Travelling Solo in Slovenia
Travelling solo in Slovenia is so easy for females. The country is incredibly safe and being so small, it is so easy to get around. There’s a free walking tour in the capital to meet others and with plenty of adrenalin sports on offer, Slovenia attracts the more adventurous traveller and those who love the outdoors.
With a low crime rate, small cities and women with the same opportunities as men, Slovenia is a great country for solos and its lack of fast food restaurants and chain stores add to its charm.
One of the most underrated countries in Europe, Slovenia has the beauty of Austria and Switzerland without the tourists and is also lighter on the purse strings. Over a third of Slovenia is a protected natural area and the country isn’t short of a few lakes either with 1,300 of them within the country. Solo travel in Slovenia for 80 natural thermal springs and healing waters, making it a popular destination for the wellness solo.
Health retreats can be found from the coast all the way up to the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and many come for the healing properties of the ancient hills of Pohorje, used for medical purposes. Nowhere is far here whether you’re searching for mountains, coastline or rock formations, Slovenia has a natural beauty and there’s a reason it’s called the heart of Europe.
The capital Ljubljana may be difficult to pronounce but its ease and charm shines through its Baroque style architecture. Meaning ‘the beloved city’ Ljubljana is big on culture and you’ll often find musicians or locals reciting poetry in the main square (one of the rivers has even had a poem written about it!) Restaurants line the river which separate the old town from the new and taking a walking tour gives a great insight into the history of the city.
Don’t forget to visit Ljubljana Castle, one of the must-sees of the capital which overlooks the city and take a photo of the Dragon Bridge with its mythical legend. Restaurants line the Ljubljanica River (the river of the seven names) and you party until late in the many bars. The bohemian area of Metelkova Street is a graffiti artist’s dream and stands out from the rest of the capital with decorated walls and shoes hanging from above. The area is a world famous centre of art and craft with music, theatre and sculptures and you can even stay the night in an old converted jail.
Not far from the capital is the stunning Lake Bled, a mecca for adventure seekers with every activity you could imagine from: high ropes, mountaineering, skydiving, canyoning, rafting and horse riding or if that’s too much adventure for you, you can hire a rowing boat to Bled Island or just sit and take in the view of the Church of the Assumption which stands tall in the midst of the lake.
Visit Slovenia in the winter and you can ski in the Julian Alps with the picturesque view of the Jamnik Church on the slopes. But you don’t need snow to enjoy this country as watersports also draw the adventurers and you can raft, scuba dive or paraglide in Bovec, the adrenaline capital of the country. Just nearby is Lake Bohinj and although Lake Bled is the most popular, Lake Bohinj is the largest glacial lake with traditional alpine houses blended into the landscape. The scenery here is breathtaking and there’s even small beaches for catching those rays in the summer.
Outside the national park is Kobarid near the Italian border with a historic walking trail and a museum with weapons from the world war. The whole area is perfect for mountaineering and hiking and also for food connoisseurs with a choice of many excellent restaurants. Another village in the foothill of the Alps is Podmelec, a tiny Slovenian village off the beaten path with a waterfall and not much else except locals.
The second largest city in Slovenia is Maribor which lies on the river Drava in the east. The location of the city on the edge of the Pannonian Plain and the Pohorje Mountains means it’s great for the outdoorsy type with mountain biking and hiking in the green moors in the summer and skiing in Pohorje in the snowy winter. It’s also great for wine enthusiasts with wine growing hills spreading all along to Austria. You can stay in a traditional home stay, ride a horse and cart or just enjoy the views over a glass or two.
Just nearby is Ptuj, a town for history buffs and the oldest town of Slovenia where you can visit Ptuj Castle which is now a museum. Head southeast for castles, monasteries, vineyards and the oldest Slovenian spas in the Stajerska and Dolenjska regions. Travel southwest along the Adriatic coast to the Karst region with ancient salt pans and the Postojna and Skocjan caves; the most popular caves in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Other sights to see are the deepest potholes in the world at Kaninski podi, PredjamskiGrad; a medieval castle which protrudes from the side of the mountain, the coastal town of Portoroz, Koper for its port (the fishing kind, not the drink) and Piran – one of the best preserved cultural monuments and a great spot for taking photos. Clean air, an abundance of water and amazing scenery – there’s a reason why the word ‘love’ is in Slovenia. This heart of Europe is a treasured gem definitely worth exploring.
