Slovenia, a small Balkan country at the centre of Europe, has witnessed a steady and deserving rise in popularity among tourists in recent years. Consequently, it has sparked the curiosity of many, prompting the question: is Slovenia expensive for tourists? Bordered by major travel destinations like Italy, Austria, and Hungary, it is considerably cheaper than most European countries, ranking among the top 25% in terms of affordability.
Even so, as this estimation derives from European countries - known for being exceptionally pricey - Slovenia is nowhere near cheap. This article details different ways you may curb your expenses to enjoy your vacation in Slovenia as a budget traveller.
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Is Slovenia Expensive for Tourists? - Answered
The daily cost of travelling in Slovenia for mid-budget to backpacking travellers ranges between €55 and €105 per person. Based on accounts of past travellers, the average daily cost stands around €93. The total cost will depend highly upon your travel style, speed, and duration and who you are travelling with.
For instance, a solo backpacking trip may prove more expensive than a duo trip, where the expenses for food and accommodation are shared between two people. Similarly, a family with children will have a lower cost per person as prices for kids are often cheaper. A slow trip over a longer duration may result in a lower daily expenditure than a thoroughly planned one-week trip with a dense itinerary.
If you are operating on a budget, it is best to avoid package tours in Slovenia as they are expensive, with an average price of about €229 per day. While they offer the assurance of a perfectly curated trip, planning your own trip gives you the satisfaction of having control over your experiences. With the freedom and flexibility to explore a new country at your own will and pace, you may stumble upon unexpected wonders you might have otherwise missed.
Prices in Slovenia are usually at their peak during the months from June to September when it receives the most number of tourists. Visiting off-season will give you a more peaceful and noiseless holiday that is also cheaper. In the quieter and colder months of autumn and winter, Slovenia acquires a distinct festive charm quite different from the bustling summer tourism scene.
Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is almost always at the peak of its expenses, as most tourists use it as a base or launching point for their trip. You could avoid it if you are low on budget and choose instead to stay in smaller cities like Maribor or Ptuj, which are cheaper and yet as exquisite as the capital.
An important thing to know about tourism in Slovenia is the Tourist tax of €3.13 per person per night. For people aged between 7 and 18 and people staying at youth hostels under the International Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF) network and camps, this tax is discounted by 50% to the amount of €1.57.
Ljubljana Airport is reachable by a connecting flight from anywhere in Europe, and a single trip typically costs under €100. Use flight deal sites like Skyscanner or Secret Flying to stay updated regarding the cheapest available flights.
Slovenia is also accessible by land from countries like Croatia, Italy, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Switzerland via the intricate Eurail Global Pass system. To enter the country, you can take a train from nearby major airports like Trieste, Zagreb, or Vienna.
Where to Stay
Free or Low-Cost Accommodation
For backpackers and budget tourists, the best option for accommodation would be to stay at a hostel or dormitory. These are affordable and conveniently located, offering all basic amenities like free wifi and self-catering services. A 4-6 bed dorm may cost around €16-20, while private rooms cost higher, between €40-60.
The Boutique Hostel Angel offers the cheapest hostel bed in Ljubljana at just €17 a night, while Relax & Enjoy provides an excellent private room at the low rate of just €38 a night. At Bled, you can find a dorm bed for €11 at The Castle Hostel 1004 or a private double room at JT Apartma for just €36. In Piran, you can find a stay for €35 a night at Hostel Pirano.
If you are running especially low on your budget, you could also find free accommodation on Couchsurfing. On this website, you can connect with local hosts who offer you space in their homes to sleep and rest during your travel. Another great way to gain free accommodation for people with flexible travel dates is by volunteering to housesit for locals on the Housesitting website, which can also give you insight into local domestic life and customs. Start your search in advance to reserve housesitting dates that coincide with your travel plans.
If you are a free spirit looking for an offbeat and authentic experience of Slovenian local life, you must explore WorkAway. This website connects you with local homes, farms, and hostels where you can lend a helping hand in exchange for food and accommodation.
If you wish to have a slightly more comfortable vacation, mid-range hotels in Slovenia start from €50, with an average price of around €75 per night. The City Hotel in Ljubljana, looking over a splendid vineyard, offers a double bedroom for €60 a night and comes with complimentary breakfast and free bicycles for a ride around the scenic landscape.
