Slovenia at a Glance
Still a hidden gem in Europe, Slovenia is growing in popularity. Slovenia’s dreamy landscape is comparable, if not superior, to other famous European destinations, yet the crowds and prices are still extremely friendly to families.
A trip to Slovenia will give your children the sense of being in a fairytale as they visit the many dragons within the capital city of Ljubljana, explore the gorgeous castles scattered throughout the little country, play in warm and picturesque lakes, and enjoy the many outdoor adventures that are available.
Of all of the countries I’ve visited in Europe, Slovenia was my favorite. I’d love to return year after year. My husband and I spent a week exploring this little country with our five-month-old baby, and it was a pretty magical trip.
Check out everything you need to know about traveling to Slovenia with kids below!
Unlike some of its neighbors in Eastern Europe, Slovenia uses the Euro.
Like most of Europe, Slovenia uses 230V AC electricity. Bring a Universal Travel Adapter.
U.S. citizens need to have a passport to enter Slovenia. However, a visa is not required for travel for fewer than 90 days with a 180 day period.
Some say Slovenia is one of the safest places to visit in Eastern Europe. We certainly felt very safe. Violent crime seems to be rare here. Most crime usually consists of petty theft.
The official language in Slovenia is Slovene. Since Slovenia borders Italy and Hungary, many people speak these languages as well.
Slovenia is a very small country, so people are used to learning other people’s languages, especially for tourism. We found that most of the younger generation speak good English, and it is fairly simple to get around without learning any key phrases.
Slovenia is located in Eastern Europe very close to many other popular tourist destinations.
Venice, Italy: 3 hours, 22-minute drive Munich, Germany: 5-hour drive Prague, Czechia: 7 hours, 9-minute drive Vienna, Austria: 3 hours, 52-minute drive Budapest, Hungary: 4 hours, 20-minute drive Zagreb, Croatia: 1 hour, 47- minute drive
You can get around Slovenia by bus, car or taxi.
Rental Car: Having a rental car in Slovenia is ideal. The country is so small that you can visit a tourist spot at one end of the country, and make it to the other side of the country in only a few hours. Getting your own vehicle will make it easier to experience all the majestic beauty this country has to offer.
That being said, parking at popular places, like Lake Bled, was challenging. Be sure to arrive early in the morning to beat the crowds.
Bus: In Slovenia, the buses were clean and felt safe, but they only run about every half hour. Also, the drivers showed up early several times. If you are getting around Slovenia by bus, make sure you arrive at your stop with plenty of time to spare.
Taxi: Uber does not work in Slovenia (yet), and the other ride-sharing apps we tried did not seem to be reliable. If you get around by taxi, it’s important to know the taxi rates. Taxi drivers are known to rip tourists off, especially at the airport and bus station. The best way to get a taxi is to phone for one or book ahead.
Tipping is not customary in Slovenia. In tourist areas, giving a 10% tip is common.
Slovenia was very recently under communist rule as part of Yugoslavia. Slovenians are known to be very hardworking and ambitious people. When they gained their independence from Yugoslavia in June of 1991, they fared better than other communist countries because they already had so much industry there. Slovenia joined the European Union in May of 2004. It seems to be a beautiful, and prosperous place with wonderful people to meet.
Planning A Trip To Slovenia With Kids
Best Times to Visit Slovenia:
Slovenia is a prime destination at any time of year. The best time of year to visit depends on your family’s preference of activities. In the winter, Slovenia’s alps are blanketed with snow. During the summer, the sun is bright, the lakes are warm, and the scenery is green.
Summer is the busiest time of year in Slovenia. The crowds come out and prices rise during the summer.
However, this time of year is ideal for taking advantage of the stunning lakes, rivers, and coastlines. The water in many areas is warm and great for swimming.
Fall in Slovenia offers gorgeous foliage and autumn colors as well as temperatures ideal for hiking. This is a great time to experience the gorgeous scenery and avoid large crowds.
Many of the tours are shut down during this time, but this is still a great time of year to visit.
Slovenia’s snow-covered Alps are gorgeous and are the perfect place for a budget-friendly skiing trip! Winter sports are popular here, and it is home to a large number of Winter Olympic athletes.
Spring is a great time to visit Slovenia with its beautiful weather, smaller crowds, and lower prices. If I visit again, I will definitely be trying to go in the Spring!
Budgeting For a Trip to Slovenia
Budgeting For Your Trip
Slovenia can be a destination for a low budget backpacking trip or a five-star luxury trip. Budgets will vary.
The main expenses for traveling inside of Europe can be broken up into seven categories: airfare, accommodations, transportation between countries, sightseeing, local transportation, food, and shopping.
You can book some of these expenses online ahead of time. I recommend researching airfare, accommodations, and transportation in advance to budget accurately for these. However, local transportation, food, and shopping tend to be a little more variable.
Here are some average costs for the main expenses in Slovenia. Nevertheless, it’s also important to note that tourist areas might be more expensive than other areas. You might want to give yourself a cushion for unexpected expenses.
Getting to Slovenia:
Slovenia can be a very expensive destination to fly to. There is one small airport, and only two airlines fly into it, Easy Jet and Wizzair.
However, Slovenia is very close to several big airports. Venice, Italy; Zagreb, Croatia; and Vienna, Austria are all fairly close. Traveling between countries in Europe is pretty reasonable.
