Travel to Slovenia
As we have said elsewhere on this site, Slovenia is actually a western European country, snuggling between Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. It is no more than a couple of hours from anywhere else in Europe by aeroplane, sixteen hours by train from London (the slow, easy, pretty way), and allow yourself twelve hours by car, with a stop.
Furthermore, as it is a Schengen country, if you're travelling from anywhere else in Europe, you'll only have to contend with the 'passport glance' at the airport, while the road border crossings are virtually non-existent.
For most of us, the obvious way to get to Slovenia is by aeroplane. Ljubljana airport is easily the best: however, one of the advantages of Slovenia being so diddy, is that there are plenty of useful airports in the surrounding countries.
For those of you who are concerned about offsetting your flight emmissions, it will cost just £4.50 or so for a return flight for two. Click on the logo to go to the Climate Care website: it's dead easy!
Far and away the largest in Slovenia. Having said that, it's also one of the smallest international airports you'll see in Europe. As you can see from the picture on the left, it is surrounded by forests and farmland, ensuring you stay calm and relaxed while flouncing the local traffic laws in trying to check-in for your flight (you really should have left the hotel earlier). Seriously, it is an easy twenty minute drive from Ljubljana - and is certainly the best choice for most of Slovenia.
2012 Update: Adria Airways have dropped Gatwick and started Luton Airport instead. I think they're promoting it as progress.
2012 Update: Wizz Air are flying from Luton and Brussels Charleroi from October.
2012 Update: Adria Airways is for sale.
2015 Update: They still can't sell it!
|Adria Airways||Luton Manchester Birmingham Paris CDG Brussels Amsterdam Munich Oslo Madrid|
|Wizz Air||Luton Charleroi|
If you're old enough to remember a BBC TV series called Moonstrike (WW2 covert operations flying Lysander aircraft into France)... you might still have the faculties to remember the 'airstrips' they flew into. That's Maribor.
This service flies three times a week between Slovenia's second city and the UK's 28th.
Please don't ask why.
Unhurried little airport that's perfect for the west of Slovenia (the Soča Valley) - but good for anywhere west of Ljubljana (it's just 90 minutes or so to Ljubljana itself).
True, you have to drive for about 90 minutes on north Italian motorways (yeeugh), but the transformation at the border is worth all that. Plus, as you can see, Venice is served by plenty of airports in the UK, most of them in Europe and JFK in the States.
|Air France||Paris Amsterdam|
Neat little airport just over the border in Austria - good for the north west (Kranjska Gora, Bled, Bohinj), over into the Soča Valley, or even Ljubljana.
Perfect for the north east of Slovenia.
Not a bad choice at all for the coast, south east (Dolenjska) or even Ljubljana (two hours drive) and beyond.
Good for the south east and the coast.
Perfect for Prekmurje (east and north east).
Brits only: Obviously, you need to get past the wet bit first, and the easiest and quickest is with EuroTunnel (between 100 and 200 GBP return for a family car... including the family).
The total drive time to Ljubljana from Calais is about twelve hours, or from Paris, Brussels or Amsterdam ten hours: wherever you're coming from, we strongly recommend you split the journey in two, stopping near Stuttgart on the first night, then through Bavaria, Austria and into Slovenia on the next.
We found the perfect transit hotel in Esslingen am Neckar, just outside Stuttgart: the Crown Forum. It's a Best Western Premier, but more importantly, just about everything about it is perfect - as you'll see in our review.
As for motorway stops, French ones are OK, but do try to avoid those in Bavaria (i.e. all of the German bit of the drive) - unless you particularly like grumpy service, mullets (male and female), stodgy food and grumpy service. Best of all are those in Austria, especially Rosenberger.
The cost of driving is partly paid for by not having to fly. But in purely financial terms, you need to consider the fuel costs plus any motorway tolls. In France they still have an old-fashioned toll system (pick up a ticket at the beginning of the toll section, and pay at the end), but the roads are excellent. In Germany there is no toll... but the roads are starting to lose their mythical status as a consequence. In Austria and Slovenia there is a vignette system, so you need to buy a sticker for the front windscreen at a service station (both countries' available in Austria).
Slovenian motorways have improved greatly in the last few years, and you can now take the motorway all the way from Kranjska Gora or Nova Gorica to Ljubljana.
The most expensive route (about 400 GBP/person, London-Ljubljana, including deluxe sleeper)... but it depends on what you make of it. Rail travel has so many advantages over flying: comfortable seats (or sleepers), scenery, polite and helpful cabin staff, a sense of actually having travelled somewhere and no airports. Plus, you actually get to see a bit of the countries in between.
Take a look at the wonderful Man in Seat Sixty-One website - bloody marvelous.
If you're in Venice, you can take the ferry over to Piran. Journey time is about two and a half hours... just make sure you go inland from Piran before you stop for the night. Book through Venezia Lines.
Eeeeorfoklopert numptie numptie squidget. Frospigagaga, nerhweeeor szhszhszhiiijit; rospretlinasmortin mi nogi shalshala chompjims.
Hrumm-nurdler phwagit nornor, thyrrr mogwidget.