The Greenest Country in the World
Love for nature is what all Slovenians have in common, and this is one of the strongest foundations for the achievements of Slovenian sustainable development and responsible tourism. We might not support the same sports clubs and politicians, but when it comes to the clean environment and spacious forests that bring fresh air everywhere in Slovenia, including towns, we are united. We cannot imagine our lives without a partner such as green and unspoilt nature. It is no coincidence that Slovenia is the first comprehensively assessed green destination in the world and one of the most sustainable countries on the planet. With the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism, which is a unique comprehensive assessment tool, and by improving sustainability in tourism, the Slovenian Tourist Board in cooperation with the accredited partner Institute Factory of Sustainable Tourism GoodPlace has made a significant breakthrough at the national and local levels in a mere five years. The Slovenia Green family currently includes over 100 certified green destinations, providers, parks, attractions, agencies, and restaurants. The World Legacy Award, presented by the National Geographic for preserved heritage in 2017, is also proof that Slovenia breaths and thinks green. At the last ITB in Berlin, the Green Destinations international organisation awarded Slovenia the Best of Europe 2020 award for the most sustainable destination in Europe.
Slovenia Green - a success story
Currently, Slovenia is a global role model for tourism and the green beacon of Europe. How did we get here? We began systematically assessing sustainability in Slovenian tourism in 2014, but a decade before that all key actors in Slovenian tourism had adopted a green commitment. According to almost 200 strict international indicators, the sustainability assessment almost immediately showed that a decade of efforts for green and responsible tourism had paid off. In 2015, the capital Ljubljana received the prestigious Slovenia Green Destination Gold label, and a year later, the title of the European Green Capital. Numerous green teams in destinations in Slovenia strive for nature, community and local economy-friendly tourism. In a mere five years, 53 tourist destinations, 46 accommodation providers, four nature parks, two tourist agencies and one green attraction have been included in the Slovenia Green family. To obtain the Slovenia Green label, all local providers must first receive one of the internationally recognised and verified sustainability certificates. The Green Scheme is a great commitment and mission for Slovenia. At the beginning of 2020, the Slovenian Tourist Board and the Institute Factory of Sustainable Tourism GoodPlace presented a new initiative and a great ambition for Slovenia to become the first country in the world in which no single-use plastic is used in its tourism sector. The first to begin implementing the plan of measures will be the Triglav National Park, one of the oldest nature parks in Europe, included in the list of UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves. Mt Triglav, at the heart of the park and the kingdom of the Julian Alps, is not only the country’s highest peak but also a symbol of Slovenian identity.
Slovenia green gold destinations - Europe's green beacons
You may experience green Slovenia in all the shades of this calming colour, not to mention the certified green destinations, recipients of the Slovenia Green Destination Gold.
Vibrant historical towns
The capital Ljubljana is famous for its green soul. The Tivoli city park is like an extended terrace of Ljubljana's living room. It is the centre of the town and is closed to motor vehicles. Plečnik's timeless architectural design along the Ljubljanica River is an inspiration for everything that takes place outdoors – relaxed indulgence in cafés and restaurants in town squares, the Open Kitchen, street theatre, concerts and films – all contribute to a relaxed and green atmosphere.
Kamnik, a town embraced by the Kamnik and Savinja Alps, has a picturesque medieval centre and an interesting tradition. Its lungs spread throughout Velika planina, one of the oldest preserved herdsmen’s settlements in Europe. Scattered small wooden houses seem like a fairy-tale.
Laško is a place with the cleanest water you can imagine in a beer and with the sweetest nectar you can imagine in honey. Between the river and the hills, between spas and manors, even the Ancient Romans knew about the health-bestowing springs. Nova Gorica is special because it is designed as a town in a park. Architect Ravnikar, a student of European architectural giant Plečnik, designed one of the youngest Slovenian towns as a sunny place (ville radieuse) with plenty of light, flowers and greenery. Only a stone’s throw away, the beauty of the Vipava Valley, one of the ten most beautiful destinations of Europe in 2018 according to Lonely Planet, opens up. Radovljica is a charming alpine town with one of the most beautiful old centres in Slovenia. Life here is genuinely sweet, not only due to the honeybread craft, beekeeping and the Chocolate Festival, but also because of the nearby alpine meadows and the high peaks of the Julian Alps.
Zen and wellness oases
Visit green oases to relax and get away from everyday stress. Bled is an image of paradise and the iconic postcard from Slovenia that is most commonly seen around the world. An island with a Gothic church floats like a mirage in the middle of a large alpine lake. You may see it from the rockface of Bled Castle or let a “pletnar” take you to the island in a traditional boat.
