Travel

15 Jun 2020, 09:49 AM

STA, 13 June 2020 - Those living at the Slovenian seaside and those visiting the area will soon be able to make use of a free of charge shuttle ferry service linking Ankaran, Koper, Izola and Piran. The service will be available over weekends during the summer season, starting in late June, and could be used to transport bicycles.

Passengers will be able to use the shuttle transport on Saturdays and Sundays between 8am and 8pm, twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon.

The ferry will have a free of charge storage space for bicycles. The five bike spots will be occupied on a first-come-first-served basis, the Koper Regional Development Centre has said.

The free of charge shuttle service is a pilot initiative of the Crossmoby project that is part of the Interreg V-A Italy-Slovenia 2014-2020 programme.

Crossmoby promotes sustainable mobility by launching intermodal passenger transport options. The summer ferry service will take place over the span of 15 consecutive weekends, starting at the end of June and ending in late September.

Passengers will be able to board or get off the vessel in Ankaran at the Adria Ankaran camp pier, in Koper near the Ukmarjev Square car park, in Izola at the Marina hotel jetty and in Piran at the red lighthouse pier at the entrance of the harbour.

14 Jun 2020, 12:02 PM

STA, 13 June 2020 - Baby olms which were hatched at Postojna Cave in 2016 in a rare successful breeding will go on public display for the first time on Saturday. Only thirty visitors per day will be allowed to visit the subterranean aquarium to see what are popularly referred to as baby dragons.

The three olms on public display - named Boris, Počasné and Viktor - are from a brood of 21 offspring that hatched in 2016 when an olm laid 60 eggs in an observation tank, taking scientists by surprise.

Related: 12 Things to Know about the Olm, Proteus, Human Fish & Baby Dragon

While olm are endemic to the Dinaric karst, living deep in underground caves where little food is available, and have been known to science for centuries, little had been known about their reproduction until then.

When the eggs were hatched, the entire process was therefore closely watched by scientists, but the public has so far not had the chance to see them up-close.

Related: Olm's Genome Decoded, Healthcare Potential to be Explored

Olms (Proteus anguinus), the predators of the underground world, are unusual in many respects.

Snake-like and almost translucent, they can grow up to 30 centimetres in length with small short legs with three digits on their forelimbs and two on their hind feet.

They breathe with external gills and rudimentary lungs. Although adult olms have no eyes, they sense their way around the cave with skin receptors.

They can go without food for up to twelve years and have a lifespan of up to 100 years.

12 Jun 2020, 17:40 PM

STA, 12 June - The coronavirus epidemic and the vouchers that permanent residents will receive to spend on accommodation seem to prompt Slovenians to largely spend their summer holidays in Slovenia this year. A survey by the Slovenian Tourist Board shows that 52% of all respondents intend to spend their summer holidays in the country.

Only 32% of the respondents will go abroad, which compares to almost two thirds of all private trips by Slovenians in 2019 being made abroad, mostly in neighbouring Croatia.

The Tourist Board wanted to identify the trends of Slovenian tourists for this year's summer season, as tourism has suffered a major blow due the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over 40% of those who intend to holiday in Slovenia will make several shorter trips around the country, a quarter will afford one such trip and a fifth a mix of both.

Almost a half of them (49%) will go to the seaside, followed by spas (37%) and mountains (36%).

Of the 52% who intend to go on their holidays in Slovenia, as many as 94% plan to use the holiday vouchers to pay for accommodation, a state aid measure to kick-start tourism.

Every adult with permanent residence will receive a EUR 200 voucher to spend until the end of 2020 on bed and breakfast or just bed, with minors receiving EUR 50.

As many as 42% have decided to spend their summer holidays in Slovenia because they will receive the vouchers.

The majority will opt for accommodation at private rooms, self-catering units or cottages, 15% at hotels and 12% at camping sites.

The Tourist Board said vouchers seem to have a major impact on deciding whether to holiday in Slovenia or abroad, as 33% said they were the main reason for staying in Slovenia.

