With the Serbo-Croatian conflict a thing of the past, many U.S. travelers are exploring Eastern Europe for its affordability, its quaint old European feel and reputation for friendliness, as well as the fact that many of their friends haven't been there yet. Slovenia, which is surrounded by Italy, Austria, Hungary, Croatia and the Adriatic Sea, is one country that is benefiting from this trend. A total of 2.5 million tourists visited Slovenia in 2006, a four percent increase over 2005. The number of tourist arrivals is expected to increase by six percent over the course of 2007.
"The one place I have been recommending is Slovenia, especially Ljubljana and Bled. The nice thing about Ljubljana is that it is a charming and colorful town and
only a few hours from Venice
by train," says Connie Greenspan, a top-producing independent contractor
with Altour, in response to a question about up-and-coming, under-the-radar
destinations. "Bled is a magical mountain lake town—every bit as charming
in many respects—and the weather is wonderful in both places."
capital, is a vibrant and attractive city with many cultural events, beautiful
churches and university buildings, ancient sites and modern boutiques and
restaurants. LakeBled, a day trip away, is
a must-see alpine resort town.
The village Snovik, near Kamnik, is also worthy of a visit;
the Snovik Thermal Spa is a participant in the international GreenBuilding
project and has been recognized for its efforts to use renewable resources. Its
hot springs are
said to have medicinal effects, especially in treating stomach problems, skin
diseases, and back and joint pain. Also recommend Kanin in the municipality of Bovec;
it is Slovenia's
top high-alpine ski center and the setting of Prince Caspian, the second
Disney film in The Chronicles of Narnia series.
The first-ever international ultra marathon circuit cycling
race organized in Slovenia
will take place from May 10 to 13. The race will count toward the World Cup in
ultra marathon cycling. It will start in front of the Sport Hotel
([email protected]) in Postojna, which is internationally known for being the
site of one of the world's largest and most beautiful karst caves. For more
information, visit www.dos-extreme.si.
The first vegetarian hotel in Slovenia officially opened this
month in the popular health spa area of Rogaska Slatina. The three-star Hotel
Manzato (03-58-161-40) lies on the north side of a hill directly above the town
center of Rogaska Slatina; it has one quadruple room, two triple rooms and 20
double rooms, for a total of 50 beds. Guests at this hotel will be served
strictly meatless meals, but there are many restaurants nearby that serve meat.
On the weekends, the hotel offers seminars for guests who want to learn more
about the particulars of preparing vegetarian food. Hotel Manzato also has a
center for alternative medicine under the brand "Izvir (Source of): Health
for Mind and Body."
national carrier Adria Airways (386-1369-1010, [email protected]) offers
regularly scheduled flights between most major European cities and LjubljanaAirport (386-4206-1981,
[email protected]). Adria Airways became a regional member of the global
association Star Alliance. Ljubljana is also
serviced by EasyJet (via London),
the Hungarian airline Malév, Austrian Airlines and Turkish Airlines.
To enter the country, a valid passport is sufficient if the
visit is no longer than three months. For more information, visit the Slovenia
Tourist Board's web site, www.slovenia.info.