Slovenia has a diverse range of natural and cultural attractions for visitors. Tourism has evolved into many forms. The tourism gravitational region is very vast, yet the tourist market is quite tiny. There has been no large-scale tourism, and there have been no severe environmental constraints.
Ljubljana, the nation’s capital, contains several significant Baroque and Vienna Secession structures, including many major works by native-born architect Joe Plenik and his student, architect Edo Ravnikar.
The Julian Alps, with the beautiful Lake Bled and the Soa Valley, as well as the nation’s highest summit, Mount Triglav in the center of Triglav National Park, are located in the country’s northwest region. Other prominent mountain ranges for skiers and hikers are the Kamnik–Savinja Alps, Karavanke, and Pohorje.
The karst landscape was named after the Karst Plateau in the Slovene Littoral, a landscape formed by water dissolving the carbonate bedrock and creating caverns. Postojna Cave and the UNESCO-listed Kocjan Caverns are the most well-known caves. The area of Slovenian Istria meets the Adriatic Sea, where the most significant historical site is the Venetian Gothic Mediterranean town of Piran, while the summer village of Portoro draws large people.
The hills around Maribor, Slovenia’s second-largest city, are famous for their wine-making. The northeastern region of the nation is rich in spas, with Rogaka Slatina, Radenci, ate ob Savi, Dobrna, and Moravske Toplice gaining popularity in the past two decades.
Other prominent tourist attractions include the ancient towns of Ptuj and Kofja Loka, as well as numerous castles, including the Predjama Castle.
Congress and casino tourism are important components of Slovenian tourism. Slovenia has the greatest proportion of casinos per 1,000 people in the European Union. The biggest casino in the area is Perla in Nova Gorica.
The majority of international visitors to Slovenia come from the following main European markets: Italy, Austria, Germany, Croatia, Benelux, Serbia, Russia, and Ukraine, followed by the United Kingdom and Ireland. European visitors provide more than 90% of Slovenia’s tourism revenue.
Slovenia is located in Central and Southeastern Europe, between the Alps and the Mediterranean. It is located between the latitudes of 45° and 47° N, and the longitudes of 13° and 17° E. The 15th meridian east almost coincides to the country’s midpoint in the west-east direction. The Republic of Slovenia’s Geometrical Center is situated at 46°07’11.8″ N and 14°48’55.2″ E. It is located in the municipality of Litija, near Slivna. Triglav (2,864 m or 9,396 ft) is Slovenia’s tallest mountain; the country’s average elevation above sea level is 557 m. (1,827 ft).
Slovenia is the meeting point of four main European geographic regions: the Alps, the Dinarides, the Pannonian Plain, and the Mediterranean. Despite its location on the Adriatic Sea near the Mediterranean Sea, the majority of Slovenia lies in the Black Sea drainage basin. Northern Slovenia’s long border with Austria is dominated by the Alps, which include the Julian Alps, the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, and the Karavanke range, as well as the Pohorje massif. Slovenia’s Adriatic coast extends for around 47 kilometers (29 miles) from Italy to Croatia.
The phrase “Karst topography” refers to the Karst Plateau in southern Slovenia, a limestone area with subterranean rivers, gorges, and caverns located between Ljubljana and the Mediterranean. The terrain is mainly flat on the Pannonian plain to the east and northeast, near the Croatian and Hungarian borders. The bulk of Slovenian topography, however, is hilly or mountainous, with approximately 90 percent of the area being 200 m (656 ft) or more above sea level.
Forests occupy more than half of the nation (10,124 km2 or 3,909 sq mi). Slovenia is now the third most wooded nation in Europe, behind only Finland and Sweden. The regions are mainly covered by beech, fir-beech, and beech-oak woods and have a high production capacity. There are still remnants of ancient woods, the biggest of which may be found in the Koevje region. Grassland spans 5,593 km2 (2,159 sq mi), and farms and gardens are also present (954 km2 or 368 sq mi). Orchards cover 363 km2 (140 sq mi) while vineyards cover 216 km2 (83 sq mi).