The Karst is a special world on the edge of the Mediterranean. The landscape with its meadows flirting with the sea from afar fill us with tranquillity. In a million years, water has created the cellar of Europe, as the locals call the underground caves and passages. Komen has always been known for Karst prosciutto, dry-cured in the bora wind, and noble Karst Teran. Vines among the Brda hills grow in various soils. Brda is all rolling hills and enticing moments. It is home to prominent Slovenian winemakers, the best known and most award-winning winemakers between the Alps and the Mediterranean. The Brda hills are dotted with picturesque villages and views that feed the soul.
Nothing refreshes bodies inside and outside better than water. Legends of water with magical powers have been circulating for centuries in Podčetrtek, which is one of the best-known wellness destinations in Slovenia and a place where you can experience inner calm in nature. In Kozjansko Park, sustainable agriculture has preserved primeval nature, which transforms the appearance of the meadows almost every week. Rogaška Slatina is another oasis of peace and green experiences, where tradition, modernity and top medical knowledge meet. When Pegasus, the winged horse, struck the ground with his hoof, the water with the world’s highest content of magnesium, Donat Mg, came to the surface.
Active experiences will fill you with energy in Slovenia's sports centres. Kranjska gora is a year-round sports centre for skiing, cycling or walking. It is a venue of men’s Alpine ski world cup competitions and ski flying. You can experience the freedom of ski jumpers on the steepest zipline in the world on the Planica giant jump hill. Its only competition is a zipline descent in the Soča Valley refreshed by live waters, live mountains with 3,000-year alpine farming tradition and live tradition. The Soča River is one of the most beautiful alpine rivers in the world. Everyone who seeks adventure in nature feels like they are in paradise when they cross the threshold of the Triglav National Park. The Soča Valley is like an evergreen musical hit that always caresses. In Bela Krajina, you can enjoy the completely different current of the Kolpa River and discover its mysteries on foot, by bike or canoe. Romantic glamping accommodation is hidden in the midst of a landscape of silver birches and ferns. Time stops when tamburas sound and flax rustles. In all Slovenia Green gold destinations, you will experience the original flavours of the local cuisine and be genuinely in touch with nature.
Green key on a plate - Gostilna pri Lojzetu and Galerija okusov
The green stories of almost 50 Slovenian boutique accommodations show that tourism with respect for natural and cultural heritage is possible. Last year, the Slovenia Green family proudly accepted the first winners of the Green Key international certificate among restaurants. These two restaurants are Gostilna pri Lojzetu, with Chef Tomaž Kavčič, from the Vipava Valley (Zemono Manor) and Galerija okusov from the Lower Savinja Valley. Both are famous from their sustainable philosophy, commitment to a clean environment and local supply chain. Tomaž Kavčič, the most innovative chef in Europe according to JRE, creates menus with his own fresh approach and great respect for local and family traditions. He wants to exhibit the Vipava Valley on each plate. That’s how much he loves this place, which has a longer growing period than other parts of Slovenia, and where everything sprouts earlier and goes on for longer. Gostilna Pri Lojzetu was the best assessed Slovenian restaurant by Gault & Millau 2018. Another Green Key was awarded to two chefs, Luka Gmajner and Marko Magajne, who created Galerija okusov on a romantic estate in the middle of hop plantations in the Lower Savinja Valley near Žalec, the town with the first beer fountain in the world. Luka and Marko are faithful to the local tradition and nature of the eastern part of Slovenia. Their restaurant on the Novo Celje Mansion estate can offer a relaxed picnic or a first-class dinner for two (fine dining), a culinary classroom or a garden exhibition. They organise events and banquets which show, time and time again, that ingenuity is crucial for green orientation and functioning.
The first green atraction of Slovenia - Klet Brda
The first green attraction, which became part of the Slovenia Green family at the end of last year and received the Slovenia Green Attraction label, is Klet Brda. With its Green Key certificate, Klet Brda is the leading standard in the field of sustainable operation in tourism, directly contributing to environmental protection. The wine story in Brda, which has been unfolding for two millennia ever since the Ancient Romans brought the vine to this place, has been adding value to the local environment and never stops drawing on it. The Brda locals have an intimate relationship with their soil, which has a special structure, scent and, so they say, taste. Brda winemakers connected and stressed quality over quantity at the time of the former Yugoslavia. Klet Brda has always supported the local environment and included it in numerous activities, while guests may also buy other local producers’ products in addition to wine at the wineshop.
Green nature parks - treasuries of Slovenia's biodiversity
Nature parks are the most valuable parts of Slovenia when it comes to preserving natural values. The recipients of Slovenia Green Park Gold will leave you speechless – the Triglav National Park, the Kozjansko Park, the Škocjan Caves Regional Park and the Logarska dolina Landscape Park instantly stir green envy with their beauty and the fragility of the natural balance. Experience their unspoilt nature, biodiversity and special cultural features. Each park is distinct and magnificent, and they all tell stories of the coexistence of people and nature.