The survey also shows that Slovenians are not terrified of catching Covid-19, with a half not afraid of contracting it at all.

As many as 16% of the respondents meanwhile do not intend to go on holidays this summer, with the majority (34%) citing financial reasons, 23% concern for safety and health and around 10% closed borders.

12 Jun 2020, 11:10 AM

STA, 12 June 2020 - The Golovec tunnel, located on the south-eastern section of the Ljubljana ring road, was partially closed down today for renovation that is expected to take two months.

National motorway company DARS, which entrusted the tunnel's renovation to Slovenian builder Kolektor CGP for EUR 8.56 million VAT excluded, first closed down the western tube of the tunnel.

All traffic will be redirected to the eastern tube, which is scheduled for renovation next year, but the tunnel will be off limit to vehicles heavier than 3.5 tonnes. Traffic will be organised in a 1+2 fashion, with the number of south- or north-bound lanes adjusting to the needs.

DARS representatives have described the project as very important and demanding, since this is one of the most heavily used sections of the Ljubljana ring road.

Details of the work, in Slovenian, can be found here

11 Jun 2020, 17:34 PM

Diverse terrain, well-maintained roads and light traffic make Slovenia superb for cycling. From picturesque country lanes, urban alleys and wide-open roads, to more demanding off-road mountain biking – there’s a bike tour out there for everyone.

Cycling in Ljubljana and its nearby marshland

Exploring the streets of Europe’s greenest capital by bike is a superb way of sightseeing. You get to see all the famous attractions, learn about the history and the people while getting a fair bit of exercise. Most of Ljubljana’s Old Town is a car-free zone and the city has wide network of bike lanes, which ensures easy cycling.

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On the outskirts of Ljubljana there’s also a nature reserve and an anthropological wonder called the Ljubljana Marshes. The country’s largest marshland is home to incredible wildlife, a stunning gorge, and is packed with ancient history. In fact, it’s where Pillar-dwellers, the first known civilisation in these parts, used to live, and the oldest wheel dating back to 3,200 BC was found in the Ljubljana Marshes. Biking through the Ljubljana Marshes takes you into a tranquil haven you normally wouldn’t find on the doorstep of a capital city.

Sunlit vineyards and the Adriatic Sea  

Cycling through the gorgeous rustic villages, miles of orchards and vineyards presents cyclists with the Mediterranean side of Slovenia. The Karst’s unique landscape is incredible to venture across by bike. Goriška Brda, also known as Slovenia’s Tuscany, is a fantastic place to go on a ‘bike & wine’ tour. It involves combining this wonderful sport with tasting Slovenia’s most prized beverage.

Slightly further south, the Adriatic coast presents the chance to cycle down the old seaside route from Koper to Izola. The salty air and pleasant climate are juts what the doctor ordered. Cyclists can stop at the Sečovlje Saltworks and Slovenia’s cutest seaside town of Piran. Slovenia’s coastline is quite short, so the journey only lasts a few hours and consists of easy flat trails, making it perfect for a family day trip.  

A disappearing lake and glacial gems of the Alps   

Slovenia’s wilderness is a fascinating. The tour down the Lake Cerknica trail takes you to one of Europe’s largest intermittent lakes. This relaxing cycling adventure also includes exploring the unbelievably charming karst valley of Rakov Škocjan where you can marvel at natural bridges and the lake’s resurgence location.

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From the Karst to the mountains. The Zelenci Bike Tour takes place in the land of hilly terrain and breath-taking views. Zelenci translates to “Greens”, a most accurate description of the place. The emerald Fusine Lakes are home to one of the most scenic trails in Slovenia. Situated in a beautiful forested area, Zelenci offer amazing panorama of the Julian Alps. Although there’s a slight ascent toward the end of trail, most parts of the tour are flat. If you’re looking for a scenic cycling experience in the wild outdoors, this tour should be placed high on your list.

