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Difference between revisions of "Slovenia"

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|government=Parliamentary Republic
 
|government=Parliamentary Republic
 
|currency=Euro (€)
 
|currency=Euro (€)
|area=20,273 km²
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|area='''total''' 20,273 km² '''land''' 20,151 km² '''water''' 122 km²
|population=2,054,199 (2009 estimate)
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|population=1,992,690 (2013 estimate)
 
|language=[[Slovenian]]
 
|language=[[Slovenian]]
|religion=Roman Catholic 84.3%, Eastern Orthodox 2.4%, Muslim 2.3%, Protestant 0.9%, atheist 10.1%
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|religion=Catholic 57.8%, Muslim 2.4%, Orthodox 2.3%, other or unspecified 27.4%, none 10.1%
 
|electricity=230V/50Hz (European plug)
 
|electricity=230V/50Hz (European plug)
 
|tld=.si
 
|tld=.si
 
|callingcode=386
 
|callingcode=386
|timezone=UTC +1; '''DST''' UTC +2
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|timezone=UTC +1 '''DST''' UTC +2
|emergencies=dial 112; '''Police''' dial 113
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|emergencies=dial 112 '''Police''' dial 113
 
}}
 
}}
  
'''Slovenia''' (''Slovenija'') [http://www.slovenia.info] is a member of the [[European Union]], Schengen Agreement and NATO. The country lies in [[Central Europe|Central]] [[Europe]] in the eastern [[Alps]] at the northern end of the Adriatic Sea, with [[Austria]] to the north, [[Italy]] to the southwest, [[Hungary]] to the northeast and [[Croatia]] to the south. Slovenia has historical ties to Central Europe, a strong economy and a relatively stable democracy.
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[http://www.slovenia.info/ '''Slovenia'''] [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/si.html] (''Slovenija'') is a member of the [[European Union]], Schengen Agreement and NATO. The country lies in [[Central Europe|Central]] [[Europe]] in the eastern [[Alps]] at the northern end of the Adriatic Sea, bordered by [[Austria]] to the north, [[Italy]] to the southwest, [[Hungary]] to the northeast, and [[Croatia]] to the south. Despite its small size, this eastern Alpine country controls some of Europe's major transit routes.
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Previously one of Yugoslavia's six constituent republics, present-day Slovenia became independent in 1991. Historical ties to [[Western Europe]], a strong economy, and a stable democracy have assisted in Slovenia's transformation to a modern state. It has 200 administrative divisions (municipalities). The [[Ljubljana]] capital was founded in Roman times; today its university has over 50,000 students. Slovenia's main industries include car parts, chemicals, electronics, electrical appliances, metal goods, textiles and furniture. It has a Mediterranean climate on the coast, continental climate with mild to hot summers, and cold winters in the plateaus and valleys to the east.
  
 
==Understand==
 
==Understand==
 
===History===
 
===History===
Slavic ancestors of Slovenes came from eastern parts of Europe and inhabited territory north of present Slovenian territory in the 6th century AD. They established a state called Caranthania (''Karantanija''), where the ruler (''knez'') was elected by popular vote. The Caranthanians were later defeated by Bavarians and Franks, who subjugated them. They were Christianized, but they preserved many rituals of their pagan religion, and their native language. The Slovene lands were part of the Holy Roman Empire and Austria under the Habsburg dynasty until 1918, when the Slovenes joined the Serbs and Croats in forming a new south-Slavic state ruled by Serbian Karađorđević dynasty called the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians (''Kraljevina Srbov, Hrvatov in Slovencev''), which was renamed to Yugoslavia in 1929. In World War II, Slovenia was invaded and occupied by Germans, Italians and Hungarians, leading to a war between pro-communist liberation forces Partizans, and axis-sponsored anti-communist reactionary factions (''Belogardisti'' and ''Domobranci''). The victory of the Allies and consequently the Partizans resulted in a mass exodus of those who had fought with the occupying forces, including most of the native German and Italian minorities. After World War II, Slovenia became a republic in the reestablished Yugoslavia, which although Communist, distanced itself from the Soviet bloc and small territorial gains were made from Italy. Dissatisfied with the exercise of power in Serbia, Slovenes succeeded in establishing their independence and adopting constitution in 1991. In 2004, Slovenia joined the European Union and NATO. Slovenia also adopted the euro in 2007, completing the final step of accession to the European Union.
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The Slavic ancestors came from eastern parts of Europe and established the Caranthania state in the 6th century, which was incorporated together with Franks, and Bavarians who Christianized Slovenes. Afterwards, the Slovene lands were part of the Holy Roman Empire, and later the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the dissolution at the end of World War I in 1918 when the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was formed, and turned into a multinational state named Yugoslavia in 1929. After Slovenia was occupied by the Axis powers and later liberated by the Partisans with the help of Western Allies in World War II, Slovenia became a republic in the renewed Yugoslavia, which although communist, distanced itself from Moscow's rule. Dissatisfied with the exercise of power by the majority Serbs, Slovenes succeeded in establishing their independence in 1991 after a short 10-day war. Slovenia acceded to both NATO and the EU in 2004, and joined the eurozone and the Schengen Area in 2007, completing the final steps of accession to the European Union.
  
===Culture===
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===Economy===
Slovenes are proud of their culture. Two names you will run into over and over again are national poet France Prešeren (1800-1849), who penned (among other things) the Slovenian national anthem, and the architect Jože Plečnik (1872-1957), credited with Ljubljana's iconic "Tromostovje" bridges and seemingly half the modern buildings in the country. It was the monks of the Catholic Church who kept Slovenia away from the influences of Central Europe to the north. As a result, Slovenian culture differs from the Balkan countries to the south. Part of both the countryside and city architecture in [[Julian Alps]] shares many commonalities with neighboring Austria, including countless roadside shrines and baroque steeples.
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Slovenia became the first 2004 European Union entrant to adopt the euro on 1 January 2007, and has experienced one of the most stable political and economic transitions in Central and Southeastern Europe. With the highest per capita GDP in Central Europe, Slovenia has excellent infrastructure, a well-educated work force, and a strategic location between the Balkans and Western Europe. Privatization has lagged since 2002, and the economy has one of the highest levels of state control in the EU. Structural reforms to improve the business environment have allowed for somewhat greater foreign participation in Slovenia's economy and helped to lower unemployment. Slovenia became the first transition country to graduate from borrower status to donor partner at the World Bank in March 2004. Slovenia was invited to begin the process for joining the OECD in 2007; it became a member in 2012. Despite its economic success, foreign direct investment (FDI) in Slovenia has lagged behind the region average, and taxes remain relatively high. Furthermore, the labor market is often seen as inflexible, and legacy industries are losing sales to more competitive firms in China, India and elsewhere. The global recession caused the economy to contract - through falling exports and industrial production - by 8%, and unemployment to rise in 2009. The economic growth resumed in 2010, but dipped into negative territory with the unemployment rate approaching 12% in 2012.
  
===Climate===
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===Broadcast media===
Slovenia has a mediterranean climate on the coast, mountain climate in Alps with mild summers and freezing winters, and continental climate with hot summers and freezing winters in the plateaus and valleys to the east.
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The national Radio-television Slovenia (''Radiotelevizija Slovenija'' (RTV)) is a public radio and TV broadcaster that operates a system of national and regional radio and TV stations. Slovenia has 35 domestic commercial TV stations (operating nationally, regionally and locally), and more than 75 regional and local commercial and noncommercial radio stations. About 60% of households are connected to multichannel cable TV.
  
===Terrain===
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===Culture===
Slovenia has a surprising variety of terrain, ranging from the beaches of the Mediterranean to the peaks of the Julian Alps, to the rolling hills of the south. It has a 47 km long coastal strip on the Adriatic Sea, an Alpine mountain region adjacent to Italy and Austria, mixed mountain and valleys with numerous rivers to the east and Pannonian Basin in northeast. This includes the central Ljubljana valley with Ljubljana marshes in the southern part. Karst (''Kras'') (the name for karst topography is commonly found in Guangxi Province, China) is located in the southwest. The Karst region is a barren but beautiful limestone region directly north of the Italian city of Trieste. Natural hazards include flooding and earthquakes. Slovenia's highest point is Mount Triglav at 2,864 m, the lowest point is Adriatic Sea at 0 m.
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The most famous Slovenes include the poet France Prešeren (1800-1849) who penned the Slovene national anthem, and the architect Jože Plečnik (1872-1957) who is credited with Ljubljana's iconic Triple Bridge. Part of both, the countryside and city architecture in Julian Alps, shares many commonalities with neighboring Austria, including countless roadside shrines and baroque steeples. The Roman architecture is present especially in Slovenia's capital, Ljubljana.
  
 
==Regions==
 
==Regions==
 
{{Regionlist
 
{{Regionlist
|regionmap=Slovenia proposed regions.png
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|regionmap=Slovenia regions map.png
|regionmaptext=Regions, cities and other destinations in Slovenia
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|regionmaptext=Regional map of Slovenia.
 
|regionmapsize=300px
 
|regionmapsize=300px
  
Line 41: Line 43:
 
|region1color=#d5de76
 
|region1color=#d5de76
 
|region1items=[[Ilirska Bistrica]], [[Piran]], [[Postojna]], [[Sežana]]
 
|region1items=[[Ilirska Bistrica]], [[Piran]], [[Postojna]], [[Sežana]]
|region1description=The southwestern corner of Slovenia with rolling hills, caves and the coastline.
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|region1description=The southwestern side of Slovenia with hills, caves and the coastline.
  
 
|region2name=[[Julian Alps]]
 
|region2name=[[Julian Alps]]
 
|region2color=#71b37b
 
|region2color=#71b37b
 
|region2items=[[Bled]], [[Idrija]], [[Jesenice]], [[Triglav National Park]]
 
|region2items=[[Bled]], [[Idrija]], [[Jesenice]], [[Triglav National Park]]
|region2description=The mountainous northwest with hiking, rafting, pretty lakes and Mount Triglav.
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|region2description=The mountainous northwest lakes and Mount Triglav.
  
 
|region3name=[[Central Slovenia]]
 
|region3name=[[Central Slovenia]]
 
|region3color=#8a84a3
 
|region3color=#8a84a3
 
|region3items=[[Kamnik]], [[Kranj]], [[Ljubljana]]
 
|region3items=[[Kamnik]], [[Kranj]], [[Ljubljana]]
|region3description=The urban part with the capital city and surrounding region.  
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|region3description=The central region with the capital city.
  
 
|region4name=[[Southeastern Slovenia]]
 
|region4name=[[Southeastern Slovenia]]
 
|region4color=#d09440
 
|region4color=#d09440
|region4items=[[Dolenjske Toplice]], [[Novo Mesto]]
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|region4items=[[Dolenjske Toplice]], [[Kočevje]], [[Novo Mesto]]
|region4description=The region around Krka and lower Sava river.
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|region4description=The southestearn region with Krka and lower Sava rivers.
  
 
|region5name=[[Pohorje-Savinjska]]
 
|region5name=[[Pohorje-Savinjska]]
 
|region5color=#b5d29f
 
|region5color=#b5d29f
 
|region5items=[[Celje]], [[Trbovlje]], [[Velenje]], [[Žalec]]
 
|region5items=[[Celje]], [[Trbovlje]], [[Velenje]], [[Žalec]]
|region5description=Mountains in the north, and the Savinja river valley.
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|region5description=The northern region with mountains and the Savinja river valley.
  
 
|region6name=[[Eastern Slovenia]]
 
|region6name=[[Eastern Slovenia]]
 
|region6color=#d56d76
 
|region6color=#d56d76
 
|region6items=[[Maribor]], [[Ptuj]]
 
|region6items=[[Maribor]], [[Ptuj]]
|region6description= The region around the Drava and Mura rivers, with vineyards in the east.
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|region6description=The eastern region with the Drava and Mura rivers, and vineyards.
 