Apartma Neža in Bled, situated about 10 minutes from the Lake, is an ideal spot to halt at for its optimal distance from both the main attraction and the crowded tourist hotels. It comprises a studio apartment and a double-bed apartment with a view, priced at €65.
How to Travel
Getting around Slovenia is a breeze, owing to its compact size and affordable public transport. In walkable cities and scenic locales like Ljubljana and Lake Bled, one can simply hop on one of the daily free walking tours or independently embark on an intracity journey through its squares and street corners.
If planning an immersive tour of Ljubljana, consider purchasing the Urbana card, which grants access to more than 20 museums, a free guided tour, a funicular trip, a boat cruise, city buses, and a half-day bike rental. The card comes in different validity periods, from 24 to 72 hours, priced between €31 and €45.
If you wish to make intercity day tours, hiring a car at RentalCars will cost you around €20 to €30 per day, including parking, tolls, and petrol charges. Alternatively, you can access bus services from Flixbus for as cheap as €5. The buses, equipped with wifi, electrical outlets and comfortable seats, are suitable for long and overnight journeys.
A less popular option is to take the train, which is usually infrequent and a little pricier than buses. More comfortable and spacious than buses, trains are a better alternative for people with motion sickness. Check the train schedule on the Bahn.de website and purchase a Eurail pass for €53 in advance if planning to use the train frequently while in Slovenia.
Where to Eat
Abounding in affordable food options, both local and foreign, you will never have to break a sweat finding reasonably priced food in Slovenia.
Most accommodations serve complimentary breakfast, which is covered along with the cost of the room. Food at street food outlets, such as burgers, sandwiches and chips, generally costs around €3-8, while a full-course meal with a glass of wine at a high-end restaurant will cost you approximately €15-17. In the countryside, you can find hearty three-course lunch sets (soup, salad and main) for just €7 at gostišče or rustic inns.
Traditional delights such as the Bosnian burek and cheese dumplings are available for as little as €2. Slovenian wine comes at the surprisingly low price of €2-3, and coffee lovers can find a cup of espresso or latte for anywhere between €1.50 and €2.50. When in Bled, do not miss the famous Bled cake, which sells in every outlet in the region at the usually low price of €3.
Activities to Explore
Slovenia offers a range of thrilling activities you might undertake free of cost or at a negligible price, like going on a walking tour around Ljubljana, hiking up the Julian Alps, wine-tasting in Maribor and relaxing on the beaches of Piran.
A ticket to the Ljubljana Castle exhibition costs around €4, the standard entry cost for most major museums. Make sure to look out for additional discounts available for children, students with a valid ID, and senior citizens.
People inclined towards adventure sports must visit Lake Bled, where you can try white-water rafting at €52, canyoning at €100, and kayaking at €71. If visiting during winter, when the Lake is frozen over, hire some skating shoes and go ice skating, or visit a ski resort in the Julian Alps and ski down Alpine slopes for €34.
We have an answer if you are curious whether Slovenia is expensive for tourists. While travelling in Slovenia is moderately costly, it is possible to curtail the expenses by tweaking your choices to fit a budget. By strategically planning your itinerary, opting for budget-friendly accommodations, and exploring local markets and eateries over big commercial ones, you can maximise your experience without burning a hole in your pocket. Slovenia’s easily navigable cities, affordable public transport and abundance of outdoor activities are a testament to the idea that one can have a memorable travel experience on a modest budget.
Is it expensive to vacation in Slovenia?
A vacation in Slovenia, though nowhere near as expensive as major European countries, is costlier among its Balkan neighbours. Expenses most often vary depending on the kind of experience you seek. While luxurious retreats in famous tourist spots like Bled may prove expensive, it is also possible to tour the country inexpensively by travelling offbeat and engaging more with the local life.
Is Slovenia budget-friendly?
No matter your funds, with some planning, it is easy to have a good time in Slovenia. The country abounds with budget-friendly options for people looking to enjoy a vacation within a certain budgetary threshold.
Is Slovenia a cheap holiday?
A holiday in Slovenia, while nowhere near cheap, is more pocket-friendly than many European countries. With plenty of affordable options for all kinds of budgetary ranges, Slovenia can be a cheap holiday, easily negotiable in terms of prices, for people under a budget.