Accommodation in Slovenia
Slovenia has a choice of accommodation. Booking.com offers hotels from 3 star to the luxurious 5 star and even includes dorm rooms if you're travelling on a budget. Plus there’s Airbnb which connects you to unique travel experiences and isn’t just limited to staying in a local’s spare room. Save $20 off your first stay with this Airbnb link.
I stayed at Hostel Celica in Ljubljana which if you're looking for something different is the place to stay. Sleeping in a prison is a once in a lifetime experience. Treat Yourself at Vander Urbani Resort or Stay at Tito’s Former Summer Residence.
Getting Around Slovenia
Slovenia has a good bus and train network but you may have to change trains in the capital for your onward journey so take the bus for any smaller towns. The country is reasonably small so getting from the capital to anywhere won’t take more than 2 hours. Renting a car is an alternative to the bus (but much more expensive) and the roads are easy to navigate if you know which towns you are travelling to.
From the Airport
Ljubljana – Taxis will take 35 minutes and cost €45. There are several public buses costing approx €5 which start from 5.20am to midnight.
Portoroz – The airport is only 5km from Portoroz Town.
Maribor – Ryanair operator from this airport and a bus connects the flight to and from the airport.
* Resorthoppa operates a cheap airport shuttle that will take you to the city centre or your hotel.
How long do I need?
Less than one week. You can spend a weekend within the capital or extend it to include the Alps, the Karst region and Lake Bled.
Slovenia Adventures & Tours
If you feel more comfortable in a group for either part of your trip or the whole duration, G Adventures is a responsible tour company which mainly caters towards budget travellers. Most tours have an average of 10 people and there is no upper age limit. Once you book your trip you pay extra for any excursions you want to do when you’re there.
They have group tours combining Slovenia with Hungary, Austria and Italy from 8 days to 21 days. I have personally used G Adventures and recommend them as a solo female friendly company.
Intrepid Travel is similar to G Adventures with an average of 12 people on each tour. Over 50% of people using their trips are solo travellers. They tend to use hotels instead of hostels and have a more comfortable style of accommodation hence the trips can appear more costly than G Adventures.
Trips start from an 8 day Slovenia: hike, bike & raft, to an epic 43 day trip from Madrid to Rome. With both tour companies you share a room with someone of the same gender or you can pay extra for your own room.
Travelling onwards (check visas before you travel)
To Croatia – A train runs from Ljubljana to Zagreb and takes 2.5 hours stopping for border control who board the train. The ticket is approx £22 one way. If you’re travelling to Hungary as well, consider a rail pass for all three countries.
To Austria – Trains run from Ljubljana to Villach in Austria and takes 1 hr 45 minutes then you can take the train to your next destination. From Ljubljana to Salzburg costs US $70 and takes 4.5 hours; you can also take the train from Lake Bled to Salzburg.
To Hungary – From Ljubljana you can take a non-direct morning train at 6.30am to arrive at 16.30 in Budapest. Consider a rail pass for Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary if you’re travelling to all three.
To Italy – Travel by ferry to Venice or by bus to other cities.
To Slovakia – A train runs from Ljubljana to Bratislava for US $130.
Where can I go from here?
Austria 1 hour
Serbia 1.5 hrs
Bosnia 1 hour
- Can I drink the water? Yes. Some of their water even has healing properties.
- Is tipping expected? No.
- Fixed price or barter? Fixed Price.
- Any ATMs? Yes but take your Visa card as well as a Mastercard.
- Which side of the road do they drive? Right.
- Good for vegetarians? Yes.
- Any seven wonders of the world? No.
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Capital – Ljubljana
Population – 2,062,700
Language spoken – Slovenian
Did you know? More than two thirds of Slovenia is covered by forest.