}}
 
}}
  
==Cities==
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===Terrain===
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Four major European geographic regions meet in Slovenia: the Alps, the Dinaric area, the Pannonian plain and the Mediterranean. Slovenia's highest mountain, the three-peaked Triglav, is depicted on the national flag. Main tourist attractions include the famous caves with their decor of stalactites and stalagmites in [[Postojna]].
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Slovenia has a 46.6 kilometers long coastal strip on the Adriatic, an alpine mountain region adjacent to Italy and Austria, mixed mountains and valleys with numerous rivers to the east. Slovenia's highest point is Mount Triglav at 2,864 meters; the lowest point is Adriatic Sea at 0 meters. Natural resources include lignite coal, lead, zinc, building stone, hydropower and forests. Natural hazards include flooding and earthquakes.
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===Cities===
 
[[Image:TartinjevTrg.JPG|thumb|250px|Piazza Tartini in [[Piran]].]]
 
[[Image:TartinjevTrg.JPG|thumb|250px|Piazza Tartini in [[Piran]].]]
  
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*[[Novo Mesto]] — Largest city in the southeastern Slovenia.
 
*[[Novo Mesto]] — Largest city in the southeastern Slovenia.
 
*[[Nova Gorica]] — Largest city on the Italian border.
 
*[[Nova Gorica]] — Largest city on the Italian border.
*[[Koper]] — Largest city on Slovenian coastline.
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*[[Koper]] — Largest city on the Slovene coastline.
 
*[[Velenje]] — The eighth largest city in Slovenia.
 
*[[Velenje]] — The eighth largest city in Slovenia.
  
==Other destinations==
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===Other destinations===
 
*[[Bled|Bled golf courses]] — Mountain lake with an island and a castle.
 
*[[Bled|Bled golf courses]] — Mountain lake with an island and a castle.
*[[Divača|Škocjan Caves]] — A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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*[[Divača|Škocjan Caves]] — A [[UNESCO World Heritage Site]].
*[[Julian Alps]] — Beautiful nature where you can go hiking, cross-country skiing, or nordic walking.  
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*[[Julian Alps]] — Hiking, skiing, Nordic walking.  
*[[Postojna|Postojna Caves]] — Enjoy the 5.3 km ride through giant caves.
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*[[Postojna|Postojna Caves]] — Enjoy the 5.3-kilometer ride through giant caves.
*[[Soča Valley]] — Soča river is with its emerald color one of the most beautiful European Alpine rivers.
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*[[Soča Valley]] — The emerald-colored Soča river.
*[[The Kolpa River]] [http://www.kolpariver.eu/en] — One of the intact rivers in Slovenia and a tourist destination in the far southeastern part of Slovenia, which is comprised of a 113 km long strip of land that borders Croatia.
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*[[The Kolpa River]] [http://www.kolpariver.eu/en] — One of the intact rivers in Slovenia. A tourist destination in the far southeastern part, which is comprised of a 113 kilometers long strip of land that borders [[Croatia]].
*[[Triglav National Park]] — Home of the national symbol Mount Triglav. Explore the northwestern Posočje area. Enjoy canyoning, rafting and paragliding.
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*[[Triglav National Park]] — Home of the national symbol Mount Triglav. Enjoy exploring the Posočje area, canyoning, rafting and paragliding.
  
 
==Get in==
 
==Get in==
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===Entry requirements===
 
===Entry requirements===
 
{{Schengen}}
 
{{Schengen}}
 
Citizens of the above countries are permitted to work in Slovenia without the need to obtain a visa or any further authorization for the period of their 90 day visa-free stay.
 
  
 
===By bus===
 
===By bus===
The [http://ap-ljubljana.si/eng/ Ljubljana Bus Station] (''Avtobusna Postaja Ljubljana'') provides composite information about international and airport bus services.
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The [http://www.ap-ljubljana.si/eng/ Ljubljana Bus Station] (''Avtobusna Postaja Ljubljana'') provides composite information about international and airport bus services.
  
Connections between the Italian city of [[Trieste]] and nearby [[Koper]] and [[Piran]] are frequent on weekdays. There's also a daily bus trip between Trieste and Ljubljana. In addition, there are trips between [[Gorizia]] (Italy) and its twin town of [[Nova Gorica]] (Slovenia) are at least every hour throughout the day, although the trip can be made on foot. This offers an ideal connection between the Italian and Slovene railway networks or an alternative entry point from Trieste's Ronchi Airport or the city of Venice.
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Connections between the [[Italy|Italian]] city of [[Trieste]] and nearby [[Koper]] and [[Piran]] are frequent on weekdays. There's also a daily bus trip between Trieste and Ljubljana, and there are trips between [[Gorizia]] in Italy and its neighbor/twin town of [[Nova Gorica]] in Slovenia at least every hour throughout the day, although the trip can also be made on foot. This supplements the railway connection between the Italia and Slovenia, or an alternative entry point from either Trieste or Venice.
  
 
===By plane===
 
===By plane===
The Ljubljana Airport is Slovenia's primary international airport and the hub of national carrier [http://www.adria.si/ Adria Airways], which flies to a number of European cities and offers connections to Southeast Europe. The cheapest airplane travels are via easyJet's daily flight from [[London]]-Stansted.
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The Ljubljana Airport is Slovenia's primary international airport and the hub of national carrier [http://www.adria.si/ Adria Airways], which flies to numerous cities across Europe and offers connections to Southeast Europe. The cheapest airplane travels are available via easyJet's daily flight from London-Stansted Airport in [[England]].
  
There are a few other options worth exploring. Ryanair also runs flights from [[Dublin]] to [[Pula]] across the border in [[Croatia]]. Another convenient gateway, especially to western Slovenia, is via Italy's [[Trieste]] airport, which is an hour long drive from Ljubljana via highway. Airport in [[Klagenfurt]], [[Austria]], is also an option. The Italian airports in [[Venice]] and [[Treviso]] (called 'Venice Treviso) offer other entry points to Slovenia or good day trips to or from Slovenia.
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The [[Ireland|Irish]] Ryanair airport runs flights from [[Dublin]] to [[Pula]] across the border in [[Croatia]]. Another convenient gateway to western Slovenia is via Italy's [[Trieste]] airport, which is an hour-long drive from Ljubljana via highway. The airport in [[Klagenfurt]], [[Austria]], is also an option. The Italian Treviso Airport, serving [[Venice]] and [[Treviso]], offers alternative entry points to Slovenia.
  
 
===By train===
 
===By train===
Slovenian railways are well connected to Austria, Croatia and Hungary. The most popular routes connect from [[Vienna]] or [[Villach]] in Austria, from [[Budapest]] in [[Hungary]], and from [[Zagreb]] in [[Croatia]]. All lines converge on the capital Ljubljana. Railway connections between Slovenia and Italy are rather poor as the Italian Railways have slashed the only remaining cross-border service. To get around this poor connection, one can take a train to [[Nova Gorica]] (Slovenia) and then walk or take a bus to its neighboring town of [[Gorizia]] (Italy) from where there are frequent trains to [[Trieste]], Udine, [[Venice]] and further away. For trips to [[Trieste]], it is advisable to take a train to [[Sežana]] and then take a taxi to Trieste (about 10km, €10), or a connecting bus (3 times a day, weekdays only, €1).
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Slovene railways are well connected to all neighboring countries, except Italy where railway connections have gaps. The most popular routes connect from [[Vienna]] or [[Villach]] in Austria, from [[Budapest]] in [[Hungary]], from [[Zagreb]] in [[Croatia]]. To get around the poorer railway connection to Italy, a train can be taken from other points in Italy to [[Gorizia]], and then take a bus, or walk to its neighboring town [[Nova Gorica]] in Slovenia, where there are regular train lines to Ljubljana. For entries from [[Trieste]], it is advisable to take a bus or a taxi to [[Sežana]] where another train can be boarded.
 
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There are many [http://www.slo-zeleznice.si/en/international_transport/international_links/ international routes] and special offers exist for some destinations, so you should consider informing yourself about that in advance. There are destinations that have tickets on contingency basis, which can run out fast, but are usually a lot cheaper, such as [[Ljubljana]] - [[Prague]] line (cooperation between Slovene railways and Czech railways), €58 for a return ticket (compared to a normal price of €200). For return trips originating in Slovenia, City Star tickets, which are open-dated, but usually require a weekend stay, are often the cheapest choice.[http://www.slozeleznice.si/en/international_transport/tickets_and_discounts/flat_rate_tickets/city_star_international/] You can receive a discount with the [http://www.euro26.org/opencms/opencms/euro26_org/data/public/header/homepage/ Euro26] youth card on most international lines (the discount does not stack up if you already have a special deal). The same card also applies for all domestic lines, with a 30% discount.  
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The quality and comfort of the trains on international routes varies significantly. The unwritten rule is that everything heading up north from Ljubljana has a pretty good standard. The trains usually have restaurants on board, with clean and modern toilets. The railway services heading south are of lower quality, so be sure to carry a supply of food and beverages on board (water and coffee is available in every sleeping compartment) when heading from the Balkans by train. The express services which run to [[Zagreb]] (usually starting in [[Munich]], [[Germany]]) are high quality.
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Several international routes and special offers exist for some destinations. Some destinations have tickets on contingency basis that can run out fast, but are usually very cheap, such as [[Ljubljana]] - [[Prague]] line priced €58 for a return ticket (compared to a normal price of €200). For return trips originating in Slovenia, open-dated City Star tickets, which usually require a weekend stay, are usually the cheapest choice. With the [http://www.euro26.org/ Euro26] youth card, a discount can be received on most international lines (the discount does not stack up if you already have a special deal). The same card also applies for all domestic lines, with a 30% discount.  
  
