Slovenia is a country in Central Europe that lies in the eastern Alps, at the northeastern end of the Adriatic Sea, with Austria to the north, Italy to the northwest, Hungary to the northeast and Croatia to the south. Despite its small size, Slovenia has a surprising variety of terrain, ranging from the beaches of the Mediterranean to the peaks of the Julian Alps, to the rolling hills of the south.
Slovenia became an independent state in 1991 and a member of the EU on May 1, 2004. Slovenia was already more economically advanced than other “East Block” nations prior to European integration and the powerhouse of Tito’s Yugoslavia.
Added to the fact that Slovenia is also home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the “New Europe”, the transition from socialism to the European common market economy has gone well and serves as a model for other nations on the same track to follow.
Ljubljana, the capital, is a city where old meets new. Situated in the heart of Slovenia, draped along the banks of the Ljubljanica River, the capital is within a two-hour drive of all the state borders. Ljubljana is also known by its German name, Laibach.
As the legend goes, it was created by Greek hero Jason who stole the Golden Fleece from king Aites and escaped with his friend Argonauts through Black Sea to Danube River. The baroque old town with its bridges, churches, palaces, open squares and pavement cafes is a great place to spend a day or two. The open-air market around the St.Nicholas Cathedral is just like the city itself, colorful and full of life.
The Julian Alps region of Slovenia extend over the border into north-eastern Italy. Named after Julius Caesar, this part of the Alps offer a wonderful alpine flair that would have you swear you were in Upper Bavaria or Tyrol. Most of the Slovene land is mountainous and alpine mountains cover 40% of the entire national territory.
The wine industry in Slovenia has a long and storied past. For such a small country, Slovenia is blessed with an astonishing range of sophisticated, quality wines. Slovenia has three main wine producing regions that comprise a little over 1% of the country, or about 60,000 acres with 40,000 registered vineyards.
Primorje, in the west, is the main red producing region that gives us luscious wines such as Refosk and whites with strong bodies, such as Malvazija. Posavje, in the southern center of the country, produces white wines including the autochthonous varietal of Pinela. Podravje, in the eastern region, produces wines that are more in line with the regular fare of Central Europe, including Chardonnay, Gamay, and Riesling.