Top 10 Adventure Sports in Slovenia

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You’ve probably heard of Slovenia, but don’t actually know too much about it! And with so many other exciting adventure sports opportunities in places you know plenty about, why would you choose Slovenia for your next adrenalin-fuelled break?

Well, there’s alps, plain, and mediterranean all packed into one compact country – so you’re guaranteed variety. Slovenia is also cheap compared to most destinations. But that’s not why you should go there.

People who know their adventure sports, know there’s always more destinations than first meet the eye… so we’re checking out what’s on offer and the new hot-spots for you to try.

Slovenia Basics

Once part of Yugoslavia, today Slovenia is now a thriving independent country. It borders Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, putting it at crossroads of several different cultures, while maintaining a rich culture of its own. Its population numbers just two million, and it has less than ten per cent of the land mass of the UK.

This hugely diverse landscape is just waiting to be explored: from snow-capped mountains, to rocky karst, to rolling green lowlands. It’s already looking promising…

Whitewater Rafting

The most popular water to ride is the Soca River. This 140 km long, emerald green river rises in the Trenta Valley near the Italian border, and can be as challenging as it is beautiful, with some tough grade four and five rapids. Beginners to whitewater rafting in Slovenia will find plenty of calmer sections to try out. Visit in spring and you’ll find the river swollen with meltwater from the mountains, making it extra-fun.

Canoeing and Kayaking

Canoeing and kayaking are also popular, on the Soca and elsewhere. Whitewater fans can head to the mountains, while those looking for a calmer paddle can choose rivers such as the Ljubljanica, which runs through the capital Ljubliana as well as some beautiful countryside. Mountain lakes also make for picturesque places to get on the water.

Canyoning

Canyoning is real adventure. You get to scramble up rocks, slide down natural chutes into crystal-clear pools, and abseil down scarily sheer rock-faces. Slovenia’s unspoilt mountains are perfect for the sport, with the areas around Bovec (on the Soca River) and Bled (near the Austrian border) are the main centres for the sport.

Paragliding

Paragliding is a wonderful way to get to see the Julian Alps at their most stunning. Drive up the mountain, and then float back down, riding thermals over valleys peppered with villages and vineyards. As with so many adventure sports in Slovenia, the area around the Soca and the Trenta Valley is the most popular place to do it. The area is renowned among enthusiasts as being one of the best places to paraglide in Europe, with its unspoilt views that stretch all the way from the mountains to the Mediterranean.

Zip-lining

Slovenia is home to one of the world’s longest zip-lines, coming in at an impressive 2.4 km across four sections. The line is reached by 4×4 from the town of Bovec in the Soca Valley. It runs up to 200m above ground, well above the treetops, with speeds of up to 60 km per hour possible. Zip-lining in Slovenia the views over the forested valley, villages and the sparkling Soca are incredible – just don’t forget to keep your eyes open as you whizz past!

Climbing

With so many rock faces around to explore, it’s not surprising that climbing is a popular sport in Slovenia, both in the mountainous north and in the southern karst region. The top prize for Slovenian climbers is Mount Triglav, the country’s highest mountain and a national symbol. Those looking for more manageable climbing in Slovenia will find plenty of varied climbing up craggy limestone. In winter, ice-climbing is popular.

Caving

The rocks are not just above ground. Caving is big news in Slovenia, particularly in the karst region along the Croatian border and across to the Italian city of Trieste. There are thought to be around 10,000 caves in Slovenia, and many extensive cave systems to explore. Most infamous is ‘Dante’s Cave’. As the name suggests, it was visited by the Italian poet of the same name and is said to have been the inspiration for his depiction of Hell in the Divine Comedy. Don’t let that put you off, though…

Mountain-biking

A bike is a great way to explore just about anywhere, and mountain biking in Slovenia offers the chance to get off road and into the parts of the mountains that cars just won’t reach. For an extreme sports challenge, strap yourself in for some downhill in the Alps. For something a little easier going, stick to the quiet roads and paths through the valleys and into the lowlands. You’ll find no shortage of friendly local restaurants to stop in when you need a break, where you can try top quality artisan food and local wine.

Horse-riding

Industrialisation came late to Slovenia, meaning its people have held on firmly to their horse-riding traditions. Trekking up into the mountains and exploring the valleys on horseback is a truly authentic experience in this still very rural culture. If you are interested in equestrianism, you might like to visit the thoroughbred white Lippizanner horses. They are bred at the Lipica stud farm, and are famous for their classical dressage displays.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Slovenia’s ski resorts are generally not huge, but they are completely unspoilt and offer great skiing for families and experts who want to try something different. The largest ski area Bohinj, which includes the picturesque Lake Bled, and has an impressive 92 pistes.

Highest (over 2000m) is Bovec, which is lift-linked to the neighbouring Italian resort of Sella Neva. The snow lies on the ground well into April, when in the valley it is spring. That gives you the chance to take an incredible holiday combining rafting on the Soca with skiing in the Julian Alps.

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