 
===By car===
 
===By car===
[http://www.dars.si/ Slovenia's highway network] is connected to neighboring countries. Slovenia demands that all vehicles with a permissible weight of up to 3.5 tons buy a vignette (road tax) before using motorways or expressways. For passenger vehicles, the vignette costs €15 for a week, €30 for a month, or €95 for a year. For motorcyclists, this costs €7.50 per week, €25 for 6 months, and €47.50 for a year.[http://www.dars.si/Dokumenti/Cestnina/Nacini_placevanja_cestnine/Vozila_pod_3500_kg/Vinjeta_228.aspx] Using motorways without a vignette will result in a fine of €300 or more. Vignettes are actually sold at the border and gas stations (the border agents are supposed to give you a flier advising you to buy one, but they don't always do that). There are also signs advising you to buy a vignette, but they are in Slovene only.
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[http://www.dars.si/ Slovene highway network] is connected to all neighboring countries, with a few poorer connections to Croatia on the Slovenian side. Slovenia demands that all vehicles with a permissible weight of up to 3.5 tons buy a vignette (road tax) before using motorways or expressways. For passenger vehicles, the vignette costs €15 for a week, €30 for a month, or €95 for a year. For motorcyclists, this costs €7.50 per week, €25 for 6 months, and €47.50 for a year.[http://www.dars.si/Dokumenti/Cestnina/Nacini_placevanja_cestnine/Vozila_pod_3500_kg/Vinjeta_228.aspx] Using highways without a valid vignette can result in a fine of €300 or more. Vignettes are usually sold at borders and gas stations (the border agents are supposed to give you a flier advising you to buy one, but they don't always do that). There are also signs advising you to buy a vignette, but they are not always available in foreign languages.
  
 
====From Austria====
 
====From Austria====
 
*[[Vienna]] → [[Graz]] → [[Šentilj]] → [[Maribor]]
 
*[[Vienna]] → [[Graz]] → [[Šentilj]] → [[Maribor]]
*[[Villach]] → Karavanke Tunnel → [[Jesenice]]  
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*[[Villach]] → Karavanke Tunnel → [[Jesenice]]
*[[Villach]] → Wurzenpass → [[Podkoren]] → [[Kranjska Gora]]  
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*[[Villach]] → Wurzenpass → [[Podkoren]] → [[Kranjska Gora]]
 
*[[Klagenfurt]] → Loiblpass → [[Ljubelj]] → [[Kranj]]
 
*[[Klagenfurt]] → Loiblpass → [[Ljubelj]] → [[Kranj]]
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*[[Wolfsberg]] → [[Lavamünd]] → [[Slovenj Gradec]]
  
 
====From Italy====
 
====From Italy====
 
*[[Venice]] → [[Trieste]] → [[Koper]]
 
*[[Venice]] → [[Trieste]] → [[Koper]]
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*[[Venice]] → [[Trieste]] → [[Sežana]]
 
*[[Venice]] → [[Gorizia]] → [[Nova Gorica]]
 
*[[Venice]] → [[Gorizia]] → [[Nova Gorica]]
 
*[[Tarvisio]] → [[Rateče]] → [[Kranjska Gora]] → [[Jesenice]]
 
*[[Tarvisio]] → [[Rateče]] → [[Kranjska Gora]] → [[Jesenice]]
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*[[Cividale del Friuli]] → [[Kobarid]] → [[Tolmin]]
  
 
===By boat===
 
===By boat===
There is a fast ferry between [[Venice]] and [[Izola]], running with an irregular schedule mainly during the summer season.[http://www.kompas-online.net/pages/CruisesFerries/prince.aspx] The journey takes 3 hours. Venezialines run one fast ferry per week between [[Venice]] and [[Piran]].[http://www.venezialines.com/eng/routes.asp] During the summer months, there is a fast craft service operated by Trieste Lines between [[Trieste]] (Italy), [[Piran]] (Slovenia), [[Poreč]] (Croatia) and [[Rovinj]] (Croatia). The portion of the journey between Piran and Trieste lasts 30 minutes, which is pretty much the same as a journey by car.
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A fast ferry between [[Venice]] and [[Izola]] runs with an irregular schedule mainly during the summer season, the journey takes 3 hours.[http://www.kompas-online.net/pages/CruisesFerries/prince.aspx] [http://www.venezialines.com/ Venezialines] runs another fast ferry per week between [[Venice]] and [[Piran]]. During the summertime, there is a fast craft service operated by Trieste Lines between [[Trieste]] in Italy, [[Piran]] in Slovenia, [[Poreč]] and [[Rovinj]] in Croatia. The portion of the journey between Piran and Trieste lasts 30 minutes, which is pretty much the same as a journey by car.
  
 
==Get around==
 
==Get around==
Hitchhiking may be your best option to move around for free. Getting around by car is generally painless when using highways, but those require you to purchase an expensive vignette (see the 'By car' paragraph in the 'Get in' section above). You might experience tougher times off the highways, or when using public transport. Bus schedules in particular have been slashed, so some planning ahead is required. Services are sparse and limited on Saturdays and Sundays.
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Hitchhiking may be your best option to move around for free. Getting around by car is generally painless when using highways, but those require you to purchase an expensive [[#By car|vignette]]. You might experience tougher times off the highways, or when using public transport. Bus schedules in particular have been slashed, so some planning ahead is required. Services are sparse and limited on Saturdays and Sundays.
  
 
===By thumb===
 
===By thumb===
Line 149: Line 155:
 
V — Every day}}
 
V — Every day}}
  
The [http://www.slo-zeleznice.si/en/ Slovenian Railways] (''Slovenske Železnice'' (SŽ)) train network will get you to most destinations in the country, although there are gaps in the network and routes can be circuitous, so traveling by train usually requires to move to another train in Ljubljana. Trains are usually 30% cheaper than buses and return discounts are available on weekends. Buy tickets before you board, as there is a surcharge for any tickets bought from the conductor - except if tickets are not sold at the station. A €1.20 surcharge also applies to any InterCity trains.
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The 1,228 kilometers long [http://www.slo-zeleznice.si/en/ Slovene Railways] (''Slovenske Železnice'' (SŽ)) train network will get you to most destinations in the country, although there are a few gaps in the network and routes can be circuitous, therefore train travel often requires passengers to move to another train in Ljubljana where all Slovene railway lines converge. Trains are usually 30% cheaper than buses, and return discounts are available on weekends. It's advisable to buy tickets before boarding, as there is a surcharge for any tickets bought from the conductor - except if tickets are not sold at the station. A €1.20 surcharge also applies to InterCity trains.
  
The railway system has been relatively modernized. The railway station names are typically only visible on station building signs, so figuring out where you are means constantly looking outside the right window (sometimes on the right side, other times on the left side). Some newer trains have an voice announcement system that tells you to which station you are arriving. Trains are punctual (except some international ones), so check the expected arrival time and some previous station names to be sure where to get off. For figuring out your next train from a station (electronic signboards are a rarity, but printed schedules are always available): ''odhod'' (yellow) means departures, while ''prihod'' (white) means arrivals, although this is usually also indicated in English.
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The railway system has been relatively modernized. The railway station names are typically only visible on station building signs, so figuring out to which station the train is arriving means constantly looking outside the correct window (sometimes it's on the right side, other times it's on the left side). A few newer trains have a voice announcement system that announces to which station the train is arriving. Trains are punctual (except some of the international trains), so you should check the expected arrival time and previous station names to be sure where to get off. For figuring out the next train from a station (electronic signboards are rare, but printed schedules are always available): ''odhod'' (yellow) means departure, while ''prihod'' (white) means arrival, although this is usually also indicated in English.
  
 
===By bus===
 
===By bus===
Buses fill the gaps, and are usually a better option for some towns not directly served by train (e.g. [[Bled]], [[Piran]]). Some bigger stations have handy electronic search engines for schedules and fares.[http://www.ap-ljubljana.si/eng/]
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Buses fill the railway gaps, and are usually a better option for some towns not directly served by train (like [[Bled]] and [[Piran]]). Some bigger bus stations have electronic search engines for schedules and fares.[http://www.ap-ljubljana.si/eng/]
  
 
===By car===
 
===By car===
Slovenian roads are usually maintained and signposted, and you usually won't have a problem when traveling by car. There are many car rental and taxi businesses in Ljubljana. The big international companies are all represented,[http://www.izzicarhireslovenia.com] with some of them offering older cars for customers on a budget.
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The 38,925 kilometers long Slovene road network is usually well maintained and signposted, so traveling by car usually isn't a problem. There are many car rental and taxi businesses in Ljubljana. The big international companies are also represented, with some of them offering older cars for a cheaper price.[http://www.izzicarhireslovenia.com/]
  
 
==Get out==
 
==Get out==
If you seek new experiences, it's easy to take a ride from [[Ljubljana]] to [[Zagreb]] in [[Croatia]]. This can be done either by train, bus, car, or plane. Once there, you can enjoy world concerts and more.
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If you seek new experiences, it's easy to take a ride from [[Ljubljana]] to [[Zagreb]] in [[Croatia]]. This can be done either by train, bus, car, or plane (from Ljubljana Airport). Once there, you can enjoy world concerts and more.
  
==Talk==
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===By train===
The national [[Slovenian phrasebook|Slovenian]] language is spoken natively by 91% of the population, but there are also small [[Italian phrasebook|Italian]] (concentrated on the Primorska coast) and somewhat bigger [[Hungarian phrasebook|Hungarian]] (in Prekmurje to the northeast) speaking minorities. Historically and prior to the end of World War II, there was also a significant German speaking minority.
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The quality and comfort of the trains on international routes varies. Trains heading up north from Ljubljana usually have good standards, and they also have restaurants with modern toilets onboard. The trains heading south are usually of lower quality, so you should probably carry a supply of food and beverages with you (water and coffee are available in every sleeping compartment) when heading to Croatia. The express services, which run via Slovenia to [[Zagreb]] (usually starting in [[Munich]], [[Germany]]), are of high quality.
  
The level of spoken English is as high as in other European countries. Many Slovenians have some functional knowledge of German, in particular in [[Eastern Slovenia]], and Italian in the coastal region where Italian is a co-official language. [[Serbo-Croatian]] is either widely spoken or at least understood. Communication in other languages is harder encounter.
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===By car===
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The highway connections to Slovenia's southern neighbor Croatia are poor, and they usually turn into regular road connections due to unfinished highway projects, so purchasing a [[#By car|vignette]] when traveling to the Balkans only makes sense when using the only direct highway route from [[Ljubljana]] to [[Zagreb]] via [[Novo Mesto]].
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 +
====To Croatia====
 +
*[[Ljubljana]] → [[Novo Mesto]] → [[Zagreb]] ''(highway)''
 +
*[[Novo Mesto]] → [[Metlika]] → [[Karlovac]] → [[Zagreb]] ''(road)''
 +
*[[Maribor]] → [[Ptuj]] → [[Krapina]] → [[Zagreb]]
 +
*[[Maribor]] → [[Ptuj]] → [[Ormož]] → [[Čakovec]]
 +
*[[Ljubljana]] → [[Postojna]] → [[Ilirska Bistrica]] → [[Rijeka]]
 +
*[[Ljubljana]] → [[Kočevje]] → [[Delnice]]
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====To Hungary====
 +
*[[Maribor]] → [[Murska Sobota]] → [[Lendava]] → [[Pince]] → [[Letenye]] → [[Nagykanizsa]] → [[Budapest]]
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*[[Maribor]] → [[Murska Sobota]] → [[Dolga Vas]] → [[Rédics]] → [[Körmend]]
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==Talk==
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The national [[Slovenian phrasebook|Slovenian]] language is spoken natively by 91.1% of the population, 4.5% speak Serbo-Croatian that is even more widely understood, 4.4% (minority communities near the national borders) speak Italian and Hungarian. The level of spoken English is similar to other European countries. Many Slovenes have some knowledge of German language (especially in the [[Eastern Slovenia]]). Using simple English will help to avoid misunderstandings.
  
