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A small country, half the size of Switzerland in the south of central Europe, Slovenia is packed with unusual and often unique attractions and experiences, from primeval forests to a lively and architecturally beautiful capital city, and from thermal springs to its mysterious karst (limestone plateau) caves.
Visitors to this picturesque corner of Europe can enjoy several amazing and contrasting experiences in the space of one day: start with a morning dip in the Adriatic, followed by a couple of hours skiing on Alpine slopes, then explore the subterranean wonders of the karst caves or become invigorated with a thermal bath, before strolling through vine-clad hills or ancient forests and ending the day in a sophisticated casino. Ideally though, it takes much longer than a day to sample all the delights of this fascinating country.
The vibrant capital city, Ljubljana, sports a mix of Baroque, Renaissance and Art Nouveau architecture, exuding an Austro-Alpine atmosphere gleaned from belonging to the Austro-Hungarian Empire for many centuries.
Finally, Slovenia boasts of having 2,000 hours of sunshine a year in which to enjoy all its offerings. The locals are proud to explain why visitors are enchanted with their country: Slovenia is the only country in the world with 'love' in its name! An up-and-coming European holiday destination, visitors are strongly urged to check out Slovenia before the inevitable effects of mass tourism begin to take hold.
Business etiquette in Slovenia is similar to the rest of Western Europe. Men and women should dress conservatively in formal business suits. Shaking hands of both men and women is the common form of greeting and it is considered polite to shake the women's hand first. Slovenians are referred to as Mr., Mrs. or Ms. (or other titles) followed by their surnames. Business cards are often exchanged after introductions. Appointments should be made in advance and confirmed. Business hours are 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
Slovenia has a Mediterranean climate on the coast, and a continental climate with mild to hot summers and cold winters in the plateaus and valleys to the east. Most of Slovenia's annual rainfall occurs during spring in the interior regions away from the coast. Winters are cold, particularly along the eastern part of the country and in the Slovenian Alps, which are often covered in snow during the winter period. The Slovenian coastline has a sub-Mediterranean climate while the interior regions have a continental climate with chilly winters and hot summers.
The international dialling code for Slovenia is +386. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relative country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). City or area codes are in use, e.g. (0)1 for Ljubljana. Public telephones are operated with tokens or magnetic cards, which are available from newsagents, post offices and tobacco kiosks. Two major mobile phone operators provide GSM 900/1800 coverage. Internet cafes are prolific in Ljubljana and the larger towns.
A copy of a passport or other form of identification should be carried at all times.
Travellers to Slovenia from within the European Union may import the following goods duty-free: 800 cigarettes, 400 cigarillos, 200 cigars, one kilogram tobacco, 10 litres spirits over 22%, 20 litres liquor under 22%, 90 litres wine (no more than 60 litres sparkling wine), 110 litres beer. Visitors from non-EU countries may import up to 200 cigarettes/100 cigarillos/50 cigars/250g tobacco, and medicinal products for personal use.
Those 17 and older may import one litre spirits over 22%, two litres spirits under 22% or sparkling wine, two litres wine, and 16 litres beer. Visitors are also restricted to importing only 50ml of perfume or 250ml of eau de toilette. Other goods up to EUR430 (EUR150 for those under 15 years old) will not be taxed.
Electrical current is 220 volts, 50 Hz. Round pin attachment plugs and
Getting around by bus is relatively inexpensive and is the best way to get around for shorter distances. The well-organised, frequent services connect all major towns and cities. For longer journeys, travel by train is the most popular form of transport. Car rental is available from various major international car hire companies at reasonable rates, and hiring a car is a pleasant way to see the country, as roads are excellent, and the scenery picturesque.
Typhoid and Hepatitis A vaccinations are recommended. In forested areas hikers should guard against tick bites, as tick-borne encephalitis and Lyme disease are a risk. Mains water is safe to drink, milk is pasteurised and local meat and produce safe to consume. Free emergency treatment is available from hospitals and private doctors contracted. Slovenia has a reciprocal health agreement with most EU countries, including the UK, providing emergency health care on the same terms as Slovenian nationals. EU travellers should take a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
The official language of Slovenia is Slovene. Italian and Hungarian are also spoken in some communities.
The Euro (EUR) is the official currency, which is divided into 100 cents. Banks offer the best exchange rates for cash and travellers cheques. Banking hours are 8am to 12.30pm, and 2pm to 6pm on weekdays, and from 8am to 12pm on Saturdays. Numerous bureaux de change are open outside banking hours throughout the country. ATMs are readily available in major cities. Credit cards are widely accepted by hotels, restaurants and shops.
Passports should be valid for the period of stay. Those with non-EEA passports are also recommended to hold documents for onward or return travel, and sufficient funds of at least EUR70 for adults and half that amount for children under 18, per day of stay, or the equivalent in another hard currency. The borderless region known as the Schengen area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
All these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option that allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
There are extremely few risks involved in travel to Slovenia. The threat of terrorism is low, as is the crime rate, however sensible precautions are advised with valuables.
A 10% tip is expected in restaurants, hotels and by taxi drivers.