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Facts at a Glance
 Full country name: Republic of Slovenia (Republika Slovenija)

Area: 20,256 sq km (7898 sq mi)

Population: 2 million

Capital city: Ljubljana (pop 330,000)

People: Slovenian 88%, Serbo-Croatian 7%

Language: Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, German, English, Italian

Religion: Roman Catholic (72%), atheist (4.3%), Eastern Orthodox Christian (2.4%), Muslim (1%), Protestant (1%)

Government: parliamentary democratic republic

President: Janez Drnovsek

Prime Minister: Tone Rop


Environment
 

Slovenia occupies about 2% of central Europe - 20,256 sq km (7817 sq mi) of land area - and it's about the size of Israel or Wales. To the north is Austria and to the south Croatia. Shorter borders separate Slovenia from Italy in the west and Hungary in the east. Slovenia is predominantly hilly with more than 90% of its surface over 300m (984ft) above sea level. Forest covers almost half of the country (making Slovenia one of the world's 'greenest' countries) and agricultural land - mostly made up of fields, orchards, vineyards and pastures - covers a further 43%.

There are six main regions within the country: the Alps; the pre-Alpine hills; the Dinaric karst (a limestone region of caves and underground rivers) below the hills; the Slovenian littoral, 47km (29mi) of Adriatic coastline; the flat Pannonian plain; and the lowlands, making up around one-fifth of the country mostly in the east and north-east. The interior is drained by rivers including the Sava and the Drava (which empty into the Danube), the Soca flowing into the Adriatic, the Mura and the Krka. The Kolpa River marks much of the border with Croatia.

The country is home to 2900 plant species and many are unique to Slovenia. Triglav National Park is especially rich in endemic flowering plants. Common European animals are abundant in Slovenia, including deer, boar, chamois, bear and lynx (all of which are hunted), and it's also home to rarer beasts such as the moor tortoise, cave hedgehog, scarab beetle and various dormice.

The northwest has an Alpine climate and temperatures in the Alpine valleys are moderate in summer but cold in winter. The Adriatic coast and much of the Primorska (westernmost) province have a Mediterranean climate with warm, sunny days and mild winters. Most of eastern Slovenia has a Continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. January is the coldest month when the average daytime temperature is minus 2°C, (28°F) and July is the warmest with an average of 21°C (70°F).




Economic Profile
 GDP: US$20 billion

GDP per head: US$10,300

Annual growth: 3.5%

Inflation: 8%

Major industries: Textiles, manufacturing, timber products, agriculture

Major trading partners: EU (esp. Germany, Croatia, Italy, France, Austria)

Member of the EU: no


Facts for the Traveler
 Visas: Citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, Hong Kong, the USA and most European countries do not require visas for stays of up to 90 days. Citizens of other countries can get 90-day visas in advance at any Slovenian embassy or consulate, or 30 day visas on arrival.

Health risks: None

Time: GMT/UTC plus 1 hour, daylight savings observed

Electricity: 220V, 50Hz

Weights & measures: Metric


Money & Costs
 Currency:tolar (SIT)
Relative Costs:
Meals

  • Budget: US$5-10
  • Mid-range: US$10-15
  • Top-end: US$15 and upwards




  • Lodging

  • Budget: US$5-30
  • Mid-range: US$30-50
  • Top-end: US$50 and upwards
  • Slovenia's still much cheaper than neighbouring Italy or Austria, though prices are increasing. To travel in comfort and style, expect to spend around US$100 a day; those happy to stay at guesthouses and eat at medium-priced restaurants should get by on US$70 a day. Those putting up at hostels and eating at self-serve restaurants can cut costs to around US$35.

    Nearly all prices are in tolars, but some hotels, guesthouses and campgrounds still quote rates in German deutschmarks (DM), to which the tolar is linked. It's simple to change cash and travellers cheques at banks, post offices, travel agencies and any

    Credit cards are accepted at upscale restaurants, shops and hotels, but elsewhere you must use cash. Only a few of Slovenia's ATMs are accessible to foreign account holders, but more and more are coming online. Credit card holders can get cash advances in tolars from some banks.

    A value-added tax (replacing the 'circulation' tax) is now added to the purchase price of most goods and services. Many hotels in Slovenia levy a 'tourist tax' on overnight visitors of about US$2. Tipping is not compulsory, but no one will chase you out of the restaurant for leaving a 10% gratuity.




    When to Go
     

    September is an excellent month to visit because it's the best time for hiking and climbing, and the summer crowds have vanished. December to March is high-time for skiers, while spring is a good time to be in the lowlands and valleys because everything's in blossom. Try to avoid July and August, when hotel rates rise and there are lots more tourists, especially on the coast.


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