Slovene schools teach foreign languages from primary school onwards. Children can study two foreign languages (most commonly English and [[German]]) by the time they get to grammar school. Grammar schools often teach an optional third foreign language, [[Spanish]], [[Italian]], or [[French]]. While the younger Slovenes speak English quite fluently, older people are more skilled in [[Serbo-Croatian]], German, and can read Cyrillic. Using simple English will help to avoid misunderstandings.
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Slovene schools teach foreign languages from primary school onwards. Students can study two foreign languages (most commonly English and German) by the time they get to grammar school. Grammar schools often teach an optional third foreign language ([[Spanish]], [[Italian]] or [[French]]). While most of the younger Slovenes speak English fluently, older residents are more skilled in [[Serbo-Croatian]] and [[German]], while some of them can also read Cyrillic.
  
 
==See==
 
==See==
 
[[Image:Ljubljana, Slovenia - The Triple Bridge.jpg|240px|thumb|Ljubljana's Triple Bridge.]]
 
[[Image:Ljubljana, Slovenia - The Triple Bridge.jpg|240px|thumb|Ljubljana's Triple Bridge.]]
  
Slovenian cities leave no doubt about historic influence played by Austrian and Italian architecture, like [[Ljubljana]] and [[Piran]]. If you find the cities boring, you can visit the alpine resort of [[Bled]] and its lake with an island, the Postojna caves with massive stalactites and stalagmites, the lively coastal town of [[Piran]], the Soča river, or the Trenta valley.
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Older Slovene cities have historic influences by Austrian (baroque) and Italian (Roman) architectures. If you find the cities boring, you can visit the alpine resort of [[Bled]] and its lake with an island, the massive stalactites and stalagmites in the Postojna caves where the graffiti indicate that the first tourists came there in 1213, the lively coastal town of [[Piran]], the Soča river, or the Trenta valley.
  
The National Museum of Slovenia in [[Ljubljana]] (Presernova, Muzejska ulica 1), is the oldest and the largest Slovene museum. It was founded in 1821. Existent museum building on the Museum street, was built in 1888 and was the first, building, assigned solely to culture in Slovenia. Today it stores a rich collection of valuable objects. The oldest spring back to the Stone Age, but there are also the newer ones, which are still used in our everyday life. Important columns of museum activity are also rich museum library and unit for preservation and restoring.
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The National Museum of Slovenia in [[Ljubljana]] (Presernova 20, entrance from Muzejska Street), is the oldest and the largest Slovene museum. It was founded in 1821. The museum building on the Museum Street was built in 1888, and was the first building assigned solely to Slovene culture. Today, it stores a rich collection of valuable objects. The oldest ones date back to the Stone Age, and there are also newer ones that are still used in today's modern times.
 
   
 
   
The new building of the [http://www.nms.si National Museum of Slovenia] on the Metelkova Street (Maistrova 1), exhibits collections of the applied art heritage of Slovenia. The permanent exhibition brings together objects of applied arts from the 14th century to the present day.
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The new building of the [http://www.nms.si/ National Museum of Slovenia] on the (Metelkova, Maistrova Street 1), exhibits collections of the applied art heritage of Slovenia. The permanent exhibition brings together objects of applied arts from the 14th century to the present day.
  
 
==Do==
 
==Do==
There are many opportunities for activity holidays in Slovenia. The mountains and rivers of the Julian Alps provide the perfect location for hiking, mountain biking, rafting and kayaking. The southern part of Slovenia is an area of numerous caves. You can enjoy different spa resorts in the eastern part, take a dive in the Adriatic Sea, experience the Slovene cities, go skiing, or enjoy in the countryside tasting Slovene cuisine and local wine.
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There are many opportunities for holiday activities in Slovenia. The mountains and rivers of the Julian Alps provide the perfect location for skiing, hiking, mountain biking, rafting and kayaking. The southern part of Slovenia is an area of numerous caves. You can enjoy different spa resorts in the eastern part, take a dive in the Adriatic Sea, visit cities, or enjoy the countryside cuisine and local wine.
  
 
==Buy==
 
==Buy==
Line 186: Line 208:
  
 
===Shopping===
 
===Shopping===
You can make relatively cheap purchases of groceries and other common supplies in several supermarkets, such as the Slovenian supermarket chains of Mercator (major) and Tuš, or the international supermarket chains of Spar, Aldi (Hofer), Lidl, Eurospin, E.Leclerc and CBA.
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You can make relatively cheap purchases of groceries and other common supplies in several supermarkets, such as the Slovene supermarket chains of Mercator (major) and Tuš, or the international supermarket chains of Spar, Aldi (Hofer), Lidl, Eurospin, E.Leclerc and CBA.
  
Prices are generally high compared to most of [[Central-Eastern Europe]]. Some prices vary depending on location. For example, a beer (0,5 liter) in a pub in "Old (Town) Ljubljana" (''Stara Ljubljana'') costs around €3.00, while a beer outside [[Ljubljana]] costs around €1.80.
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Prices are generally high compared to most of Central-Eastern Europe. Some prices vary depending on location. For example, a half-liter of beer costs around €3.00 in a pub in 'Old (Town) Ljubljana' (''Stara Ljubljana''), and around €1.80 outside [[Ljubljana]].
  
A value-added tax (VAT) of 20% (with a reduced rate of 8.5% usually applied to food, including some soft drinks) is charged on most purchases, which is always included in the displayed prices. Note that if you are not an EU citizen, you are entitled to VAT tax return for purchases over a certain value. Ask the cashier to write down your name on your bill and show this bill when you leave Slovenia through Jože Pučnik (formerly Brnik) airport, or any of the main border crossings with [[Croatia]].
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===Taxes===
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A value-added tax (VAT) of 20% (with a reduced rate of 8.5% usually applied to foods and some soft drinks) is charged on most purchases, and is always included in the displayed price tags. Non-EU citizens are entitled to VAT tax return for purchases over a certain value. Ask the cashier to write down your name on your bill, and show this bill when you leave Slovenia through Ljubljana Airport (formerly Brnik), or any of the main border crossings with [[Croatia]].
  
 
===Tipping===
 
===Tipping===
It has long been a standard to not expect [[tipping]] for services in Slovenia. Though recently tips are becoming more common, especially in some of the high-tourist areas.
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It has long been a standard to not expect [[tipping]] for services in Slovenia. In recent years, tips are becoming more common, especially in some of the high-tourist areas.
  
 
==Eat==
 
==Eat==
The old saying "there is no free lunch" is true in Slovenia. Served foods can be expensive, and the best way to get cheap food if you are on a budgest is to buy it directly from local supermarkets (see the 'Shopping' section above).
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The old saying "there is no free lunch" is true in Slovenia. Served foods can be expensive, and the best way to get cheap food if you are on a budget is to buy it directly from local [[#Shopping|supermarkets]].
  
Unless they are strict vegans, Slovenia's visitors can usually find something to their liking among the Subalpine, Italian, Hungarian and Balkan mixture of served foods.
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Unless they are strict vegans, Slovenia's visitors can usually find something to their liking among the Subalpine, Austrian, Italian, Hungarian and Balkan mixture of served foods.
  
 
===Cuisine===
 
===Cuisine===
Slovene food is generally heavy, meaty and plain. A typical three-course meal starts with a soup (''juha''), often just beef (''goveja'') or chicken (''piščančja'') broth with egg noodles (''rezanci''), and then a meat dish served with potatoes (''krompir'') and a vinegary fresh salad (''solata''). Fresh bread (''kruh'') is often served on the side.
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Slovene cuisine is heavily influenced by that of its neighbors, including the Austrian ''Strudel'' and ''Wiener Schnitzel'', the Italian risotto and ravioli (including pizza and several sorts of pasta), and the Hungarian goulash. Unique dishes include an air-dried ham (''kraški pršut'', similar to the Italian ''prosciutto''), dumplings (''štruklji'') that Slovenes prepare in 70 different ways stuffed with sweet fillings, meat or vegetables), a type of polenta called ''žganci'' and ''ajdovi žganci'' (made of buckwheat), potato dumplings (''žlikrofi'', similar to the [[Idrija|Idrian]] ''gnocchi'' specialty), and a type of soup made of beans, sauerkraut, potatoes, bacon, spare ribs, and the main seasoning is garlic called ''jota''.
  
Common mains include cutlets (''zrezek''), sausage (''klobasa'') and goulash (''golaž''), all usually prepared from pork (''svinjina''), lamb (''jagnjetina'') and game (''divjačina''), but there is a large choice of fish (''ribe'') and seafood even further away from the coast. Popular Italian imports include all sorts of pasta (''testenine''), pizza (''pica''), ravioli (''ravioli'') and risotto (''rižota''). A major event in the countryside still today is the slaughtering of a pig from which many various products are made: blood sausage (''krvavica''), roasts (''pečenka''), stuffed tripe (''polnjeni vampi''), smoked sausage (''prekajena salama''), salami (''salama''), ham (''šunka'') and bacon (''slanina''). Recipes for the preparation of poultry (''perutnina''), especially turkey (''puran''), goose (''gos''), duck (''raca'') and capon (''kopun''), have been preserved for many centuries. Chicken (''piščanec'') is also common. Squid is fairly common and reasonably priced.  
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The traditional Slovene cake called ''potica'', which is made by rolling up a layer of dough covered with walnuts, and a very cake-like pastry called ''gibanica'', which is made of poppy seeds, walnuts, apples, raisins, and cheese, topped with cream.
  
Uniquely Slovene dishes are available, but you won't find them on every menu. The ones to look for are ''kraški pršut'' (air-dried ham, similar to but not the same as Italian ''prosciutto''), ''štruklji'' (dumplings that Slovenes prepare in 70 different ways stuffed with sweet fillings, meat or vegetables), ''žganci'' (a type of polenta, ''ajdovi žganci'' are made of buckwheat), ''žlikrofi'' (potato dumplings similar to gnocchi, specialty of the Idrija region), ''jota'' (a type of soup made of beans, sauerkraut, potatoes, bacon, spare ribs, and the main seasoning is garlic). The Slovene desserts to try are ''potica'' (a type of nut roll for holiday occasions also prepared with the widest variety of fillings) and ''gibanica'' (a very heavy cakelike pastry of poppy seeds, walnuts, apples, raisins, and cheese, topped with cream).
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===Common foods===
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Slovene foods are generally heavy, meaty and plain. A typical three-course meal starts with a soup (often made of beef or chicken) broth with egg noodles, after which a meat dish is served with potatoes and a vinegary fresh salad. Fresh bread is often served on the side. Common mains include cutlets, a sausage and goulash, all usually prepared from pork, lamb and game, but there is also a large choice of fish and other seafood further away from the coast. Popular Italian imports include several sorts of pasta, pizza and ravioli.
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A major event in the countryside is the slaughtering of a pig, from which many various products are made (blood sausage, roasts, stuffed tripe, smoked sausage, salami, ham and bacon). Recipes for the preparation of poultry, especially turkey, goose, duck and capon, have been preserved for many centuries. Chicken and squid are also common.  
  
