
Izola is a coastal town with a rich fishing tradition. Most of the tourism is concentrated on the eastern side, at the bay Simonov, where there is a seaside resort with swimming facilities, hotels and restaurants. On the western edge of the town is the marina of Izola.
The old seaport of Piran lies at the end of the Piran peninsula; it was surrounded by walls in the Middle Ages (200 meters of the city walls are still preserved). The whole town is protected as a cultural and historical monument and it has preserved its medieval layout with narrow streets and compact houses, which rise in steps from coastal lowland into the hills and give the whole area a typical Mediterranean look. Today it is an administrative and supply center and also an important coastal tourist resort with hotels, restaurants and holiday houses, the Maritime Museum and an aquarium, cultural institutions and events.
Portoroz, a tourist town which boasts the longest tourist tradition in Slovenia and offers comfortable hotels and modern swimming pools, restaurants and events. It is popular conference center – various conference and meeting facilities can accommodate up to 1500 visitors. Portoroz has a casino, a sport airport and marina. It is a town visited by tourist from all over Europe and other countries as well. It is an internationally known holiday center and climatic health seaside resort.
In the Savrinska Hills in the hinterland of Portoroz lies a number of old Istria settlements and not far from the coast there is the picturesque village Hrastovlje with its Church of the Holy Trinity which is adorned by late gothic narrative frescoes. Due to these Hrastovlje is considered as a real treasure of medieval frescoes arts in Slovenia.

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