Wild Slovenia Travel
Diminutive Slovenia has been a star in our eyes for many years, yet despite it sitting at the heart of Europe, it’s largely remained free of mass market travel. Of its four million annual visitors, half are from Germany, Austria and Italy. It may only have forty miles of coastline, but this is one of those rare places where you can swim in the sea after breakfast and be on a mountaintop at sunset. Not to mention its historic cities, excellent green credentials, delicious food, deep nature and warm hospitality. If you haven’t already set your compass for Slovenia, now is the time.
What to see and do in Wild Slovenia
On your bike. With the capital city, Ljubljana having previously been a winner of European Green Capital, it should be no surprise that cycling is a popular activity in Slovenia. There are dozens of well-marked cycling routes across the country, from one hour to multi-day trails taking in everything from leg-pumping hills to easy glides. We know the best routes and can provide you with a variety of bikes, including e-bikes.
A life on an Adriatic Wave. In Piran and the other towns of Slovenia’s bijoux coastline, you’ll see the same architectural thread for which Venice is famed and here you can escape the hustle and bustle. Spend time out on one of the small boats with local fishermen and let them take you to their favourite cafes for lunch where the seafood is superb and the atmosphere convivial.
Go for a hike in the Kingdom of Goldenhorn. The recently created Juliana Trail loops for 270 km through the peaks, valleys and forests of the beautiful Julian Alps. Zlatorog, the mythical white Chamois buck also known as Goldenhorn, was reputed to live here, around the summit of Mount Triglav, Slovenia’s highest point. We love a good myth, but the scenery in these river-laced hills is no illusion. For those wanting to escape the crowds, you’d be hard-pressed to find better walking in Europe.
Wildlife in Slovenia
With an estimated 1,000 individuals, Slovenia boasts one of Europe’s densest Brown bear populations. One of the best places to see them is the Kocevsko Forests, where our expert guides can help you safely and unobtrusively spot these wonderful animals in their natural environment. While you are out spotting bears, you may also see Eurasian lynx, who also call these forests home.
Thanks to the country’s sizeable forests, diverse ecosystems and healthy prey populations, wolves have a stable population in Slovenia. While the landscape is wild and – in many places – largely unmolested by humans, Slovenia’s small size has allowed its wildlife to be well-understood, and low impact tracking of these apex predators will provide an experience you’re unlikely to forget. The best time to see wolves is in the winter months, so why not combine your trip with a spot of skiing in the Julian Alps?
The area around Lake Cerknica and the thickly forested hills of the Dinaric Alps is a wonderful place to enjoy Slovenia’s bountiful bird life. Among the species you can see here are Corncrake, Ferruginous duck and White-tailed eagle, as well as mammals such as marmot, chamois and Golden jackal.
Rewilding and Conservation in Slovenia
Around sixty per cent of Slovenia is forested, with the vast majority of that being old growth forests with naturally balanced ecosystems. Better still, more than fifty per cent of Slovenia’s total land area is under protected status as national, regional or nature parks – the highest percentage of protected land found in any country worldwide. You could say that conservation is embedded in the Slovenian psyche; the Triglav National Park itself dates back to the 1920’s, and work to recognise and conserve the nation’s wild places continues today.
The history of rewilding in Slovenia has often been one of accidental decay – with land being left to nature after wars and other episodes of human interference. The outcome – significant swathes of forest with healthy populations of carnivores, and the intricate web of species that support them – is something Slovenia was quick to see the value of. The citizens of this small country have a close relationship with the wild spaces on their doorsteps, and activities such as hiking, cycling and kayaking are part of the national psyche.
Brown bear conservation in the south of Slovenia has been key to creating an economy around wildlife, which can only be of benefit in the long term. There will always be conflicts between nature “red in tooth and claw” and we humans, but at least the conservation efforts have brought the discussion into a clear and open space for resolution. Long may those efforts continue.
Travelling to Slovenia
We can whisk you to Slovenia in just over a day from London, with the most comfortable route taking you via Paris, Munich and Vienna.
You’ll catch a mid-morning Eurostar from London St Pancras, arriving at Paris Gare du Nord after an on-board lunch. Transferring to Gard de L’Est for a 16.00 departure to Munich – on either the high speed ICE or TGV service – you’ll speed across the Maginot line and through the heart of Rhineland into Bavaria, arriving in Munich in time for supper. This is a fantastic city, so you can also opt to spend a night, or more, here.
If you’d like to head straight on from Munich, you’ll catch the very comfortable sleeper service later that evening, arriving into Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital, at 06.00.
For your route home, you can either re-trace your steps, or we can organise for you to catch the ferry from Piran to Venice, before heading home via one of the numerous sleeper train routes. Easy.