 
===Places to eat===
 
===Places to eat===
 
[[Image:Gostilna pri Bundru.JPG|thumb|240px|A bar in Kamnik.]]
 
[[Image:Gostilna pri Bundru.JPG|thumb|240px|A bar in Kamnik.]]
  
At the top of the restaurant chain is the usually restaurant (''restavracija''), which could be a usual restaurant a Chinese restaurant. More common pubs in the countryside are called ''gostilna'' and ''gostišče'', with rustic inns serving Slovene fare. Lunch sets (''dnevno kosilo'') cost around €7 for three courses (soup, salad and main).
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At the top of the list of places to eat in Slovenia is the usual restaurant (translated ''restavracija''), followed by common bars in the countryside, called ''gostilna'' and ''gostišče'', with rustic inns serving Slovene fare.
  
There is no real fast food market in Slovenia, but international McDonalds chain is available in larger cities. Hamburgers are also served up in grills and snack bars (''okrepčevalnica''), and Slovenians have adopted several Balkan grills like a spiced-up hamburger patty (''pleskavica'') and spicy meatballs (''čevapčiči'') are ubiquitous, and one of the more tasty if not healthy options is the [[Bosnia]]n specialty ''burek'', a large, flaky pastry stuffed with either meat, cheese or apple, often sold for as little as €2. In recent years, many fast food places started making döner kebabs, and they are now among the most popular fast foods in Slovenia, and can be found virtually everywhere.
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The international McDonalds fast-food chain is available in larger cities. Hamburgers are also served in grills and snack bars called ''okrepčevalnica''. Slovenes have adopted several Balkan grills, such as a spiced-up hamburger patty called ''pleskavica'', and spicy meatballs called ''čevapčiči''. Other popular fast-food options include the [[Bosnia]]n the large, flaky pastry stuffed with either meat, cheese or apple called ''burek'', and Doner kebabs (commonly known as Shawarma).
  
 
===Dietary restrictions===
 
===Dietary restrictions===
Slovenia is not the easiest of places for a vegetarian, although even the usual inn can make a decent fresh salad (''solata'') and fried vegetables per request. Vegetarians will have it easy in Slovenia, while strict vegans won't find more than a handful of vegan restaurants in the country (most of them in [[Ljubljana]]). However, even the smallest store has its healthy food shelves with several non-meat choices. In cities, the Mediterranean chick-pea staple falafel and its cousin the vegi-burger have made some inroads on fast-food menus. Many restaurants offer a "vegetarian plate", which includes potatoes, fresh or boiled vegetables and "soya steak".
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Slovenia is not the best place for vegetarians, although some inns offer fresh salads and fried vegetables per request. Strict vegans won't find more than a handful of vegan restaurants in the country. However, even the smallest grocery store offers non-meat foods for sale. In the cities, the Mediterranean chickpea staple falafel and the 'vegi-burger' can be found on some fast food menus. Many restaurants in Slovenia offer a 'vegetarian plate', which includes potatoes, fresh or boiled vegetables with 'soya steak'.
  
In coastal cities, there are many choices for seafood lovers. Local specialties include fish, squids, mussels and octopus.
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In coastal cities, there are several choices for seafood lovers. Local specialties include fish, squids, mussels and octopus.
  
 
==Drink==
 
==Drink==
All restaurants and bars are usually covered with drinks like beers, wines and spirits. Tap water is generally drinkable.
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All restaurants and bars are usually covered with drinks like beers, wines and spirits. Tap water is usually clean and drinkable.
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===Common drinks===
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The 'coffee culture' is widespread in Slovenia. 'Coffee' usually stands for a tiny cup of strong Turkish coffee, and cafes are a common sight with a basic cup priced €1.00 - €1.50. Coffee with milk or whipped cream can also be ordered.
  
===Coffee and tea===
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Tea is not as popular, and only sorts of fruit-flavored and herbal teas are usually available instead of the basic black cup. It can also be served with honey and lemon.
In Slovenia, coffee (''kava'') usually means a tiny cup of strong Turkish coffee, and cafes (''kavarna'') are a common sight with a basic cup priced €1.00 - €1.50. One can also order coffee with milk (''kava z mlekom'') or whipped cream (''kava s smetano''). Coffee culture is wide-spread in Slovenia, and one can see Slovenes sitting in the same café for hours. Tea (''čaj'') is not as popular, and if they do drink it (mostly in the winter), Slovenes prefer all sorts of fruit-flavored and herbal teas over a basic black cup. Tea is served with honey and lemon per request.
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===Beer===
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===Alcoholic drinks===
Beer (''pivo'') is the most popular tipple and the main brands are Laško and Union. A bottle or jug will cost you €2.50 in a pub (''pivnica''). Ask for large (''veliko'') (large) for 0.5L and small (''malo'') for 0.3L. The Union Radler Grapefruit is also good.
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Beer is the most popular tipple, and the main local brands include Laško and Union. A bottle or jug of beer costs €2.50 in a pub. Ask for large for 0.5L, and small for 0.3L. The Union Radler Grapefruit is also good.
  
===Wine===
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The western region produces reds and the drier whites (in an Italian/French style), while the eastern region produces semi-dry to sweet whites, which cater more to the German/Austrian-type of palate. Local wine specialties include Riesling, Teran (a very dry red from the Kras region), and Cviček (a very dry red). Wines are usually ordered by the deciliter.
Riesling, the Slovene wine (''vino'') can be quite good. The Goriška Brda region produces reds and the drier whites (in a more Italian/French style), while the Štajerska region produces semi-dry to sweet whites, which cater more to the German/Austrian-type of palate. Other local specialties worth sampling are Teran, a very dry red from the Kras region, and Cviček, a red so dry and light it's almost a rosé. Wine is usually priced and ordered by the deciliter, with a price around two euros for the usual glass containing two deciliters.
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===Spirits===
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A Slovene brandy called ''žganje'' or ''šnops'' (similar to the Hungarian ''palinka''), can be distilled from almost any fruit. ''Medeno žganje'' or ''medica'' has been sweetened with honey. Vodka is also popular.
A Slovene brandy (called ''žganje'' or colloquially ''šnops''), like the Hungarian ''palinka'', can be distilled from almost any fruit. ''Medeno žganje'' (also known as ''medica'') has been sweetened with honey. Vodka is also popular.
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==Sleep==
 
==Sleep==
Sleeping outside in a public area (outside the designated camping grounds) is not recommended. Aside from the climate's moisture posing a problem, not many Slovenian residents may be comfortable with seeing homeless bums, and sleeping outside in a public place (especially inside a city and especially at night) can get you in trouble.
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Sleeping outside in a public area (outside the designated camping grounds) is not recommended. Aside from the climate's moisture posing a problem, not many Slovenes may be comfortable with seeing homeless bums, and sleeping outside in a public place (especially inside a city and especially at night) can get you in trouble.
  
However, Slovenia has a wide variety of high-priced accommodations, ranging from five star hotels to secluded cottages in the mountains.
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However, Slovenia has a wide variety of high-priced accommodations, including five star hotels, secluded cottages in the mountains, and 'tourist farms' in the countryside.
  
 
===Car camping===
 
===Car camping===
Sleeping in your car, though uncomfortable, is a cheap and viable option (especially during summertime), and you usually won't get bothered in secluded public parking places, though you might not want to stay at the same place longer than a day or two. The free parking places of settlement areas are your best bet, as well as some parking places of restaurants, but you should avoid the more obvious parking areas such as the ones of supermarkets, as those are very often monitored by various securities (especially at night).
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Sleeping in your car, though uncomfortable, is a cheap and viable option (especially during the summer season), and you usually won't get bothered in secluded public parking places, though you might not want to stay at the same place longer than a day or two. The free parking places of settlement areas are your best bet, as well as some parking places of restaurants, but you should avoid the more obvious parking areas such as the ones of supermarkets, as those are very often monitored by various securities (especially at night).
  
 
===Hostels===
 
===Hostels===
There are hostels in all of the tourist destinations in Slovenia. The average price for a basic bed in a dorm is €10 - €20. Quite a few student dormitories (''dijaški dom'') are converted into hostels in the summer, but these tend to be poorly located and badly maintained.
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There are hostels in all of the high-tourist areas in Slovenia. The average price for a basic bed in a dorm ranges from €10 to €20. Some of the student dormitories are converted into hostels in summertime, but these tend to be poorly located and badly maintained.
  
Mountain Huts can be found in [[Triglav National Park]]. Information about these huts can be found at tourist information offices that will also help you plan your walks around the area and phone the hostels to book them for you. The only way to get to the huts is by foot, and expect a fair bit of walking up hills, as the lowest huts are around 700 m up. There are clear signs/information around stating how long it will take to travel to/between all the huts indicated in hours.
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Mountain Huts can be found in [[Triglav National Park]]. Information about these huts can be found at tourist information offices that will also help you plan your walks around the area and phone the hostels to book them for you. The only way to get to these huts is by foot, and the lowest huts are around 700 meters up. There are clear signs with information, stating how long it will take to travel to or between the huts indicated in hours.
 
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===Tourist farms===
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Tourist farms can be found around Slovene countryside and usually they offer wide selection of traditional food, local wine and different sport activities. They also offer opportunities to experience real traditional countryside life.
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===Camping===
 
===Camping===
Camping is not permitted in the national parks of Slovenia, but there are various designated camping grounds. It's advisable to take a camping mat of some sort, as nice, comfortable grass is a luxury at camp sites and you're much more likely to find pitches consisting of small stones.
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Camping is not permitted in the national parks of Slovenia, but there are various designated camping grounds. It's advisable to take a camping mat with you, as nice, comfortable grass is a luxury at campsites and you will more likely find pitches consisting of small stones.
  
 
==Learn==
 
==Learn==
Slovenia has four universities, located in [http://www.uni-lj.si Ljubljana], [http://www.uni-mb.si Maribor], [http://www.p-ng.si Nova Gorica] and [http://www.upr.si Koper], as well as several independent colleges like BSA Kranj and [http://www.iedc.si/ IEDC Bled]. The university in Ljubljana is the oldest and largest teaching institution in the country. It contains 3 art academies: Theater and Film, Music, and Fine Arts.
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Slovenia has four universities, located in [http://www.uni-lj.si/en/ Ljubljana], [http://www.um.si/en Maribor], [http://www.ung.si/en/ Nova Gorica] and [http://www.upr.si/ Koper], as well as independent colleges like BSA Kranj and [http://www.iedc.si/ IEDC Bled]. The university in Ljubljana is the oldest and largest educational institution in the country, offering three art academies: Theater and Film, Music, and Fine Arts.
  
