ETIAS - Traveling to Slovenia
U.S. citizens can travel to Slovenia using an ETIAS visa waiver
Country of Slovenia
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Slovenia: An Overview
Part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and then part of Yugoslavia, Slovenia, an all welcoming country, is a beautiful mix of Western European and Slavic cultures; a delightful amalgam of its neighbors―Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia. This eclectic blend can be seen in diverse Slovenian architecture, customs, and of course, food. Being inspired by the cuisines of its neighbors, traditional Slovenian food includes various sausages, stews, Mediterranean seafood, and delicious layered cakes.
Although smaller than many US states, this charming Alpine nation has a lot to offer from the untouched nature in the Julian Alps, elegant medieval towns, and the scenic Adriatic coast. Having joined the Schengen zone in 2007, Slovenia’s tourist arrivals have been rapidly growing ever since. Today, tourism accounts for up to 12% of the country’s GDP. In fact, Slovenia welcomes more than 5 million international visitors annually. With good reason―there is much to enchanted by in this lovely, friendly country.
With approval of ETIAS, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, you can plan for cross country explorations from the capital of Ljubljana to the postcard-pretty castle on the shore of Lake Bled to the milky green rivers the cut through the lush inland landscape to the coast on the Gulf of Trieste, known as the Slovene Riviera. With a 90-day limit per trip, you can take your time and immerse yourself in Slovenia.
Primary languages: Slovene (Slovenian), Hungarian, Italian, English.
Where to Go
The country’s capital Ljubljana (“lyoo-blyah-nuh”) is considered one of the greenest cities in Europe. In 2019 the Slovene capital was recognized by the European Capital of Smart Tourism for its outstanding achievements in sustainability. Along with its successful ‘zero waste’ recycling programs, the city also boasts the highest percentage of pedestrian roads of any European capitals. Although very compact, Ljubljana is never crowded which allows for a pleasant exploration of the city’s tourist attractions on foot, including the picturesque hilltop City Castle. Surrounding the 13th century Castle is the verdant green Castle Park which holds many curious architectural and historical sites and offers a spectacular view of the city from atop. Tourists flock to attractions including Tivoli City Park, Ljubljana Castle, the Serbian Orthodox Church, and the Cobbler’s Bridge.
The banks along the creamy green River Ljubljanica are home to countless lively open-air bars and cafés welcoming visitors during the warmer months. The river, an important trade route for centuries, has always been the city’s heartbeat. Its scenic embankments and bridges are best observed from a boat cruise or a kayak tour. Undoubtedly, the city’s most famous river landmark is the Dragon Bridge which nods to Ljubljana’s fierce protector. After dark, the city stays awake for those who want to wander to clubs, pubs, and bars for music, people watching, and dancing. Nighttime strolls long the river reward the wanderers with fairytale views as the lights dance off the Danube.
Don’t Miss: Ljubljana Central Market (Osrednja ljubljanska tržnica). Located in the city’s old town area it is the place to seek out souvenirs, to enjoy local eateries, or to shop for provisions.
The Mountains and Lakes
The breathtaking Slovene Julian Alps are home to unspoiled nature and idyllic valley landscapes with impressive backdrops, waterfalls, and mountainous rivers. The Alpine Logar Valley is widely considered the most beautiful glacial valley in Europe and offers numerous photogenic hiking and cycling trails suitable for all levels. Overall, Slovenia is the perfect destination for outdoor lovers with an ever-increasing variety of activities for children and adults alike. The crown jewel of the Slovene mountains is Lake Bled―a fairytale-like Alpine lake with a Baroque chapel on a miniature island. Tourists can take local wooden Pletna boats to the island, with or without a captain, where upon arrival church bells will toll for them. Ask to ring the bell. Legend says ones who ring the bell have their wishes come true. Surrounded by mountains, the lake’s waters are unbelievably turquoise-green and often have dreamy swans gently floating along prettily. The lake may best be observed from the heights of Bled Castle which is nestled into the steep fertile hillside.
Slovenia’s coastline may be only 39-miles long but the refreshing Mediterranean flair and the picturesque fishermen villages that dot the coastline make it an important addition to the country’s most inviting tourist attractions. Located on the shores of the Adriatic Sea the charismatic Slovene Riviera rests between Italy in the north and Croatia in the south. The region’s intertwined history with Italy, especially during the Venetian Republic, has left its undeniable mark. An unmistakable Venetian energy can be felt while strolling through the winding narrow passages in one of Slovenia’s quaint medieval villages.
The Slovene Riviera has three main seaside towns of Koper, Izola, and Piran. The latter is the most popular among locals and foreigners alike thanks to its rich history, romantic Venetian allure, and the highly developed tourist infrastructure. The photogenic seaside village is located on a peninsula offering spectacular views on the orange-colored rooftops contrasting the turquoise waters of the sea. A couple of miles to the south is a small village of Izola, home to some of Slovenia’s best beaches. The dreamy pebbled Moon Bay Beach with its amazingly clear waters is tucked away between cliffs and forests and remains quiet even during the high season. It is a great day-trip destination for those visiting the Slovene Riviera.
Slovakia is bordered by Italy, Austria, The Czech Republic (Czechia), Poland, Ukraine, and Hungary. Slovakia, along with other Schengen Members―Italy, Austria, Czechia, Poland, and Hungary―will require an approved ETIAS visa waiver for visa-free entry beginning in 2021.