Slovenia is situated in the temperate zone. The diversity of topography, as well as the effect of the Alps and the Adriatic Sea, all have an impact on the climate. The continental climatic type with the largest variation between winter and summer temperatures dominates in the Northeast. The climate along the shore is sub-Mediterranean. The influence of the sea on temperature rates may be seen all the way up the Soa valley, whereas the high mountain areas have a harsh Alpine environment. Throughout much of the nation, there is a significant interplay between these three climate systems.
Precipitation, which frequently comes from the Bay of Genoa, varies throughout the nation as well, with some Western areas receiving over 3,500 mm (138 in) and Prekmurje receiving just 800 mm (31 in). Snow falls often in winter, with 146 centimetres of snow falling in Ljubljana in 1952. (57 in).
Slovenia is not as windy as the rest of Western Europe since it is in the Alps’ slipstream. The average wind speed is lower than in neighboring nations’ plains. Local vertical winds with daily durations are prevalent due to the rough terrain. Aside from these, three winds are particularly important in the region: the bora, the jugo, and the foehn. The Littoral is distinguished by the jugo and the bora. Unlike jugo, which is typically humid and warm, bora is usually chilly and windy. The foehn is native to Slovenia’s Alpine areas in the north. The northeast wind, southeast wind, and north wind are all common in Slovenia.
Slovenia has the lowest population density in Europe, with 101 people per square kilometer (262/sq mi) (compared to 402/km2 (1042/sq mi) for the Netherlands and 195/km2 (505/sq mi) for Italy). The population density is lowest in the Inner Carniola–Karst Statistical Region and greatest in the Central Slovenia Statistical Region.
According to the 2002 census, the Slovenes are Slovenia’s largest ethnic group (83 percent), although their proportion of the overall population is steadily declining owing to their comparatively low fertility rate. At least 13% of the population in 2002 was made up of immigrants from other areas of the former Yugoslavia and their descendants. They have mostly settled in cities and suburbs. The Hungarian and Italian ethnic minorities are very tiny, although they are protected by Slovenia’s Constitution. The autochthonous and geographically scattered Roma ethnic group has a unique position.
Slovenia has one of the most noticeable population agings in Europe, owing to a low birth rate and rising life expectancy. Almost all Slovenians over the age of 64 are retired, with no discernible gender difference. Despite immigration, the working-age population is shrinking. A vote in 2011 rejected a plan to increase the retirement age from the current 57 for women and 58 for men. Furthermore, there is still a substantial disparity in life expectancy between the sexes. In 2014, the total fertility rate (TFR) was projected to be 1.33 children born per woman, which was lower than the replacement rate of 2.1. Unmarried women have the bulk of children (in 2014, 58.3 percent of all births were outside of marriage). In 2014, the average life expectancy was 77.83 years (74.21 years male, and 81.69 years female).
Slovenia has a suicide rate of 22 per 100,000 people per year in 2009, placing it among the top European nations in this category. Nonetheless, the rate fell by approximately 30 percent between 2000 and 2010. There are significant variations across areas and genders.
Prior to WWII, about 97 percent of the population identified as Catholic (Roman Rite), approximately 2.5 percent as Lutheran, and approximately 0.5 percent as members of other faiths.
In pre-Communist Slovenia, Catholicism had a significant role in both social and political life. Following 1945, the nation experienced a slow but persistent secularization trend. Following a decade of religious persecution, the Communist government established a policy of relative tolerance toward churches. The Catholic Church recovered some of its previous power after 1990, although Slovenia remains a mainly secular country. According to the 2002 census, Catholicism accounts for 57.8 percent of the population. In 1991, 71.6 percent were self-declared Catholics, a decrease of more than 1% each year. The Latin Rite is used by the overwhelming majority of Slovenian Catholics. The White Carniola area is home to a small number of Greek Catholics.
Despite a very small population of Protestants (less than 1% in 2002), the Protestant heritage is historically important since the Protestant Reformation created the Slovene standard language and literature in the 16th century. Today, a large Lutheran minority resides in Prekmurje’s easternmost area, where they account for about one-fifth of the population and are led by a bishop with his seat in Murska Sobota.
A tiny Jewish community has traditionally coexisted with these two Christian faiths. Despite the losses sustained during the Holocaust, Judaism still has a few hundred followers, the most of whom live in Ljubljana, home to the country’s only functioning synagogue.