 
==Work==
 
==Work==
Citizens of the European Union, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland can work in Slovenia without the need to apply for visa. Citizens of some non-EU countries (see the 'Get in' section above) are permitted to work in Slovenia without the need to obtain a visa or any further authorization for the period of their 90 day visa-free stay.  
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Citizens of the [[European Union]], [[Norway]], [[Iceland]] and [[Switzerland]] can work in Slovenia without the need to apply for visa. Citizens of some non-EU countries are permitted to work in Slovenia without the need to obtain a visa or any further authorization for the period of their 90-day visa-free stay. (see the [[#Entry requirements|'Entry requirements']] section above)
  
It's also possible for English-speaking graduates to get work in schools, teaching English for one year.
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English-speaking graduates can get work teaching English in Slovene schools for a one-year period.
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==Stay healthy==
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Hygiene standards are high and tap water is usually drinkable. While in nature, it's advisable to use tick repellents due to the dangers of widespread Lyme disease and Meningitis. If bitten by one of the two known species of venomous adders in the Julian Alps, you should seek medical help to provide you with antiserums (although these are seldom administered). You may encounter a bear in the forests to the south, but actual attacks are rare.
  
 
==Stay safe==
 
==Stay safe==
Slovenia is a relatively safe country to visit, especially during daytime, but be aware of your surroundings. People may get a bit aggressive in crowded bars and discotheques, and it is not uncommon to be grabbed or groped.
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Slovenia is a relatively safe country to visit, especially during daytime. People may become aggressive in crowded bars and discotheques, and it isn't uncommon to be grabbed or groped.
  
As elsewhere in this part of Europe, homosexuals are generally safe, although there have been a few reported attacks in the past. Be cautious in the evening and during the night, especially in cities. Women/girls holding hands are considered normal and a sign of friendship.
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Homosexuals are generally not in danger, although there have been reported attacks in the past. Be cautious in the evening and at night, especially in bigger cities. Women/girls holding hands are considered normal and a sign of friendship.
 
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The nationwide emergency number is 112. To call police, dial 113. There are emergency phones stationed along the main motorways. You can find the closest SOS-phone by the arrows on the sign posts.
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==Stay healthy==
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Hygiene standards are high and tap water is usually drinkable.
+
  
While in nature, always use tick repellents, due to the Borreliosis and Meningitis danger. Borreliosis is very widespread in the country. There are two species of venomous adders in the Julian Alps. If you are bitten by them, you should seek medical help as antiserums are available (although seldom administered). In the forests in the south, you may encounter a bear, although attacks are rare.
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The nationwide emergency number is 112. To call police, dial 113. There are emergency phones stationed along main roads and highways. The closest SOS phones can be found by following the signposts, which are usually put right in front of the phone station, so driving slowly is advisable.
  
 
==Respect==
 
==Respect==
Slovenians are generally friendly, so don't hesitate to address people as many understand English and may be able to help you.
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Slovenes are generally friendly, so don't hesitate to address them as many understand English and may be able to help you.
  
It's common to shake hands when introduced to someone. In the younger generation, hugging is not uncommon between friends. Greeting people with "Dober dan" (good day) is also common.
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It's common to shake hands when introduced to someone. In the younger generation, hugging is not uncommon between friends. Greeting people with 'Dober dan' (good day) is also common.
  
 
===Know the locals===
 
===Know the locals===
The general rule is to rely on the cities for most options of shopping purchases in big supermarkets, as well as other related businesses. For best experience with the residents, you should avoid some of the larger cities and rely more on the smaller towns with populations below 37,000.[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_and_towns_in_Slovenia] You can also find many pleasant rural areas.
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The general rule is to rely on the cities for most shopping options and choices in big supermarkets, as well as for other related businesses. For best experience with the residents, you should avoid some of the larger cities and rely more on the smaller towns with populations below 37,000.[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_and_towns_in_Slovenia] You can also find many pleasant rural areas.
  
 
==Contact==
 
==Contact==
 
===Telephone===
 
===Telephone===
The international calling code for Slovenia is 386, the prefix for international calls is 00, and the area code prefix is 0. Some number blocks are reserved for special use: 080 are toll-free numbers and 090 are commercial services, which are usually expensive.
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The international calling code for Slovenia is 386, the prefix for international calls is 00, and the area code prefix is 0. Some number blocks are reserved for special use: 080 are toll-free numbers, and 090 are expensive commercial services.
  
[http://www.telekom.si Telekom Slovenije] operates around 3500 phone booths. They require the use of smart cards priced €3 - €15.
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[http://en.telekom.si/ Telecom Slovenia] (''Telekom Slovenije'') operates around 3500 phone booths. These require the use of smart cards, which are sold for €3 - €15.
  
 
===Mobile Data===
 
===Mobile Data===
Mobile networks use the common European frequencies (900 and 1800 MHz). Three mobile companies, the Slovenian Mobitel (major) and Tušmobil, as well as the Austrian Simobil, provide good GSM coverage. Roaming between European phone companies is becoming cheaper due to the EU regulation setting a maximum of €0.42 per minute for calls made and €0.132 for calls received, while calls to or from non-EU providers remain expensive. Pre-paid SIM cards are also available for purchase in supermarkets, post offices and gas stations.
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Mobile networks use the common European frequencies (900 and 1800 MHz). Three mobile companies, the Slovene Mobitel (major) and Tušmobil, as well as the Austrian Simobil, provide good GSM coverage. Roaming between European phone companies is becoming cheaper due to the EU regulation setting a maximum of €0.42 per minute for calls made and €0.132 for calls received, while calls to or from non-EU providers remain expensive. Pre-paid GSM SIM cards are widely available in supermarkets, post offices and gas stations.
  
 
===Internet===
 
===Internet===
Slovenia is generally well covered by inexpensive broadband internet due to competition between multiple companies. Internet cafes are common in cities and internet access is offered by most hotels and hostels. Wireless internet networks are also available.
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Slovenia is covered by over 415,580 hosts from several internet companies, offering services to 1,298 million internet users. Internet cafes are common in cities and internet access is offered by most hotels and hostels. Wireless internet networks are also available.
  
===Postal Services===  
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===Postal Service===  
The [http://www.posta.si/home Post Offices of Slovenia] (''Pošta Slovenije'') are common. Look for a black French horn-like sign on a yellow background. Delivery takes one day within Slovenia, a few days within Europe and usually less than two weeks worldwide. [http://www.dhl.com DHL] is also available.
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The offices of [http://www.posta.si/home Postal Service Slovenia] (''Pošta Slovenije'') are very common. They can be found by spotting a black French horn-like sign on a yellow background. Delivery takes one day within Slovenia, a few days within Europe, and usually less than two weeks worldwide. [http://www.dhl.com DHL] is also available.
  
 
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{{IsPartOf|Central Europe}}
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[[ru:Словения]]
 
[[ru:Словения]]
 
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[[wts:Category:Slovenia]]
 
[[wts:Category:Slovenia]]
  

Revision as of 12:53, 11 May 2013

Slovenia
Location
LocationSlovenia.png
Flag
Si-flag.png
Quick Facts
Capital Ljubljana
Government Parliamentary Republic
Currency Euro (€)
Area total 20,273 km² land 20,151 km² water 122 km²
Population 1,992,690 (2013 estimate)
Language Slovenian
Religion Catholic 57.8%, Muslim 2.4%, Orthodox 2.3%, other or unspecified 27.4%, none 10.1%
Electricity 230V/50Hz (European plug)
Country code 386
Internet TLD .si
Time Zone UTC +1 DST UTC +2
Emergencies dial 112 Police dial 113

Slovenia [1] (Slovenija) is a member of the European Union, Schengen Agreement and NATO. The country lies in Central Europe in the eastern Alps at the northern end of the Adriatic Sea, bordered by Austria to the north, Italy to the southwest, Hungary to the northeast, and Croatia to the south. Despite its small size, this eastern Alpine country controls some of Europe's major transit routes.

Previously one of Yugoslavia's six constituent republics, present-day Slovenia became independent in 1991. Historical ties to Western Europe, a strong economy, and a stable democracy have assisted in Slovenia's transformation to a modern state. It has 200 administrative divisions (municipalities). The Ljubljana capital was founded in Roman times; today its university has over 50,000 students. Slovenia's main industries include car parts, chemicals, electronics, electrical appliances, metal goods, textiles and furniture. It has a Mediterranean climate on the coast, continental climate with mild to hot summers, and cold winters in the plateaus and valleys to the east.

Contents

Understand

History

The Slavic ancestors came from eastern parts of Europe and established the Caranthania state in the 6th century, which was incorporated together with Franks, and Bavarians who Christianized Slovenes. Afterwards, the Slovene lands were part of the Holy Roman Empire, and later the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the dissolution at the end of World War I in 1918 when the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was formed, and turned into a multinational state named Yugoslavia in 1929. After Slovenia was occupied by the Axis powers and later liberated by the Partisans with the help of Western Allies in World War II, Slovenia became a republic in the renewed Yugoslavia, which although communist, distanced itself from Moscow's rule. Dissatisfied with the exercise of power by the majority Serbs, Slovenes succeeded in establishing their independence in 1991 after a short 10-day war. Slovenia acceded to both NATO and the EU in 2004, and joined the eurozone and the Schengen Area in 2007, completing the final steps of accession to the European Union.

Economy

Slovenia became the first 2004 European Union entrant to adopt the euro on 1 January 2007, and has experienced one of the most stable political and economic transitions in Central and Southeastern Europe. With the highest per capita GDP in Central Europe, Slovenia has excellent infrastructure, a well-educated work force, and a strategic location between the Balkans and Western Europe. Privatization has lagged since 2002, and the economy has one of the highest levels of state control in the EU. Structural reforms to improve the business environment have allowed for somewhat greater foreign participation in Slovenia's economy and helped to lower unemployment. Slovenia became the first transition country to graduate from borrower status to donor partner at the World Bank in March 2004. Slovenia was invited to begin the process for joining the OECD in 2007; it became a member in 2012. Despite its economic success, foreign direct investment (FDI) in Slovenia has lagged behind the region average, and taxes remain relatively high. Furthermore, the labor market is often seen as inflexible, and legacy industries are losing sales to more competitive firms in China, India and elsewhere. The global recession caused the economy to contract - through falling exports and industrial production - by 8%, and unemployment to rise in 2009. The economic growth resumed in 2010, but dipped into negative territory with the unemployment rate approaching 12% in 2012.

Broadcast media

The national Radio-television Slovenia (Radiotelevizija Slovenija (RTV)) is a public radio and TV broadcaster that operates a system of national and regional radio and TV stations. Slovenia has 35 domestic commercial TV stations (operating nationally, regionally and locally), and more than 75 regional and local commercial and noncommercial radio stations. About 60% of households are connected to multichannel cable TV.

Culture

The most famous Slovenes include the poet France Prešeren (1800-1849) who penned the Slovene national anthem, and the architect Jože Plečnik (1872-1957) who is credited with Ljubljana's iconic Triple Bridge. Part of both, the countryside and city architecture in Julian Alps, shares many commonalities with neighboring Austria, including countless roadside shrines and baroque steeples. The Roman architecture is present especially in Slovenia's capital, Ljubljana.