Less famous trails near the most famous lake in Slovenia

Lake Bled is Slovenia’s world-renowned Alpine landmark. Although cycling through the town of Bled and around its idyllic lake is a lovely experience, adding a trip into the surrounding countryside is an absolute must for cycling enthusiasts. Heading off the beaten path will introduce you to jaw-dripping views, mysterious forest trails, and refreshing riverside paths that give you an up-close-and-personal experience of this incredible region.

Mountain bike tours are all the rage

For adrenaline junkies, a colourful assortment of off-road trails can be found all over Slovenia. The pristine karst plateau of Pokljuka, with its endless pastures in the heart of Triglav National Park, is an excellent MTB tour.

Another high mountain plateau suitable for all levels of MTB thrill-seekers is Velika Planina. Vast pastures are dotted with grazing livestock and authentic shepherd huts. Bikers can have a break at one of the traditional cheese-making factories while enjoying the surrounding panorama.

Next on the list is Kranjska Gora, Slovenia’s most famous alpine resort. The route takes ascends high onto the “three-border” area between Austria, Italy and Slovenia. Despite being a relatively demanding run, the trail passes the spring of the Sava River and the aforementioned emerald jewel of Zelenci, affording incredibly rewarding views of the mountains.

The super fun fact about mountain biking in Slovenia is you don’t even have to travel deep into the countryside to do it. Awesome MTB trails can be found in Ljubljana. Trails run straight from the town centre up into the forested hills within the city limits. These routes are excellent for advanced mountain bikers who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the streets below.

10 Jun 2020, 15:15 PM

The budget carrier easyJet, which was planning on starting a new service between London Luton and Ljubljana on March 30 2020, has announced that that flights will not begin until May 6 2021.

Four trips a week are still planned, on Mondays and Sundays (leaving Luton 07:15, leaving Ljubljana 11:05), Thursdays (leaving Luton 07:00, leaving Ljubljana 10:50) and Fridays (leaving Luton 12:55, leaving Ljubljana 18:15).

09 Jun 2020, 18:26 PM

STA, 9 June 2020 - Cheating with tourist vouchers (turistični boni) will not pay off as fines are relatively high, from EUR 1,200 to 40,000 for legal entities and from EUR 200 to 600 for individuals, heard a news conference at which some details about the vouchers - a state aid measure to help Slovenian tourism survive the Covid-19 crisis - were presented on Tuesday.

The Economy Ministry held the news conference a day after the government specified the use of tourist vouchers, deciding they could be used in several instalments, not necessarily all at once, as initially planned.

The Financial Administration (FURS) will be in charge of paying tourism companies at which a tourist will want to pay with a voucher. The deadline for payment will be 30 days.

Peter Grum, FURS deputy director general, said this demanding project for FURS will have two goals - to provide a simple, fast and effective manner of payment and to prevent fraud.

There are some 2.05 million people with permanent residence in Slovenia eligible for vouchers, of whom around 1.7 million adults and 350,000 minors (under 18).

The former will receive a EUR 200 voucher and the latter EUR 50 to spend on bed and breakfast or only on bed at Slovenian tourism facilities until the end of 2020.

Grum said the goal of a simple, fast and efficient voucher payment is important so that the state aid comes to those who need it fast - the tourism sector.

He said there were several oversight mechanisms in place to prevent abuse, with random checks to be carried out by FURS and market inspectors.

For instance, vouchers could only be used at tourism companies incorporated no later than 13 March, the start of the epidemic.

Another safeguard is that vouchers will be available only electronically, as a credit in FURS's IT system.

Tourism companies will also have access to their guests' voucher credit in order to avoid a tourist using their voucher at some other accommodation provider.

Where there is no internet, at mountain huts, for instance, a tourist could pay for the accommodation with their own money and then claim a refund from FURS.

However a tourist voucher could not be used for accommodation payment on platforms such as Booking or Airbnb, explained Grum, adding that it could be used if booking was made through such platforms but the payment itself was made at the provider of accommodation.

