Republic of Slovenia is located in Central Europe. It contains within its borders Alpine mountains, thick forests, historic cities and a short Adriatic coastline. (total area of 20,273 sq km (7,827 sq miles)). Slovenia was the first former Yugoslav republic to join the European Union, in May 2004. The population of Slovenia is considered to be relatively homogeneous. The majority of those belonging to other ethnic groups only moved to Slovenia after the Second World War. Most people came here from other republics of the former Yugoslavia, and found opportunities to work and raise families. Despite their small numbers, the Italian and Hungarian ethnic communities have protected status. Each of these communities has a guaranteed seat for its representative in the 90-seat Slovenian parliament. The same applies to the Roma community who mainly live in eastern and south-eastern Slovenia. Slovenia’s capital city is Ljubljana, which was the European Green Capital of 2016. The city is also the political, administrative, cultural and economic centre of Slovenia and is home to over 280,000 inhabitants out of the total of 2 million. Ljubljana has achieved to be a city who’s focus is on public transport, pedestrian and cycling networks rather than car transport.
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The weather in Slovenia changes season to season and there are three climatic influences that meet in the country. A harsh Alpine climate prevails in the mountains, the coast has a sub-Mediterranean climate, and the north-east lowlands have a continental climate. The average temperature is above 20°C in July, and around 0°C in January.
Slovenia’s biodiversity has been exceptionally well preserved .Of all the European Union Member States, Slovenia boasts the biggest share of Natura 2000 sites, as 37% of its territory is covered by Natura 2000.
Slovenia’s rivers, lakes, coastal waters and forests are home to a diversity of species. You do not have to go far from the edge of towns or cities to make contact with wild animals. There are plenty of wild animals in the forests such as roe deer, ibex, wolf, lynx, wildcat, capercaillie and pheasants in the forests, which are all protected species. Some of them are very rare and endangered. Some clean rivers are still inhabited by numerous fish species and freshwater crayfish, which is highly endangered. Many bird species nest in Slovenia, while it is also a vital habitat for migratory species. The brown bear lives in Slovenia’s forests, their actual numbers are not known, however, some believe there are approximately 700 of them and they are no longer endangered. The chance of them attacking humans are very low as they prefer avoiding them.
Over half the population is Roman Catholic, although there are about 38 religious groups or sects officially registered within Slovenia. The Office for Religious Communities maintains a list of active religious communities. There is a large number of Evangelical Lutherans residing near the Hungarian border. Those who call themselves Catholic are very heterogeneous, with very few adhering to all the precepts of the church. In fact, the majority are quite selective in what aspects they follow and often combine their religious beliefs with secular beliefs. Despite the secularism of many people, many public holidays are also religious in nature.
Slovene or Slovenian is an Indo-European language that belongs to the family of South Slavic languages. It is spoken by approximately 2 million speakers worldwide, naturally the majority of whom live in Slovenia. Slovene is one of the few languages to have preserved the dual grammatical number from Proto-Indo-European. Also, Slovene and Slovak are the two modern Slavic languages whose names for themselves literally mean “Slavic”. Slovene is one of the official languages of the European Union. Although the country is relatively small, there are over 32 different dialects spoken, which can be grouped into 7 larger dialect segments. The diversity in language is due to the influences of neighboring countries as well as the mountainous nature of the country, which has led to isolated language development.
Slovenian cuisine has developed 170 recognized and typical dishes. These are a great basis for countless new explorations and for creating a rich range of flavours. From original soups and buckwheat porridge to meat dishes and delightful desserts. The main ingredients, such as cabbage, beans, and potatoes, are of course produced in a natural environment. Without them there would be no typical jota or bograč, Idrija žlikrofi dumplings and sauté potatoes. A tasty meal is often concluded with a rich potica or prekmurska gibanica cake.
So as to make sure your appetite will not go crazy, we have only initially mentioned some of Slovenia’s foodstuffs that have been protected due to their special features and quality, in accordance with the European legislation. The latter enables the awarding of three different protection types: protected designation of origin (also known as PDO), protected geographical designation (known also as PGI) and traditional specialty guaranteed (TSG).
Slovenia has a polycentric culture. This means people will go out of their way to change their natural behaviour to mirror that of the person with whom they are interacting. So for example, Slovenians are naturally indirect communicators but can moderate their behaviour when dealing with people who come from cultures where more direct communication is the norm.
Do not use a person’s first name until invited to do so as this is considered rude and presumptuous. First names are only used among close friends and family.
Others are addressed using the honorific titles “Gospa” (Madam), “Gospodièna” (Miss), or “Gospod” (Sir). If someone does not have a professional or academic title, use the honorific titles with the surname.
Although Slovenians have a good sense of humour, they do not always understand self-deprecating humour. Be cautious when teasing others, as such behaviour may be interpreted as putting them down.
According to the Slovenian Tourist Board (2016) Slovenia is becoming progressively more accepting of people who openly display their sexuality. Gay-friendly cafés and clubs can be found in most larger towns. It is still rare to see a gay or lesbian couple walking hand-in-hand on the street. Couples who do this will attract a certain amount of attention. Attacks on members of the LGBT community are rare, although a number of isolated incidents in recent years mean that a certain discretion is recommended in expressing a homosexual orientation. Since 2006 gay and lesbian couples have been able to register same-sex partnerships.
Although the Slovenian Tourist Board promotes, supports and manages tourism in Slovenia ethically where possible, there are still numerous tour operators who are offering trips, which do not necessarily meet the criteria or principle of our ethical travel approach. There are website advertises gypsy tours, bear watching safaris, cruises or skiing holidays. Tourism Concern recommend that you always check the organisation you travelling with to make sure they follow the national and international guidelines of ethical tourism.
Note – All foreign nationals visiting Slovenia must register with the police within 3 days of arrival or risk paying a fine. Hotels and accommodation providers will usually do this as part of the check-in procedures.