Travel in Slovenia
Depending on where you come from, Slovenia is about the size of Wales, Israel, New Jersey or Belize. In terms of landscape, it packs in far more than all of those countries put together: you can be sailing/pot-holing/skiing/dining in the capital all in one day.
In other words, there's not far to go!
Try to think of Slovenia like the TARDIS: tiny when viewed from the outside, but huge from within. You possibly won't need a car in Slovenia... but there's so much you will miss without one. Furthermore, driving in Slovenia is pretty easy: the roads are very good (with new, beautifully integrated motorways gliding through the countryside) and although most Slovenes own a car, traffic is refreshingly light.
You may read some stuff on TwitAdvisor that it is perfectly feasible to use public transport to get you around Slovenia. Yes, if you are based in Ljubljana, and want to take in a day trip to Postojna or Maribor - go for it. But if you're staying at most of our hotels around the country, forget it: trudging from bus-stops or stations to out-of-the-way hotels is not the stuff of great holidays.
We have hooked up with a car hire broker in the UK, ZEST. They are very well organised and staffed by an efficient bunch of people, and have three suppliers in Slovenia (and more in Italy, Austria and Croatia, should you be flying into neighbouring airports), so they have better back-up, should things go awry with your booking. Never happened for them so far in Slovenia, but it's good to know.
Easily the best way to get to see the very best of this beautiful country. For the most part, the roads are excellent, while even the scenery while you're driving will make your journey a valuable part of your holiday in itself.
As in all countries, the local approach to driving will be slightly different than you're used to. Sometimes this will prompt a reaction in yourself such as, "Hmmm, I wasn't expecting that, but hey ho - I'll keep my eyes peeled for that next time." Sometimes, the reaction will be a little stronger, as in, "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrgggghhh."
In an attempt to help you keep your reactions to the former, here is a brief guide to driving in Slovenia.
- Built-Up Areas: 50 kph
- Trunk roads in built-up areas: 60 kph
- On Country Roads: 90 kph
- Cars on Highways: 100 kph
- Cars on Motorways: 130 kph
- Articulated Vehicles on Motorways: 80 kph
- Motorbikes on Motorways: 130 kph
- International Insurance Card: Recommended
- Blood Alcohol Level: 0.05%
- Police / Ambulance: 113/112
- You will need a driving licence with a photo on it, which means that if you do not have the new style EU driving licence you will need an International Driving Permit.
- Minimum driving age is 18, although some rental companies insist on 21.
- Headlights must be on and dipped during daylight (as well as night, of course).
- Slovene drivers like to get within a couple of inches of your rear bumper… and then overtake.
- Seatbelts must always be worn by the driver and all passengers.
- Heavy on-the-spot fines are in place for traffic offences and jaywalking. A new Road Safety Act came into effect on 1 January 2005. This gives the police greater powers to stop drivers and levy on the spot fines, including greater penalties for speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol and for using mobile phones without properly installed wireless headsets (bluetooth).
- Roads are generally not lit so take extra care when driving at night.
- You should be prepared for severe weather in winter. You will be expected to carry a folding shovel, blanket, spare anti-freeze, scraper and snow brush in your boot.
- During the summer months, the roads south from Ljubljana on Fridays - and back from the coast on Sundays - are a tad busy.
|50/60||The limit in urban and built-up areas (50 for most roads, 60 for trunk roads). Should ensure that you don’t kill children, dogs or anyone who has to walk in the road because there is no pavement.||The speed limit imposed on foreigners, as all Slovenians have the reflexes of a cat on coffee – “... and anyway, if anyone knows my limits, it's me”.|
|130||The speed limit on motorways is quite generous and would allow you to get anywhere fast enough, in one piece.||The minimum speed any self-respecting Slovenian needs to drive: the maximum speed is obviously indicated on the far right of the dial. That’s what it’s there for, silly.|
|One way only||One way only. Unless you need to go the other way. Does not apply to any two-wheeled mode of transport.|
|No Parking or Stopping||Parking|
|Give Way||Hmm... no, you've got me there.|
|No Overtaking||Black cars have precedence over red cars. Unless you have a red car, of course.|
|Wild Animals - Take Care||Dinner - take home|
|A note about parking: if you park illegally, you will very likely be fined. Furthermore, if you park illegally in a 'sensitive' area (i.e. the middle of town), you will probably be clamped straight away.
Do not moan or complain to the wardens, police or the people in the office where you pay the fine: you were in the wrong, so pay up and shut up.
|A note about the police (policija) in Slovenia: they are doing a very difficult job in a country where not only many locals give them a hard time, but also many visitors from the surrounding countries.
Be nice to them and they'll treat you fairly.
Rail: Travelling by train within Slovenia is OK: the services are maybe less frequent than we might wish... but they do tend to be on time. Which is nice. Click here for a link to the train company, Slovenjske železnice.
Bus: The same goes for buses - click here for the bus company, Autobusna postaja Ljubljana.
One of Europe's quirkier, fun, but useful, journeys is the car train linking Bohinj with Most na Soči. Worth it just for the day out!
I know we keep banging on about how you can travel for half an hour in Slovenia and find yourself in completely different terrain, but the car train goes one better: within forty minutes you will have travelled between the alpine ruggedness of the mighty Lake Bohinj, to the Italianate sparkle of the Soča Valley: almost a whole nuther country.
Even better, this is really excellent fun. You simply drive your car onto the train, turn the engine off and the handbrake on... and sit back in your car. Just outside Bohinj the train enters a huge tunnel, which seems to go on for ages... and it's totally dark. Spooky. Following which is the light at the end of the tunnel, and a slightly bouncy journey through some of Europe's best mountain scenery.
Please try to use the service, even if it's just for a day trip: the locals use it less as more people drive instead - and it needs your support! And like we said, it's great fun.
Note that you only want trains with the 'AVT' prefix, which denotes the Car Train.
|Bohinjska Bistrica - Most na Soči|
|Most na Soči||
|Most na Soči - Bohinjska Bistrica|
|Most na Soči||
Note: boarding ends ten minutes prior to the departure time. You should get to the station around half an hour before departure.
|All prices and times correct as of 1 June 2015|
If you're flying into Ljubljana Brnik, either wait for one of the rather infrequent buses, or take a taxi into town (about 50 euros).
We can also arrange transfers from Ljubljana, Trieste, Venice, Zagreb or Klagenfurt airports, whether by limousine or mini-coach (which is what we do quite often from Trieste or Venice).
We can also arrange transfers by limousine between hotels, or even for trips to special restaurants.
If you're staying in Ljubljana for a day or three at the beginning of your holiday, a transfer from the airport is a good option.