Most people have never visited Slovenia, let alone considered Slovenian adventure holidays. In this guide to the 17 best activities in Slovenia we hope to change your perception of this beautiful, unique and adventurous European country.
Well, there’s the magnificent Alps, the plain, and the Mediterranean sea all packed into one compact country – so you’re guaranteed variety. Slovenia is also cheap compared to most European destinations. But that’s not why you should go there.
People who are into adventure sports, know there’s always more destinations than first meet the eye. Which is certainly true for Slovenia. Offering everything from climbing to kayaking, mountaineering to mountain biking and to hiking to horse riding – plus much more – there is something for everyone.
Once part of Yugoslavia, today Slovenia is now a thriving independent country. It borders Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, putting it at crossroads of several different cultures. But it still maintains a rich culture of its own. Its population numbers just two million, and is around one tenth the size of the UK.
This hugely diverse landscape is just waiting to be explored. From snow-capped mountains, to rocky karst, to rolling green lowlands – the best activities in Slovenia make good use of this variety.
Whitewater rafting is a good activity to include in Slovenian adventure holidays. The most popular water to raft is the Soca River.
This 140 km long, emerald green river rises in the Trenta Valley near the Italian border. It can be as challenging as it is beautiful, with some tough grade four and five rapids.
Beginners and families will find plenty of calmer sections to try out. Visit in spring and you’ll find the river swollen with meltwater from the snow of the mountains, making it extra-fun.
Canoeing and kayaking in Slovenia are also very popular, on the Soca and many other places. Whitewater fans can head to the mountains, while those looking for a calmer paddle can choose rivers such as the Ljubljanica, which runs through beautiful countryside on the way to the capital Ljubljana.
Mountain lakes also make for picturesque places to get on the water. And there are not many placed more beautiful than Lake Bled.
Canyoning is real adventure and a must on our 17 best activities in Slovenia list. Exploring a river canyon you will get to scramble over rocks, slide down natural chutes into crystal-clear pools, jump off waterfalls and abseil down sheer rock-faces.
Slovenia’s unspoilt mountains are perfect for the sport. The areas around Bovec (on the Soca River) and Bled (near the Austrian border) are the main centres for canyoning.
Paragliding is a wonderful way to get to see the Julian Alps at their most stunning. Drive up into the mountains, and then float back down, riding thermals over valleys peppered with villages and vineyards.
As with so many Slovenian adventure holidays, the area around the Soca and the Trenta Valley is the most popular place to be. It is renowned among paragliders as being one of the best places to fly in Europe. Expect unspoilt views that stretch all the way from the mountains to the Mediterranean.
Slovenia is home to one of the world’s longest zip-lines, coming in at an impressive 2.4 km across four sections. The line is reached by 4×4 from the town of Bovec in the Soca Valley. It runs up to 200m above ground, well above the treetops, reaching speeds of up to 60 km per hour.
Zip-lining is one of the best activities in Slovenia that anyone can do, on their own, without prior training. The views over the forested valley, villages, and the sparkling Soca River are incredible – just don’t forget to keep your eyes open as you whizz past!
Radio controlled car racing is not the most extreme sport. But as an outdoor activity it is great fun. There is an excellent track in Kaplja Vas that is used for the Slovenian National Championships. It is easy to buy ready to drive RC cars online to race your own, or you can hire a car at the track.
Another very accessible activity is to get out and explore this beautiful country on foot. In fact we recommend all Slovenian adventure holidays include some day hikes or multi-day trekking. There are over 10,000 km of marked trails, plenty of mountain huts to stay in and many national parks to explore.
Some of the most popular places to hike or trek include the Trenta Valley along the River Soca, Kranjska Gora in the Julian Alps and the Bovec region to explore the beautiful karst landscape. Also very popular is Lake Bled, not only is it picture postcard perfect, but from here you can explore the Triglav National Park.
Mountaineering is very accessible making it one of the best activities in Slovenia. There are plenty of peaks to climb in the Julian Alps, offering different challenges throughout the year.
The top prize for Slovenians is Mount Triglav, which at 2684m the country’s highest mountain and a national symbol. Most routes take two days and although there is some rope work and exposed sections, beginners and families are guided to the top. There are also more challenging routes for experienced climbers and mountaineers.
With plenty of craggy limestone, it’s not surprising that climbing is a popular sport in Slovenia with plenty of varied climbing on offer. You’ll find good crags in the mountainous north and in the southern karst region. In winter, ice-climbing is also popular.
The rocks are not just above ground. Caving is big news in Slovenia, particularly in the karst area along the Croatian border and across towards the Italian city of Trieste.
There are thought to be around 10,000 caves in Slovenia, and many extensive cave systems to explore. The most famous is ‘Dante’s Cave’. As the name suggests, it was visited by the Italian poet of the same name. It is said to have been the inspiration for his depiction of Hell in the Divine Comedy. Don’t let that put you off, though…
A bike is a great way to explore just about anywhere, and mountain biking in Slovenia offers the chance to get off road and into the wild where cars can’t reach. With 1000s of kilometers of marked trails there is everything from mountainous single track to easy cycle paths through the countryside.
If you like to ride downhill then head to the Kranjska Gora bike park. Here you can ride more than 150 km of downhill and enduro trails with jumps, berms, northshore and other features. For something a little easier going, stick to the quiet paths through the forests and valleys that crisscross the Slovenian lowlands.
If you prefer to stick to the tarmac, then road cycling is one of the best activities in Slovenia. There are plenty of mountain climbs to test your legs plus the varied landscapes make it a great destination for cycle touring.
With a rich cycling heritage you’ll find no shortage of friendly local restaurants to stop in when you need a break to try top quality artisan food and local wine. In fact if you are a foodie, or like visit vineyards there are Slovenian adventure holidays offering supported cycling to take in the best of the food and drink.
Industrialisation came late to Slovenia, meaning its people have held on firmly to their horse-riding traditions. Trekking up into the mountains and exploring the valleys on horseback is a truly authentic choice when considering Slovenian adventure holidays. It can be a relaxed but adventurous way to soak in this still very rural culture.
If you are interested in equestrianism, you might like to visit the thoroughbred white Lippizanner horses. They are bred at the Lipica stud farm, and are famous for their classical dressage displays.
Slovenia’s ski resorts are not huge, but they are completely unspoilt and offer great skiing for beginners and families plus experts who want to try something different. The largest ski area Bohinj in the Triglav National Park, it has around 50km of pistes.
Also popular is Kranjska Gora, it has just 20km of piste but is known for good ski touring and freeride. At over 2000m the highest ski resort in Slovenia is Bovec. It is lift-linked to the neighbouring Italian resort of Sella Nevea. You can ski into April, so you could combine rafting on the Soca with skiing in the Julian Alps.
For adrenaline junkies, Slovenian adventure holidays have it all. A wide range of exciting activities, set in a beautiful country, at a budget that will not break the bank. What’s not to love?
We hope this guide to the best activities in Slovenia has inspired you to visit. Before you book be sure to check out our Slovenia adventure discounts as you could save a fortune.