Tourism companies will have a discretion to accept vouchers.

However, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek does not expect them to reject vouchers, arguing a voucher is comparable to a credit card and the payment period will be generally even shorter.

He again defended the government decision to offer vouchers only for bed or for bed and breakfast, saying this was a conscious decision.

Making vouchers available for all inclusive services, "would lead to an even greater concentration at large tourism companies, which would worsen multiplicativity".

"Deciding between giving a hotelier a fish or a fishing rod, we decided to give them a fishing rod. And I believe many smaller companies will make an awfully big effort to be competitive with those who might be just waiting [for tourists] because they are located at well-known destinations or are better known already."

Tourist vouchers will be available between 19 June and 31 December, and FURS will have until the end of January 2021 to pay all the voucher-based bills.

They are one of the main measures from the third coronavirus stimulus package, passed at the end of May, and are estimated to cost the state EUR 345 million.

09 Jun 2020, 08:53 AM

STA, 8 June 2020 - The government has specified the use of tourist vouchers (turistični boni), with which it wants to help the tourism industry survive the coronavirus crisis, deciding that a voucher could be used in several instalments, not necessarily all at once, as initially planned.

The decree on the use of tourist vouchers was adopted at a correspondence session on Monday, and will be presented to the press in more detail on Tuesday, the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology said in a press release.

Tourist vouchers are one of the main measures from the third coronavirus stimulus package, passed at the end of May. They are estimated to cost the state EUR 345 million.

Every permanent resident of Slovenia will receive EUR 200 to spend on bed and breakfast or only on bed in Slovenia until the end of 2020, with minors getting only EUR 50.

The vouchers will be entered as a credit of a permanent resident into the Financial Administration's (FURS) IT system and every resident eligible for it will receive an e-mail about it.

Under the decree adopted today, a tourist would tell a tourist facility upon registration that they would pay with the voucher.

The tourism company would then enter their data into FURS's IT system eDavki and the receive the payment of the service from FURS.

Voucher holders will however not be able to get cash for the voucher.

08 Jun 2020, 18:04 PM

Sometime in the next week or so every adult and foreigner with permanent residency in Slovenia will be eligible for a €200 tourism voucher (turistični boni), and every child one worth €50, as a way to kickstart the summer season, when the industry will be relying on domestic tourists more heavily than usual. The “vouchers” can be used to pay for accommodation, and will be claimed by giving your Slovenian tax number to the provider (at least for the adults – it’s unclear, as yet, how the children will get theirs).

The money can be used at any businesses registered under the following categories:

- 55.100 - Hotels and other similar accommodation

- 55.201 - Holiday homes and resorts

- 55,202 - Tourist farms with rooms

- 55.203 - Renting private rooms to guests

- 55.204 - Mountain lodges and youth hostels

- 55,209 - Other short-term accommodation

- 55.300 - Camping activities

It’s in this context we’re presenting the following five properties in Soča, Bled, Bohinj and Kranjska gora - the home of holiday homes in Slovenia - all of which are on the books of Slovenia Estates and available for short-term rental as part of the scheme, and all of which come with an additional 10% discount for all weekly reservations made by end of June for all stays in June, July and August.

So take a look at the five properties below, two photos for each, click through to see more of the stylish interiors, learn more about the location, and start planning your next vacation.

Gorgeous, luxury renovated house, Bohinj: Four bedrooms, sleeps up to 7

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Bohinj Area - Gorgeous, luxury renovated house 02.jpg

See more of this property here

Two quiet houses by the river - Bohinj: 3 bedrooms, sleeps 7

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Lake Bohinj - Quiet 2 houses by the river 02.jpg