Regions

Regional map of Slovenia.
Coast and Karst (Ilirska Bistrica, Piran, Postojna, Sežana)
The southwestern side of Slovenia with hills, caves and the coastline.
Julian Alps (Bled, Idrija, Jesenice, Triglav National Park)
The mountainous northwest lakes and Mount Triglav.
Central Slovenia (Kamnik, Kranj, Ljubljana)
The central region with the capital city.
Southeastern Slovenia (Dolenjske Toplice, Kočevje, Novo Mesto)
The southestearn region with Krka and lower Sava rivers.
Pohorje-Savinjska (Celje, Trbovlje, Velenje, Žalec)
The northern region with mountains and the Savinja river valley.
Eastern Slovenia (Maribor, Ptuj)
The eastern region with the Drava and Mura rivers, and vineyards.

Terrain

Four major European geographic regions meet in Slovenia: the Alps, the Dinaric area, the Pannonian plain and the Mediterranean. Slovenia's highest mountain, the three-peaked Triglav, is depicted on the national flag. Main tourist attractions include the famous caves with their decor of stalactites and stalagmites in Postojna.

Slovenia has a 46.6 kilometers long coastal strip on the Adriatic, an alpine mountain region adjacent to Italy and Austria, mixed mountains and valleys with numerous rivers to the east. Slovenia's highest point is Mount Triglav at 2,864 meters; the lowest point is Adriatic Sea at 0 meters. Natural resources include lignite coal, lead, zinc, building stone, hydropower and forests. Natural hazards include flooding and earthquakes.

Cities

Piazza Tartini in Piran.

By size:

  • Ljubljana — The picturesque pint-sized capital.
  • Maribor — Slovenia's second largest city.
  • Celje — One of Slovenia's oldest cities.
  • Kranj — Largest city in the northwestern Slovenia.
  • Novo Mesto — Largest city in the southeastern Slovenia.
  • Nova Gorica — Largest city on the Italian border.
  • Koper — Largest city on the Slovene coastline.
  • Velenje — The eighth largest city in Slovenia.

Other destinations

Get in

Unless you are just passing through, Slovenia is not the place for bums. Stores are friendly and local gas stations usually have free access to toilets, water and quick washing necessities (by the sink), but all that becomes negated by the smug commoners patronizing you throughout the day and treating you (or the public place where you're at) as their private property.

Entry requirements

Slovenia is a member of the Schengen Agreement.

There are no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented this treaty - the European Union (except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. But be careful: not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen members are part of the European Union. This means that there may be spot customs checks but no immigration checks (travelling within Schengen but to/from a non-EU country) or you may have to clear immigration but not customs (travelling within the EU but to/from a non-Schengen country).

Please see the article Travel in the Schengen Zone for more information about how the scheme works and what entry requirements are.

By bus

The Ljubljana Bus Station (Avtobusna Postaja Ljubljana) provides composite information about international and airport bus services.

Connections between the Italian city of Trieste and nearby Koper and Piran are frequent on weekdays. There's also a daily bus trip between Trieste and Ljubljana, and there are trips between Gorizia in Italy and its neighbor/twin town of Nova Gorica in Slovenia at least every hour throughout the day, although the trip can also be made on foot. This supplements the railway connection between the Italia and Slovenia, or an alternative entry point from either Trieste or Venice.

By plane

The Ljubljana Airport is Slovenia's primary international airport and the hub of national carrier Adria Airways, which flies to numerous cities across Europe and offers connections to Southeast Europe. The cheapest airplane travels are available via easyJet's daily flight from London-Stansted Airport in England.

The Irish Ryanair airport runs flights from Dublin to Pula across the border in Croatia. Another convenient gateway to western Slovenia is via Italy's Trieste airport, which is an hour-long drive from Ljubljana via highway. The airport in Klagenfurt, Austria, is also an option. The Italian Treviso Airport, serving Venice and Treviso, offers alternative entry points to Slovenia.

By train

Slovene railways are well connected to all neighboring countries, except Italy where railway connections have gaps. The most popular routes connect from Vienna or Villach in Austria, from Budapest in Hungary, from Zagreb in Croatia. To get around the poorer railway connection to Italy, a train can be taken from other points in Italy to Gorizia, and then take a bus, or walk to its neighboring town Nova Gorica in Slovenia, where there are regular train lines to Ljubljana. For entries from Trieste, it is advisable to take a bus or a taxi to Sežana where another train can be boarded.

Several international routes and special offers exist for some destinations. Some destinations have tickets on contingency basis that can run out fast, but are usually very cheap, such as Ljubljana - Prague line priced €58 for a return ticket (compared to a normal price of €200). For return trips originating in Slovenia, open-dated City Star tickets, which usually require a weekend stay, are usually the cheapest choice. With the Euro26 youth card, a discount can be received on most international lines (the discount does not stack up if you already have a special deal). The same card also applies for all domestic lines, with a 30% discount.

By car

Slovene highway network is connected to all neighboring countries, with a few poorer connections to Croatia on the Slovenian side. Slovenia demands that all vehicles with a permissible weight of up to 3.5 tons buy a vignette (road tax) before using motorways or expressways. For passenger vehicles, the vignette costs €15 for a week, €30 for a month, or €95 for a year. For motorcyclists, this costs €7.50 per week, €25 for 6 months, and €47.50 for a year.[3] Using highways without a valid vignette can result in a fine of €300 or more. Vignettes are usually sold at borders and gas stations (the border agents are supposed to give you a flier advising you to buy one, but they don't always do that). There are also signs advising you to buy a vignette, but they are not always available in foreign languages.

From Austria

From Italy

By boat

A fast ferry between Venice and Izola runs with an irregular schedule mainly during the summer season, the journey takes 3 hours.[4] Venezialines runs another fast ferry per week between Venice and Piran. During the summertime, there is a fast craft service operated by Trieste Lines between Trieste in Italy, Piran in Slovenia, Poreč and Rovinj in Croatia. The portion of the journey between Piran and Trieste lasts 30 minutes, which is pretty much the same as a journey by car.

Get around

Hitchhiking may be your best option to move around for free. Getting around by car is generally painless when using highways, but those require you to purchase an expensive vignette. You might experience tougher times off the highways, or when using public transport. Bus schedules in particular have been slashed, so some planning ahead is required. Services are sparse and limited on Saturdays and Sundays.

By thumb

Hitchhiking in Slovenia works and is generally safe, but be aware that by hitchhiking you are playing a gambling game as some of the times you may not get a driver who doesn't expect you to kiss his ass for the favor of a free ride. The general rule is if the gut feeling is telling you to not take a ride when someone pulls over to pick you up, just ignore them and keep hitching. You may also have a better experience with female drivers, though they might not be the ones to offer you a ride as often as the male drivers.

By train

Timetable decoder
D — Monday-Friday
D+ — Monday-Saturday
N — Sundays
NP — Sundays and holidays
PP — Monday-Friday
SN — Saturday-Sunday
Šr — School days
V — Every day


The 1,228 kilometers long Slovene Railways (Slovenske Železnice (SŽ)) train network will get you to most destinations in the country, although there are a few gaps in the network and routes can be circuitous, therefore train travel often requires passengers to move to another train in Ljubljana where all Slovene railway lines converge. Trains are usually 30% cheaper than buses, and return discounts are available on weekends. It's advisable to buy tickets before boarding, as there is a surcharge for any tickets bought from the conductor - except if tickets are not sold at the station. A €1.20 surcharge also applies to InterCity trains.

The railway system has been relatively modernized. The railway station names are typically only visible on station building signs, so figuring out to which station the train is arriving means constantly looking outside the correct window (sometimes it's on the right side, other times it's on the left side). A few newer trains have a voice announcement system that announces to which station the train is arriving. Trains are punctual (except some of the international trains), so you should check the expected arrival time and previous station names to be sure where to get off. For figuring out the next train from a station (electronic signboards are rare, but printed schedules are always available): odhod (yellow) means departure, while prihod (white) means arrival, although this is usually also indicated in English.

By bus

Buses fill the railway gaps, and are usually a better option for some towns not directly served by train (like Bled and Piran). Some bigger bus stations have electronic search engines for schedules and fares.[5]

By car

The 38,925 kilometers long Slovene road network is usually well maintained and signposted, so traveling by car usually isn't a problem. There are many car rental and taxi businesses in Ljubljana. The big international companies are also represented, with some of them offering older cars for a cheaper price.[6]

Get out

If you seek new experiences, it's easy to take a ride from Ljubljana to Zagreb in Croatia. This can be done either by train, bus, car, or plane (from Ljubljana Airport). Once there, you can enjoy world concerts and more.

By train

The quality and comfort of the trains on international routes varies. Trains heading up north from Ljubljana usually have good standards, and they also have restaurants with modern toilets onboard. The trains heading south are usually of lower quality, so you should probably carry a supply of food and beverages with you (water and coffee are available in every sleeping compartment) when heading to Croatia. The express services, which run via Slovenia to Zagreb (usually starting in Munich, Germany), are of high quality.

By car

The highway connections to Slovenia's southern neighbor Croatia are poor, and they usually turn into regular road connections due to unfinished highway projects, so purchasing a vignette when traveling to the Balkans only makes sense when using the only direct highway route from Ljubljana to Zagreb via Novo Mesto.

To Croatia

To Hungary

Talk

The national Slovenian language is spoken natively by 91.1% of the population, 4.5% speak Serbo-Croatian that is even more widely understood, 4.4% (minority communities near the national borders) speak Italian and Hungarian. The level of spoken English is similar to other European countries. Many Slovenes have some knowledge of German language (especially in the Eastern Slovenia). Using simple English will help to avoid misunderstandings.

Slovene schools teach foreign languages from primary school onwards. Students can study two foreign languages (most commonly English and German) by the time they get to grammar school. Grammar schools often teach an optional third foreign language (Spanish, Italian or French). While most of the younger Slovenes speak English fluently, older residents are more skilled in Serbo-Croatian and German, while some of them can also read Cyrillic.

See

Ljubljana's Triple Bridge.

Older Slovene cities have historic influences by Austrian (baroque) and Italian (Roman) architectures. If you find the cities boring, you can visit the alpine resort of Bled and its lake with an island, the massive stalactites and stalagmites in the Postojna caves where the graffiti indicate that the first tourists came there in 1213, the lively coastal town of Piran, the Soča river, or the Trenta valley.

The National Museum of Slovenia in Ljubljana (Presernova 20, entrance from Muzejska Street), is the oldest and the largest Slovene museum. It was founded in 1821. The museum building on the Museum Street was built in 1888, and was the first building assigned solely to Slovene culture. Today, it stores a rich collection of valuable objects. The oldest ones date back to the Stone Age, and there are also newer ones that are still used in today's modern times.

The new building of the National Museum of Slovenia on the (Metelkova, Maistrova Street 1), exhibits collections of the applied art heritage of Slovenia. The permanent exhibition brings together objects of applied arts from the 14th century to the present day.

Do

There are many opportunities for holiday activities in Slovenia. The mountains and rivers of the Julian Alps provide the perfect location for skiing, hiking, mountain biking, rafting and kayaking. The southern part of Slovenia is an area of numerous caves. You can enjoy different spa resorts in the eastern part, take a dive in the Adriatic Sea, visit cities, or enjoy the countryside cuisine and local wine.

