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Slovenia: A Guide for Motorhomers 2009 PDF Printable Version E-mail

 

SLOVENIA: A GUIDE FOR MOTORHOMERS

Barry and Margaret Williamson
October 2009

The following information for motorhomers and other travellers has been selected from a range of sources including ADAC, Caravan Club, Lonely Planet.

'Slovenia is one of the most-overlooked gems in all of Europe' is how the Lonely Planet begins its description of this country.

The population is 2 million. Slovenian is the official language, using the Roman alphabet. It is a Slavic language akin to Serbo-Croat, which is also widely spoken. Most Slovenians, living as they do at the crossroads of Europe, speak at least one other major European language, English being the choice of young people.

The area of the country is about that of Wales - 20,000 sq km (UK = 244,000 sq km ). Settled by Slovenes in the 6th century AD, its history is closely allied with that of neighbouring Austria. Forced into the Yugoslavian Federation in 1918, it won a peaceful independence in 1991 and joined the EU in 2004. It is by far the most prosperous of the countries of the former Yugoslavia.

Slovenia is situated 'on the sunny side of the Alps', between the mountains and the Adriatic Sea. It is bordered by Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. As far as Slovenia is concerned, 'small is beautiful', its varied landscape and cultural features drawing several million visitors every year. There are many options for recreation and relaxation and campsites are located throughout the country, from the Alps to the Adriatic and from the Karst region to the Pannonian Plain.

It is a multicultural country with a long history. In the west, you will find Venetian-influenced architecture; in the interior Baroque churches, castles and rustic inns as reminders of the thousand-year Austrian presence; in the north-east the tradition is Hungarian. It is also a very green country with over half its area covered in forest.

The capital, Ljubljana, with a population below 300,000, is easily reached by motorway from all major European centres. It is a gem of a city with many Baroque and Art Nouveau influences and the works of the world-renowned architect, Joze Plecnik, are among the finest urban monuments in the city.

Lakes Bled and Bohinj (in the Julian Alps near the Austrian border) and the caves at Skocjan and Postjna are the other major tourist attractions, along with Piran on the short stretch of Adriatic coast.

Slovenia has three types of climate alpine in the north, continental in the east and Mediterranean along the coast. Summers are hottest and driest in the south-west. Winters along the coast are generally mild, but colder in the north and east, guaranteeing good skiing conditions.

Snow can linger until June in the mountain areas but May and June are ideal for visiting the lowlands. July and August see crowds and higher prices. September is excellent long days, still warm, crowds gone, prices lower. October and November can be rainy and December onwards is for skiers.

The cuisine reflects an Austro-German influence with sauerkraut, grilled sausage and apple strudel appearing often on menus. On the Adriatic coast there are specialities based on fish and seafood. The best wines in Slovenia come from the Drava region, the white wines being especially good.

For more information, contact the Slovenian Tourist Office, South Marlands, Itchingfield, Horsham RH13 0NN. Tel 0870 2255 305. Email This email address is being protected from spam bots and you need Javascript enabled to view it. Ask for the useful free booklet 'Camping in Slovenia' which lists all the official campsites, plus the separate 'Campsite Pricelist'. Visit www.slovenia-tourism.sl and click on 'Camping' for details and reservations for 54 campsites.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Currency: The old currency (Slovenian Tolar) ceased to exist on 1 January 2007, when the country adopted the Euro. The official changeover rate was 239.46 SLT = One Euro. Slovenia is now a full member of the Euro Zone and cash is easy to get from many ATMs accepting credit and debit cards. Credit cards are accepted everywhere, including Spar and Aldi supermarkets, petrol stations, large campsites, road tolls.

Health: UK citizens are eligible for free emergency treatment from doctors, dentists and hospitals but some medicines have to be paid for. The EHIC card (and possibly your UK passport) will have to be shown. Walkers during the summer should consider immunisation against tick-borne encephalitis. For full details, see www.*** on this website.

Internet: Available in every town, including good access through public libraries. WiFi is also available on some campsites, such as Camping Bled on the lake.

