Location, Geography and Climate
Slovenia is centrally situated in Europe and is bordered by Austria to the north, Italy to the west, Croatia to the south, the Adriatic Sea to the southwest and Hungary to the northeast. It covers a geographical area of 20,273 km2 (almost the same size as Israel) and includes a diverse and striking range of landscapes including the Alps, a Mediterranean coastline, 26,000 km of rivers and streams, magnificent lakes and many forests (it is the 3rd most forested country in Europe).
Considering its small size, Slovenia has a surprising variety of climates, from a Continental climate in the northeast, an Alpine climate in the high mountain regions, to a sub-Mediterranean climate in the southwest (coastal) region. In the southwest, temperatures are very pleasant all year round. As you go further inland the temperatures are lower and during winter the chance of snow is greater. Summers in Slovenia are very pleasant, with lots of sunshine and temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees C. Rainfall in Slovenia is relatively high, especially in the northwest, which is why Slovenia is one of the most verdant countries in the world.
Approximately 2,07 million people, with a population density of around 100 number/km2
Lifestyle and Culture
This small country offers so many glorious natural sights and features and its exceptional natural beauty is also incredibly diverse. It is a nature-lover and adventure-seeker’s playground, with mountain ranges (including the Alps), lakes, rivers, thousands of underground caves (including the world-renowned Postojna Cave and the Caves of Škocjan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site), forests and a coastal area that is often described as Venetian in style and the most underrated gem of the Adriatic.
In addition to the cave World Heritage Site mentioned, Slovenia actually has another 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites within its borders, including being a part of the Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe site, which stretches over 12 countries.
Nearly 50% of the land of Slovenia is covered by protected natural areas, and almost 15,000 aspects of the country’s natural heritage have been awarded the status “valuable natural feature” by UNESCO, being of the utmost importance for cultural and natural heritage.
When it comes to spas and health resorts, Slovenia is a mecca. Its multitude of thermal and mineral springs are a source of health and well-being that make this the perfect place for the practices of healing, wellness and ‘selfness’.
Foodies can enjoy local dishes and wines found in typical restaurants in all of Slovenia’s regions. Its geographic location connects it with 4 different food cultures and this is reflected in Slovenian cuisine. Much emphasis is placed on top quality, locally produced ingredients and on the principle of ‘from the garden to the table’. The diversity, passion and creativity that combine with this principle means that Slovenia has been featuring more and more on the European culinary map and the food experience is one that visitors talk about as a highlight.
Slovenes are wine-lovers and there are an abundance of vineyards in Slovenia, producing some outstanding wines with both indigenous and non-indigenous grapes. The Slovene history of winemaking predates the Romans and almost all of the wine produced is consumed domestically. Slovenia is also home to the world’s oldest vine which, at 400 years old, is still producing more than 20 litres of wine per year.
Slovenians are rightfully proud of their cultural heritage and of the modern creativity for which they are well-known. With wonderful architectural treasures and historical sites – including ancient villages, castles, churches and monasteries – to be explored; galleries and some 50 museums –featuring artefacts considered to be the oldest in the world – to be visited; a refined film and theatre culture to be experienced; and a host of festivals – from world-class arts festivals to down-to-earth food, wine and shopping festivals – to be enjoyed; Slovenia leaves nothing wanting when it comes to history and culture either.
Slovenia is a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic. The prime minister is the most important political figure, and shares power with the president.
President: Borut Pahor
Prime Minister: Marjan Šarec
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Official language: Slovene
Religion: 73% Christians
Member of Nato: Yes
Member of EU: Yes
With a population of about 288,000 people, less than the population of East London (Eastern Cape, SA), the capital is a favourite for visitors and for good reason. Ljubljana has a vibrant culture and the people, most of whom speak English, are extremely friendly. The architecture, sights and surrounds are awe-inspiring and the postcard-pretty streets are often compared to those of Prague. The local cuisine is remarkable and world-class and this tiny capital is celebrated for its fairy tale setting on the banks of the willow-strewn Ljubljanica River, with Ljubljana Castle rising above the trees on a hill in the city and sweeping views of the surrounding mountains.
Slovenia is home to 24,000 animal species, including the European brown bear, the Etruscan shrew, the smallest mammal in the world; and the rare and fascinating ‘baby dragons’ or olms found in Slovenia’s subterranean cave systems.
The world-famous ‘dancing’ horses – the Lipizzaner breed – originate from Lipica in Slovenia and Lipica Stud Farm is the world’s oldest continuously operating stud farm and was originally built and operated as the royal stud farm of the Habsburgs.
Slovenia’s primary sources of income are the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, automotive parts, electrical appliances, and food processing. The country’s key trade partners include Germany, Austria, Italy, France and a number of other EU countries.
It is one of the world’s most environmentally-friendly nations, rating 88.98 on the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) and only 4 other countries have a better global rating. In a 2017 environmental ‘audit’ Slovenia achieved a magnificent 96 out of 100 detailed sustainability indicators covering environment and climate, culture and authenticity, nature and biodiversity.
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