Buy

Currency

Slovenia has the euro (€) as its sole currency along with 24 other countries that use this common European money. These 24 countries are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain (official euro members which are all European Union member states) as well as Andorra, Kosovo, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino and the Vatican which use it without having a say in eurozone affairs and without being European Union members. Together, these countries have a population of 327 million.

One euro is divided into 100 cents. While each official euro member (as well as Monaco, San Marino and Vatican) issues its own coins with a unique obverse, the reverse, as well as all bank notes, look the same throughout the eurozone. Every coin is legal tender in any of the eurozone countries.


Shopping

You can make relatively cheap purchases of groceries and other common supplies in several supermarkets, such as the Slovene supermarket chains of Mercator (major) and Tuš, or the international supermarket chains of Spar, Aldi (Hofer), Lidl, Eurospin, E.Leclerc and CBA.

Prices are generally high compared to most of Central-Eastern Europe. Some prices vary depending on location. For example, a half-liter of beer costs around €3.00 in a pub in 'Old (Town) Ljubljana' (Stara Ljubljana), and around €1.80 outside Ljubljana.

Taxes

A value-added tax (VAT) of 20% (with a reduced rate of 8.5% usually applied to foods and some soft drinks) is charged on most purchases, and is always included in the displayed price tags. Non-EU citizens are entitled to VAT tax return for purchases over a certain value. Ask the cashier to write down your name on your bill, and show this bill when you leave Slovenia through Ljubljana Airport (formerly Brnik), or any of the main border crossings with Croatia.

Tipping

It has long been a standard to not expect tipping for services in Slovenia. In recent years, tips are becoming more common, especially in some of the high-tourist areas.

Eat

The old saying "there is no free lunch" is true in Slovenia. Served foods can be expensive, and the best way to get cheap food if you are on a budget is to buy it directly from local supermarkets.

Unless they are strict vegans, Slovenia's visitors can usually find something to their liking among the Subalpine, Austrian, Italian, Hungarian and Balkan mixture of served foods.

Cuisine

Slovene cuisine is heavily influenced by that of its neighbors, including the Austrian Strudel and Wiener Schnitzel, the Italian risotto and ravioli (including pizza and several sorts of pasta), and the Hungarian goulash. Unique dishes include an air-dried ham (kraški pršut, similar to the Italian prosciutto), dumplings (štruklji) that Slovenes prepare in 70 different ways stuffed with sweet fillings, meat or vegetables), a type of polenta called žganci and ajdovi žganci (made of buckwheat), potato dumplings (žlikrofi, similar to the Idrian gnocchi specialty), and a type of soup made of beans, sauerkraut, potatoes, bacon, spare ribs, and the main seasoning is garlic called jota.

The traditional Slovene cake called potica, which is made by rolling up a layer of dough covered with walnuts, and a very cake-like pastry called gibanica, which is made of poppy seeds, walnuts, apples, raisins, and cheese, topped with cream.

Common foods

Slovene foods are generally heavy, meaty and plain. A typical three-course meal starts with a soup (often made of beef or chicken) broth with egg noodles, after which a meat dish is served with potatoes and a vinegary fresh salad. Fresh bread is often served on the side. Common mains include cutlets, a sausage and goulash, all usually prepared from pork, lamb and game, but there is also a large choice of fish and other seafood further away from the coast. Popular Italian imports include several sorts of pasta, pizza and ravioli.

A major event in the countryside is the slaughtering of a pig, from which many various products are made (blood sausage, roasts, stuffed tripe, smoked sausage, salami, ham and bacon). Recipes for the preparation of poultry, especially turkey, goose, duck and capon, have been preserved for many centuries. Chicken and squid are also common.

Places to eat

A bar in Kamnik.

At the top of the list of places to eat in Slovenia is the usual restaurant (translated restavracija), followed by common bars in the countryside, called gostilna and gostišče, with rustic inns serving Slovene fare.

The international McDonalds fast-food chain is available in larger cities. Hamburgers are also served in grills and snack bars called okrepčevalnica. Slovenes have adopted several Balkan grills, such as a spiced-up hamburger patty called pleskavica, and spicy meatballs called čevapčiči. Other popular fast-food options include the Bosnian the large, flaky pastry stuffed with either meat, cheese or apple called burek, and Doner kebabs (commonly known as Shawarma).

Dietary restrictions

Slovenia is not the best place for vegetarians, although some inns offer fresh salads and fried vegetables per request. Strict vegans won't find more than a handful of vegan restaurants in the country. However, even the smallest grocery store offers non-meat foods for sale. In the cities, the Mediterranean chickpea staple falafel and the 'vegi-burger' can be found on some fast food menus. Many restaurants in Slovenia offer a 'vegetarian plate', which includes potatoes, fresh or boiled vegetables with 'soya steak'.

In coastal cities, there are several choices for seafood lovers. Local specialties include fish, squids, mussels and octopus.

Drink

All restaurants and bars are usually covered with drinks like beers, wines and spirits. Tap water is usually clean and drinkable.

Common drinks

The 'coffee culture' is widespread in Slovenia. 'Coffee' usually stands for a tiny cup of strong Turkish coffee, and cafes are a common sight with a basic cup priced €1.00 - €1.50. Coffee with milk or whipped cream can also be ordered.

Tea is not as popular, and only sorts of fruit-flavored and herbal teas are usually available instead of the basic black cup. It can also be served with honey and lemon.

Alcoholic drinks

Beer is the most popular tipple, and the main local brands include Laško and Union. A bottle or jug of beer costs €2.50 in a pub. Ask for large for 0.5L, and small for 0.3L. The Union Radler Grapefruit is also good.

The western region produces reds and the drier whites (in an Italian/French style), while the eastern region produces semi-dry to sweet whites, which cater more to the German/Austrian-type of palate. Local wine specialties include Riesling, Teran (a very dry red from the Kras region), and Cviček (a very dry red). Wines are usually ordered by the deciliter.

A Slovene brandy called žganje or šnops (similar to the Hungarian palinka), can be distilled from almost any fruit. Medeno žganje or medica has been sweetened with honey. Vodka is also popular.

Sleep

Sleeping outside in a public area (outside the designated camping grounds) is not recommended. Aside from the climate's moisture posing a problem, not many Slovenes may be comfortable with seeing homeless bums, and sleeping outside in a public place (especially inside a city and especially at night) can get you in trouble.

However, Slovenia has a wide variety of high-priced accommodations, including five star hotels, secluded cottages in the mountains, and 'tourist farms' in the countryside.

Car camping

Sleeping in your car, though uncomfortable, is a cheap and viable option (especially during the summer season), and you usually won't get bothered in secluded public parking places, though you might not want to stay at the same place longer than a day or two. The free parking places of settlement areas are your best bet, as well as some parking places of restaurants, but you should avoid the more obvious parking areas such as the ones of supermarkets, as those are very often monitored by various securities (especially at night).

Hostels

There are hostels in all of the high-tourist areas in Slovenia. The average price for a basic bed in a dorm ranges from €10 to €20. Some of the student dormitories are converted into hostels in summertime, but these tend to be poorly located and badly maintained.

Mountain Huts can be found in Triglav National Park. Information about these huts can be found at tourist information offices that will also help you plan your walks around the area and phone the hostels to book them for you. The only way to get to these huts is by foot, and the lowest huts are around 700 meters up. There are clear signs with information, stating how long it will take to travel to or between the huts indicated in hours.

Camping

Camping is not permitted in the national parks of Slovenia, but there are various designated camping grounds. It's advisable to take a camping mat with you, as nice, comfortable grass is a luxury at campsites and you will more likely find pitches consisting of small stones.

Learn

Slovenia has four universities, located in Ljubljana, Maribor, Nova Gorica and Koper, as well as independent colleges like BSA Kranj and IEDC Bled. The university in Ljubljana is the oldest and largest educational institution in the country, offering three art academies: Theater and Film, Music, and Fine Arts.

Work

Citizens of the European Union, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland can work in Slovenia without the need to apply for visa. Citizens of some non-EU countries are permitted to work in Slovenia without the need to obtain a visa or any further authorization for the period of their 90-day visa-free stay. (see the 'Entry requirements' section above)

English-speaking graduates can get work teaching English in Slovene schools for a one-year period.

Stay healthy

Hygiene standards are high and tap water is usually drinkable. While in nature, it's advisable to use tick repellents due to the dangers of widespread Lyme disease and Meningitis. If bitten by one of the two known species of venomous adders in the Julian Alps, you should seek medical help to provide you with antiserums (although these are seldom administered). You may encounter a bear in the forests to the south, but actual attacks are rare.

Stay safe

Slovenia is a relatively safe country to visit, especially during daytime. People may become aggressive in crowded bars and discotheques, and it isn't uncommon to be grabbed or groped.

Homosexuals are generally not in danger, although there have been reported attacks in the past. Be cautious in the evening and at night, especially in bigger cities. Women/girls holding hands are considered normal and a sign of friendship.

The nationwide emergency number is 112. To call police, dial 113. There are emergency phones stationed along main roads and highways. The closest SOS phones can be found by following the signposts, which are usually put right in front of the phone station, so driving slowly is advisable.

Respect

Slovenes are generally friendly, so don't hesitate to address them as many understand English and may be able to help you.

It's common to shake hands when introduced to someone. In the younger generation, hugging is not uncommon between friends. Greeting people with 'Dober dan' (good day) is also common.

Know the locals

The general rule is to rely on the cities for most shopping options and choices in big supermarkets, as well as for other related businesses. For best experience with the residents, you should avoid some of the larger cities and rely more on the smaller towns with populations below 37,000.[7] You can also find many pleasant rural areas.

Contact

Telephone

The international calling code for Slovenia is 386, the prefix for international calls is 00, and the area code prefix is 0. Some number blocks are reserved for special use: 080 are toll-free numbers, and 090 are expensive commercial services.

Telecom Slovenia (Telekom Slovenije) operates around 3500 phone booths. These require the use of smart cards, which are sold for €3 - €15.

Mobile Data

Mobile networks use the common European frequencies (900 and 1800 MHz). Three mobile companies, the Slovene Mobitel (major) and Tušmobil, as well as the Austrian Simobil, provide good GSM coverage. Roaming between European phone companies is becoming cheaper due to the EU regulation setting a maximum of €0.42 per minute for calls made and €0.132 for calls received, while calls to or from non-EU providers remain expensive. Pre-paid GSM SIM cards are widely available in supermarkets, post offices and gas stations.

Internet

Slovenia is covered by over 415,580 hosts from several internet companies, offering services to 1,298 million internet users. Internet cafes are common in cities and internet access is offered by most hotels and hostels. Wireless internet networks are also available.

Postal Service

The offices of Postal Service Slovenia (Pošta Slovenije) are very common. They can be found by spotting a black French horn-like sign on a yellow background. Delivery takes one day within Slovenia, a few days within Europe, and usually less than two weeks worldwide. DHL is also available.




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