Laundry: Launderettes are rare although larger campsites have coin-op machines.

Local Time: Standard time is CET (Central European Time) which is GMT+1. Summer time (GMT+2), shared with the rest of central Europe, from end of March to end October.

Personal Documents: In common with all other member of the EU, you can stay for 3 months if you hold a valid UK passport. Children under 16 can be entered in a parent's passport. Border controls are very relaxed or non-existent since Slovenia is a member of the Schengen Agreement, as well as the EU.

Pets: (from 4 months old) require a rabies vaccination certificate, at least 15 days and max 12 months old, entered in the International Vaccination Pass, plus a vet's certificate of health.

Shopping: A range of modern supermarkets are found in Slovenia, including 'Aldi' under the name 'Hofer'.

Telephone: International code for Slovenia 00386 (and omit next 0). International access code is 00 then country code, eg 0044 for the UK. Calls from public telephone boxes can be made with phonecards. While driving, mobile phones are only allowed with a hands-free kit.

FOR THE DRIVER

Alcohol: The blood alcohol limit is 0.05% and is strictly enforced.

Borders: There are 26 major border crossing points, all with a relaxed and hassle-free or non-existent regime.

Breakdown Service: The AMZS is available round the clock, via emergency phones on motorways or by ringing 987.

Car's Papers: Driving licence and vehicle document. A Green Card should not be required, since UK insurance should cover you for the whole of the EU.

Emergency Numbers: Emergency, First Aid or Fire 112; Police 113.

Fines: The police are authorised to impose on-the-spot fines which must be paid in Euros.

Fuel: Petrol and diesel are easily available, though very few stations sell LPG. Credit cards are accepted and prices are comparable with the rest of Western Europe.

Lights: Spare replacement bulbs must be carried. Hazard warning lights must be used when reversing and as in Hungary and many other illogical places throughout Europe - dipped headlights are compulsory throughout the day outside built-up areas. So far the UK, France, Germany and Greece have remained sane and restrict the use of headlights to night-time, fog and heavy rain - not bright sunshine!

Motorway Tolls: From July 2008 Slovenia introduced a 'Vignette' system for motorway travel. Vignettes are officially available for weekly, monthly or yearly periods and can be purchased at petrol stations and DARS (the Slovenian Motorway Company) offices in Slovenia, as well as outlets in neighbouring countries near the Slovene border.

Arriving from Zagreb in Croatia in June 2009, we found the border post only had vignettes valid for 6 months, costing 35 Euros. The Vignette is compulsory for vehicles under 3.5 tonnes in weight. The police and DARS officials are monitoring motorway use, and are stopping motorists who do not have a Vignette. Failure to have or display a Vignette will lead to an on-the-spot fine of up to 800. For more information on the Vignette system and where to buy one, please visit http://www.cestnina.si/Dokumenti/Vignette_308.aspx.

Vehicles over 3.5 tonnes in weight (like us) pay road tolls at regular intervals along the motorways, which becomes much more expensive. There is also a large toll on the Karawanke Tunnel leading into the country from Austria - all payable by credit card or in Euros.

Special Regulations: As mentioned above, headlights must be used during the day and, when reversing, hazard flashers must be used. School or children's buses must not be overtaken whilst loading or unloading. A signal must be given throughout the overtaking. Jumping a column is forbidden. When towing, a warning triangle must be carried on the front of the towing vehicle and the back of that being towed. Winter tyres must be used between 15 November and 15 March. Vehicles with noticeable damage to their bodywork may only leave the country with a police certificate of damage. You are also required to carry a reflective jacket, a warning triangle and a first aid kit in the vehicle.

For other requirements, see www.*** on this website.

Speed limits: Motorways 130 kph; main roads 80-100; town 50. (Over 3.5 tons, max 80 kph.)

Signs: Conform to international standards. Motorway signs have a green background and national roads a blue background.

Traffic: Queues can be expected during the summer holiday months of July and August, especially at the Italian border and around the capital.

Routes & Fuel Prices: Visit www.theaa.com/travelwatch/planner even if you are not a member!

