Slovenia lies in the hearth of Europe, bordering with Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the north-east and Croatia to the south and south-east.
Slovenia’s diversity is enormous, however, because it is one of the smallest countries in Europe, your family search can be done in a short time. There are many examples we can give about our diversity: first, we are the only country in Europe with four different terrains. You can read about it in detail: here. Another example would be the Slovenian language, consisting of more than 60 dialects. Slovenia is also one of the youngest countries in Europe, as it gained independence in 1991; more about Slovenian history here.
Slovenia is divided in 12 statistical regions, separated for legal and statistic purposes. They have no practical use in normal life and locals are usually not aware of them and their borders.
However, most Slovenians use the traditional region designation based on old Hapsburg crown lands; these regions are: Gorenjska (upper Carniola), Dolenjska (lower Carniola), Notranjska (Inner Carniola), Štajerska (Styria), Koroška (Carinthia), Prekmurje and Primorska (Littoral). Here, the borders are hard to set, but in general every Slovenian is aware of them and can tell you where they are. Using traditional regions in Slovenian language for Slovenian genealogy and family search is advisable, as even good English speaking locals don’t know the English translations of our regions.
Slovenia has a very diverse terrain; we are the only European country with four different geographic regions. In the North West, we have the Alpine region, in the North East, we have Pannonia plains, in the South East the Dinaric area, and in South West, the Mediterranean.
The Alpine region is home to the Alps mountain range that spreads all the way from France through Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Slovenia. The highest mountain in Slovenia is Triglav, or the so called “three peaked mountain”, with its 2,864 m or 9296 ft. Triglav is also the symbol of Slovenia, and can be found on Slovenian coat of arms. Tourism is one of the most developed industry in this region; in winter, the area is visited for skiing, hockey, ski touring, ski jumping, snowboarding, tobogganing and other winter sports. In summer, people come for crystal clear lakes and rivers, rafting, canyon sightseeing, kayaking, mountain hiking or just to enjoy the clean air on the mountains.
Pannonia plain used to be a big inland sea (60 million years ago); now, the lake drained out and what remains is a vast flat land. In this region, the soil is very fertile, and agriculture is widespread. Deposits of oil and thermal water can also be found here. On top of thermal water springs, many Spas have been built, used both for pleasure and healthy reasons. This part of Slovenia is also one of the poorest.
The Dinaric area is the northern part of the Dinaric mountain range, spreading all the way from Montenegro to the south. This area is famous for the dense forest and for the animals that live there, for example brown bears, wolfs and lynx. We have a Natural Park – Kočevski rog – a virgin forest that is growing without the influence of men.
Mediterranean Slovenia is the part that lies close to the Mediterranean Sea. Here, the weather is milder and snow usually doesn’t remain for long. There are olive tree and grape plantations for the production of olive oil and wine, and the world famous pršut ham is also produced here. This area is also one of the most advanced and prosperous region of Slovenia.
We became part of European Union in 2004, and introduced Euro as our national currency in 2007. In 2010, we became part of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Slovenia has the highest nominal GDP of all Slavic countries. When it was part of Yugoslavia, Slovenia only represented the 10% of the total population, but it generated 20% of GDP and 30% of exports. At that time, Slovenian industry was strong, but, after the collapse of Yugoslavia, it endured a decline due to the loss of traditional markets to the south of Slovenia, the non-competitiveness with industries in western Europe, and the cheap products mostly coming from China and India. Now, the biggest part of Slovenian industry deals with the production of motor vehicles, pharmaceuticals, electronic equipment and home appliances. Two thirds of people are employed in services. There are big differences between regions in Slovenia: the richest regions are in the centre, with capital Ljubljana and Slovene Littoral. One of the most important part of economy is tourism, which is constantly growing.
Slovenia has a typical continental climate, with hot summers and cold winters. Areas close to the sea are the mildest. In winter, temperatures frequently drop below zero, reaching peaks of -20°C (-4°F); in summer, temperatures are usually 35°C (95°F). Rainfall ranges from 400 mm on the east, to more than 1000mm in the Alpine region. The best months for your family search visit would be from April to October.
Traveling to Slovenia is very easy. The easiest way to reach it is by plane, with Ljubljana airport being the best option. Other airports are also near: Venice, Zagreb, Vienna, Budapest, and Munich. To reach Slovenia from these airports you can use Goopti, a company that specifically deals with this kind of routes.
If you come from certain countries, you will need a visa to enter the EU, and as a consequence Slovenia as well. In this case, you will need to apply for a Schengen visa. Read more on this topic here: LINK
You can also reach Slovenia by car (we have open borders with Italy, Austria and Hungary; the border with Croatia requires you to show your passport). You can either rent a car, or we will provide one for our heritage exploration.
The power plug used in Slovenia is of type F, but plug C and E will work as well.
Slovenia is one of the safest countries in the world. However, while visiting you should take the usual precautions, as some small petty crimes can occur. The most common crime in the capital of Slovenia – Ljubljana – is bike theft.