Are you thinking of visiting Slovenia for the first time? Yet, still after reading many articles about this beautiful place you are not sure what to expect. We came up with five crucial mistakes which can be avoided on your first time trip to Slovenia.
Don’t mix Slovenia and Slovakia
Slovenian people are very nice and friendly, especially to tourists. But there is almost nothing more they dislike than someone referring to Slovenia as Slovakia. True, the names might sound similar. But these are two different countries. And guess what – they don’t even border with each other. The confusion of the two states has happened many times, sometimes even on the very formal level. After being an independent country for solid 25 years, Slovenians simply cannot understand “where is the problem”?
We don’t want to get involved into comparing the two countries. Just keep in mind our friendly advice. And everyone will be happy! 🙂
Russian won’t get you very far (Na zdravje! excluded)
Slovenia has been a meeting area of the Slavic, Germanic, Romance, and Uralic linguistic and cultural regions. Which makes it the most complex meeting point of languages in Europe. The official and national language of Slovenia is Slovene, which is spoken by a large majority of the population. Even though some of the words might be similar to Russian, Czech, Slovak (or maybe even to Polish), most people in Slovenia don’t speak these languages. To have a better experience or even a bit of conversation with the kind locals, you can do what the well prepared travelers do – write down and learn some basic Slovene words.
In the bigger cities (eg. Ljubljana etc.) you will be fine with using English. But still, locals might appreciate and be impressed with few Slovene words.
No need for a car in the capital city Ljubljana
If you arrive to Slovenia by plane and are heading towards the capital Ljubljana – there is no real need to rent a car at the airport. Ljubljana center is car-free. Further more, the parking in the city can be quite expensive. There are buses going to Ljubljana from the airport frequently (check out the timetable). There are also shuttle vans waiting at the airport. Taxis might be a bit pricey, with the prices even up to 40 euros, while the shuttle transfers costs at around 10 euros.
After you get to Ljubljana, just stroll around on foot, as this is the best way to see and enjoy this adorable city! It is also very bicycle friendly. You can use the bicycle from one of the biking stations in town called Bicikelj.
Renting a car does make a lot of sense if you are planning to go around Slovenia.
If you enter Slovenia by car it makes sense to buy »vinjeta« (flat toll payment for the motorways). This can be done right at the border crossing. Also, the Petrol stations sell them. For 15 Eur you get a weekly one, and for 30 Eur a monthly one.
In Slovenia the »vinjeta« controls are frequent and strict, with high fines for not having one. You really don’t want to have your great stay in Slovenia ruined over this.
Warm clothes for going to the caves!
Summers in Slovenia are sure hot. But you are off to Postojna Cave or Škocjan Caves to see the underworld magic (highly recommended!). Postojna Cave has a constant temperature of 8°C to 10°C with a humidity of 95%. So, warm jacket and decent shoes are advised in any season of the year. You can also rent a waterproof jacket in the Postojna Cave. But still, if you are visiting in the summer make sure you bring some long sleeves for the caves with you.
Further more, when we visited Postojna Cave few months ago, our guide told us that people have been taking selfies while on a small electric train. Not advised. Why? While lifting your arm, you can easily hit the wall and – your phone is lost forever.
Not booking your Slovenian holidays for longer can be one of the biggest mistakes to begin with!