According to the 2002 census, Islam is the second most common religious denomination, accounting for about 2.4 percent of the population. The majority of Slovenian Muslims are from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Orthodox Christianity is the third biggest denomination, accounting for about 2.2 percent of the population, with the majority of followers adhering to the Serbian Orthodox Church and a minority subscribing to the Macedonian and other Orthodox churches.
In 2002, about 10% of Slovenes proclaimed themselves atheists, another 10% professed no particular religion, and approximately 16% chose not to answer the question regarding their religious affiliation. According to the Eurobarometer Poll 2010, 32% of Slovenian people “think there is a deity,” 36% “believe there is some kind of spirit or life force,” and 26% “do not believe there is any type of spirit, god, or life force.”
Immigration and emigration
Around 12% of Slovenians were born abroad: in 2008, over 100,000 non-EU nationals lived in Slovenia, accounting for approximately 5% of the total population. Bosnia and Herzegovina had the largest proportion of these foreign-born inhabitants, followed by Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia, and Kosovo.
Since 1995, the number of individuals coming to Slovenia has gradually increased, and in recent years, it has increased even more quickly. Slovenia joined the EU in 2004, and the yearly number of immigrants more than quadrupled by 2006, then more than doubled again by 2009. Slovenia has one of the European Union’s fastest increasing net migration rates in 2007.
In terms of emigration (leaving their country), numerous men left Slovenia between 1880 and 1918 (World War I) to work in mining regions in other countries. The United States, in particular, has been a popular destination for emigrants, with the 1910 US Census revealing “183,431 people in the USA of Slovenian mother language.” However, there may have been many more since many avoided anti-Slavic prejudice and “identified as Austrians.” Prior to 1900, popular locations included Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, as well as Omaha, Nebraska, Joliet, Illinois, Cleveland, Ohio, and rural regions of Iowa. They arrived in Utah (Bingham Copper Mine), Colorado (particularly Pueblo), and Butte, Montana after 1910. These regions initially drew a large number of single males (who often boarded with Slovenian families). The men then sent back for their wives and families to join them after finding employment and having enough money.
Slovenia has a sophisticated economy and is the wealthiest Slavic country by nominal GDP per capita, as well as the second richest by GDP (PPP) behind the Czech Republic. Slovenia was the first new member to adopt the euro as its currency, replacing the tolar in early 2007. It has been a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development since 2010. There is a significant disparity in prosperity across the different areas. The Central Slovenia area, which contains the capital Ljubljana, and the western Slovenian regions, such as Gorika and Coastal–Karst, are the most affluent economically. The Mura, Central Sava, and Littoral–Inner Carniola are the poorest areas.
Slovenia’s GDP increased by almost 5% each year on average between 2004 and 2006, and by nearly 7% in 2007. The rise in growth was fueled by debt, notably among businesses and particularly in construction. Following the financial crisis of 2007–2010 and the European sovereign-debt crisis, the price for an out-of-control boom is finally being paid. The building sector took a beating in 2010 and 2011. Slovenia’s GDP per capita fell by 8% in 2009, the largest drop in the European Union after the Baltic nations and Finland.
The year-on-year decline in August 2012 was 0.8 percent; nevertheless, 0.2 percent increase was reported in the first quarter (in relation to the quarter before, after data was adjusted according to season and working days). The year-on-year decline has been ascribed to a drop in domestic consumption and a slowing in export growth. Domestic consumption has declined due to fiscal austerity, a freeze on budget spending in the latter months of last year, the failure of attempts to execute economic reforms, insufficient financing, and a drop in exports.
Services and industry
Almost two-thirds of the workforce is engaged in services, with over one-third employed in manufacturing and construction. Slovenia benefits from a well-educated workforce, well-developed infrastructure, and its position at a key trade route crossroads.
Slovenia has one of the lowest levels of foreign direct investment (FDI) per capita in the EU, while worker productivity and competitiveness in the Slovenian economy remain considerably lower than the EU average. Taxes are relatively expensive, the labor market is seen as rigid by corporate interests, and sectors are losing sales to China, India, and other countries.
Slovenia’s high degree of openness makes it highly susceptible to changes in economic circumstances in its major trade partners as well as changes in its international pricing competitiveness. Motor cars, electric and electronic equipment, manufacturing, medicines, and fuels are the primary industries. Slovenia’s increasingly aging population has become a growing strain for the country’s economy.