Slovenia borders Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia with a surface area of just over 20,000 sq km and about two million habitants. Since 1 May 2004, it has been a new member of the European Union. Slovenia has beaches, snow-capped mountains, hills awash in grape vines and wide plains blanketed in sunflowers to Gothic churches, baroque palaces, and Art Nouveau civic buildings. Its incredible mixture of climates brings warm Mediterranean breezes up to the foothills of the Alps, where snow falls are possible even during summer. More than half of Slovenia's total area is covered with forest.
Further general information about Slovenia may be obtained through the Slovenia Tourist Board website. Rich visual information on Slovenia and its places of interest can be found at the Slovenian Land marks website. To read about the controversial national anthem "Zdravljica" ("A Toast"), and listen to it, click here.
Slovene is a South Slavic language written in the Roman alphabet and quite complex in its syntax. Throughout the country, virtually everyone also speaks English and either German, Italian or Croatian - depending on the neighboring region. Slovene literature saw its prosperity in romantic (France Prešeren), modern (Ivan Cankar) as well as post-modern periods. Folk music has seen a major revival in the last decade, classical and contemporary music gradually rivaled by the emerging electronic and digital cultures (DJ Umek). Similarly the postmodernist painting and sculpture, internationally represented by the multimedia group Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) and the IRWIN collective. Many notable buildings and public squares in Slovenia were designed by Jože Plečnik (1872-1957). The country produces some noticeable red and white wines, the cuisine is traditionally based on venison and fish, showing strong influences of the neighboring regions.
Bled is a famous mountain resort in the northwestern Slovenia. It is known for its immense natural beauty, its glacial lake with a tiny island, and the medieval castle standing on the precipice above the lake (to list just a few of the praised Bled’s attractions). Nestled under the outskirts of the Alps, its beauty and mild climate attract tourist throughout the year. It is an ideal place for those seeking a relaxing break as well as for more active visitors, who will find plenty of opportunities to practice summer or winter sports.
More information on Bled may be obtained on the following websites:
Currency and banks
The euro is the common currency of 18 member states of the European Union, including Slovenia.
Banks will exchange foreign currency and travellers cheques for euros and vice versa. Changing money is also possible at exchange offices in hotels, petrol stations, tourist agencies, supermarkets, etc. More information is available here.
Most shops have working hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the week and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. On Sundays and national holidays you may find some food stores open, mainly in the morning.
The level of health care in Slovenia corresponds to European standards. Every foreign visitor has the right to emergency medical care. Visitors from EU member countries and countries of the European economic region should use the European Health Insurance Card. More information is available here.