FOR THE CAMPER

The country may be small but it has much to offer the motorhomer, with over 4 dozen campsites between the Alps, the Adriatic Coast and the Pannonian Plain. Above all, the thermal bathing sites are gaining an international reputation, and impressive and orderly spa facilities have been created. The adjacent campsites are above average in their standards (and their prices years ago we were asked to pay 54 for one night at Kamp Moravske Toplice since that involved being there on two days! We didn't stay.)

The campsites in the Julian Alps attract walkers, climbers and paragliders, with numerous mountain streams for kayakers and rafting fans.

The power supply is 220 volts and the current varies between 6 and 16 amps.

Sites are generally open from May to October. A Camping Card International (CCI) is not compulsory but is recommended and often gets a discount of 5% or 10%.

VAT on campsites is 5%.

Overnighting outside of campsites is generally not allowed.

Most campsites are only open April/May to September/October. The campsite near the capital, Ljubljana Resort (formerly Autocamp Jezica), is open all year and in December 2006 we found another: Autocamp Strunjan. Arriving in Slovenia from Italy via Trieste, Strunjan is south of Capodistria on the coast. The site has mainly static caravans and cabins, with a small area for tourers. There is an excellent new shower block and a small restaurant. The cleaner will do your laundry, English is spoken and credit cards are accepted.

f the most-overlooked gems in all of Europe' is how the Lonely Planet begins its description of this country.

The population is 2 million. Slovenian is the official language using the Roman alphabet. It is a Slavic language, akin to Serbo-Croat which is also widely spoken. Most Slovenians, living as they do at the crossroads of Europe, speak at least one other major Europe language. English is the preferred language of young people.

The area of the country is about that of Wales - 20,000 km2 (UK = 244,000 km2 ). Settled by Slovenes in the 6th century AD, its history is closely allied with that of neighbouring Austria. Forced into the Yugoslavian Federation in 1918, it won a peaceful independence in 1991 and will join the EU in May 2004. It is by far the most prosperous of the countries of the former Yugoslavia.

Slovenia is situated 'on the sunny side of the Alps', between the mountains and the Adriatic Sea. It is bordered by Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. As far as Slovenia is concerned, 'small is beautiful'; its varied landscape and cultural features drawing several million visitors every year. There are many options for recreation and relaxation and campsites are located throughout the country from the Alps to the Adriatic and from the Karst region to the Pannonian Plain.

It is a multicultural country with a long history. In the west, you will find Venetian-influenced architecture; in the interior Baroque churches, castles and rustic inns as reminders of the thousand-year Austrian presence; in the north-east the tradition is Hungarian. It is also a very green country with over half its area covered in forest.

The capital, Ljubljana, with a population below 300,000, is easily reached from all major European centres. It is a gem of a city with many Baroque and Art Nouveau influences and the works of the world-renowned architect, Joze Plecnik, are among the finest urban monuments in the city.

Lakes Bled and Bohinj (in the Julian Alps near the Austrian border) and the caves at Skocjan and Postjna are the other major tourist attractions, along with Piran on the short stretch of Adriatic coast.

Slovenia has three types of climate alpine in the north, continental in the east and Mediterranean along the coast. Summers are hottest and driest in the south-west. Winters along the coast are generally mild but colder in the north and east, guaranteeing good skiing conditions.

Snow can linger until June in the mountain areas, but May and June are ideal for visiting lowland areas. July and August see crowds and higher prices. September is excellent long days, still warm, crowds gone, prices lower. October and November can be rainy and December onwards is for skiers.

The cuisine reflects an Austro-German influence with sauerkraut, grilled sausage and apple strudel appearing often on menus. On the Adriatic coast there are specialities based on fish and seafood. The best wines in Slovenia come from the Drava region; the white wines are especially good.