When we planned our trip, we found the cheapest flight we could into Europe. Then we found cheap flights, trains, and buses within Europe to travel to all of the countries on our list. As a result, we ended up adding a trip to Spain to our itinerary because we got a killer deal to fly there first (about $400 round trip from Phoenix).
From there it cost us another $66.70 per person to fly to Vienna, Austria, a more ideal starting point for where we intended to go. This was significantly cheaper than flying straight to Vienna, or Slovenia.
To get to Slovenia from a nearby airport or train station, I used Omio for all of our buses and trains and it worked well.
Where to Stay in Slovenia:
Slovenia has accommodations that can be friendly to any budget. You can find great camping spots, stay in a hostel, Airbnb, hotel, health resort, or even in a castle.
Many people stay close to Lake Bled in Slovenia because it is close to Lake Bohinj, Tolimn Gorge, Triglav National Park, and other popular destinations.
We stayed in an Airbnb in Ljubljana which was a great choice because it was much cheaper, central to all of the areas we wanted to make day trips to in Slovenia and allowed us to experience a glimpse of real-life in Slovenia. From our partitioned bottom floor unit, it was a short walk to the grocery store and nearby bike/running path along the river. In addition, enjoyed meeting and getting to know the family that hosted us.
Best of all, Slovenia was one of our most inexpensive stays in Europe (aside from Poland). It was also one of the best accommodations with a kitchenette inside and parking space outside for our rental car.
If you’re looking to save money and stay in a central spot for day trips around the country, I recommend staying in Ljubljana.
Packing For Kids in Slovenia
It’s important to pack as light as possible in Europe because the cars are small. Upon arrival, the taxi drivers in Slovenia told us we would need to pay for two cabs to take our stroller and all of our things! Luckily, A really kind driver who agreed to take us, but we filled up the front seat in addition to the trunk because the trunk space was limited.
Learn from our mistake and only take the essentials!
Should I Bring My Stroller to Slovenia?
I loved having my stroller in Slovenia. In Ljubliana there is a beautiful river to walk along. There are also beautiful walking trails around Lake Bled and other popular areas.
However, the buses were small and cramped and it would have been difficult to take our very large stroller onto one of those. Bringing a travel stroller that folds up fairly small is ideal.
Should I Bring a Baby Carrier to Slovenia?
A baby carrier is ideal for enjoying the many beautiful hikes around Slovenia!
Should I bring something for my baby to sleep in?
It might be a good idea to check with your hotel to see if they have a crib available. In most of Europe, they referred to a pack n play as a baby cot. However, we brought our Dock-A-Tot along to cosleep. This helped us be more flexible if the hotel didn’t have a crib available. We also enjoyed having it for the plane ride.
Can I Buy Baby Items in Slovenia?
Diapers, wipes, baby food, and other items were very easy for us to find in almost every grocery market we went to. To pack light, it might not be a bad idea to buy diapers there if you have a long stay.
Best Things To Do With Kids In Slovenia
There are so many different family-friendly activities in Slovenia. Our personal favorites were Lake Bled, and hiking Tolmin Gorge. Both were beautiful sites to see. We also enjoyed visiting The Open Kitchen market in Ljubljana which is held on Friday nights when the weather is good.
Make sure to take advantage of the beautiful lakes.
Both Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj are beautiful spots for photos. In addition, they are really fun for swimming, SUP, boating, and hiking around.
Make a stop at Tolmin Gorge.
This trail will be completely packed with tourists. However, the stunning blue water is a must-see. If you get tired of the crowds, there is an alternative return trail that offers stunning views of Lake Bled.
Sample small plates from Ljubljana’s best restaurants at The Open Kitchen.
This event was definitely crowded but was one of our favorite food experiences in Europe. We were able to try several traditional foods, as well as try some of the best dessert dumplings I’ve ever had. On the other hand, if you try to order a refreshing Lemonade, you may want to be prepared – Slovenian’s love to drink it bitter!
Check out the scenery by taking a hike.
There are many gorgeous trails all around Slovenia including around Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj, Tolmin Gorge, Triglav National Park, and more.
Visit a thermal water park.
The thermal water parks are a big deal in Slovenia. Definitely check one out while you’re there.
Take a holiday by the sea.
The cool thing about Slovenia is that you can get beaches and gorgeous mountains all in one trip. It’s only about an hour drive between the two. We opted not to visit the beach because we were headed to some really beautiful beaches in Spain and Greece, but we have heard they are recommended if you have the time in your itinerary.
Go to an adventure park.
We didn’t experience this because we were traveling with a five-month-old, but Slovenia’s adventure parks are great for families with older kids.
I can’t think of a more beautiful place to go horseback riding! If you love horseback riding or have wanted to try it, this is definitely a great place to do it.
Slovenia is home to beautiful snow-covered alps during the winter and Olympic athletes. If you visit during this time of year, definitely take advantage of some winter sports!
Check out the old city architecture, dragons, and markets in Ljubjana. In addition, there is also a gorgeous castle as well.
Visit the castles.
There are castles throughout Slovenia that are definitely worth seeing.
Make a stop at Postojna Cave and Underground Railway.
One of the most visited caves in Europe, this is a site you don’t want to miss. Your kids will love the underground railway as well. Postojna Castle is nearby if you have time after your visit.
Have you been to Slovenia, or are you planning to go?
Share with us in the comments!
How much did you budget for food in Slovenia?
What was your favorite part of your trip there? If you haven’t been yet, what are you looking forward to the most?
How did you hear about Slovenia?
What time of year did you go, or would you like to go?
What else would you like to know about Slovenia?
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