See more of this property here

Fabulous renovated luxury house, Soča: 3 bedrooms, sleeps 6

Soca River House - Fabulous renovated luxury house.jpg

Soca River House - Fabulous renovated luxury house 01.jpg

See more of this property here

Sweet renovated cottage in Bohinjska Bela, Bled: 3 bedrooms, sleeps 6

Bled Area - Sweet renovated cottage in Bohinjska Bela.jpg

Bled Area - Sweet renovated cottage in Bohinjska Bela 02.jpg

See more of this property here

Wonderful chalet close to Kranjska Gora: 3 bedrooms, sleeps 7

Wonderful Chalet close to Kranjska Gora.jpg

Wonderful Chalet close to Kranjska Gora 02.jpg

See more of this property here

If you'd like to see some other properties around Slovenia, available for sale or rent, in various locations and for various budgets, check out our real estate page

08 Jun 2020, 10:01 AM

STA, 8 June 2020 - Citizens of 17 EU and non-EU countries may enter Slovenia without restrictions as of Monday under new border crossing rules adopted by the government on Sunday evening.

Citizens of neighbouring Austria, Croatia and Hungary have already been allowed to cross without any health restrictions under bilateral agreements.

Now, the list of countries whose nationals may cross freely has been expanded with Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Norway, Slovakia and Switzerland.

The countries are placed on the list based on an epidemiological assessment by the National Institute of Public Health. If the situation in any of these countries deteriorates, they may be removed from the list.

Nationals of other EU and Schengen zone countries are still subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival unless they fall under one of what are now 16 exemptions.

Until today one of the exemptions was confirmation of tourist booking, but that is no longer the case in the new decree.

Related: Slovenia Now Open to EU Nationals, No Quarantine Required (But Check the Small Print)

In yet another step towards the relaxation of the border regime, the government has relaxed crossing requirements on Slovenia's border with Austria and Hungary, which form internal borders in the EU.

It decided that crossing is permitted outside designated checkpoints, but only for Slovenians, Austrians (for the border with Austria) and Hungarians (for the border with Hungary), all others must still use designated checkpoints.

On the other hand, it instituted a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all arrivals from North Macedonia, regardless of nationality or residency.

The only exemption from the quarantine requirement are workers in international transport, persons conducting cargo transport to and from Slovenia or in transit, persons crossing Slovenia in transit and exiting no later than within 24 hours, and holders of diplomatic passports.

07 Jun 2020, 11:54 AM

STA, 6 June 2020 - Slovenia will open its border with Italy very soon, Foreign Minister Anže Logar said on Saturday as he hosted his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio in Ljubljana. Though not naming a date, Logar repeated several times that he looked forward to 15 June with optimism.

Logar said that Slovenia followed the situation in Italy on a daily basis and that it would open its border as soon as the health situation there allows it.

He said that the situation in Italy was improving very fast, infection-wise. There were, however, differences between regions, but all have made significant progress, said Logar.

He added that the opening of the border will have to be green-lighted by the National Institute for Public Health (NIJZ) before this decision is made by the government.

"I'm looking forward to 15 June with optimism," he said several times during the joint statement with Di Maio.

Di Maio meanwhile thanked his host for showing optimism and underlined that the border opening for tourism was vital for the economies of both countries.

The Italian minister also said that a high level of caution will be needed in the next 10 days to prevent the number of coronavirus infections from increasing once again.

Logar said that Italy was a very important neighbouring country for Slovenia and a key economic partner, while bilateral relations are at a high level.

Turning to EU issues, Di Maio said Europe needed to become a place that unites, not divided. It has to become more united to cope with the problems ahead, both economic and health issues, he said.

The pair also discussed the forthcoming return of National Hall in Trieste to the Slovenian minority there, en event that Logar described as a landmark. "This will be an important landmark that will lift bilateral relations to a new level."

Di Maio added that as Italy changed electoral legislation, the Slovenian minority must be secured a place in parliament.

He also met Slovenian President Borut Pahor, with the latter pointing to regular contacts with his counterpart Sergio Mattarella. The presidents will attend the ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of National Hall arson by Fascists together.

Pahor's office also said in a press release that cooperation between the Italian government and local authorities will be key so that everything is ready for the return of the National Hall to the Slovenian community on 13 July.

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