Without question, it's possible to spend plenty of money in Slovenia – in every corner of the nation, there are enough high-end resorts, wellness centers, hotels, vineyards and restaurants to create any five-star traveler feel at home. But it's also an ideal place to go for budget travelers.
The general day-to-day prices are reasonable: a pint of beer is about EUR3 (US$3.40), and in-country train tickets about EUR10 ($11). Plus this Central European nation values a roll-up-your-sleeves method of discovery, meaning walking between villages and cycling through regions is truly the best way to experience all that is available.
The positive byproduct for those who enjoy the outdoors is really a number of cost-effective, artfully functional lodgings and spots to refresh along the way. There's also great news for those who aren't prepared to spend their holidays in boots or on bike saddles: budget-friendly buses and trains also provide authentic experiences and a taste from the real Slovenia.
Shoulder season offers big savings – and stellar weather for outdoor pursuits
Although there's technically a higher season for Slovenian tourism – June to September – this really is year-round territory for travelers. However for many (myself included), the optimum time to be here's shoulder season, from late April to June and September to late October. The weather for cycling and hiking is stellar, and pleasant temperatures and changing seasons increase powerful panoramas in plateaus, rivers, lakes, Alps and the Adriatic Sea. Costs are also lower during these periods, especially for lodging, and there are fewer travelers, so you might have the sights all to yourself.
For cheap flights, look to neighboring countries
Flying into Ljubljana's Joze Pucnik Airport terminal (LJU) may be the only option for landing in Slovenia, which makes sense – the nation is roughly the size of Nj, contributing to half those of Switzerland. But you will find nine flights per week into LJU from Paris, 10 from Frankfurt and five from Istanbul, and deals to be had if you're diligent.
The main pro tip, however, is to keep an eye on the larger airports in countries that share Slovenia's borders: Croatia, Italy, Austria and Hungary. Zagreb, for instance, is simply a 90-minute drive away, or two-and-a-half hours by train, and Venice is connected by bus and train as well. Both cities have busy air-ports and odds for flight specials.
To circumvent with money to spare, plan ahead
Travelers often underestimate how long it'll decide to try determine a brand new transportation system, which could result in time wasted, as well as unnecessary money spent on wrong turns and missed connections. Instead, come up with a plan for making your way around before you set foot in Slovenia. Buses and trains are affordable and reliable – by bus, you can get any place in the nation for around EUR10 ($11), while trains are more romantic, albeit slower and never as well connected.
If you will find the gumption, you may also plan your trip around hiking and cycling. You will not cover as many kilometers, but you'll actually see more. Best of all, you simply need to pay your stomach for the fare.
Find quality, cost-friendly accommodations at boutique hostels
Slovenia does hostels well – and we're not referring to those places with 30 teens crowded around a communal dining area playing drinking games all night. They are hotel-level digs that offer most of the privacy in a fraction from the cost, about EUR15 to EUR25 ($17 to $29) every night.
Boutique hostels exist all over the country. Ljubljana's Celica – an old prison – is perfectly put into the capital and serves wonderful, inexpensive food. The Bearlog Hostel in Kocevje, in the country's far south, teaches and promotes responsible travel in one of the nation's most pristine natural areas.
No matter how you're accustomed to traveling, consider lodging that puts you closer to natural action – camping, glamping and cyclist-friendly accommodations rank one of the most sought-after overnight options. With camping stays ranging from about EUR10 to EUR15 ($11 to $17) every night, you'll save on costs, and give your opportunity to really interact with the nation too.
To eat well inexpensively, speak with a local
It sounds simple, but the single most important technique for eating well and inexpensively is speaking with locals about where they're going and just what they cook. This is a win-win: when you replace shyness with curiosity, it's easy to eat better and more cost-effectively, and learn more about Slovenian culture at the same time.
As luck would have it, restaurant and bar prices are often cheaper here than in neighboring Italy and Austria, and other alike to people in Croatia. You can expect to spend around EUR10 ($11) at solid street-food restaurants in Ljubljana, like the tasty international and domestic spots lining Trubarjeva cesta (street), just off of Presernov Trg (square).
The other advice many Slovenes will impart: cook for yourself. If you're remaining in a condo or hostel with kitchen access, do your favor and buy a Slovenian cookbook, such as Cook Eat Slovenia. You'll likely make back the cost in a couple of meals, and you'll possess a souvenir of your time in the country.
Free tours and discounted attractions let you see it all for less
First things first: make use of the incredible landscape surrounding you. Yes, getting there might necessitate a fare, ticket or fee, but experiencing Slovenia atop a mountain, inside a perched village, alongside a river or around the Adriatic shore is free of charge.
Even if outdoor attractions aren't your focus, there are more practical suggestions for saving cash. The first is to consider free tours when possible. (Ljubljana's, for one, will teach you more about the main city than you'd ever learn alone.) The guides work for tips, and can often offer cost-saving suggestions themselves.
Destinations round the country, including Maribor, Lake Bled and also the capital, offer cards loaded with discounts. The 48-hour Ljubljana Card allows free admission to the majority of the main attractions and includes a free bus ride back and forth from manchester international for EUR39 ($45); it's also available in 24- and 72-hour increments.
Finally, take advantage of the free itinerary planner on Slovenia's official tourism website. It's filled with advice from individuals who know the country well and want to keep budget-minded travelers happy and returning as often as you possibly can.
Daily costs in Slovenia
Bed inside a hostel dorm: EUR15-25
Basic accommodation for two: EUR40-60
Self-catering apartment (including Airbnb): from EUR50
Public transport ticket in Ljubljana city bus: EUR1.20
Dinner for 2 in a mid-range restaurant: EUR35
Beer/pint in the bar: EUR3