For more information, contact the Slovenian Tourist Office, New Barn Farm, Tadlow Road, Tadlow, Royston, Herts SG8 0EP. Tel 0870 2255 305. Email . Ask for the useful free booklet 'Camping in Slovenia' which lists all the official campsites plus the separate 'Campsite Pricelist'. Visit www.slovenia-tourism.si and click on 'Camping' for details and reservations for 54 campsites.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Currency: The currency is the Tolar (SIT). In September 2003, 1 = 320 SIT. With at least 600 ATM's, cash is easy to get. Unlimited foreign currency may be imported and exported. Credit cards are accepted everywhere, including Spar supermarkets, petrol stations, large campsites, road tolls. The euro is the preferred second currency and is widely accepted.

Health: UK citizens are eligible for free emergency treatment at hospitals but medicines have to be paid for. The UK passport may have to be shown; the E111 doesn't work. Walkers during the summer should consider immunisation against tick-borne encephalitis.

Internet: Available in every town, including good access through public libraries.

Laundry: Launderettes are rare although larger campsites had coin-op machines.

Local Time: Standard time is GMT+1. Summer time (GMT+2) from end of March to end October.

Personal Documents: Passport for up to 90 days. Children under 16 can be entered in a parent's passport. Campsites carry out registration. Border controls are very relaxed and Slovenia is about to join the EU (May 2004).

Pets: (from 4 months old) require a rabies vaccination cert, at least 15 days and max 12 months old, entered in the International Vaccination Pass plus a vet's certificate of health.

Telephone: International code for Slovenia 00386 (and omit next 0). International access code is 00 then country code, eg 0044 for the UK. Calls from public telephone boxes can be made with phonecards. While driving, mobile phones are only allowed with a hands-free kit.

FOR THE DRIVER

Alcohol: The blood alcohol limit is 0.05% and is strictly enforced.

Borders: There are 26 major border crossing points, all with a relaxed and hassle-free regime.

Breakdown Service: The AMZS is available round the clock via emergency phones on 987.

Car's Papers: Driving licence and vehicle document, Green Card.

Emergency Numbers: Emergency First Aid or Fire 112; Police 113.

Fines: The police are authorised to impose on-the-spot fines which must be paid in Tolar (SLT).

Fuel: Freely available and credit cards are accepted. Diesel was 51p a litre in September 2003.

Lights: Spare replacement bulbs must be carried. Like Hungary, dipped headlights are compulsory throughout the day outside built-up areas.

Special Regulations: Headlights must be used during the day. School or children's buses must not be overtaken whilst loading or unloading. A signal must be given throughout the overtaking. Jumping a column is forbidden. When reversing, hazard flashers must be used. When towing, a warning triangle must be carried on the front of the towing vehicle and the back of that being towed. Winter tyres must be used between 15 November and 15 March. Vehicles with noticeable damage to their bodywork may only leave the country with a police certificate of damage

Speed limits: Motorways 130 kph; main roads 80-100; town 50. (Over 3.5 tons, max 80 kph.)

Signs: Conform to international standards. Motorway signs have a green background and national roads a blue background.

Tolls: Paid on motorways, for example 1.70 Ljubljana to Kranj (for Lake Bled) and 2.30 Ljubljana to the Postojna Caves. There is a larger toll on the Karawanke Tunnel leading into the country from Austria, payable by credit card, euros or Tolar.

Traffic: Queues can be expected during the summer holiday months of July and August.

Routes & Fuel Prices: Visit www.theaa.com/travelwatch/planner even if you are not a member!.

FOR THE CAMPER

The country may be small but it has much to offer the motorhomer, with over 4 dozen campsites between the Alps, the Adriatic Coast and the Pannonian Plain. Above all, the different thermal bathing places are gaining an international reputation and impressive and orderly spa facilities have been created. The adjacent campsites are above average in their standards (and their prices we were asked to pay 54 for one night at Kamp Moravske Toplice since that involved being there on two days! We didn't stay.)

The campsites in the Julian Alps attract walkers, climbers and paragliders with numerous mountain streams for kayakers and rafting fans.

The power supply is 220 volts and the current varies between 6 and 16 amps.

Sites are generally open from May to October. A Camping Card International (CCI) is not compulsory but is recommended and often gets a discount of 5% or 10%.

VAT on campsites is 5%.

Overnighting outside of campsites is generally not allowed.