Slovenia is a relatively small European country that is nestled between the Italian, Croatian, Hungarian and Austrian countries that make up this pretty region of Europe. There are lots of things to see, do and of course eat in Slovenia, making this a perfect place to spend a holiday or even include on a road trip in Europe.
I knew I wanted to visit Slovenia ever since I’d heard of Lake Bled and the impressive skiing opportunities in the Julian Alps… that’s not to say I’m any good at skiing, in truth I’m pretty sure I look like a crab dancing on ice (even on the junior slopes) but hey, I rock it and still love it regardless! 😉
Take a look at some of the very best things to see, do and eat while you’re visiting this beautiful country!
1.) Explore the Julian Alps
When we think of skiing, our minds often go to the obvious and stunning skiing destinations of France, Switzerland and Austria (to name a few) but most people overlook the rather impressive opportunities that Slovenia offers.
Top tip: Summer is definitely one of the more popular times to visit but you should definitely visit in the winter months to experience some of the best ski slopes in the region, when the snow is fresh, the resort of Maribor Pohorje is a perfect place to perfect those skiing skills!
2.) Discover the old city centre of Maribor
Maribor is perched within the Drava Valley amidst one of the most delicious wine regions in the world. Known for its white grab varieties, this region offers plenty of places to wander around and explore, especially the old town.
Top tip: Take a wander around and head towards the Drava River for a view of this pretty renaissance Slovenian city and the pretty Maribor Castle houses.
3.) Visit the oldest vine in the world!
Nestled in the city of Maribor is the oldest vine in all the world, awarded the title after rigorous scientific tests (that I have no idea about) and a certificate from the Guinness Book of Records.
The vine itself is older than 400 years, which to me meant this wine must be very prised, right? Well, apparently the wine is super expensive (well over €10,000 a bottle) but due to its age it actually produces some pretty mediocre wine that isn’t of very good quality! Booooo!
Top tip: Skip the famous bottle of wine (that’s apparently not that good) and enjoy one of the many delicious wines available at the winery after you see the old vine.
4.) Eat Conceptually at MAK Restaurant
For a pretty epic meal in a rather unassuming little restaurant, head straight for MAK restaurant, a conceptual and intimate restaurant that serves a cuisine that is as eccentric as the chef himself.
Top tip: Have an open mind, the menu is rarely offered or seen before the meal is prepared, it’s all part of the surprise and delight in trying a whole array of different courses!
5.) Discover the rolling countryside of Slovenia
One of the best ways to see Slovenia is to head out into the beautiful rolling hills and countryside that are just a stone’s throw from the major towns and cities.
Top tip: Discover some of the rolling countryside on your way south from Maribor to the stunning Lake Bled. This will allow you to experience the rolling fields and the dramatic fairytale landscape of Lake Bled… all in one day!
6.) Visit a winery!
No visit to Slovenia would be complete without an obligatory vineyard visit and a taste of its impressive wines! Take a little tour of one of the hundreds of independently owned wineries that dot its landscape.
Top tip: The majority of these wineries are family run and owned, meaning there will be lots of wine, foods and great hospitality for you to enjoy.
7.) Dine alfresco
There are a shed load of places to eat in Slovenia but a favourite has to be dining outside in one of the many family-run restaurants that are in almost every town and hamlet across this region.
Top tip: Head to the area around Pohorje, where you’ll find some dramatic scenery and natural sights that are perfect after an afternoon of delicious treats.
8.) Visit the oldest Slovenian town of Ptuj
Situated in the north eastern part of Slovenia, Ptuj is a lovely town to explore the quaint and rustic charm of Slovenian life. Take a wander around its historic centre and even take a ramble to the one of its secret wineries that are hidden under the very streets of the city!
Top tip: Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the drinking babies that seem to line the wine barrels of the town. Drunk babies, who knew!?! 😉
9.) Try a different type of wine!
There are loads of different varieties of wines to discover across the world, with each country creating some pretty epic wine from a wide array of ingredients. A top favourite in Slovenia has to be the Asparagus Wine, which is easily found across most of Slovenia.
Top tip: If you’d like to try a different type of wine, why not make your own Oak Leaf wine from this unique Welsh recipe?
10. Discover Ptuj Castle
Ptuj Castle is only a short (slightly uphill) walk from the historic centre of Ptuj town. Take a stroll to the top of this impressive castle and enjoy the beautiful views across the region.
Top tip: Head to Ptuj Castle around twilight, you’ll be treated with an awesome view of the town below, along with a beautiful Slovenian sunset!
11.) Try award winning wines at Dveri Pax
One of the larger vine yards in Slovenia, Dveri Pax is known internationally for its award winning wines and beautiful estate. Take a wander around its grounds and enjoy a bite to eat in their converted wine cellar that now serves as a beautiful restaurant!
Top tip: The floor of the cellar slants somewhat, to help with wine flow in the ‘olden days’…so don’t worry, the giddiness you feel isn’t from inhaling gallons of delicious wine (though it certainly won’t help)! 😉
12.) Discover the hidden wine vaults of Maribor!
Nestled within a rather unassuming doorway is the hidden wine vaults of Maribor is the biggest wine vault in the entire world! With tunnels reaching over 11km in length, it is a pretty big space to store plenty of wine!
Top tip: Take a wander through its many alleys and tunnels, where you can even climb within one of the largest wine tanks ever produced in Slovenia!